For savvy punters the Betfair brand is synonymous with the betting exchange concept, a field where the company has been a leader for many years. The exchange is where clients bet against each other through buying and selling odds and bets.
Since the launch of Betfair Sportsbook in 2012, many leisure punters have now encountered a much less complex side of the Betfair brand, with a traditional sportsbook available alongside the exchange, boasting a wide range of live betting odds at the top end, and - not least - a wealth of solid promotions to benefit both new and existing customers.
In terms of sports, the range of markets offered at Betfair Sportsbook is totally in line with the biggest in the market. Meanwhile, the depth of events and tournaments covered within each sport is still not up there with the best.
Clients mainly betting on "big events" will definitely not go in vain when betting at Betfair Sportsbook, but punters with a special interest in niche sports or leagues might find that the selections they came for is neither not offer at all, or only available very close to kickoff.
Specials and Politics markets initially had a big British focus, but recently international events, like the Oscars, is getting more attention.
On virtually any event you find a good selection of betting markets. Once an event is open for bets in the sportsbook, all markets are available, as opposed to some markets opening closer to event start. Aside from the traditional winners markets, over/under and handicap betting (both with many alternative lines), period bets, correct score etc. can be found. On selected major events this also includes 1st/last goalscorer, scorecast etc.
One major omission from the sportsbook is asian handicaps, which is rather peculiar considering the close relationship to Betfair Exchange, where this market is particularly popular.
A special market having gained huge success since the launch of Betfair Sportsbook, is a separate category in Football called "Yes/No". Here you find a large selection of two-way proposals like "Will Team A beat Team B", which is different way of betting on event outcomes. Every now and then you can also find Yes/No variants based on more specific proposals, like "Will there be a red card in the match?" etc.
In terms of payout ratio, the odds on Betfair Sportsbook are on average peaking at the upper end of the market. Especially on two-way markets like over/under they are pretty much ahead of most other bookmakers.
This applies also to tennis and US sports, where Betfair Sportsbook muster very attractive margins for punters. If you are into two-way bets rather than, for example, regular winners markets (home-draw-away), then you will probably often find that the odds here tops the market.
The aforementioned Yes/No markets, also hold a good margin, with a theoretical payout typically around 93-95%, depending on the event.
However, our rating also reflects the fact that markets are often made available very late at Betfair Sportsbook, as if they are awaiting the main part of the market to settle before their odds are published. This applies especially to sports and leagues which can be classified as "lower focus". On events from these it is not uncommon that bets open as late as 24-36 hours prior to kickoff.
On a lot of markets you will find a so-called Cash Out option, which means that on these event you have the option of terminating your bet prematurely and redeem a reduced payout. Obviously, the value of what you are able to "cash out" is far less than if you let the bet run until the end, meaning that this feature should only be used wisely and with caution. If you have a hunch that an event is not going the way you originally estimated (ie key players will sit out injured), then Cash Out may be interesting, but in general it should only be used as a last resort, and never as a panic button.
People knowing Betfair from the Exchange will welcome the fact that the range of offers in live betting is much bigger on the Sportsbook than they have been used to from the exchange. There are both more events and more markets on offer.
Earlier in this review we handed out small jabs at Betfair Sportsbook due to their late opening of bets on secondary leagues and tournaments. Luckily, this does not apply to live betting where they are fully on par with the best in the market for these particular leagues and tournaments.
Whether you want to bet live on football, horses, tennis or any US sport, you are met by a nice range of markets on all events. Measured on live betting offering, Betfair Sportsbook is definitely in the high end of the market.
The aforementioned Cash Out feature, which is available on many of the pre-match events is also available in their live betting, with the function being intertwined between pre-match and live, meaning that a bet placed pre-match can be subject to Cash Out during live betting, while the event is being played.
The general layout and usability of Betfair Sportsbook is indeed intriguing and welcoming, resembling a similar look-and-feel as the Exchange. You can navigate the current events and odds in different ways, and one of the very good features is that you are able to view prices based on any market you want, ie. you can choose to see all over/under odds on football matches being played today.
Meanwhile, the general navigation on the website can be a bit challenging to comprehend at first, as a lot of options are actually hidden for the user by default. In the primary navigation, only a handful of shortcuts to selected sports and markets are visible in the fixed top menu. To see the full range of markets you need to expand the menu. Similarly, the secondary navigation - displaying the different betting markets within each sport - is also minimized and initially only showing a selection of markets based on what Betfair Sportsbook consider the most relevant. To see the rest, you need to do a bit of clicking and page loading, unfortunately.
This navigation does not work as well as the very logical and hierarchical menu structure known from the Exchange, meaning that the Sportsbook is a little sluggish to navigate in whenever you need to switch between different sports and leagues. This rather cumbersome navigation makes us wish even more that a global search function was available, which - unfortunately - is a big miss.
When on the move, Betfair Sportsbook can be accessed both through a traditional mobile browser and through a native app available for both iOS (Apple) and Android. Whether accessing the Sportsbook on the one or the other, you get an experience that to a large extend resembles what you experience in the desktop platform.
All offers and betting markets are available, you can get a complete overview of the many current promotions, and you can both deposit and withdraw to your account through the mobile platform. In addition, the login for the app versions can be set up with a 4-digit PIN or Touch ID (fingerprint recognition) which is a huge advantage when you need quick access to your account, for example, if you want to enter live betting and place a bet as fast as possible.
A general search function is also missing on the mobile platform, which is a shame. Sometimes the number or markets on offer is so enormous that it would be easier to search out a specific event as opposed to navigate through the many sports, leagues and markets to locate it.
The range of payment options are very adequate, and all transactions - deposits as well as withdrawals - are even free of charge. Be aware, however, that there may be losses in currency exchange rates if your eWallet or bank account currency is different from the currency of your betting account.
As is the case with other British bookmakers, Betfair follow the "principle of source" when handling withdrawals, meaning that they are legally obliged to pay out to the same source that was used to deposit. In this context credit cards ranks higher than eWallets. If you have used both a credit card and eWallet to deposit, you cannot withdraw to your eWallet before you have withdrawn an amount to your credit card corresponding the total amount deposited from that very card. If you have used several credit cards, any card need to be zeroed out before additional withdrawals can be made to your eWallet.
Support can be reached in telephone, live chat and email (web form). Operating hours for telephone support is 7.30am to 12.30am, and 24/7 for live chat and email inquiries.
The intended response time is less than 4 hours for email support, and our experience is that this rather ambitious intention is actually met. Sometimes the initial response does not solve the case in full, but the feeling that things are being taken care of quickly is very comforting and leaves an impression of a very professional support team.
In general, most clients are able to bet the stakes they want at Betfair Sportsbook. Meanwhile, we have knowledge of incidents where they operate a general market limits, which mainly apply to niche sports and special bets (ie. player specials in the NBA).
Clients are very rarely hit by personal limits, but we have received reports from profitable clients being hit by personal limits down to £2-3 per bet.
As a client of Betfair Sportsbook you get prices and odds at the very top end of the market - especially on two-way markets like over/under and tennis. Also, you gain access to a live betting range that will satisfy most people. The many and frequent promotions to both new and old customers is also be a great incentive to include Betfair Sportsbook in your personal portfolio of bookmakers.
If you are able to manage that you sometimes have to wait for the good odds on secondary leagues and tournaments, Betfair Sportsbook should be a really good acquaintance in your quest to maximize winnings on your bets.Sign up at Betfair