Betfair Exchange is not the only betting exchange out there. Smarkets offer a service that is similar, but there are a few key differences that we will go over in the following Smarkets guide.
We’ll help get you started backing and laying on their exchange, teaching you exactly how to use Smarkets, and we’ll also go over some of the technical details involved in using the website.
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Smarkets Exchange Explained
Just like Betfair Exchange, Smarkets is also not the same as a traditional bookmaker.
On Smarkets Exchange, users of the website place bets against each other, and the exchange takes a percentage commission on any winning bets.
How to use Smarkets Exchange
Using Smarkets is mostly similar to using Betfair Exchange. As always, the first step is to create your account.
At the time of writing, Smarkets are offering a £10 welcome bonus (claim it here). This is definitely worth taking advantage of!
Once you have filled in all your details, simply head to your email inbox to verify your account. Make sure to check your spam/junk folder if you can’t find the verification email.
This is a great time to sign up with Smarkets, as they are currently offering £10 for every friend you get to make an account.
Now you can start depositing funds and making bets. As with Betfair Exchange, we will mostly be using Smarkets to make our ‘lay’ bets. For the first example we will show you how to place your standard ‘back’ bet through the Smarkets exchange.
Making Your First Bets
To showcase the diverse range of events you can bet on, the example we will be using is the market for the ‘Gender of the next President of the United States as a result of the 2020 election’.
There are two possible outcomes we can bet on, male or female. This bet will be decided in November 2020.
The Smarkets interface looks complicated, but really it is very simple. The graph shows the value of bets placed over time. This way you can see which direction the odds are trending.
We can see how in April 2019 there was a major shift toward the likelihood of the next President being male. This was most likely a result of Joe Biden announcing his intention to run.
In this example, we want to back Male to win, at odds of 1.31. At this price, we can see that there is a total of £103 available to stake (with the guarantee that bets up to this value will be matched). Our stake is £20, and if we win, our return will be £26.20, meaning our profit is £6.20. If we lose the bet, we lose our stake of £20.
If we want to stake a higher value than £103 and have it matched, we can do so, but at the odds of 1.26.
At these odds, we can stake £122 and guarantee it will be matched, but our return will be lower due to the worse odds. Remember, you can always stake higher, but there is no guarantee it will be matched!
These odds will change over time as more bets are placed, especially on a long-running bet such as this. Any unmatched bets will be cancelled automatically.
Receiving Your Winnings
Smarkets will verify the result of the event before punters are paid out. Commission is taken on winning bets only. The details of this will be discussed later on in this guide.
You may find that placing bets using Smarkets gets you better odds than at your usual bookmaker. It is always worth checking out the odds on Smarkets before placing any standard ‘back’ type of bet.
We will generally be using Smarkets in a similar fashion to any other betting exchange; to place our ‘lay’ bets. This will be explained in the next section
How to Lay Bets on Smarkets
We will be using Smarkets to ensure that whatever the outcome of an event we are betting on, we will always win.
To do this, the general formula is to place a ‘back’ bet using a regular bookmaker, and then ‘laying’ the same bet using the Smarkets exchange.
To explain this, we will use an event with more than two potential outcomes; in this case, a Premier League football match between Manchester United and Southampton. The three outcomes are a Man United win, a Southampton win, or a draw.
We want to lay Southampton (meaning we are betting against a Southampton win). The simplest way to imagine this is to picture yourself as the bookmaker.
A punter places a bet of £20 with you for Southampton to win, and you give him odds of 4.1. This means if Southampton do win, you must pay the punter £62 plus his stake.
However, if Man United win or there is a draw, you will keep his £20 stake.
Of course, because we will have also backed Southampton to win with another bookmaker, we will have all outcomes covered.
As with our previous bet, there are other odds available at which we can place our bet and guarantee it will be matched. In this example, there is £540 available to be matched for laying Southampton, but at slightly worse odds of 4.2.
Clearly, this shows us that making a mistake can be costly.
If your bet with the bookmaker does not go through and you don’t realise before you place your lay bet, you could potentially lose a lot of money.
For this reason, many people keep a spreadsheet with all of their placed bets to keep track of everything. This helps them make fewer mistakes.
Smarkets Exchange Commission
Smarkets is unique in charging just 2% commission! As with Betfair Exchange, you will only pay a commission if you win your wager.
Smarkets have a different structure to Betfair, and instead of making most of their money through commission, they make their money by trading against their customers. This will be explained later on in this guide.
You may read about some people only paying 1% commission on Smarkets. However this special rate is only for those people who place more than 1500 bets in one calendar month, or stake over £1m in one month.
The drawback with this lower rate is that it must also be paid on losses. This is not the case with the standard rate.
The above formula shows how Smarkets calculate commission.
For a bet of £100 at odds of 5.50, the winnings pre-commission will be £550. The commission would be £550 minus the stake (£100), and then multiplied by the commission rate (2%). This works out as £9. Therefore, instead of £550, the total return (including stake) is £541.
Make sure not to worry too much about this for now, as you can use our special matched betting calculator. This will automatically calculate commission for you.
How to Lay Accumulators on Smarkets
As with Betfair, we can place accumulating bets on Smarkets. This is where we place a bet on the outcome of one event.
If we win, then the total return is automatically staked on the next bet, and so on forth the total number of bets.
The whole bet will lose if any one of the single bets loses.
One of the common offers we can take advantage of is dependent on accumulators so it is important to understand how they work.
It is easy to place a regular accumulating bet using most online bookmakers. But how do you place a lay accumulator using Smarkets?
There is an option to lay certain accumulators, such as pre-made accumulators.
Type ‘accumulator’ into the search bar on the Smarkets homepage, and you should be presented with a few pre-made accumulators to bet on.
The following example involves Fylde, Aldershot and Notts County. We want to bet against Fylde, Aldershot and Notts County winning.
In this example we are laying a stake of £20, at odds of 12.00. If we win our bet, we will win £20, but if all three of the teams win, we will have to pay out £220.10.
It is important to note that if we place this bet, only £3 of it will be automatically matched. We can place the bet and hope that eventually it gets fully matched, or we can instead wager at worse odds of 13.50. At these odds, there is a total of £1943 available to match against.
There should always be at least one or two pre-made accumulators available to lay on Smarkets. These usually match up with popular pre-made accas on regular bookmakers.
How to Trade on Smarkets
Trading on Smarkets is slightly different to trading on other exchanges such as Betfair.
Smarkets do not work with trading software, and they make the majority of their profits from trading against their own customers. Therefore, they do not want to encourage others to do this.
Currently, there is no public API available for Smarkets.
It is still possible to trade out of a bet for a guaranteed profit. There is a handy ‘hedging calculator’ available on the Smarkets website.
If the odds either leading up to an event or during the event change, you can place another wager that guarantees a profit.
In the above example using the calculator, if you have placed a £10 wager to back at odds of 3.5, and the odds to lay are now 3.2. You should lay £10.78 in order to guarantee a profit of £0.78, with a commission of £0.04.
This is the end of our basic guide for Smarkets. If you are still unclear about anything, feel free to shoot us an email, and one of our team will get back to you.