Betfair is the leading betting exchange and offers significant advantages over
1. You can bet that an outcome will happen (back) at consistently better prices than
with a traditional bookmaker.
2. You can bet that an event won’t happen (lay).
3. You can choose the odds you want to play at.
4. You can bet during an event when it is ‘in-play’.
All bets on Betfair have been placed there by users who either want to have a bet in
the normal way (back), or offer odds to other punters (lay). Bets are matched
between people with opposing views.
In this guide I share with you the three ways that I consistently make profits using
Open a new Betfair Account - £20 free
Naturally you will need to open an account with Betfair if you are not already a user.
Even if you are already a user, it will be helpful to open a separate account to enable
you to easily measure the success of using this system. By entering a ‘refer and
earn’ code on the sign-up page you will receive £20 free in your account once you
have earned 50 Betfair points (after you have won or lost a total of £100).
Open an account with any amount you wish. In each section of this guide I suggest a
‘bank’ you could work with – although you can make decent profits starting with just
£100. My bank is usually around the £2000 mark and that enables me to make the
most of every opportunity.
Use the link below to open the Betfair website and type the code below very carefully
in the ‘refer and earn’ box on the sign-up form to ensure you receive your free £20.
Click here to visit the Betfair website
The ‘Refer and Earn’ code to input: KFEULQDQG
Getting to Know Betfair
If you are a new Betfair user, the interface can look quite daunting at first glance.
However it really is quite simple to use. An excellent tutorial is provided on the
Betfair website and shows you exactly how to place ‘back’ and ‘lay’ bets.
I strongly suggest that as a new user you become familiar with the basic functions
before attempting to place any ‘real money’ bets. Within the betfair.com site, click on
‘Help’ and then ‘View Our Demo’.
All prices on the Betfair website are shown in European decimal format.
Decimal odds express your total return for the stake you place. Therefore even
money is expressed as 2.0 - you get back your initial stake plus the same again as
winnings - twice your initial stake.
To help you get used to the decimal odds format, a handy guide is printed on the
following page. The decimal system is very simple once you get used to it.
Before implementing any of the techniques in this guide I would urge you to adhere
the following guidance.
1. Only gamble with money you can afford to lose.
2. Never be greedy. Be happy to take small gains – it all adds up.
3. Bet very small stakes to start with until you are comfortable with each technique. It
is better to learn a lot from a cheap mistake than learn little from a huge mistake.
It is not necessary to use all the three methods described in this guide as each
system works independently. I do suggest, however, that you keep track of your
money, either by maintaining a record of your profits from each method or by opening
separate Betfair accounts.
The three methods in this guide are:
Identifying races where the ‘favourite’ is extremely
Lay the Losers likely to lose and then ‘laying’ these horses before the
Backing and laying a horse in the minutes before a
Trading race starts to lock in a profit regardless of the race
Backing a horse to win for a small profit just before it
In-Play Betting crosses the winning line or ‘laying’ a horse during a
race when is has no chance of winning.
Lay the Losers
The key to this system is to identify races where the ‘favourite’ is extremely likely to
lose and then ‘lay’ these horses before the race starts. We are looking for losers!
When you ‘lay’ a horse, you are effectively acting as a bookmaker and taking a bet
from a punter. Say the price of the horse is 3.1 and you lay the horse for £5, you are
taking a bet of £5 from a ‘backer’. When you lay a horse then effectively all the other
horses in the race are running for you.
If the horse loses you keep the £5. Should the horse win your liability would be £5 x
3.1 = £15.50 less the stake money of £5 = £10.50. You stood to win £5 if the horse
lost or lose £10.50 if the horse won.
A long-term study reveals that only around 20% of ‘favourites’ win races on average.
Very rarely will more than 40% of favourites win on any given day. This is a good
basis to start from because we will naturally get more ‘losers’ than ‘winners’, although
it depends on the prices of the winners whether we make a profit or not.
To make a reliable profit we must identify which ‘favourites’ have a much higher
probability of losing. Note that we are only interested in ‘favourites’ (the shortest
priced horse on the race card). It would be easy to pick horses priced at 50 or above
because they do have a high probability of losing – the trouble is that they are also
very expensive to pay out on when they do win!
Step 1: Examine the Race Cards
This can be done online via the Racing Post well in advance of a days racing. Their
If you have not used the site before you will need to ‘register’, which is free, to obtain
a user name and password. This will allow you to gain access to the data you need.
On the Racing Menu down the left side of the screen click on ‘Cards’ and then click
on the day in question. You will be presented with a list of races for the main race
meeting for the day selected. You can also access the lists for the other race
meetings by clicking on a different venue. These are listed down the right hand side
of the screen – you will need to scroll down to see them – and are listed under the
heading ‘Other Meetings’.
