What do you need to start Sports Trading?

This article will look at what you need to start sports trading if you are a complete beginner such as betting exchange accounts, software, trading strategies and a bankroll.

What do you need to start Sports Trading?
What do you need to start Sports Trading?

What do you Need to Start Sports Trading?

Betting Exchange Accounts

The four main betting exchanges operating in Ireland and the UK are Betfair, Smarkets, Betdaq and Matchbook.

Although, as a beginner, you will mostly be using Betfair for your trading, it is a good idea to have at least one other betting exchange account so that if Betfair goes down, you can hedge your risk at another betting exchange.

At the time of writing this article, each of the four betting exchanges are offering free bet welcome offers so you can also take advantage of these.


Betfair is the biggest betting exchange in Ireland and the UK and has the best liquidity out of all the betting exchanges.

This makes it ideal for sports trading as with higher liquidity you will find it easier to exit your trades.

When you sign up for Betfair, you get to choose a rewards plan that comes with different perks and commission rates.

As a sports trader, you will want to opt for the basic rewards plan so you can benefit from the 2% commission rate as the perks you get with the other plans aren’t worth paying more in commission.

Betfair is currently offering a risk free €/£20 exchange bet to new customers signing up for a betting exchange account.

For more details on this offer, check out our guide on the Betfair Risk Free Sign Up Offer.


Smarkets is probably the best alternative to Betfair as it has good liquidity and a good selection of sports/markets to trade.

Smarkets is also very popular with matched bettors as many of the big matched Betting Sites have 0% commission deals in place with Smarkets so often you can get better odds as matched bettors are less price sensitive than sports traders and they will often take whatever lay price is on offer, rather than waiting for a better price.

Smarkets is currently offering all new customers a welcome bonus where they refund the first €/£10 you lose on their betting exchange.

Matchbook and Betdaq

I don’t personally use Matchbook or Betdaq to do any of my sports trading and I mainly signed up to get the free bets from their welcome offers.

Matchbook currently has a £/€15 Welcome offer and Betdaq have a £/€10 Welcome offer that you can take advantage of.

Sports Trading Software

If you are just starting out, you don’t necessarily need to get sports trading software and you can get by with using the website of the betting exchange to place your trades.

However, once you have gained some more experience, it is likely that you will want to get some sports trading software to help with your trading.

You can check out our article on the Best Sports Trading Software for our recommendations.

You may also be interested in our article on How to Automate your Sports Trading Strategies.

Sports Trading Strategies

We have lots of articles on Football and Tennis trading strategies that you can test out if you are a beginner such as Lay the Draw or Back the Favourite.

I wouldn’t spend any money on buying sports trading strategies until you have gained more experience as many of the strategies sold by sports trading gurus are available for free online.

Once you have gained some knowledge and experience, you can consider purchasing a portfolio of trading strategies like the one offered by the Goal Profits service.

A Separate Bankroll Dedicated to your Sports Trading

My recommendation for beginners is to start small and to paper trade for the first 100 trades of any strategy.

When you are first learning how to do sports trading, you are bound to make a mistake and you are much more likely to take greater risks on your trades than you should.

If you want to find out more about bankroll management, then check out our article on What Size Sports Trading Bank Should I Have?