The order book system will be new to users coming from many other betting platforms – it is the system used in financial markets and it is fundamental to the SportStack Matchday Exchange. Order books allow users to communicate their desire to buy and sell – they take your order and show it (along with others) to the rest of the userbase who can then decide whether they want to trade with you.
How does it work?
Say you want to buy 100 Marcus Rashford shares at 50p, you simply go on the market for Rashford, enter those details and confirm it. This buy order would go into the order book, £50 would leave your account (£0.50*100), and other users would be able to see it. Of course, every transaction requires a buyer AND a seller. Therefore other people will see your buy order for 100 Rashford on the sell side of their order book – the system has taken your request to buy and is offering it to other users to trade with if they want to.
When someone accepts an order that has been placed on the order book, this is called “matching”. If someone sells you the 100 Rashford shares you desire, your order has been matched.
When you check into the app and see shares available to buy and sell, those are the orders from every other trader out there, all being compiled into the order book. Take a look at the image below.
This is the market for Eddie Nketiah in a Manchester City vs Arsenal game. The top tiles show the market prices, which are the highest price you can sell at, and the lowest price you can buy it. The lower row of tiles shows the market depth at the current and adjacent prices. Market depth is simply how many shares are being bought or sold at each price. The blue Sell tile tells you that there are 399 shares available for you to sell at 30p – this is because other users have put up orders to buy 399 shares in Eddie Nketiah at 30p, and you’re being given the option to trade with these users. Similarly, the green Buy tile tells you there are 364 shares available for you to buy at 33p, because other users have orders in to sell 364 shares at that price.
Assume you decide to sell 399 shares at 30p, taking all of the liquidity at that price. The highest outstanding buy order then becomes 29p, where there are another 400 shares. The market would then display 29p as the market sell price.
Why should I care?
What does an order book offer that other systems do not? If you’re betting with a regular bookie, they offer you a price, eg Michail Antonio to score first at 8/1, and you simply decide whether to take it or not. On an order book, you can place an order at a price you like, so you can buy lower or sell higher.
Perhaps Nick Pope is available to buy at 42p, but that is a little too high for your liking. You can place a bid for him at 38p, and wait for your order to get matched. Maybe the price never goes that low and your order doesn’t get matched, but at least you haven’t paid more than you wanted to.
On the flip side, Kai Havertz might be available to sell at 44p. If you would like to sell at a higher price than that, you can place an order to do so, then kick back and watch the game.
Best price matching
The order book does work to help you maximise your profits somewhat. Imagine you want to buy James Rodriguez for 48p, and while you’re entering your order in the app, he gives away a foul and receives a yellow card. His payout would drop by 7p, and his price would drop by roughly the same amount. You don’t see this and click to confirm your order at 48p, even though you could now by James at, say, 42p. Fear not, as the order book will match your order to the best price available. This means it will allow you to buy as low as possible and sell as high as possible.
When you’re betting in-play, there is a five-second delay between you confirming your order and it being placed with the market. This is perfectly normal for betting platforms, as it prevents algorithms or traders with faster feeds getting ahead of other users, and helps to keep the playing field level. Beware though, as you cannot cancel an order during this countdown! Make sure you want to take the trade before hitting confirm.
Keep In Play toggle
When you place an order pre-game, if you’re not buying at the market price, you’ll see a toggle on the screen, reading ‘Keep in play’. If you press this so that the toggle illuminates, the order will remain open through kick-off, and it then becomes an in-play bet. If you leave the toggle switched off, the order will be cancelled if it is still open at kick-off and your money will be returned to your account.
Who am I trading against?
On the Matchday Exchange, many of the orders you see are put up by a liquidity provider. This is a company that trades with users in vast quantities, aiming to make small margins on massive volume (eg buy at 49p and sell at 51p). Liquidity providers are necessary in smaller markets where there aren’t (yet) enough users for the market to function smoothly. Ultimately their presence makes your user experience much better, but it shouldn’t matter to you whether you’re trading with a liquidity provider or another user, as long as you have someone to trade against!
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