To view a race card simply click on the name of the race adjacent to the race time:
Above is the race card for the 1:30 at Huntingdon.
Use the race card to check the number of horses running. If there are 10 or more
runners then look for the name of the ‘favourite’. The favourite is the horse that has
the lowest price and is mentioned first in the betting forecast. In the above example
you can see that the favourite is ‘Irish Wolf’. If the race qualifies then proceed to step
2, otherwise look at another race.
A race will only qualify for this system if there are 10 or more runners.
Step 2: Check the Racing Post Ratings
The right-hand column on the Race Card is headed ‘RPR’ which is short for Racing
Post Rating. This is an indication of a horses ability.
We are only interested in the race if at least 3 other horses are no lower than 10
points below the favourite. In addition we can remain interested in the
favourite if it is unrated.
You can see in the above example that the favourite, Irish Wolf, has a rating of 130,
and 9 other runners have ratings no lower than 10 points below Irish Wolf. If the race
qualifies then proceed to step 3, otherwise look at another race.
Step 3: Check the Tipsters
By clicking on the ‘Selections’ graphic underneath the Race Card you can bring up a
list of tipsters and their selections for the race as shown below…
We are looking for a clear sign that the favourite is unfancied by the majority of
tipsters. Check how many tipsters have selected the favourite. Also check how
many tipsters have NOT selected the favourite and instead have chosen a different
If the number of selections NOT involving the favourite outnumbers the selections for
the favourite then make a note of the race time, location, the name of the horse and
forecast price for use in the minutes before the race.
You can see above that 6 tipsters have selected Irish Wolf whereas 9 tipsters have
selected other runners.
Step 4: Check the Price Movements
This step can only be carried out five minutes before the race starts. Log into your
Betfair account and navigate to the race in question. You will be presented with the
standard screen showing the current prices for each horse.
We are essentially looking to ‘follow the money’ at this point. Huge sums are bet in
the few minutes before a race and this is often a good indicator of how a horse is
likely to perform for a variety of reasons.
By clicking on the favourites name in Betfair you can view a graph representing the
price history of the horse for that particular race. We are not really concerned with
the left hand half of the graph, as volatile trading takes place on Betfair when a race
is first listed until the market finds a level.
The right half of the graph will show us what has happened in the minutes leading up
to the race. If a horse has been heavily backed the price on the horse will have
reduced and the graph will be trending downwards. If this has happened then
obviously the horse must be looking good to win and we should therefore leave it
If the right half of the graph is trending upwards then obviously the horse is now even
more un-fancied and you should proceed to step 5. You can see in the example
below that the price has Irish Wolf has risen in the minutes before the race, from
around 4.3 to 5.5. The right hand side of the graph is trending upwards and we can
The final scenario is if the graph is ‘trading sideways’ and is neither trending up or
down. The price will be remaining fairly constant. This means the jury is out on this
horse and we should proceed with caution. If the ‘back price’ is higher than the price
on the Racing Post Race Card then proceed to step 5 and halve your stake,
otherwise leave the horse alone.
Step 5: Laying the Horse
Only place the lay bet if the price on the horse is less than or equal to 6. We are not
in the business of paying out huge sums on the odd selection that does win!
If all the above criteria are met then you can place the lay bet. Please refer to the
staking guidance below in order to manage your funds well.
The above criteria details how to select the horses to lay. The other vital part of the
system is managing your money so that you do not put yourself at undue risk.
Set aside a betting bank for use with this system. I suggest opening a separate
Betfair account for this purpose – see page 2. I suggest betting only 1% of your bank
on each selection. This means that if your bank is £500 then you will only take a lay
bet of £5 per selection.
If the horse was ‘trading sideways’ as described in step 4 then only bet 0.5% of your
In this way your bank will increase by 1% on most races, and as we have set a price
limit of 6 your maximum liability will be 5% of your bank on the occasional race where
the horse unexpectedly wins. Naturally your stakes adjust as your bank increases
and therefore you benefit from exponential growth.
I suggest trying the system on paper for at least 2 weeks before placing any real
money bets to demonstrate just how many winning bets this system will select for
It has been my experience that I can usually select 3 or 4 races per day that qualify
for the system. After 2 weeks you will be able to see how much money the system
would make you and you will be ready to play for real.
I am pleased to report that ‘Irish Wolf’ did lose the race used in our example as
shown on the next page...
Summary of the Lay the Losers System
Check the race has at least 10 runners and identify the favourite on the race
Check the Racing Post Ratings (RPR) to ensure at least 3 other horses are no
lower than 10 points below the favourite.
Check the ‘Selections’ to ensure the total number of tips for other runners is
greater than the number of tips for the favourite.
