Betfair are now one of the biggest betting companies in the world. They started life as a betting exchange and almost singlehandedly changed the way that the modern-day punter goes about their business. The inclusion of being able to lay bets has essentially allowed the punter to become the bookie.
The company has seen huge expansion since the early days and are now successfully running both a traditional sportsbook and their betting exchange side by side. The recent merger with Paddy Power has allowed the business to increase their market share even further and with it, made them a global powerhouse within the industry.
In the early days, the football betting side of Betfair was one that really got them moving. Along with horse racing, which we will discuss at length later in this article, it’s meant that the UK based business has been able to supply betting options that are most popular within their target market.
Whilst the bookmaker is very diverse these days, it almost goes without saying that football is still playing a huge role in the success of Betfair. What’s been great to see is that the company have been able to keep improving this section, mainly by offering more markets and features in an attempt to attract more punters through the door.
BETFAIR ODDS COMPARISON
As with pretty much all our reviews, our first and probably most important stop when it comes to betting on football are the odds on offer. Betfair is a tough one to break down though as they have the exchange to run alongside the sportsbook, where theoretically you can always sit and wait to get the best price in the industry, assuming that price gets matched. For the purpose of this article, we will be sticking with the traditional sportsbook as it’s likely one that most people use anyway.
Overall, from their pricing structure we have come to the conclusion that Betfair are about as solid as you’re going to find when it comes to betting on football. This may seem like a bit of a sweeping statement, but from the matches we tested they’ve never been far from the best price for all bets.
Seattle Vs Real Salt Lake Example
|BETFAIR ODDS||AVERAGE ODDS|
|Real Salt Lake||5.5||5.58|
The example above shows that they are in fact best price on the short priced favourite. It’s not a lot in the grand scheme, of things, but it’s actually highly important that they are able to do this. You see, with short priced favourites it means that a lot of money is coming in for that bet. The fact that they are able to offer a better price than every single bookie in that list just shows what they are capable of offering. The flip side would be, the other markets are some way from being best price. But, that’s totally fine and shouldn’t be something that will put you off from using them.
Liverpool Vs Real Madrid Example
The market below is taken from the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid in 2018. The odds here are a much better overall reflection of how they perform from our research. They aren’t best price for any of the three outcomes, but they are very, very close to being just that. They actually offer the best overall package for all three results than any of the other bookmakers.
|BETFAIR ODDS||AVERAGE ODDS|
So, what does all this mean? Well, they are highly consistent. They’re a bookmaker that you could use as a one stop shop, without doubt. We always recommend using several bookies in order to get the best price, but if there was ever a case where one can be used as a single selection, Betfair probably wouldn’t be too far away.
As you would expect from a bookmaker the size of Betfair, the range of leagues that are on offer is quite considerable. The pull in games from all around the world, including the likes of Fiji, Finland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Uzbekistan, to give you a flavour of how niche they are.
There is little doubt that the top European leagues offer up the biggest range of games though. England especially has coverage heading right down into non-league matches, and whilst the number of markets within these lower leagues are a little limited compared to the Premier League for example, they are still way ahead of what you’d expect, even from some of the bigger names in the industry.
NUMBER OF MARKETS
One area that Betfair possibly does lack compared to some is within the number of markets that are on offer. Most of the higher profile games hit around 100 or so games in total, which is a number that’s going to be more than most will ever need or bet on. But, we recently compared the Champions League final as mentioned above to some of their competitors and they were lacking.
888Sport were offering over 600 markets in total, which is a huge number compared to Betfair’s 100 or so that’s currently live, albeit a few days before kick off. It’s harsh to mark them down on this to be honest, but we have to compare to others and as a result, they aren’t as strong here as they could be.
We seem to remember in the office years ago that Betfair were one of the first companies to offer free statistics for each of their games. It’s something that is now the norm for most bookies. But, to our surprise they seem to have done away with this feature, which is a real shame.
What we did find, however, was that they include a Opta Stats section within their betting blog, where they break down stats given to them from Opta. The articles are really great and offer tons of information regarding the two teams and how they might perform. They are all referenced with odds for that market as well, which again adds to the depth of the article. The downside is that they don’t offer this too far away from the Premier League, which could be an issue for lower league matches and across Europe.
