Regulated sports betting exchanges have reached US shores for bettors in New Jersey. Other states will follow in time. Whether you are familiar with how a sports betting exchange works or not, there are tangible benefits to both experienced and novice bettors. We feel we have tools of specific value to both exchange users here at Unabated. Let’s step through specific examples of how you can use Unabated to profit at the first regulated US sports betting exchange, Prophet Betting Exchange.
Overview Of The Benefits Of Using Prophet Betting Exchange
As I’ve outlined before, betting exchanges offer a low-margin environment for wagering. By replacing the operator with a market maker, an exchange can offer pricing that standard sportsbooks can’t match. A price sensitive consumer does very well when there are low-margin options available.
Understanding the value of low vig is one of the sentinel moments in your evolution as a bettor. Betting into lower margins has a compounding effect on your growth as a bettor. You lower the breakeven rate you need to hit to be profitable. That increases your ROI% if you are profitable. In turn, that grows your bankroll faster.
A lot has been made of liquidity concerns in the regulated exchanges in New Jersey. However, early returns and anecdotal observation shows that the exchanges in New Jersey are holding their own. Volume is above what was to be expected and market liquidity is relatively strong.
Also worth noting is that the exchanges are delivering on their promise of lower margins. To the right is a look at how Prophet Betting Exchange’s margins compared to market sportsbooks at the closing line.
The Effect Of The Commission On Winnings
Exchanges make their money by charging a commission on winning wagers. On Prophet, that commission percentage is 2%. The best way to factor the commission structure into your betting is to add 2% to the line you’re betting into. For example, if you’re betting +100, adding 2% would make it -102. If you’re betting -150, it becomes -153. You need to keep the commission in mind when it comes to comparing exchange prices to the rest of the market.
Where Prophet is different is that they charge the 2% on net winnings per market. So if you take a speculative position on a team and then change your mind, or cash out some of your position, you will only pay commission on your net profit. Here’s an example:
You took a position on the Dallas Cowboys early in the week and wager $100 at +160.
Later in the week, as the market moves, you decide to bet $77 on the New York Giants at -110.
If you were charged 2% commission on your winning wager, then your effective commission is much higher than 2% because one of these will win and one will lose (barring a tie).
If Dallas wins, you win $83 ($160 – $77), but pay $3.20 commission. It becomes an effective 3.8% commission.
If New York wins, you lose $30 ($70 – $100), but still pay $1.40 in commission despite the net loss.
By charging on just net profit, Prophet would charge you $1.66 if Dallas won, and $0.00 if New York won.
Pricing Moneylines on Prophet Betting Exchange
One of the best markets to bet on Prophet is their moneyline market on games. You can often find a much better price than at other major sportsbooks. They provide a Market Overround for moneyline wagers which shows you just how thin of a margin the market has. The overround represents the combined implied probability of both wagers. Many times you’ll find this Market Overround to be less than 101%.
If you take the amount of the Market Overround that exceeds 100% and then divide it by the Market Overround itself, you’ll get the theoretical hold percentage of this market. For instance, a standard sports betting line of -110 on either side, represents 52.38% + 52.38% = 104.76% Market Overround. Divide 4.76 by 104.76 and you get 4.55% as the theoretical hold. Most of the markets on Prophet Betting Exchange are less than 2%.
Finding EV In Moneyline Wagers
Unabated famously has our Unabated Line, which is a curated weighted blend of key market making books to produce a valid vig-free true price in any market we cover. You can use the Unabated Line to practice Top-Down betting at Prophet.
On the Prophet screen, you can see various prices where offers have been listed. The prices highlighted in green and blue are the best offers on either side and we refer to these as the Top-of-Market prices.
Using Unabated as your guide is straightforward. If you’re a premium subscriber, you can use the Unabated Line. In this example, the Unabated Line for the Cowboys/Giants is +103/-103. At Prophet, there is a healthy amount of liquidity available at +101/-105.
You can also see that +101/-105 is also slightly better, on both sides, than the best available price on our odds screen. Soon we will have Prophet Betting Exchange displayed in real-time on the Unabated Game Odds Screen. Remember, of course, to factor in the commission though by adding 2% to those lines.
If you don’t have a Premium Membership at Unabated, you can still use the pricing from a sharp book, like Bookmaker, and remove the vig. We offer our No-Vig Fair Odds Calculator to do just that.
Pricing Spreads and Totals Using Unabated
While finding EV via moneylines at Prophet is straightforward, it’s also a bit obvious. I think you’ll find that as the exchange concept gets more popular, the efficiency of an exchange’s pricing grows stronger. In other words, you’re not the only one who has ever heard of Unabated.
