Online sports betting is mostly done through sportsbook websites. However, there are plenty of alternatives to online sportsbooks that have appeared in the last couple of decades — the most popular one being the betting exchanges.
Betting exchange sites record fewer visitors than sportsbooks. Moreover, most sports bettors don’t even know what betting exchanges are and how they work, even though many people consider betting exchanges to be a far superior alternative to regular sports betting sites.
So, why don’t more people play on betting exchanges? Are they that much better than online sportsbooks? These are some of the questions that we’ll try to answer in this article.
How Do Sportsbooks Work?
Online sportsbooks issue odds and lines for various sporting events. The player takes those odds, and if the outcome goes their way, their wager is multiplied by the given odds to create the amount they’ve won.
For example, let’s say that the odds for Liverpool to win a match against Manchester United are 1.85. If you wager £10 on Liverpool and they end up winning, your total win is going to be £18.5 (£8.5 profit).
Of course, there are plenty of other bets you can take, like double chance, the number of goals (over/under), final score, correct result, top goalscorer, and many more. However, no matter which betting market you choose, the bookie is the only one issuing the odds, and you won’t be able to get lower or higher odds other than the ones that are offered.
How Do Betting Exchanges Work?
In essence, betting exchanges are the same as sportsbooks, considering that both betting platforms allow you to wager on the outcome of sporting events.
However, the biggest difference that sets exchanges and traditional sports betting sites apart is that the operator of the exchange isn’t the one creating the odds. Instead, the operator is merely an owner of the platform that lets its users place wagers against each other.
By using betting exchanges, bettors can either back or lay a given bet. In the simplest way we can explain it, a player who is backing the bet is betting on a certain outcome to happen, similar to how things work in traditional sportsbooks. On the other hand, a player who is laying the bet will bet against that outcome or bet that something does not happen.
This system gives the users of the platform a chance to propose stakes and odds and wait for a layer to accept them. Whoever wins the bet wins the stake of the bettor who loses.
So, you might wonder how the operator of a betting exchange makes any money this way since the players are those that are exchanging the bets with each other. Well, every winning bet on a betting exchange site comes with a commission that’s usually between 2% and 5%. Certain exchanges impose divided commissions on both winners and losers.
Which Betting Platform Is Better?
Answering this question is all but simple. Both types of betting platforms have a set of advantages and disadvantages over each other. At the end of the day, you will make a choice based on which betting platform caters to your needs and preferences the most. But let’s try and dig a little deeper into the subject and see if we can help you make your choice.
The main advantage of betting exchanges is that they let you act as the bookmaker if you decide to lay a bet. On the other hand, traditional sports betting sites only allow you to bet against the bookie.
Because of this system, betting exchanges usually have much better odds. Sportsbooks always make the odds go in their favour, while betting exchanges have odds created by other people. Therefore, layers are sometimes willing to offer ‘bad’ odds that you can take advantage of, which is almost impossible on online sportsbooks.
However, not everything is about odds, and sportsbooks do have their advantages. It’s a fact that there are far more sportsbooks than betting exchanges, so finding a quality sportsbook is much easier than coming across a betting exchange that fits your needs.
Also, sportsbooks usually have better promotions and bonuses. This is not that important, as most bonuses come with a set of unfavourable terms and conditions, but some can turn free money into withdrawable cash.
One important thing that we haven’t discussed so far is that sportsbooks have more liquidity than betting exchanges. Certain markets are not very well covered, especially the ones that are less popular among bettors. While you can find good sportsbook odds on markets like the EFL League 2, don’t be surprised if you don’t find any odds at all for the same market on your favourite betting exchange.
In the end, it all depends on what type of bettor you are. If you like setting your own odds on popular sports markets, you should consider betting exchanges. If you prefer using great promotions and exploring a wide variety of betting options, sportsbooks should be your top choice.