As an extension of this, we did want to quickly point out the betting blog section. It’s got dozens of articles from across the sporting world, although mainly football, ranging from ex-pro’s to people who work as a part of their trading team. The blog is as good as you will find, and we found ourselves engrossed for ages reading up on articles and scoping out potential bets.
IN-PLAY & LIVE STREAMING
The final thing we wanted to touch upon in this section is of course their in-play, as well as live streaming feature. They were one of, if not the, first companies to offer free live streaming to their users. The process is pretty easy to use as well and you can either watch them within the live betting section, or even as a standalone function.
All you need to access the live streaming feature is a funded betting account, which makes it great value. The range of games does vary, but does include some of the bigger leagues, such as Serie A and La Liga, along with a whole host of smaller leagues from around the world in what will be for most, the only way to view these matches.
Antepost betting is not something that Betfair is particularly famed for, but they do offer a handful of markets to choose from. To find them, you need to navigate to the league that you want to bet on. For example, if you go to Football > Premier League, you will then see odds for the outright winner of the Premier League and can select as you like.
To be honest, these markets are pretty limited, so there are better options on offer within the industry if these are the types of markets that you are looking to bet on.
Straight from the off we needed to let you know that Betfair are one of the best when it comes to horse racing. Their range of markets and range of races are almost second to none, which is why they have such a huge following within the sport.
THE TOTE ZONE
Betfair are one of few bookmakers that have a dedicated Tote Zone. To be honest, these markets are dying out and whilst at one point most bookies offered these types of markets, very few do these days. The inclusion with Betfair means that it’s one of the reasons why it’s still in existence, such is the importance of the bookmaker for the Tote brand.
The Tote Zone is rather dated area of the site now, however, and it still uses the same design that the old format of the bookmaker used to entertain. It’s possibly quite fitting that they use it this way, but it certainly doesn’t site uniform with the rest of the bookmaker.
BETFAIR’S HORSE RACING PRICING STRUCTURE
Betfair have always been great when it comes to pricing. They are widely considered one of the best bookies in terms of odds within the industry. As we’ve stated previously, it’s always beneficial to utilise a number of bookies to ensure the best odds possible, but if you were to use Betfair as your only bookmaker for horse racing, we dare bet you wouldn’t be all that far from consistently getting the best price.
Race at Sandown Example
The example below highlights just how strong they are. This race at Sandown shows that Betfair have 3 of the 5 horses that are running as either best price or joint best price across the board. The other two prices aren’t all that far away either.
|BETFAIR ODDS||AVERAGE ODDS|
From our research, it was a fairly familiar pattern as to the example above. It was very rare that we found a race where they didn’t have at least one horse at best or joint best price and it showed just how impressive they have become as an allrounder in the industry.
UK & IRISH RACING
The range of races on the site are pretty much in line with what you will find from most bookies to be honest. The sport is pretty well tied down and compared to something like football, is much easier to offer up odds on the 40 or so races per day within the UK and Ireland.
The prices on offer are opened up much earlier than most bookies though. We are currently able to see markets and races up to 24 hours ahead of when the race is. To put that into some context, most bookies open the markets on the morning of the race. This means that you are often able to get in on Antepost prices, but for live betting markets, which is massively favourable for the punter. Each race has a really good range of betting markets to choose from. These include Win and Each Way, Place, Betting Without, Match Bets, Forecast, Tricast, Distance and Insurebet.
Best Odds Guaranteed
It’s also worth noting that Betfair run the Best Odds Guaranteed promotion that pretty much all major bookies have. This means that if you backed a horse at 10/1 and it went on to win the race, but it’s Starting Price was higher than your odds, they would pay out at the higher price. It’s a brilliant promotion for the punter to take advantage of and as so many use it these days, it’s one that is absolutely imperative to utilise.
The racecards are really quite excellent, as well. They include a good lot of information regarding form and whilst it doesn’t state this, we think it’s tied in with Timeform, which a lot of bookies now use to offer more info to their punters.