Finally, check the graph on Betfair 5 minutes before the race starts. If the price
is drifting lay the horse for 1% of your bank. If the horse is ‘trading sideways’
then lay the horse for 0.5% of your bank if the price is greater than forecast on
the Race Card.
The maximum price to lay at is 6.
The aim of trading on horse racing is simply to engineer a guaranteed profit before a
race starts, regardless of the outcome of the race. This is usually achieved in 2
1) Backing and laying the race favourite (where your average back price is higher
than your average lay price). This creates a ‘free bet’ situation where you gain if the
favourite wins the race and lose nothing if the favourite does not win.
2) Laying the favourite to spread the gain across all runners. This is sometimes
referred to a ‘greening up’ and means you will make a profit regardless of the race
It doesn’t matter which order the backing and laying in stage one takes place. As
long as you are able to back the horse at a higher price than you lay the horse then
you make a profit.
If the price on a horse is reducing, then you will back first, then lay at a lower price
If the price on a horse is increasing, then you will lay first, then back at a higher price
The key to successful trading is being able to predict the next likely price movement
on a horse to enable you to decide whether to back or lay first.
This guide aims to show you how to maximise your profits from trading whilst
showing you the exit strategies when prices move in the wrong direction.
I only recommend trading on the Betfair website, where there is usually the most
‘liquidity’ (money being traded) and therefore the best opportunities for trading. I also
only recommend trading on UK horse races, again for liquidity reasons.
When to trade
The time to start trading is the 10 minutes before a race starts when most money is
changing hands. The time you will stop trading is the few seconds before the race
starts. Please ensure your computer clock or wristwatch is set accurately. UK races
never start early but you need to ensure you ‘close’ your trading position in the few
seconds before the advertised race time. In this way your ‘stake’ will never be at
How much to trade
I suggest using your full bank to trade with an upper bank limit set around £2000.
Any higher than this and you can have trouble getting bets matched.
You will need to back and lay the horse for the same amount until you are ready to
‘green up’ and take your profit. To calculate the amount to back and lay the horse for
divide your bank balance (or £2000 if your bank is higher) by the prevailing lay price
for the horse minus 1. The round down slightly just in case the price increases.
Taking a balance of £2000 and a lay price of 4, you would divide 3 (the price minus
1) into 2000 giving a stake of £666. I suggest rounding down to take into account a
horse where the price subsequently increases. I would suggest £600 stake in this
case. As long as the horse price stays below 4.4 then you will be OK. If the price
increases to this level you will need to recalculate and reduce your stakes.
The reason for this is that Betfair only allow you to commit up to your balance. If you
lay a horse for £600 at a price of 4 then your liability if the horse wins is £1800 and
you therefore need to have this amount in your account.
You may think that a stake of £600 is a lot to put on a horse. This is true but you are
not betting on the horse. For every ‘lay’ of £600 you will also close your position by
‘backing’ the same horse for £600 so that you are never exposed (‘open’) to the risk
of losing £600 or £1800 (if you lay first).
When you first trade I suggest using minimum stakes of £2. Your profits will be
minimal but this is the ideal way to learn and you can increase you stakes as your
Starting to Trade
Open up the Betfair website and bring up the list of the days races. To do this log
into Betfair and using the menu on the left click on ‘Horse Racing – Todays Card’.
Then click on the next UK based race to display the runners.
We are only interested in trading on the race favourites (the horses with the lowest
prices) because only these horses will have sufficient volumes of money being
traded. Also we only trade on horses where the price is below 6. This is because
the price increments on Betfair are too high above this level and the price will not be
as volatile. The lower the price on the horse the more favourable the price
1.01 – 2.00 0.01
2.00 – 3.00 0.02
3.00 – 4.00 0.05
4.00 – 6.00 0.10
6.00 – 10.00 0.20
A good starting point for trading on a race is to see how the price has been changing
in the last few minutes. If you click on the favourites name you can view the graph
that shows the recent price changes. This may give clues as to whether a horse’s
price is trending in any direction.
If the right hand half of the graph has been trending and is still moving upwards, this
is a good indicator that you may be wanting to lay the horse first, then back shortly
after at a higher price.
If the right hand half of the graph has been trending and is still moving downwards,
this is a good indicator that you may be wanting to back the horse first, then lay
shortly after at a lower price.
Regardless of the trends shown, we are not going to use the graph as the only
indicator of the likely next price movement. The graph only represents a historical
price record. Although trends may continue this is not guaranteed. You can now
close the graph and start concentrating on the main trading window.
At this point you will need to keep refreshing the Betfair window so you can keep up
to date with the changing data. The final section of the trading part of this guide
provides you with the ‘tools of the trade’ that can perform this function automatically
Weight of Money
The other major indicator of the next movement in price is referred to as ‘weight of
money’. If you look at the row of data containing the name of the favourite horse, you
will see 3 back prices and 3 lay prices together with the amounts available.