A potentially better way to find profit at Prophet is to use our Alternate Lines tools to strategically price spreads and totals. Another attractive feature of the Prophet Betting Exchange is their use of vig-free spreads and totals. Rather than having the vig be straddle, they let the price be the straddle.
You can bet -3.5 or +3. Over 39.5 or Under 39. Either side at +100 (-102 after you factor in commission). You can sometimes find an edge here when the difference between that half point straddle is greater than people realize.
However, Unabated offers a great way to find value here that others may miss. For instance, the Unabated Line is 39.5 leaning towards the under. However, if the Unabated Line is u39.5 -107, what is the price for u39? Premium members can use the integrated Alternate Line tool to price out u39, and find that it is u39 -103. That makes the u39 at Prophet, slightly +EV.
Baseball Runlines Have Some Market Making Goodness
Prophet Betting Exchange also offers these vig-free spreads in Major League Baseball. Most bettors are used to baseball runlines being based on +1.5 for the underdog and -1.5 for the favorite and then juiced accordingly.
However, here you’ll want to create the straddle around the number that offers the most even wager, and often that’s not +/- 1.5 runs.
Take for example, a game between the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals. Atlanta is a prohibitive road favorite at -222 on the Unabated Line. ATL -1.5 would be around -150 and WAS +1.5 would be around +130 at most sportsbooks. Nobody has offered a market on this game, which gives you the chance to play bookmaker and come up with a straddle that makes sense.
You want to have a +EV wager on either side of the wager for yourself. Is that possible? You can use the Unabated Alternate Line tool to price out a derivative spread that makes sense. We’ll start with ATL -222.
At ATL -1, the line should be -188. Getting someone to bet into WAS +1 +100 when they should get +188 is a tough task. Let’s try -1.5, which is common in the sportsbook markets. That’s -140. Again, the average bettor could get +1.5 +130 at any number of sportsbooks, they’re not going to take that wager here for +100. When we punch in -2 we get -117. That seems like a pretty good line. A bettor taking this offer will get WAS +2 +100, they may not realize that it should pay +117 because it’ll be hard for them to find another sportsbook that has a +2 runline. Meanwhile, you’re getting -2 +100 when it should be -117. That’s a +7.8% edge. Now you just have to hope someone bets into it.
We’re not done here though. We can setup a market on the other side of the wager too. We can use the Nationals +222 Unabated Line as our starting point and price out +2.5 and +3. +2.5 gives us a small edge, +3 gives us a larger edge. Maybe offer up ATL -3 first for the taking and if nobody bites, you can post ATL -2.5.
This method of profiting at Prophet has been underutilized so far. It does have some caveats though, so be sure to read the section on Making Offers vs. Taking Offers.
Reading The Order Book To Gain An Edge On Market Sentiment
Another good way to utilize exchanges like Prophet is by gauging market sentiment by reading the order book. We talked about the Top-of-Market price earlier, but the offers beyond the Top-of-Market have value as well in understanding where the money is at.
In the early stages of our adoption of exchanges in the US market, this signal won’t be as strong as it will be once exchanges become more efficient at price discovery. However, you can sometimes see lopsided action in the offers that are made in a market.
If more money is offered on one side of the market, that means there are deeper pockets willing to oppose you if you were to bet that side. It’s likely that the market is moving in that direction. Here’s a weak example, but an example nonetheless.
More money is being offered on the Under, meaning the money likes the Over. This game, Orioles/Red Sox has been flirting towards the over all day. It will likely continue moving in that direction unless there is news or information that pulls it in the other direction.
Making Offers Vs. Taking Offers
The major caveat when trying to play the role of the bookmaker on an exchange is you leave yourself open to being picked off when the market moves against you. It’s similar to attempting to sell options in an equity market. There are always sharks circling around waiting to catch you with a bad line and snatch up your offer before you can take it down or adjust.
My strong recommendation to anyone who wants to dabble with exchange betting is to be a market TAKER not a market MAKER. When you’re just taking the best price available you don’t have to sweat every tick as the market rises and falls.
If you do get involved with making markets, leave yourself some extra padding at first. Put up offers that exist with a little extra vig in your favor. Also, don’t leave your offer unattended. If you have to step away from your device for a while, take your offer down. It’s very risky putting up an offer on an overnight market and then checking back on it in the morning.
Making offers can be extremely profitable on a platform like Prophet Betting Exchange, but you need to understand the risks. For many, using an exchange to find profitable wagers and read market signals will be a huge boost to their betting. If you’re in New Jersey, or passing through, do yourself a favor and check out Prophet Betting Exchange.
Disclosure: Unabated has entered into a marketing agreement with Prophet Betting Exchange because we believe in the value of exchanges in the betting ecosystem. We maintain editorial independence and the views and opinions expressed are our own.