Betting Exchange or Bookmakers, which one to choose?

One of the big questions many punters end up facing is whether to choose to bet with a bookmaker or betting exchange. The betting exchange format has become very popular in recent years, taking away a lot of customers from the traditional bookmakers operations, but that doesn't automatically mean that the betting exchange is always better, compared to a traditional online bookie. Here we will take a look at the pros and cons of both sports betting formats and try to answer your question if you should bet with a betting exchange or a bookmaker. An example of popular betting exchange is Betfair, while a popular bookmaker would be a company like Bet365 or Coral.

Bookmaker vs Betting Exchange

Let's look at the positive and negative side of both betting with a bookie and with a betting exchange:

Betting Exchanges Pros = Bookmakers Cons

Let's begin by looking at the "pros" of placing your wagers at the betting exchanges, which are ultimately the weaker side of the bookmakers.

  • The betting odds - at the betting exchange the odds on the popular sporting events could generally be better, as compared to the bookies. Unlike the bookmakers, the betting exchange doesn't make money from the vig, but just charges a fee to use the service, much like poker tables charge the players a rake on every round. As such, the odds at the betting exchange will be without the added "juice". And since you are actually competing against other people, the odds could be immensely different that what you'd see at one of the online bookmakers, although for the most part, they are generally in the same region. But overall the odds at the exchange will be better than what's seen at the bookies, even if it's just slightly so. Therefore this goes as a pro for the betting exchange and a con for the bookmakers.
  • Arbitrage Betting - while the vast majority of the bookmakers frown upon arbitrage betting, those punters are more than welcome at the betting exchanges, since it doesn't really affect the profits of the exchange in the same way it would affect the bottom line of the bookie. Many people will use the combination of betting exchanges and bookmakers to engage in arbitrage betting.
  • Betting Limits - with betting exchanges like Betfair, there is no such thing as limits. You can bet as little or as much as you want, the exchange doesn't care, because, once agin, there is no risk to them, you are betting against other players, not the betting firm. In fact, not only you don't have any betting limits, but you also will never get limited, if you are a sharp bettor, which is not the case with some bookmakers, especially the recreational ones.

Bookmakers Pros = Betting Exchanges Cons

But what is the strong side of the betting exchanges is also their weak one. Sure, it sounds weird, but let's look at the pluses of the bookies compared to the betting exchanges and it will all become clear.

  • Guaranteed Action - One thing is sure with the bookmakers - you always have a betting market. The betting exchanges will have plenty of action the most popular markets, but for the more obscure games or betting markets you may not be able to find someone to back or lay against you.
  • Betting Limits - while the exchange will let you bet virtually any number, it doesn't mean that you can. With the bookmaker you may have a betting limit, but you know you can bet that limit any time. Where with the exchange you may want to bet a million pounds, but if there is no one on the other side of the bet - you won't be able to bet a penny. And to be honest, most punters don't look to bet millions and the betting limits at the popular bookies are more than adequate to satisfy 99% of the customers.
  • Bonuses, Free Bets and other promotions - if you want to get something free, the bookmakers are the way to go. Coral will give you £20 when you bet just £5 and Bet365, for example, will double your deposit. Not to mention the many ongoing specials and offers from the bookmakers.

At the end of the day, there are pluses and minuses for both the bookmakers and the betting exchanges. There is no rule that says you can't have account at both, so why limit yourself to just one betting platform? See the pros and cons above and choose which one to bet according to the goal you are trying to achieve, and switch back-and-forth between them as you see fit.



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