Whether you’re just getting into matched betting, or if you’re a seasoned matched bettor, you’ll have no doubt been looking at Betfair and Smarkets in order to decide which one you’re going to use as your main betting exchange.
In this post we compare the two to help you make a decision on which one to use going forward.
Which exchange is better: Betfair or Smarkets?
This is a question that we get asked a hell of a lot, almost as frequently as we get asked for our honest thoughts on Profit Accumulator, and it’s quite easy to come to a conclusion.
As you can expect – and as is with most things – there are lot of positives for each side.
In order to summarise the benefits of both, we’ve came up with the following chart based on our extensive experience with both sites:
It’s all pretty self-explanatory, but more information is always required.
Before we start, if you’re not signed up to either site, you can sign up to Betfair here.
Alternatively, your first losing £10 with Smarkets will be refunded as cash if you go through this link: sign up to Smarkets here.
When it comes down to which one is the more reliable, we believe it’s Betfair.
Betfair has been well established as the leading betting exchange for a number of years; they revolutionised the idea and almost single handedly took on the bookies at their own game – taking the edge away from the house and allowing punters a much more level playing field.
With this experience, they’ve grown as a company and therefore have a much bigger technical team than Smarkets does.
This means they have more IT staff and developers, but better servers too.
On extremely busy days of the year (think the Grand National, the Gold Cup, big football games etc.) Betfair will almost always stand strong.
However, the same cannot always be said for Smarkets.
Whilst their commission structure is great – more on that later – their site can have a few problems from time to time.
Smarkets are always extremely quick to rectify any problems, but sometimes it may already be too late.
If you’re using Smarkets on a busy day of the year and this happens, remember to switch to Betfair as quickly as possible to lay the bet off that you need to.
UPDATE 2017: Smarkets have been really improving their site lately. There are lots of new features and reliability does appear to have improved – it’s not perfect, but it’s certainly better.
Both sites have an extremely diverse range of sporting events being covered.
All horse races, golf events, tennis and more sports are on offer.
With football, Betfair covers virtually any professional/semi-professional football match going (including womens and youth games) whereas Smarkets has a huge range, but doesn’t cover women or youth at this time unless they’re major competitions like the world cup or the Olympics.
Betfair also has the upper-hand when it comes to the amount of markets you can bet on in each game.
For example, in football, Smarkets covers the big hitter markets – match result, correct score, half-time/full-time, over/under 2.5 goals and a few others.
Betfair has a much more diverse range of markets to bet on.
You can also lay off selected accumulators on Betfair by searching ‘acca’ into their search bar.
UPDATE 2017: Smarkets have now increased the number of markets that they offer, particularly within football.
Commission is where Smarkets have the upper hand. They take 2% commission on your net profits, compared to Betfair’s 5%*.
*This 5% can be reduced depending on your activity, it’s quite easy to get it down to 4.8 and lower even when matched betting infrequently.
Let’s look at some figures:
If you’re matched betting at a level where you’re earning £1k+, which is probably the average monthly profit level of an OddsMonkey or MatchedBets user, you’ll likely be placing around £100-£200 worth of bets every day.
It’s safe to assume that if you’re placing that volume of bets, you’re laying off the same amount. Assuming that half of your £200 daily bets win at the exchange, so £100 worth, that £100 x 30 days in a month = £3,000 won at the exchange.
If you ‘won’ £3,000 into your Smarkets account, you’d pay a total of £60 in commission.
If you ‘won’ £3,000 into your Betfair account, you’d pay a total of £150 in commission. That’s a £90 difference in your monthly profit. Over 12 months, this works out to over £1,000 profit!
When it comes to profitability on commission, Smarkets win hands down in this area – unless you put a significant amount of money through your Betfair account, as this reduces your commission on a sliding scale.
If commissions is your primary concern, you could also consider Matchbook.
Matchbook offer 1% commission – although this is regardless of whether you win or lose, whereas you only pay if you win on the other sites.
When it comes to usability of the two sites, there isn’t much separating them.
For the amateur matched bettor, you might find Betfair’s site a little easier to navigate at first.
However, once you’re used to either of them, there isn’t much separating the two.
On Smarkets, you can actually back and lay your bets in the search bar – without having to open up the market page.
Are there any alternative betting exchanges?
There are Betfair & Smarkets alternatives out there:
The main other two exchanges you’ve got are Betdaq, which is also 5% commission but significantly less liquidity than Betfair, and Matchbook, which is just 1% commission.
Betdaq are partnered with Ladbrokes, and aren’t a huge fan of matched bettors. All other exchanges are completely fine with matched betting, even Betfair who are partnered with Paddy Power.
Matchbook are a great option to consider and you can get a great sign up bonus if you go through this link.
They’re growing year-by-year and offer just 1% commission which is the lowest in the market by far, although you will pay this commission whether you win or lose your bet which is where they make a little extra money back.
As bookies learn to adapt to the ever changing world of betting, more and more are starting to open up their own exchanges – in addition to their regular sportsbooks. Ladbrokes is a prime example of this.
Overall, when looking at Smarkets vs Betfair, it really is a toss up and you have to consider your aims and the level of matched betting or trading that you’re doing.
For complete beginners and traders, we currently recommend Betfair. There’s a sign-up offer available for them if you go through this link.
For those putting real volume into matched betting – we’re talking hundreds of pounds a day or thousands of pounds a week – you will likely be better off with Smarkets due to the lower commission.
Again, there’s a sign-up offer for Smarkets (£10 refunded as cash when you first lose a bet) and that’s available here.
When looking at other competitors, your best bet is Matchbook.
If you’re looking for another Smarkets or Betfair alternative, we’d advise BETDAQ.
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