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Betfair Trading Part 5: Want A Tip? Don't Back Or Lay.... Trade!

May 26, 2008
In my experience to date, "Trading" is the ONLY way to guarantee long term profitability on the Betting Exchanges.

Laying horses to lose is no more profitable than backing them. The effect on profits is akin to backing in reverse.

Simply put; the effect of laying is a long winning streak of small wins interspersed with a large loss as oppose to backing which is a long losing streak of small losses interspersed with a large win.

Laying horses is relatively new and therefore has a novelty "excitement" factor that draws a lot of new punters onto the Betting Exchanges. Punters can experience "Quick wins" due to the unsurprisingly high ratio of losers to winners in any race.

It is not till a failed lay is experienced that reality bites.

Indeed most novice punter pots will only be able to sustain a run of 3 failed lays before they are broke.

The idea that there are 16 horses in a race and all you have to do is pick one that has no chance of winning, and watch the profits roll in, is an extremely potent aphrodisiac for punters looking for something new.

You sign up, you get hooked, and if you don't know what you are doing you go bust as with any other "gambling" venture!!

The reality of laying horses is that most selections above 4/1 are NOT financially viable as a potential lay. And from my own experience I can tell you that horses from 4/1 upwards that look like nags pre-race frequently DO win races.

With so many race meets every day of every year the quality of a lot of meets is so poor that there is absolutely NO WAY of accurately sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

It is a lottery, pure gambling, especially through the winter months when the reasons for turning out horses in different scenarios are often muted and many horses are not running to form.

Horses that pundits and tipsters make out are ready for the knackers frequently go on to win races.

Horses after all, are JUST animals.

You can study the form, the conditions, the track, the pundits and tipsters spotlights, the breeding, stall numbers, jockeys, owners, trainers, the list goes on, but I will tell you this from experience.

Feel free to waste thousands of pounds verifying this information for yourself or you can take it from me.

Any horse that makes it to the stalls can win any race on its day. And any horse that is a dead cert can lose. That is the reality of betting on animals.

Animals do not wake up the morning of a race and think "my form states that I am favourite for the 2.30 at Chepstow so I had better get ready and win it!!"

You can make some slow progress laying horses admittedly and you can lose money quite slowly. There is a chap who does a free lay roundup of likely losers everyday at


The data is computer generated and he tests a variety of laying systems and analyzes the data very carefully.

However you will never be able to lay the horses at the SP odds posted on the site. In fact you will never get a lay price at SP full stop.

Do not waste money on paid tips on the internet for laying.

There are one or two that seem to have credentials for selecting horses to back, but even with the best you will be paying way over the odds with no guarantees and you should always back up any tips with your own research.

If you are thinking of trying the dubious world of tipsters please visit the site below before you go any further.


This excellent site provides a wealth of Racing and Betting Exchange resources and has a system whereby tipsters who come and go like Tony Blair's cabinet have to "proof" their tips on a daily basis.

The site is independent of the tipsters so punters can see exactly how their proposed tipster is performing. To really get a feel for who knows their game and who is bluffing study the figures over a prolonged period of at least 6 months.

But ultimately, the results vary month by month, and they usually average out to a small profit or loss and you then have to factor in your subscription fee.

When I was starting our punting I found using the current leader of the Naps competition and Pricewise to be just as efficient at getting a good supply of hopefuls as anywhere else.

As an aside it's interesting to note that the winner of the naps competition usually posts around a 30 point profit per season.

The Naps is a competition run by the Racing Post, http://www.racingpost.co.uk, where experienced racing journalists for different rags compete against each other to fictional 1 level stakes. They must provide one daily tip over the course of an entire season.

It can be projected that to 1 bets, the best racing journalists average around 30/40 profit for an entire season. The rest all make less profit, break even or make a loss.

Ask yourself. If these guys cannot consistently pick winners when it is their job, how on earth will the chancers who have thrown together a website and claim dubiously to know trainers, owners, stable hands and bookmakers.

While desperate punters still pander to these con artists these sites will come and go taking your money with them.


In a nutshell it relies on backing the most likely 3 or 4 horses to win a race and calculating a set amount of profit that you want to make should any of these horses win, by varying your stakes across the differing odds offered on each horse.

There are free and accurate calculators available on the internet that do all the math for you.

As with laying the aim is to look for suitable types of race and really focus on those where you are backing the only horses which have any real chance of winning the race, and the total cost of doing so is not prohibitive.

The last factor to look for in choosing a race to dutch is the spread of prices being in a certain format and "shape". The free calculators can be a great pointer as to what to look for.

This method has for many proved more profitable than backing, and definitely more so than backing/laying a single horse to win or lose.

But, to be successful it requires a great deal of skill and focus as you have to find the correct race where the layout and spread of the odds across the race are suitable, all major contenders are going to run to form and so on.

You also have to watch out for non runners which can mess up proceedings totally in advance of a race if a favourite pulls out.

Similar to laying you will have to win 3 or 4 races on average to pay for the one loser which may come in to ruin your day.

An excellent dutching tool is provided by Bet Angel professional.


It looks at races and tells you automatically if it is a viable dutching opportunity, does the math for you based on your requested profit level and even allows you to modify the profit levels for an individual horse.

For example when there is a favourite that you really fancy you can increase the profit from the dutch should that horse come home first, request a lesser profit for the second favourite and request a scratch on the third favourite.

The tool below is a simple but effective no frills dutching calculator with full instructions and provides a good introduction to dutching.


Many punters successfully use dutching long term so it should be rated more highly than laying and backing individual horses. I regard it as a halfway house between gambling and trading.

In my next article I will outline a method that you can employ using freely available real time websites and data to assimilate, filter and identify horses to trade.

Then I will show you how to use another free tool from


which will enable you to trade far more effectively than you would with the Betfair interface.

The aim will be to show you how to make a profit on Betfair at your first few attempts

Bet Fair and Bet Well folks!!
About the Author
Mike J Davies is a Betfair Trader and Advisor. More advice and articles are available at Mike's website. Betting-exchange-trading.com
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