Betfair (exchange) operates differently from a traditional bookmaker. The platform allows punters to back and lay (bet against) a horse and the odds are set by those two opposing camps. Users of the Exchange benefit from more competitive odds than you can find at the traditional bookies.
Back & Lay 1.01
Betfair also allows you to bet ‘in-play’ – in other words, as the event is happening. In-play betting can lead to some extremely high odds and surprisingly low odds. The infamous Betfair 1.01 is the shortest price you can back a horse at. You typically see these low odds ‘in-play’ when it’s deemed by punters that a horse can’t be beaten. In effect, you’re risking £100 to win £1.
Why would anyone back at such short odds? Well, plenty of punters see this as ‘buying money’; in other words, they can’t lose!
It’s not uncommon for horses to trade at 1.01 on Betfair if they have a huge lead in a race. However, those horses can lose, and often do.
1.01’s Can Lose And Do!
Follow a few simple rules if you fancy trying the 1.01 strategy. Don’t back horse if you get a sniff of infringement, alternatively, it could be a great lay if you spot something early in the race that you think the stewards won’t like.
If there has been any interference a stewards inquiry, will be held and the winning horse can have it’s victory revoked and your sure thing goes down the drain.
You will often see 1.01’s on Betfair when a horse gets a big lead in a race. It’s worth remembering in a steeplechase or hurdle race; a tired horse can make a mistake and fall. Even when there’s no fence to jump, remember Devon Loch!
Big 1.01 Losers
From 2009 to 2011 (Flat and jumps racing), nearly 140,000 horses were matched at 1000.0 in-play, and 108 of them went on to win. During the same period, 28,000 horses got matched at 1.01 and 387 of them got beaten.
Horse racing isn’t the only sport where canny punters can take advantage of the infamous 1.01 odds. At the London Nitto ATP Finals in 2019, Rafa Nadal was 5-1 down to Daniil Medvedev. £188,000 was lumped on the Russian at 1.01 when Medvedev was just one point away from winning. Famously, Nadal fought back and secured an unlikely victory.
The King of Clay is quoted as saying he got ‘super lucky’ to beat Medvedev and interestingly claimed ‘this match is one of those that one out of 1000 you win’. Not much consolation for those who lost their shirts on Medvedev!
In short, betting 1.01 can be a profitable strategy, but it comes with significant risk too.