At this point in reading this guide you should stop and think about these numbers and
what they mean. The ‘back’ prices represent people who want to ‘lay’ the horse at
that price. The ‘lay’ prices represent people who want to ‘back’ the horse at that
The ‘weight of money’, more often than not, pushes the price in one direction or
If there is more money on the ‘back’ side, then more people wish to ‘lay’ the horse
than back it – this usually leads to the horse drifting (the price increases).
If there is more money on the ‘lay’ side, then more people wish to ‘back’ the horse
than lay it – this usually leads to the horse shortening (the price reduces).
The ‘weight of money’ takes into account the total of all 3 amounts of money
available on the ‘back’ side compared to the total of all 3 amounts of money available
on the ‘lay’ side.
If the ‘back’ side and ‘lay’ side are fairly equal then obviously the price is not likely to
Making a decision to trade
Trading is all about discipline. Being disciplined means identifying the correct time to
trade AND also being able to resist trading when conditions are not right.
What we are ideally looking for is:
1) The graph showing a trend, up or down. Here we see Consonant on the drift:
2) A ‘weight of money’ situation with a multiplication factor of 2.5 or above i.e. we are
really looking for one side to be at least two and a half times the other side before we
can be fairly certain of movement. The higher the multiplication factor of one side
versus the other then the more likely a price movement is. We also ideally like the
weight of money to match the graph trend i.e. a down trending graph to be matched
by high weight of money on the ‘lay’ side and vice-versa.
Here we see £1996 on the ‘back’ side and £758 on the ‘lay’ side. This means more
people wish to lay the horse called ‘Consonant’ and this confirms the price is likely to
increase further. The weight of money factor is 2.63 (1996/758). As the factor is just
over 2.5 we can expect a small price increase.
3) High liquidity in the market i.e. the total amount of money available to trade on the
back and lay sides being in the high hundreds or into the thousands.
When conditions are right you need to act quickly to make your trades.
Making the trades
In this case I was laying Consonant first because the indications were that the price
was increasing. Naturally, if the price appeared to be reducing then I would back first
and then lay at a lower price. I managed to trade 3 times on the horse before
‘greening up’ to spread the profit amongst all the runners.
As the weight of money factor remained low I was only looking for quick trades with
small movements in price. Had the factor been higher than 5 then I would have tried
to ‘ride the wave’ (explained later).
To lay the horse, quickly click on the best available lay price and then input your
stake, which was £50 in this example. In my first trade on this horse I was matched
at a price of 4.4.
The next step is to immediately request the ‘back’ price you want. In this case I
clicked on the best available blue ‘back’ price (4.3) and then adjusted the requested
price to 4.5 and submitted the request. I joined the queue of other punters also
wishing to back the horse at this price (my £50 was added to the ‘lay’ side of the
Betfair screen). The bet was matched within a couple of seconds as the price moved
in the expected direction.
I continued to watch the screen and managed to lay at 4.7 and back at 4.8, then lay
at 5.6/5.7 and back at 5.7 for a little extra profit.
Shortly before the advertised race time I decided to take the profit accrued. To do
this you divide the profit on the horse by the available ‘lay’ price and then ‘lay’ for this
In this case the profit was £15.01. The available lay price was 5.5. I therefore layed
the horse for £2.73. This created a situation where I would gain £3.01 if Consonant
won, or £2.73 if any other horse won. Remember when trading, the actual back/lay
or lay/back process only takes a few seconds.
When you first start trading with small premiums you will not be able to ‘green up’
due to the minimum stake being £2 on Betfair. The example below shows how one
trade on ‘Oh Danny Boy’ has created a £5 profit situation IF the horse wins. It is
impossible to spread the profit and ‘green up’ because the required stake would be
£5/5.4 = £0.92, well below the minimum.
This is therefore a ‘free bet’ situation, where you will win £5 if the horse wins but lose
nothing if the horse does not win.
Riding the Wave
In the above examples the ‘weight of money’ factor was fairly small and therefore I
was concentrating on making small gains from relatively minor price changes.
Sometimes sentiment amongst punters moves firmly for or against a horse shortly
before a race and this leads fairly large price movements in a short space of time.
These situations are opportunities for smart traders to make a lot of money.
You will recognise when this happens because the ‘weight of money’ will be
overwhelming in one direction or another perhaps with a factor of 10 or more.
When such an opportunity presents itself get on board as soon as possible by
placing your opening back or lay (depending on the direction of movement). Instead
of immediately requesting the opposing bet simply wait and see what happens. You
can then ‘ride the wave’ until you see the weight of money coming back into balance.
