Exposure Betting Term Meaning


Exposure is not the most common betting term; probably because it relates more to the bookmaker than the punter, but if you’re keen to start betting, it’s useful to know what betting exposure means and how you can benefit from it.

The betting term exposure is the amount of money a bookmaker stands to lose on any particular event or wager. In other words, the amount of loss they will be exposed to. 

The size of the exposure for any event depends on the monetary value of the bets taken for the markets offered and also the odds that are given. For example, the exposure would be low for a match in the 4th division of a football league where most punters are betting small amounts of money on the favourite. Even if the favourite doesn’t win, the bookmaker won’t have to pay out much cash in comparison to its overall turnover. 

When a larger event is attracting a lot of action with people betting on the underdog, the exposure would be higher. In that example, if the underdog were to win, the bookmaker would have a lot of punters needing to be paid. 

In a scenario like this, if some information has come to light that would affect the bets coming in, a sportsbook may choose to reduce the exposure by setting the odds so they are more favourable towards the bookmaker, known as moving the line. If they feel the risk is too great, they could limit their exposure by circling the game. 

In most cases, the bookmaker will have set the odds in such a way that the exposure is limited no matter what the outcome of the match may be. The ideal scenario here is that the losing bets pay off the exposure and the bookmaker is left with a healthy amount of profit. 

Of course, this is not always the case and upsets do happen. Many times an outsider has overcome the favourite and the bookmakers have lost a lot of money. To make sure all the punters get paid, especially in the case of a global sporting event, bookmakers need to have a huge float of cash on hand at all times.

If you’ve ever used a betting exchange, such as the one at Betfair, you’ll have seen the ‘liability’ calculation in the bet slip. This is essentially the same as the bookmaker’s exposure; the amount of money that has to be paid out should that bet come in.