This article will focus on Matchbook.com as the best betting exchange option for American bettors. Matchbook.com is a current advertiser at MajorWager.com and the author is a customer of Matchbook.com. Neither MajorWager.com nor the author was solicited by Matchbook.com to produce this article and neither received any compensation for this article.
Pinnacle Sports introduced the serious and casual American bettor to reduced pricing, and betting has not been the same since. Even the most casual bettor could see the long term advantage of laying -105 instead of -110. When totaling the wins and losses of hundreds of bets, that five cents saved very well could be (and many times is) the difference between a winning and losing bettor. Alas, Pinnacle Sports is no longer available to the American bettor, who must now seek other reduced juice alternatives.
American bettors have always shied away from betting exchanges for several reasons:
-Exchange software has historically been more difficult to learn to use
-Buying and Selling point spreads is different than traditional wagering
-Volume is often too low. If only $100 has been offered for wagering, that's all you can bet (unless you make your own offer, which is a whole other fear for bettors!)
Hopefully this article will show that the above concerns are issues of the past, and that bettors should give betting exchanges like Matchbook.com a second look.
American bettors typically think of "live betting" when they think of betting exchanges. Places like WSEX (the parent company of Matchbook.com) and Tradesports have, and still do, offer live wagering on select TV sporting events. But exchanges have become so much more than just live betting venues. At Matchbook, a bettor can find offerings on most of the "Big 4" games, such as: full game, 1st half and total of all NBA, NFL games, and full game and total lines on MLB and NHL games. Many "current event" bets are also available, such as American Idol and movie box office returns. So exchanges have developed in to "full service" shops, offering almost everything that a traditional wagering shop does.
If laying -105 was great for pregame bets, how good would -102 be? The commissions vary at the exchanges available to Americans: Tradesports charges 1.5% commission (for those accepting offers and the bets win) and Matchbook charges 2% commission (on winning bets only). So, in essence, bettors are playing in to a -102 line---obviously a very large discount from the traditional -110 full juice bookies charge. The commission rules and structures vary between exchanges, and Tradesports and Matchbook are a prime example of the differences that can occur. Tradesports charges the bettor .5% for accepting an offer, whether or not the bet loses (and an additional 1% if the bet wins). Matchbook charges no commission for accepting an offer, only the winner of the bet pays the 2% commission. So, at Tradesports all of the offers you accept will cost you .5% in commission, and winning bets will cost you a total of 1.5% commission. At Matchbook, only your winners will cost you 2% commission. It's clear that all levels of bettors can benefit from such a low commission.
As previously mentioned, Americans have traditionally shied away from exchanges for a number of reasons. One of the main hurdles that exchange software developers had to clear was the difficulty of developing software that functioned like traditional wagering software. Bettors want to be able to look at betting lines in the same fashion as they have done for years, like this:
PHILADELPHIA: J MOYER +1.5 -160 OVER 8.5 -125 +133
NEW YORK N: T GLAVINE -1.5 +140 UNDER 8.5 +105 -143
No exchange offered anything close to this format---until Matchbook.com's revolutionary software was released. Accepting and making an offer has never been easier at an exchange than it is now at Matchbook.com. Here is a game currently offered there:
Over 8.5 $234(my potential win) -105$130 -107$1,306 -130$650
Under 8.5 -$242(my potential loss) +101$1,032 +100$100 -104$2,061
You can see that the Over and Under total are clearly defined, with the amount offered right next to the line. You simply click the price (for example +101$1032), enter the amount you want to take of the U 8.5 to the right (confirm box not shown here) and press submit. It's just that easy. After you place the bet, the amount you are risking and the amount you can win are displayed right next to the totals (not including the 2% commission). You can see in the above example that I bet on the O 8.5 runs in the Braves game tonight. If the game goes OVER 8.5, I will win $234 (minus the 2% commission) and if the game goes UNDER 8.5, I will lose $242. So the bet was not only just as easy to place as it is at a traditional wagering site, but I also have the convenience of having my risk/win displayed all the way until the game goes off the board. The software at Matchbook.com is just as easy to use as traditional betting software, so bettors no longer need to fear having to learn a "whole new way of betting".
The second fear American bettors have of exchanges is that they have to think of a point spread as ONE ENTITY that is to be either bought or sold. Bettors are so used to thinking of the Braves O 8.5 and the Braves U 8.5 as two things, it's often difficult for them to switch gears and think of only one thing: Braves O 8.5. When trading on Tradesports you must think of the Braves total as one thing to be bought or sold. You must designate a price, or accept an offer at the current price, and you must BUY or SELL the Braves O 8.5. If you BUY the Braves O 8.5 at 50 for 10 contracts, your position will be reflected like this:
Braves 8.5 +10
If you SELL the Braves O 8.5 at 50 for 10 contracts your position will be reflected like this:
Braves 8.5 -10
Many bettors find that format confusing because they must abandon the OVER and UNDER format they're used to. At Matchbook.com, positions are bought and sold in the same fashion that traditional wagering is done (see the above Braves total example). A bettor is not forced to buy or sell one object at Matchbook.com, and the bettor does not have to convert the price to a traditional line (e.g. "50" at Tradesports= a +100 line). At Matchbook.com, a bettor will see the traditional +100 lines format he or she is used to dealing with.
The last main concern of American bettors concerning exchanges is volume. A low juice line doesn't mean much when only $100 has been offered on the line you want to bet. Volume is rapidly becoming a non-issue at Matchbook.com. By noon, there is usually at least $1,000-$2,000 available on sides and $500-$1,000 on totals for all the main sports. Throughout the day there is anywhere from $2,000-$20,000 available for the taking. And if your line or bet amount is not available, make an offer! Making an offer at Matchbook.com is just as easy as taking an offer; it's only a two step operation.
Hopefully Part I addressed any fears or concerns bettors that are new to exchanges might have. Part II of this article will uncover some of Matchbook.com's future plans and summarize all the pros and cons of exchange betting.