The price may change considerably before balance is restored and you then place
your opposing back or lay bet, locking in a large profit. Unfortunately I have no
screenshots for you of such a situation (because I make the most of these occasions
and don’t waste time taking screenshots). An example of a horse where the price will
drift considerably would look something like:
2.62 2.64 2.66 2.68 2.70 2.72
£2354 £1875 £2005 £240 £48 £54
In this situation you would quickly lay the horse and then wait for as long as possible
before eventually backing at a much higher price when the weight of money comes
back into balance.
Software to Make Trading Easier
To trade successfully you will need to be able to see the prices and volumes
available changing every second. You should also be able to place back and lay
There are two solutions for this:
1) Trading using the Betfair website. You can use the ‘Betfair Refresh’ script
described on page 32 of this guide. This will refresh the screen at the interval you
set making trading a lot easier. You will still be stuck with a multi-click bet process
however and this will mean you are sometimes too slow and miss a price change you
Although you can trade successfully using the Betfair website interface you can trade
quicker and more successfully using my preferred solution:
2) Single click betting software. Please visit the website:
There you can download a free single click ‘Betting Assistant’ program written by a
Betfair user. The website also contains a support forum. The advantages of using
this software are:
a) Single click betting on all 3 back and lay prices.
b) Continually updated display of prices and volumes.
c) Continually updated display of potential profit.
d) Option to take profit (‘green up’) with one click.
e) Instant colour coded snapshot of the overall weight of money.
If you take the time to learn how to use the above software you will be rewarded with
a much easier way of trading.
I won’t describe how to use the software within this guide because the forum and
help screens available do this job anyway. I will simply say that once you get used
to the software I guarantee you will never trade via the Betfair interface again.
Many events taking place are turned ‘In-play’ by Betfair, allowing you place ‘back’ or
‘lay’ orders while the event in actually taking place. Naturally the prices can change
significantly during an event according to what is happening on the field of play.
The techniques described in this guide can be used for many differing sporting
events e.g. football, rugby, snooker, tennis etc. I am going to use horse racing in all
my examples, simply because a great deal of money changes hands ‘in-play’ on
Betfair on UK horse races. Regularly over £100000 worth of bets are ‘matched’ on a
single race and this figure can easily be over £1 million. Please steer of non-UK
horse racing, as often the liquidity during a race is very low leading to pricing that
does not reflect a horses’ true chance of winning.
You can easily check whether an event will be turned in play by navigating to the
event within the Betfair website and then clicking on ‘Rules’. The paragraph
displayed will indicate if the event will be turned ‘IN PLAY’.
When an event starts all unmatched bets are cancelled and betting is briefly
suspended. Then the event turns ‘In-play’ and betting can commence again. An ‘In-
play’ event is indicated by a white tick on a green square with the Betfair interface.
I advise watching what happens during a horse race to get familiar with the prices
changing and what is displayed. You will need to keep clicking ‘Refresh’ with the
Betfair page to update the prices as the action unfolds. You can click ‘Refresh’ every
second or so. Betting can take place right up to the finishing post when Betfair
suspend trading on the race.
On next page I will describe what you should notice during a horse race…
What Happens on the Betfair Screen During the Race
1. The race starts – betting is Suspended with all unmatched bets cancelled.
2. Betting resumes with new ‘back’ and ‘lay’ orders filling the screen.
3. Orders are matched or cancelled as the race unfolds.
4. Prices change rapidly – prices shorten (smaller odds) on race leaders and
prices increase (greater odds) on slower runners.
5. As horses drift out of the action, or a pulled up or fall, ‘back’ orders are
cancelled and it is no longer possible to ‘lay’ the horse. Some ‘layers’ still offer
odds of 1000 (999/1) in the hope of attracting a ‘mug punter’.
6. Odds on the leaders shorten considerably until the final furlongs.
7. If a race has a clear winner approaching the winning post, then the odds on all
‘losers’ drift towards 1000. Odds on the ‘winner’ reduce.
8. As the winner crosses the line the odds will be 1.01 i.e. a £1 profit to £100
9. Betting is again Suspended.
By clicking on each horses name after the race you can view details of the last price
‘matched’ and a graph of how the price altered on that horse. The prices tell you
which horse won the race (last price matched usually 1.01 or close to 1.01) and also
show the prices rising on the losers to as high as 1000.
Making Your Profit
The system is simple. As the race unfolds you can make money in 2 ways:
LAY horses that are definitely NOT GOING TO WIN. The horse may have fallen,
been pulled up, unseated its rider or is too far back down the field.
BACK the horse that is GOING TO WIN. The horse cannot be caught, has no
more fences to jump, and is running into the last furlong.
Now we will look in detail at the processes you need to follow and the factors you
need to be aware of...
Using ‘Live’ Broadcasts
It is possible to follow the progress of a race simply by referring to the changing
prices within the Betfair site, and I describe later how to bet using only the
information available on Betfair.
