This is a question I have been asked many times and there is a simple 1 word answer:
*** BOTH ***
Yes, you should be using Bookmakers AND Betting Exchanges to maximise your returns...
This may surprise some of you. Maybe you have heard the claims of the major betting exchanges that they offer 'better odds' than traditional bookmakers and figures like up to 20% better odds are often advertised. This may of convinced you to only bet on the betting exchanges...
Its certainly true that there are many occasions when the betting exchanges do offer improved odds as claimed but equally there are many times when bookmakers offer better odds too. We must also remember that betting exchanges rely on commission payments from all your winning bets to make their money. This is usually in the region of 2 - 5% depending upon your betting activity but for the majority of users it is closer to 5% than 2%. This commission is effectively lowering the odds you are getting on the exchanges.
What you will quickly notice if you spend a little time looking at a horse racing market on a betting exchange and on a traditional bookie is that at the business end of the market (favourites and leading contenders) the odds are very similar and you will often find a number of bookies offering better prices than the exchanges at various times of the day. Alternatively, when you look at the rags (outsiders) of the race, you will often see much higher prices offered on the exchanges than the bookies are offering. It's not unusual to see 100/1 (101.0) or more offered on exchanges when the top bookie price is 50/1 (51.0).
The Effect of the Rags (Outsiders) on the Odds
The reason for this is that the Betting Exchange odds on these rank outsiders are much closer to the 'true' price for the selection, with the bookmakers not prepared to go out so high thereby protecting and increasing their profits with a much higher 'overround' than occurs on the exchanges. Remember, bookmakers effectively make money by balancing their books in such a way that in theory they should always make money regardless of which horse wins. This is not strictly true in all cases but for the purpose of this article assume it to be the case. As you already know, the betting exchanges make profits from commission payments and therefore do not rely on overrounds which allows the exchange odds to be a true representation of each horses real chance of winning. This results in betting exchange overrounds very close to 100% near the start of each race.
The Favourites and Leading Contenders
At the business end of the markets in and around the favourites, I guarantee that on any given day as well as finding better prices on the exchanges for many horses, you will also find many horses that are offered at better prices with the bookies.
This is where the majority of people concentrate their betting activity, and therefore they simply must take the best price that is available to increase their profits.
If you are in the game of backing high priced outsiders, then you may well find using just betting exchanges like BetFair is the most profitable way for you to bet. If however, like the majority of punters, you concentrate your activity on the business end of the market, you are almost certainly throwing profits away if you only use betting exchanges or bookies alone.
There is no logic in taking 10/1 (11.0) with a bookie for a particular horse if the same horse is available to back on the exchanges at 12/1 (13.0). Remember to take into account betting exchange commission!
Equally, there is no logic in taking 6/1 (7.0) on an exchange for a horse that is available at 7/1 (8.0) with a bookmaker.
By doing either of the above you are throwing potential profits down the drain.
This may be all that makes the difference between you winning or losing long term.
How to find the Best Odds On Offer
You might well be thinking that it must be too much hassle to hunt around looking for the best odds available, but you couldn't be further from the truth. There are a number of excellent Odds Comparison Sites that are free to use and will automatically and clearly show you the odds being offered for each selection on the major bookmakers and betting exchanges. A single click on the appropriate odds for your selection usually takes you straight to a bet slip so that you can place the bet in seconds...
An Important Word of Warning!
Simply by finding the best price being offered for a horse with the bookmakers does NOT mean you will automatically profit from your betting. Of course, getting the best price is crucial to increasing your profits BUT if the horse you have selected is not 'Good Value' then it will still be a poor bet.
Let me clarify. If you select a horse to back and find that one bookie is offering 10/1 when all others are offering 9/1, this is still not a good bet if the true price of the horse should be 11/1.
How to find the horses whose price is offering value is really key to profitable betting.
If you are struggling to find a way to find value horses, feel free to contact me and I will let you know of the systems I use to consistently find value and profit from my horse racing betting.
I personally have accounts with all of the major UK bookmakers as well as with 2 betting exchanges. I place all of my bets using an odds comparison site with whichever bookie or exchange is offering me the best returns at the time of the bet. This I know is one of the main reasons why I regularly profit from my betting activity.
I strongly recommend that all of you that bet seriously do the same. I think you will be surprised how much difference it makes to your bottom line!
For your convenience, I have created a review page of bookmakers that I can recommend based on my own personal experience of using them. Most also offer the bonus of free bets for new joiners which can be as much as £100.
If you are Serious about trying to make the most from your betting you simply must have accounts with numerous bookmakers and exchanges. Click the link below for further details of the bookies I use on a day to day basis and which have proven to be reliable and secure:
Recommended UK Bookmakers Offering Free Bets
Well that's it for this article. I hope you find it helpful in your quest to profit from betting.
Author: Martin Bailey
Visit www.the-secret-system.com for more free betting and gambling related information by Martin.