At the top of the page it shows a quick overview of how the race might be run. It states which horses could do well and also which ones are in the best form. It’s a good snippet of info actually and talks a lot of sense for the most part from the cards we looked at. The cards also include information on the horses last 5 races. This info includes date, course, distance, going, race type, position and jockey, plus you can also watch reruns of that race for some of the more popular ones to see exactly how they went.
Live Streaming of the Races
To top it all off, the majority of races that are on the site can be streamed live, direct from the bookmaker. All you need to do to gain access is place a single bet of 50p or more and the stream will load just as they are about to start. It’s worth noting that this stream will be for the race only and when it’s finished, the stream will end.
Horse Finder Feature
Finally, we wanted to let you know about the Horse Finder feature that is relatively new to Betfair in its current form. It allows you to find the best picks of the day, using your own criteria. So, you need to toggle between certain filters, which include Timeform tips, Winner last time out, Course winner, Distance winner, Course and distance winner, Top jockeys and Top trainers. You can select as many or as few filters as you like to narrow your search down.
The feature will then highlight all horses running that day that match your criteria. We find it good to start with all of them selected to see if there are any bankers that may offer value and remove them as we see fit, before then deciding our picks. It’s one of the best tools that we’ve tested in the industry and one that we can’t help but keep coming back to.
We think Betfair are the best in the business when it comes to international racing markets. We’ve written several reviews on different bookies and few have had many if any international markets. At the time of writing, Betfair include 11 races outside of the UK and Ireland, including races from Chili, France, Sweden and America.
The US coverage is amazing, and it has up probably all of the races from across the country, which adds massively to the depth of the bookmaker. They all get the same sort of treatment as the UK races, apart from the form guides are a bit more sporadic.
It’s probably going to come as little surprise to hear that Betfair have once again served up one of the best Antepost sections that we have come across. The range of races that are included is vast and with it you are able to search through via some of the bigger meetings, such as the Cheltenham Festival and other major meetings.
But, the most impressive thing about it is that once again, international Antepost markets are littered throughout. We’re certain this has to be the biggest following within the industry and races that are there include the likes of the Breeders Cup Classic, Belmont Stakes, Dubai World Cup, Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup, to name just a handful.
Tennis has always played a huge role at Betfair and their current format means that the sport is continuing to thrive on site. Originally it was a massively popular sport to be on within their exchanges, but now it’s made the migration to their sportsbook and the popularity has continued to grow.
The range of games that are on offer is simply astonishing. There are literally dozens to choose from each day and they cover tours from all over the world. It could be a case of rivalling even that of football in terms of coverage, which is mightily impressive, we’re sure you’ll agree.
Betfair’s match view in-play feature works well with tennis.
The market coverage is also pretty good and whilst we would like to see a little more, what was on offer was more than enough for most. A lot of it really came alive when you started to bet in play and we think that this is probably where it’s going to be best used. It’s also worth noting that both the men’s and women’s games look to both have huge followings on site, which again adds to the depth.
The current format of the site is one that is very “Betfair”. What we mean by that is that it hasn’t changed an awful lot over the years. In fact, the betting exchange is almost exactly the same, but then, if it aint broke, don’t fix it, right?
The general usability of the site is really good, and you can quickly jump between sports and markets with ease. The speed of the site is great as well and we’d easily go as far as saying that it’s one of the fastest bookies that we have tested so far.
The inclusion of the search feature is nice and we liked the fact that you could search for teams or even bets and it pulled up a list of suggestions. Within the search feature you’re also able to see a list of markets relating to your search term, allowing you to jump immediately to exactly where you need to be.
The casino has been another successful route away from sports betting for the Betfair brand. It works alongside several game developers, including that of PlayTech, NetEnt and IGT – three of the biggest and probably the best software developers that we have come across.
The casino isn’t huge in terms of games, but they do refresh them quite frequently. The mobile version is also totally separate from the sportsbook as well, which we liked due to the fact they are very different entities.
The poker room opened up just 12 months after launching their betting exchange in 2001. For a long time around the poker ‘boom’, it was considered to be one of the main poker rooms in the world, offering huge player numbers.
It became a little more subdued for a time and their partnership with OnGame to power the site is was questioned many times, mainly down to lack of traffic and questionable software. They now work with iPoker which has greased the wheels and got things moving again.