Dealing with unmatched bets

Training: Beginner

What is an Unmatched Bet?

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Learn how to deal with an unmatched bet and ensure you don't have one again!

One of the most common concerns to those starting matched betting is an unmatched bet. Here we will aim to give you advice on how to rectify things if have a bet that isn't matched, and how to prevent this from happening again in the future.

An unmatched bet occurs when you’ve requested a bet at specific odds but there’s no one just yet immediately willing to take the odds on the opposing side.

When this happens, your bet is queued until someone is prepared to take it. If you’re next in line then chances are your bet will be matched soon enough. But having bets unmatched in any circumstance isn’t ideal as it leaves yourself open to the possibility of losing money.

Why do they happen?

There's several reasons why bets aren't always matched, usually it's because:

How can I check if my bet is unmatched?

When you place a bet head over to the ‘Open bets’ tab on the right of Betfair. Under the ‘Open Bets’ tab (on Betfair) it will say Unmatched bets at the top in bold.

matched bet

How the bet looks when it's matched

unmatched bet

How the bet looks when it isn't matched

Dealing with Unmatched Bets

If the bet is completely unmatched then cancel the bet and start over, typing in the new lay odds in the bet calculator.

If the bet is partially unmatched then use the bet calculator to work out the lay stake required for the new odds shown on the screen. Toggle on the Part lays switch on the bottom right and the the details of any partially matched bets. It will then show how much to lay off at the current odds.

Let's take a look at an example. I've placed a £10 back bet with the bookmaker at odds of 1.95, and the bet calculator tells me I need to lay off £10 at odds of 2.00. Unfortunately however, there's only £6 available to lay on the team I'm looking for.

betfair market

Being the clumsy matched bettor that I am, I stick on a £10 lay bet at the shown odds of 2.00. Now I'm in the unfortunate position of having £3.90 of my £10 bet unmatched.

betfair unmatched bet

Thankfully there's a way round this, I select the 'Part lays' option in the bet calculator and type in back odds of our bet and the current lay odds offered.

betfair calculator part lays

I now lay £3.86 at the new odds of 2.02 and am now going to lose 54p instead of 50p. So only 4p worse off - could be worse!

Summary - How to deal with an unmatched bet

Bet completely unmatched:

  1. Cancel the unmatched bet
  2. Enter new odds in flow or bet calculator
  3. Place bet again at current lay odds with new stake

Bet partially unmatched:

  1. Cancel unmatched part of bet
  2. Open bet calculator and enter details of back bet and current lay odds shown
  3. Turn 'Part lays' switch (bottom right) to 'Show'
  4. Enter information of partially matched bet
  5. Place another bet at current lay odds with advised stake

Preventing Unmatched Bets

1. Check the liquidity

Have a look to see if there’s enough money on the other side to accept your bet. This is shown as the little figure (in £) under the odds and is also shown in the "min liq" column in the Oddsmatcher.

oddsmatcher result

For example, in the market below if I placed a £20 lay bet on ‘Dutch Artist’ at 6.40 I will have £16 matched but £4 will be unmatched as there’s only £16 available to be layed at that price.


2. Bet on popular markets

This follows on from the above point, if you're betting on a big game then there's simply too much money available for there to be any chance for you bet to be unmatched. Doing this is also a good idea from a mug betting perspective.

A good indicator of how 'popular' a market is the amount of money traded. On Betfair, this is shown on the top right.

liquid market

3. Don't bet too close to the start of the event

If you've ever tried to get a bet in seconds before the start of a horse race you'll know the odds can move like crazy. It may look like there's over £100 available at that price but that money could get snapped up before you even type in the stake. Play it safe and give yourself at least a half an hour window before it starts.

Next guide »
The Big Horse Racing Guide

Bank of Bets

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