I'm not saying Smarkets is better, however, what I am saying is that you should absolutely create an account and have it in your betting exchange arsenal. If you need convincing, below are my main reasons as to why you should start using them alongside Betfair:
2% Commission Rate
The main talking point in the Smarkets vs Betfair debate is of course the difference in commission rates. With Smarkets offering a much lower flat-rate commission of just 2% on all winning bets, compared to Betfair's 5%.
You may be thinking that 3% isn't much difference in the scheme of things, however this is a -60% difference. Which if you then break down per qualifying loss will show you just how much of a difference it makes financially.
For example, if you find a 2.4 back bet with lay odds of 2.5 then you'll be looking at a qualifying loss of £3.47 from a £50 trigger bet, using Betfair Exchange. Compare this to using Smarkets for the same bet, you will have a qualifying loss of £2.59 - a difference of £0.88, which soon adds up if you're regularly matched betting.
Matched betting is all about keeping the qualifying losses on our bets as low as possible, and maximizing the profit extracted from our free bets. Our choice of exchange can play a big part in this. Although I always knew about the lower commission rate of Smarkets, I just thought the reduced commission rate was irrelevant if the liquidity meant there were no close matches available (causing higher lay odds). Which in turn would end up costing more money than the lower commission saved. However the liquidity has improved massively, to the point where the majority of lay bets on big events are the same price as they are on Betfair. This means that, combined with the lower commission, you're saving money by simply choosing to place your lay bet with Smarkets instead of Betfair, and are going to achieve higher profits.
New Betting Markets
Smarkets are serious when it comes to providing the best service for matched bettors. As such they have added lots of new markets to their football betting exchanges, to give us matched bettors more options for the varying bookmaker promotions. They've added lots of markets, like First Goalscorer, Asian Handicap market and a BTTS + Match Result market.
They don't currently offer the same array of markets as Betfair, but they are adding new markets and moving in the right direction and could produce a potential alternative for these markets.
Smart Lay Betting
Smarkets use clever technology that helps relieve frustrations when placing your lay bet. All too often I would calculate the lay bet stake only for the odds to have dropped on the exchange, leaving me to calculate the lay bet stake again.
Smart lay betting technology makes this a thing of the past as they'll automatically change the stake to compensate for any change in price once you've clicked 'bet' - using something called 'Best Price Execution'.
Best price execution will only ever increase your profits, never will it increase your potential loss, as the bet quantity will stay the same (stake * odds). When best price execution is actioned it simply increases the stake (stake = bet quantity / improved odds), but with better odds the liability is not increased.
Smarkets have recently launched (a possibly improved version of cash out), which they call 'trade out'. Cash out allows you to cash out your exchange bets at any point, on Betfair however, you can only cash out of an entire event market. With the new Smarkets trade out you can now cash out a single bet within a market.
This is great for any matched betting mistakes. If you place the wrong lay bet amount or the wrong lay bet etc, you can simply 'trade out' and start over again.
Smarkets vs Betfair
Industry Leading Challenger
Smarkets genuinely poses great, healthy competition for Betfair. It's state of the art digital technology alongside it's easy to navigate design make for a fantastic user experience.
The site can be accessed from all devices; desktop, mobile and tablet. They have also recently launched both Android and Apple apps, to give you full access to the best Smarkets features whilst you're on the go...or whilst you're subtly placing your smarkets bets at your office desk 😉
Smarkets £10 Refund Offer
Smarkets are currently offering a very attractive £10 refund on your first losing bet with them. This is an easy way to make £10 risk-free profit, and will mean you have increased flexibility in where to lay your bets. For more information on this offer, please see here.
Smarkets Review Summary
As mentioned earlier, I wouldn't go as far as to say it's a better alternative to Betfair. But I would strongly recommend having an account, to allow greater flexibility from your exchange betting. As you become more experienced, you choose to keep some money in both Betfair and Smarkets, so that you can quickly place lay bets with either exchange, depending on which is offering a better match.
They are exchange focused, so they put everything they've got into making it as seamless and enjoyable for the user as possible. This comes at the expense of a sportsbook or casino offering, which depending on what you like, is either a good thing or a bad thing. They have the right attitude and I can see them competing increasingly closely with the Betfair Exchange.
Low commission rate of 2%
Really easy to navigate and place bets
Smart lay technology
No distractions of sportsbook or casino games etc
Easy sign up bonus
(Slightly) Lower liquidity than Betfair