However you will make much higher profits if you are able to gain an extra ‘edge’
over other punters. For most people, this will mean viewing the event on television or
listening to a radio or internet broadcast.
Being able to see, or hear, the action will give you confidence to bet earlier in a race
than people looking at prices changing on a screen. This will mean you can either
get a back or lay order matched where otherwise no bet will be offered, or mean you
can bet at a much higher price.
The problem with all broadcasts is that they are not live. Even if the broadcaster is
transmitting ‘live’ pictures, the satellite transmission of the images and sound means
some sort of delay is involved.
Even after allowing for this, some broadcasters advertise ‘live’ radio/internet
commentary which is actually deliberately delayed. For example, if you use any
bookmakers ‘live’ broadcast you will find they are behind the action by up to 40
The golden rule is to check the delay in any broadcast before betting. By watching or
listening to one race, and monitoring Betfair, you can easily check this. Betfair allow
you to bet right up to the end of the race, therefore if you keep ‘refreshing’ the screen
in the closing stages of the race, you can measure the delay between the betting
being suspended (the end of the race on Betfair which is the true end of the race)
and the end of the race on the broadcast you are tuned into.
Better sources of broadcasts include terrestrial television and Sky Channel 415 (At
The Races). You may eventually decide, like me, that it is simpler to use just the
changing prices on Betfair instead of relying on a broadcast.
Betting Using Real-Time Information
The idea scenario is to be actually present at the event, working on a laptop
computer. In this way you have no delay as you are witnessing events first hand and
can place bets slightly earlier than people watching on television at home.
Another great scenario is to be speaking on the telephone to someone at the
racecourse on a mobile telephone who can work with you.
By now you should understand that we are trying to either:
LAY horses that are definitely NOT GOING TO WIN. The horse may have fallen,
been pulled up, unseated its rider or is too far back down the field.
BACK the horse that is GOING TO WIN. The horse cannot be caught, has no
more fences to jump, and is running into the last furlong.
You should also understand that quicker you can get information on the state of the
race the better your bets will be. The choices available to you are:
1st Choice: Being present at the racecourse on a laptop computer.
2nd Choice: Speaking to a friend who is at the racecourse.
3rd Choice: Watching a ‘live’ broadcast or making betting decisions using
only price data on Betfair.
You will make good profits using all of the above methods but the very best prices
can be obtained if you getting your information faster and acting on it faster than
You should also be mindful of the warnings below:
Do not bet unless you are certain of the outcome.
If a race is too close to call towards the finish – leave it alone.
You do not have to bet on every race.
Take the easy profits and leave the ‘gambling’ for the mugs
Now for the actual bet process:
Backing Horses In Play
The screenshot below is from Betfair on the 2:20 race at Worcester. The race
finished a fraction of a second later with Allumee the winner.
In the final second of a race this is the usual pattern you can expect to see. It is no
longer possible to bet on the winner – no ‘back’ prices are available. All the prices on
the other horses have drifted considerably, some as high as 1000. These prices are
offered by ‘lay’ betters looking for some easy money!
You can see on the right panel that a few seconds earlier I placed a ‘back’ order on
‘Allumee’ for £50 at a price of 1.1. Betfair performs ‘best execution’ on all the bets
you place i.e. they give you the best price available (which means the highest when
you are backing or the lowest when you are laying). The price will never be worse
than the price you order, however your bet would be ‘unmatched’ if no one is
prepared to accept your order.
Fortunately for me, people were still prepared to ‘lay’ at 1.2 when I placed my back
order and I was ‘matched’ at this price. The race finished a few seconds later and
you can see that I made £10 profit on my £50 stake (20% profit for 3 minutes ‘work’!)
I managed to achieve this without following the race on TV – I was just watching the
prices changing on Betfair!
I placed my bet when the horse was clear in the lead, only a few seconds to run, and
no other horse advancing fast enough to catch it. Barring the horse tripping over a
blade of grass, I could not lose.
If you click on a horses name after a race has finished, you can view a lot more
information about trading during the race. This is the screenshot for the winning
The red line on the graph shows how the price on the horse reduced during the race.
You can see how in the closing stages of the race the price fell steadily up to the
Above the graph you can see that over £1 million changed hands on this race, and
that the final price ‘matched’ was 1.01 (£1 profit on £100 stake). The panel on the
right shows how much money was traded at each price. £17714 was traded at 1.01
demonstrating just how much money is available as a horse crosses the winning line.
On the following page I will briefly show you the same screen for a losing horse just
so you get used to the price patterns.
Here is the same data for a losing horse in the same race. Because of the scale of
the graph, it is difficult to see how the price increased during the race, until the price
finally spiked up to 1000 near the end of the race.
