Betfair Basics

Monday, March 12th, 2012
By Racepedia

How To Read The Betfair Screen

When you visit the website it is possible to view a horse race market by clicking on the main menu ‘horse racing’ tab and then using the scroll bar on the left hand side of the screen to select your market. In the example below the market is ‘GB’, ‘Kempton’ and the race starting at 20:30.

Below is an example of a typical Betfair screen with labels added. Click on the image to enlarge.

Betfair Tutorial Screen 1

Racetrack Name – The name of the racetrack.


Name of Horse - The name of the horse.


Name of Jockey - The name of the jockey.


Stall number - The starting stall of the horse.


Horse Card Number – The number of the horse on today’s racecard.


Best Price to Back - The best available current odds. The number below is the amount of money available to back at these odds e.g. if you backed ‘Baby Driver’ at the current odds of 2.2 with £197 the market would then change and the new best available odds would be 2.18. By placing such a large bet (£197) you have used all the money available for these odds and consequently the price shifts to the next best odds (2.18).


Think of it this way, the number below the best odds of 2.2 is £197.

Person A: “I will give you 2.2 odds that Baby Driver loses…but you can only bet a maximum of one hundred and ninety seven pounds.”

Person B: “I will take that bet! Here is one hundred and ninety seven quid.”

Person C: “I will take that bet too!”

Person A: “Sorry, I only can only cover one hundred and ninety seven pounds.”

Person D: “-Wait Person C!- I will take your bet but I will only give you odds of 2.18.”


This is what is occurring in the market place, once the money is taken at the best back odds the best back odds then reduce. If the best back odds are not taken then the market adjusts and people are offered juicier odds to entice them into the market (this occurs when the odds increase in price i.e. ‘drift’).


Best Price to Lay - The best possible price available to lay. Once these odds have been used (when the amount of money immediately below the odds number disappears) then the best available odds will lengthen (drift). If the money immediately below the odds does not disappear it is possible that the odds will shorten to entice bettors to take the new improved odds.


Total Value of Matched Bets – The total amount of money matched i.e. when one person lays and another accepts the offer (the backer) this is referred to as a matched bet (because the people were matched, one with the desire to lay at a certain price and another with the desire to back at the same price given by the layer).


Book Value (see below) – The total value of the book on either the back or lay side. Layers can make money laying a book above 100% and backers by backing below 100%. This number will indicate how efficient the market is. There is also a chance to perform book arbitrage when the market slips over or under 100%.


Below is a close-up of typical runner details in a race. Click on the image to enlarge.

Betfair Tutorial IMG 2



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