How do you deal with unmatched bets?
What are unmatched bets?
I stumbled across the world of unmatched bets when it happened to flash up on the screen just after I’d placed a lay bet at Betfair.
I felt a mild bit of panic as to what to do until the team at MatchedBet talked me through it step by step. I thought I’d share my knowledge about them with you in case you have never come across them before. Chances are that at some point in your matched betting you will and these tools will be a great help to you.
A betting exchange such as Betfair is, as you know, a place where people can bet with each other. In order for or a bet to take place, there has to be at least one person willing to match the bet with the opposing view and with at least the same amount of money.
An unmatched bet occurs when the other people don't want to completely match your bet. “Liquidity” is the word used for how much you can back or lay.
If the liquidity isn’t sufficient, your bet will be queued until someone is prepared to match it. Often nearer to the event happening, your bet has a good chance of eventually being matched but this is treading dangerously and leaving yourself open to risk.
What if it isn’t matched? You have underplayed your bet and therefore not completely covered yourself.
How to prevent unmatched bets
The only certain way to prevent this is to ensure that there is enough liquidity on your chosen lay. So using the example above, the maximum you can lay at this point in time on odds of 6.4 is £50.
Odds can change quickly so use the refresh button to keep updating the market.
The odds change whilst I’m placing a lay bet
This can be more common around 20 minutes before the start of the event – horse racing and in-play odds can move particularly fast.
If it happens just before you are about to confirm your bet, then don’t worry, just cancel the bet, check the liquidity is fine for you on the new odds, type these into your calculator to give you the new amount that you should lay.
I have a completely unmatched bet after pressing confirm on my bet slip
Don’t worry, if your bet is completely unmatched, simply cancel the whole thing. Then you’ll need to check the new odds and check the liquidity. If the liquidity is enough for you then input the new odds into your calculator to show you how much you now need to lay and confirm your bet.
It says that my bet is only partly matched
The most complicated scenario you’ll come across is when the bet has only been partly matched. This occurs when you manage to get some of the lay bet matched and some of it unmatched –the unmatched part is therefore queued.
Let me talk you through a scenario.
I have backed a horse at the bookmaker for £20 at odds of 5.
I have now placed a lay bet at the exchange but it has come back as only partly matched.
The lay odds were 5.1 when I first looked and I could see that there was enough liquidity to take my bet. The calculator advised me to lay £19.80 at Betfair. In that short space of time though, the lay odds changed to 5.2 and only £13.87 of my bet was matched at odds of 5.1.
This is the point that you don’t panic but open up the Back/Lay Advanced Calculator.
Now, simply input the details:
You bet a stake of £20 at back odds of 5.
The new lay odds are now 5.2 with 5% commission.
In the grey “Part lays already in place box” input the lay you have already placed which is £13.87 and which was at odds of 5.1.
Press Calculate/ Refresh and it will now show you that at new odds of 5.2 you should lay £5.82. You should be looking under “Standard match”. The under and over lay areas are for advanced matched betting purposes.
Go ahead and place the rest of your lay bet at Betfair. I also always like to check in the “My Bets” section (top left of the website) that all of my bets are indeed there and the total lay has been matched.
To summarise, it is always better to ensure that there is more than enough liquidity for your bet before getting as far as placing the lay bet.
The liquidity can easily be seen to the right of the oddsmatcher as the below image shows.
Also, try to avoid placing a bet only minutes before the event is due to take place because you could be working against wildly moving odds.