OK, so now I will explain when to back a horse in-running to achieve the profits
As we established earlier, the time to back a horse is when you are certain it is going
to win. If you are watching the race then you can decide for yourself when you are
happy to call the winner.
I suggest betting small stakes to start with (the minimum on Betfair is £2) until you
get used to using the Betfair site and also become confident in your own ability to call
the winner and be right all the time.
If you find you are calling the winner incorrectly, then you are either deciding too
soon or watching a very close race. You should also be wary of deceptive viewing
angles or TV close-ups that do not present you with a full view of what is happening
around the lead horse.
If a race is very close then it is best NOT to bet because you cannot be certain of
selecting the winner. For this reason you will find that the best races to follow are
over greater distances, usually over 2 miles, where the winning horse often leads by
several lengths at the finish. Shorter races over 6 furlongs to 1 mile usually result in
a very tense finish and you will usually find it impossible to pick the winner until it is
too late to bet.
The actual betting process to follow is:
1. Before the start of the race, log into Betfair, and navigate to the race in question.
Once the prices are displayed for the runners, you can close the navigation panel by
clicking the left arrow under the Betfair logo. This increases the viewing area for the
elements you will use during the race.
2. When the race starts, keep clicking Refresh, so you can see the prices changing.
3. In the closing stages of the race choose the horse you feel has the greatest
chance of winning. If you are using only prices on Betfair to select your horse then
the lead horse will be the one with the lowest price.
4. Click on the price indicated in the blue ‘Back’ column next to your selected horse.
The right hand part of the screen will now look like this. You can see that the price
clicked on was 1.9.
5. The price is reducing all the time as the horse draws clear of the field. If you tried
to submit a bet at 1.9 then it would not be matched and you would not have a bet.
The trick is the change the price to either the lowest you will accept or the lowest
available on Betfair (always 1.01). I used to input 1.1 but now I use 1.01 as I am
happy with any sort of profit if I am certain of the result. Also input the amount you
wish to bet. I am using a stake of £50. The screen will look like this:
6. Click on ‘Submit’. At this stage you have not decided that this horse is definitely
going to win, instead it just looked like the most likely. You can still change your
mind. By clicking Submit at this stage you are then only 1 click away from actually
placing a bet. After you have clicked Submit a confirmation question appears where
the ‘Submit’ button was.
The tick box on the left shows that Betfair will display this confirmation screen for all
future bets. You can (if you wish) untick this box – BEWARE – this will remove the
confirmation question in future and will then place bets as soon as you press
7. You now need to wait until you are certain the horse is going to win. If you are
watching the race and have definitely decided the selection will win press ‘Yes’ to
Similarly, if you are using only Betfair keep refreshing using the button in Betfair and
watch the prices change. Only bet when or if:
a) the price on the horse selected drops below 1.3 and;
b) the prices on ALL other runners are greater than 15 and;
c) you observe that the price on the selection is still reducing and;
d) you observe that the prices on the other runners are still increasing.
If the above criteria is met then press ‘Yes’ to submit your bet request.
8. One second after pressing ‘Yes’ Betfair will try to match your bet. The price on the
lead horse is reducing towards 1.01 and this is the price we input. However, Betfair
use ‘best execution’ which means they match you at the best price available at the
time. Therefore, the earlier you have placed your bet, the better price you will be
The right hand panel will confirm the price you have been matched at. Clicking the
‘My Bets’ tab presents a summary of all the ‘backs’ and ‘lays’ you had ‘matched’ or
‘unmatched’ during the race.
The race ends soon after and you are hopefully anything from 1% to 30% richer!
Move onto the next race.
9. If the race leader fades and you become interested in a different horse during the
race simply click ‘No’ to the bet you have prepared, then click ‘Clear All’ at the top of
the right panel. Then you can go back to step 4 for the horse you are now interested
You can see that the process involves preparing a bet on your favoured horse and
getting to within one click of asking Betfair to get you ‘matched’ ready for when you
make the split-second decision to bet.
Notes for users selecting horses using ONLY Betfair:
If you are using only changing prices on Betfair to select your horse ensure you
refresh the screen regularly, every second or so, to keep updating all the prices.
Also ensure you can see ALL the horses on the Betfair screen. If there are a lot of
runners in a race then you may find you have to scroll down to view all the runners.
Increasing the resolution of your monitor may help bring all the runners into view
without having to scroll. The danger is that you place a bet, unaware that another
horse is doing very well, simply because you could not see its price.
Laying Horses In Play
The previous section explained how to make easy profits betting on the winner of a
race. It is also possible to make further profits earlier in a race by laying (betting
against) horses you decide are not going to win.
Horses may fall, be pulled up, unseat their rider or drop too far back down the field to
win. If you can take decisive action, then you can take some easy money off punters
who are betting blind or do not react quick enough to cancel their unmatched bets.
