What Is Sports Trading?

What Is Sports Trading? How To Trade On Betting Exchanges

Many of you may have heard of Betfair and betting exchanges, but what is sports trading?

Sports trading is placing two opposite bets on the same selection in order to secure a profit put simply, though there is a lot more to it which I will explain a bit more further down this post.

Think of it like stocks and shares but instead of buying a share of say Tesla you are buying a share of a horse or a football team (depending on what market your betting on).

What Is Sports Trading?

When something goes well your share is worth more and then obviously you are able to sell it, on a betting exchange like Betfair buying a share would be the blue back side and the selling option is the lay bet (on the pink side).

The main aim of any trader is to buy low and sell high, this is the same in sports but we back high and lay low and try to secure a profit regardless of the result.

Greening up is something that traders can do to secure a profit regardless of the result.

The 3 Stages Of Sports Trading

There are three steps to follow in order to become a successful sports trader on the betting exchanges.

Remember using a horse racing tipster may make it even easier to find a winner.

Step 1 – The Opening Bet (Backing)

We want to be looking for a selection that has a good chance of shortening in the price for this example I am going to use a horse race and the selection is

After reading up on this horse it has a very good chance of winning this race it has run well recently it likes the course and has won over both the course and distance, it has a good jockey on board too.

backing on betfair

The odds on the selection are 7/1 (8.0 decimal) so we place our £20 bet on the selection standing to win £140 if it wins and we lose £20 if it loses.

back bet betfair

Step 2 – Laying the bet we backed to secure profit

As we hoped the odds have come in on the selection and the odds are now 4/1 (5.0 decimal), we lay the selection for the same stake of £20 meaning our liability (what we have to pay out) if the selection wins stands at £80.


We stood to win £140 from the back bet so we minus our liability from that so £140 -£80 = £60 profit.

Note: we only win the profit if the selection wins, if the horse loses we have not lost anything as we got our original take back from the lay bet we placed, also don’t forget any Betfair fees after the market is settled.

Step 3 – Greening Up/ Hedging

Ideally, we want to secure a profit regardless of the result, you can use my full in-depth hedging guide to learn more but here are the basics.

We place another lay bet on the same selection at lower odds again (if the horse shortens more either pre-race or in running).

I chose to use a stake of £10 for the greening up bet meaning we will secure a profit of £10 whatever horse wins the race.

greening up on betfair when sports trading

The liability of this bet is £30, so we minus that from what we stood to profit from our previous two bets (£60-£30) leaving £30 profit, so we know stand to make £30 regardless of which horse wins this race.

greened up market sports trade

There you have it a successful sports trade, it should look like the picture above where you can see each horse in the race has a profit showing of £30.

How Much Can You Earn From Sports Trading?

This obviously depends on your bankroll, skill and experience, and what stakes you are going to be using, but there is no reason why you couldn’t make a nice side pot over time but with any such trading you cannot guarantee it.

Learning To Trade Sports

It’s always worth taking your time doing your own research and trying it out for yourself, try to paper trade or use the smallest stakes possible if you want to jump straight in.

Why not use a screen recorder to record your trades on Betfair, this will enable you to watch them back and see mistakes you may have made as the markets can move very fast at times.

There are websites online that offer sports trading courses but be careful which ones you choose, also watch out for sports trading systems.

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