By Chris Lake
Exchanges offer complete control over odds - you can back or lay, and you can determine your own odds each time, or, set your own odds. Let's take the recent Arsenal vs Manchester City game as an example.
Arsenal were clear favourites, having never been beat by City in the Premier League, and were available at 1.4 to back, or 1.41 to lay. This meant that if you thought Arsenal would win, you could have taken 1.4 (returning winnings of £40 per £100 stake in the event of a victory), or if you thought Keegan's attacking brio would do the business, then laying a bet was the option 1.41 (paying out £41 if Arsenal won, or banking £100 if they lost or drew).
This was a tight market with the smallest possible spread, but you can still call the shots. You might have wanted better odds for an Arsenal victory, perhaps asking for 1.5, or maybe you felt odds of 1.41 would have left you too exposed, instead offering 1.35 against the champions winning (thus claiming £100 if they lost or drew for a maximum payout of £35).
However, since exchanges always match bets at the best price, there's a fair chance that the 1.5 you requested would have never been displayed on the screen before the game started, and of course if the champions score first, the odds will fall, rather than rise. But it isn't always necessary to have your odds taken before a match kicks off.
One of the best things about exchange betting is that these fixed odds markets are turned 'in-play' once the match gets underway, and this is when the real action starts. If a favourite scores first then the odds on it winning will fall further to reflect this - the same thing will happen if an underdog takes the lead, though clearly the shift would be more dramatic.
Considering that a football match is played over a finite amount of time, a 0-0 scoreline (or other score draw) will see the odds on a victory balance out towards the end of the game. The favourite's odds will lengthen and the outsider's odds will shorten, but in the last quarter of the game, the draw will become increasingly probable, and the betting will reflect this.
With a few minutes remaining, a tied match will become odds-on, while the odds on a victory for either team will widen. always worth a look in the event that one or both teams enter into a bout of all-out attacking in pursuit of the lucrative three points.
You can of course get in among the fray at any point, even with seconds left on the clock. Rather than trying to predict which team will snatch a late winner, why not lay the draw? This way, if either team wins, you win - if it stays level, then you payout. But by betting late in the game, and with a draw potentially odds-on, it can be an ideal way to maximise your earnings.
Furthermore, if you took a position on a team earlier in the game or prior to kick off, then you can hedge your bets on in-play markets, as we will investigate in future articles. This allows you to cash in before the referee calls time on a match - you can often find yourself in a winning position regardless of the end result, if things go your way. Additionally, hedging allows you to limit any losses if you find yourself in a negative position.
Next -Exchange betting - How to lock in profits on 'in-play' markets