I suggest it is not possible to make a risk free ‘lay’ bet by using only the prices
changing on the Betfair screen. Prices can drift to very high levels during a race
before a horse starts to move up the field. It is only wise to place ‘lay’ bets when you
are viewing the race yourself either at the course or on television.
The process to follow is exactly the same as when backing order in play except you
will be clicking on the pink ‘Lay’ side of the screen to select your horse.
The other difference is that in order to get a bet matched you will need to amend the
price clicked on to a higher figure in order to get your order matched. This is
because the price for the horse selected is likely to be increasing.
For a lay order, Betfair will again use ‘best execution’ and give you the best price
available up to the price input. Therefore if you have requested to lay the horse at a
price of say ‘50’ then you could in theory be matched at any price from 1.01 to 50. If
the price drifts beyond 50 before your bet is matched then it is likely you would
When playing a lay bet you must have sufficient funds in your Betfair account to
cover the potential liability. Remember that you are effectively acting as the
bookmaker and taking a bet off another punter. Therefore if you take a £5 bet at a
price of 40, your liability if 40 x £5 minus the £5 stake = £195. To take the £5 off a
punter you must have £195 in your account.
The key to the successful placing of a lay bet in-running is being certain that the
horse will not win. Then you can take easy money off other punters.
I suggest working with a betting bank. This will provide you with some sort of
discipline. Whatever size bank you decide upon, I always recommend betting very
small stakes to start with while you build confidence in this system and also in your
own ability to follow the system successfully.
How much of your bank you are prepared to stake on each race is entirely up to you.
Personally I suggest no more than 10% of your total ‘bank’ should be risked on each
race. The reason for this is simple. If you were to make a silly mistake such as
pressing the wrong button, your computer mouse malfunctions etc, then you do not
want your entire bank to be wiped out. If you ever did lose 10% of your bank, it
would not take very long at all to recoup.
Software to make the in-play system easier
When you try this system you will soon realise that there are two repetitive tasks:
1. Continually refreshing the Betfair screen during a race to update prices.
2. Placing back or lay bets involves several clicks to select the horse, input you
maximum or minimum acceptable price, inputting your stake and submitting the bet.
Thankfully help is at hand owing to the efforts of a fellow Betfair user who has offered
some automation scripts free of charge as referred to in the Trading section of this
You can download the automation scripts from my webpage at:
This download contains five scripts. The two which are relevant are ‘Betfair Refresh’
and ‘Enable instant betting (fixed odds)’. Save the download to your computer then
double click on it. Select the script you wish to install first – ‘Betfair Refresh’ on the
drop down menu then click ‘Install’. Repeat for the second script ‘Enable instant
betting (fixed odds)’.
To use the scripts open up Betfair and log in. Navigate to the event you wish to bet
on. Then right click somewhere on the screen and you will see the 2 scripts have
been added to the menu that appears:
Click ‘Betfair Refresh’ on the menu and you will be asked how often you wish the
prices to be refreshed (1000 = 1 second). I suggest entering 1000 so the prices are
updated every second. The My Bets panel is also automatically refreshed. To cancel
the script simply refresh your entire browser window.
The other script is started in a similar way by right-clicking and selecting ‘Enable
instant betting (fixed odds)’. You will be asked for the stake you wish to back, the
stake you wish to accept on a lay, the minimum odds you are prepared to take on a
‘back’ and the maximum odds you are prepared to take a ‘lay’ at. Once the script is
running a confirmation screen will appear and the words ‘Total Selections’ above the
list of horses will turn red (normally black).
At that point, if you click on the current back or lay price for a horse than an instant
back or lay bet will be placed. The Betfair Yes/No confirmation question will still
appear though unless you have disabled this.
If you navigate to another horse race or event you will need to restart the script.
This script therefore gives you either one click or two click betting based on the
stakes and minimum/maximum odds you specified. Combined with the auto-refresh
script you will be able to concentrate fully on the action during a race and have a
much more relaxing experience.
You could alternatively try the single click betting software referred to in the trading
section of this guide. This is not necessary for in-play betting if you are using the
above scripts but invaluable if you are ‘trading’.
I hope you now feel ready to have a go at this system. To get started quickly I
1) Sign up for an account with Betfair here using ‘Refer and Earn’ code
KFEULQDQG to ensure you receive your free £20.
2) Become familiar with Betfair using the on site tutorials.
3) Read this guide again then have a go at the system using small stakes.
4) Download and install the automation scripts or single click betting software to
make your betting simpler.
I wish you every success.
This guide is my own work. No part of this guide may be reproduced or resold
without my permission.
If you would like to enter into any form of partnership agreement to resell or
redistribute this guide please email your proposal to email@example.com
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