When I started matched betting, I only ever heard people talk about one betting exchange, the almighty Betfair. As far as I was concerned, the Betfair Exchange was unbeatable and I couldn’t see that ever changing. I was wrong.
More and more people were mentioning Smarkets as a cheaper alternative but for a long time I stuck with Betfair, convinced they were the better option. Eventually, I decided to sign up for a Smarkets account and give them a fair trial and I’m so glad I did.
I’ve been using Smarkets to lay my bets ever since and I can’t actually remember the last time I used my Betfair account. Let me give you six reasons why every matched bettor should be using Smarkets to lay their bets…
Smarkets offer a fantastic flat-rate commission of just 2% on net winnings for each market, compared to Betfair’s 5%. As you know, matched betting is all about minimising qualifying losses and maximising profits, so a commission rate of 2% is hard to ignore. Having said that, it’s easy to be lazy and think it wouldn’t make a huge amount of difference (as did I for so many months), but it does.
Take the Vernons in-play free bet offer, for example. We needed to place a £20.00 qualifying bet on five different Premier League matches and Vernons would then give us a £10.00 in-play free bet to use on each match. The following table shows the difference between placing our qualifying bets with Smarkets (2%) and Betfair (5%)…
|Qualifying Bet||Back Odds||Lay Odds||Smarkets Loss||Betfair Loss||Saving|
|Swansea to beat Sunderland||2.05||2.16||£1.22||£1.54||£0.32|
|Leicester City to beat West Ham||2.55||2.68||£1.21||£1.58||£0.37|
|Crystal Palace to beat Aston Villa||1.90||1.97||£0.90||£1.20||£0.30|
|Norwich City to beat Stoke City||2.30||2.38||£0.90||£1.24||£0.34|
|West Ham to beat Bournemouth||2.35||2.46||£1.12||£1.47||£0.35|
As you can see, our total qualifying loss with Betfair would have been £1.68 more than it was with Smarkets, which is a big saving on five straighforward qualifying bets. This was before we’d even matched our in-play free bets. If we did this offer every week for a year, it would be £87.36 cheaper to place our qualifying bets with Smarkets.
I was intrigued by the above figures and had a look at my betting activity for a random Saturday in August 2015. I worked out that if I’d placed all my lay bets with Betfair, I would have made £8.26 less profit than I did by laying them with Smarkets. That’s £429.52 less profit over the course of a year and that’s just Saturdays!
If you’ve used other betting exchanges such as Betfair, you’ll no doubt be familiar with the frustration of trying to lay bets with fluctuating odds. Time and time again, I would be ready to place a lay bet having entered the correct lay stake only for the odds to drop at the last minute. I would then have to recalculate my lay stake with the new odds and try and stake the new amount before the odds changed again. You’ll be glad to know that with Smarkets, there’s no messing about.
Sticking with the topic of fluctuating odds, in-play betting can be somewhat tricky for that very reason alone. Odds fluctuate massively when an event is in-play and it’s always a race against the clock to work out our lay stakes and get our bets placed before the odds change. The Smarkets ‘Instant Match’ feature makes matched betting in-play a whole lot easier.
The beauty of placing bets on markets where ‘Instant Match’ is available is that our bets will be submitted and placed into a market without being subject to an in-play betting delay. Instead, once our bets have been matched, they will be subject to a confirmation period of 8 seconds and will show as ‘Pending’ on our bet slips until they have been confirmed. Bets will be confirmed so long as nothing major happens within that 8 second confirmation period that might have a decisive impact on any team’s chances of winning, such as goals, red cards or penalty kicks.
So we simply place our in-play bets and they are effectively ‘reserved’ pending confirmation. The available liquidity will decrease as soon as we place our bet. If our bet isn’t confirmed, then our bet will become ‘unreserved’ and the liquidity available on that market will increase accordingly.
When I made the switch from Betfair to Smarkets, the thing that impressed me most of all was the user experience. The website is incredibly smooth, easy to navigate and there are no distractions. The mobile site can be accessed from portable devices and it provides a mobile friendly user interface and handles mobile internet connections well.
In their own words, “Taking the role of the industry challenger, Smarkets is set to outperform the competition by offering consumers access to its agile trading platform at unparalleled value. By creating a modern betting exchange that combines cutting edge technology with a focus on transparency and treating the customer fairly, Smarkets is leading the innovation in the sports betting industry. The Smarkets platform is fast and efficient, capable of processing a transaction in milliseconds and coping with over a thousand transactions per second. With continuing attention to the site’s engineering and speed, Smarkets are gearing up their platform to pose a serious challenge to other established betting exchange operators.”
It doesn’t matter how good their website looks or how easy it is to use, if a betting exchange lacks liquidity, then it’s no good for matched betting. You’ll therefore be pleased to hear that Smarkets ticks the liquidity box for the main markets.
Liquidity has been an issue for Smarkets in the past, but as they continue to grow and challenge Betfair, their liquidity figures are gaining all the time.
As you can see from the two screenshots above, the available back and lay odds are exactly the same. Betfair are still ahead in terms of the liquidity available for each selection, but the liquidity at Smarkets is more than enough for us matched bettors to take advantage of their 2% commission rate.
Having already highlighted so many selling points, the Smarkets sign up bonus really is the icing on the cake. All we have to do is make sure we deposit at least £20.00 in a single amount and our losing bets thereafter will be refunded up to a maximum of £10.00.
Smarkets’ commission rate of 2% enables us to maximise our profits to a whole different level. In my opinion, the user experience with Smarkets beats Betfair hands down. I just love the fact that their focus is on making everything easier for us and they certainly succeed in doing so.
The only area I feel Smarkets need to improve is the amount of available markets. That’s not to say they don’t offer enough, because they offer plenty, but in comparison to Betfair they are lagging behind. As far as matched betting is concerned though, the vast majority of profitable offers require us to place bets on markets that are covered by Smarkets. I honestly can’t remember the last time I used my Betfair account.
Anyone who is serious about matched betting should be using Smarkets for the many reasons outlined above. Sign up now to increase your profits and make the matched betting process a whole lot easier!