Betting with Bookie is an ongoing educational series designed to demystify the betting experience. Each article will tackle sports betting terminology and concepts in a simple way, in an effort to make you a better bettor.
One of the key elements that differentiates a betting exchange from a sportsbook is what takes place when you submit your bet. Betting exchanges like Bookie have no house to accept your bet. Instead, a betting exchange acts as a matchmaker between you and someone who wants to take the opposite side of your bet. So a betting exchange functions in a very similar way to a stock exchange - the stock exchange acts as a matchmaker between a buyer and a seller.
So - on a betting exchange, your bet is not truly placed until one or more people match your bet (i.e. they agree to become a counterparty to your bet). Until that happens, your bet is considered Unmatched. When that happens, your bet is considered Matched.
An Unmatched bet is one where the betting exchange has not yet found a counterparty to take the other side of your bet. All bets start out their life as Unmatched bets, if only for a second or two. Unmatched bets sit on the orderbook, showing that they are available for other users to back or lay (there is an orderbook for each betting market or line).
As long as your bet is Unmatched, you can edit it. One reason for your bet not being matched yet could be that the odds are not attractive enough, as they are perceived from the other side of the bet. Simply increasing or decreasing your odds may be all it takes for your bet to find a match.
But for as long as your bet is Unmatched - until the betting market closes (at gametime) or switches to In-Play - you can edit it as you see fit. Unmatched bets can be edited in the following ways:
- Increase Stake
- Decrease Stake
- Increase Odds
- Decrease Odds
- Cancel Bet
If you are unwilling to take lower odds as the backer or offer higher odds as the layer - just two possible scenarios - then you may have to resign to the fact your bet will remain Unmatched. You can then cancel and move on to the next betting market, or you can simply leave it until the betting market closes, at which point your stake is returned to your account (assuming no one matches it in that time).
When one or more counterparties agree to take the other side of your bet, it is officially Matched. Matching is done automatically by the betting exchange, so it’s not an action you actually see, beyond your bet disappearing from the orderbook. Assuming the market you are betting in has a fair amount of liquidity, and you are looking to bet at a reasonable price, your bet should get Matched at placement (or very soon after). But as we saw in the section above, this isn’t always the case.
If you’ve offered a bet with unrealistic odds, for example, or in a betting market where there isn’t a lot of activity, then your bet may not get Matched for some time (if at all). Once it is Matched you can no longer cancel or edit your bet in any way. You have now entered into a betting agreement with the one or more counterparties on the other side of your bet.
One important concept is that of Partial Matching. If you place a back bet of 10 mBTC that goes Unmatched, someone else may come along and want to lay just half of your back bet (i.e. lay only 5 mBTC). This means that 5 mBTC of your bet gets matched (and disappears from the orderbook) while the other 5 mBTC remains Unmatched. Partial Matching actually happens all the time. Back and lay bets are treated as commodities and are amalgamated on the orderbook, anonymously. This means that your bets are very often (partially) Matched by multiple other users. You do not see all the users who Partially Matched your bet, just the total amount of your bet that is (currently) Matched.
One way to get your bet Matched as quickly as possible, is to scan the orderbook to see what Unmatched bets are already sitting there waiting to get Matched. (It’s important to remember that the orderbook ONLY shows Unmatched bets.)
For example, if you want to lay 100 mBTC at 1.95 odds, and you want the bet to Match immediately, then you will need there to be at least 100 mBTC-worth of Unmatched back bets sitting on the orderbook at those odds. If only 92 mBTC is available to lay, then you can decrease your desired stake to 92 mBTC. This way your bet is Matched immediately and you’re not stuck waiting for something that may or may not happen!
However, a significant group of actors on any betting exchange are not expecting to get their bets matched immediately. They are putting up bets (back and lay) on the orderbook which they know will be Unmatched for some time, but which they expect/hope other users will come in and match at some later date (seconds, minutes, or hours into the future). People who act in this way, with large amounts of money, are known as market-makers - they fill up the orderbook to be first in line when other bettors come along and want to make a quick bet. This ability to leave unmatched bets on the orderbook (for different amounts and at different prices) is a huge part of the flexibility that betting exchanges offer as compared to sportsbooks. A betting exchange is much more like a financial or crypto exchange in its dynamics and the choices it offers the user.
Bookie is bringing provably fair sports betting to the world by building our betting exchange on the Peerplays blockchain.