Understanding Greening

A few years ago greening up was all the rage as people hurried to Betfair when they heard of this miracle of being able to profit whatever happened in the race. It seems to have quietened down a bit now the realisation that if you get it wrong you can also lose whatever happens in the race (i.e. no chance of winning).

Having recently received a number of emails asking how this calculation is done I thought it was probably time to get an article up on the Race Advisor explaining what greening up is and how to go about calculating the bets required.

An Explanation

Greening up is the process of turning a profit / no loss situation on a runner into a profit on every runner. You get into the profit/no loss situation by trading a horse (or whatever sporting event you may be trading) successfully. Before the event starts you may have a profit of £100 if your traded selection wins and a loss of zero if it loses. However you may prefer to take a guaranteed profit of £20 whatever selection wins rather than letting all your hard trading work go to waste if the selection loses.

Calculating How Much To Bet

There are various pieces of software available that will allow you to green up at the push of a button but, as with most things, it is important to understand what is happening behind the scenes. If you are an inplay trader or trading in the last ten minutes then it is likely that you will need to use software for speed anyway. If you are a trader who takes longer positions in the morning and trades out before a race then it is likely that you will have time to work out the stakes required to green up if you do not want to use software.

Below is a theoretical image of a successful trade. You can see that successfully placing a back bet of £100 at odds of 4.00 and a lay bet of £100 at odds of 3.7 would give a profit on Boundaries of £28.50 if he were to win and a loss of £0 if he were to lose.

Now our trader decides that he wants to green up and take a profit on this race whatever happens. This will require placing another lay bet on Boundaries to spread out his profit. In order to calculate the amount he needs to lay he takes the profit of £28.50 and divides it by the odds currently available to lay. Let us say that the market has dropped and the lay odds are now at 3.7:

28.5 / 3.7 = 7.13

This means that we would need to lay an extra £7.13 in order to green up and make the same amount of profit no matter whoever wins.

That is all there is to it. A note is that if you have traded unsuccessfully and have a loss on a selection and want to spread this loss across all runners then you perform the same calculation but back the horse a second time instead of lay.

Today’s article should clear up any of the confusions that you may have had regarding greening up.

Michael Wilding

Michael started the Race Advisor in 2009 to help bettors become long-term profitable. After writing hundreds of articles I started to build software that contained my personal ratings. The Race Advisor has more factors for UK horse racing than any other site, and we pride ourselves on creating tools and strategies that are unique, and allow you to make a long-term profit without the need for tipsters. You can also check out my personal blog or my personal Instagram account.


  1. You can save a lot of headaches by using the Payout and Liability buttons in the Betfair Place Bets screen.

    Example = Place a back bet £2 at 2.88. After it has been matched – click to lay the same horse – Change the odds to 2.00 click the Payout Radio Button and in the drop down box that appears and enter the TOTAL of the RED and GREEN values. In this case £3.76p Green and £2 Red Tot = £5.76 the amount required to lay = £2.89. To give a GREEN BOOK.

    ALSO – If you want to convert your original BACK BET into a LAY BET the do the as above but this time click the Liability Button

    Practice it a few times and you’ll be ready at Off time


  2. I dont believe greening up to be a good betting strategy,and to prove my point here are the results of my tests,betting on favs using the X Feeder and its time machine on betfair poker.Dont worry about it being poker exactley the same would apply to betting on anything.
    Bet on 403 favs whos odds were less than 1.99 and greened up,did the same games again and didnt green up,
    Result With GU Lost 8.34 without GU Lost 36.96
    Did the same Odds 1.99 to 2.5 (1167 games)
    Result With GU Won 15 63 without Lost 77.22
    Did the same Odds 2.51 to 3 (1731 games)
    Resut With GU Won 50.67 Without GU Won 115.30
    Did the same Odds over 3 (897 games)
    Result With GU Lost 6.51 without GU Won 19.37

    The total of all this was
    With GU Won 51.45
    Without GU Won 20.49
    Total Games 4198 which would take 11.66 days playing 24 hours per day to complete without a robot.
    This also proves that you cant beat Betfair the odds are spot on unless you call winning 51.45 pounds a good result for playin 280 hours.It works out at 18p an hour.
    Good Luck

  3. My Apologies it was 4198 games played twice,once with and once without,thats double the time,560 hours,

  4. I agree Jim – It isn’t gambling its a TRADING STRATEGY – with that I mean it is part of a traders financial plan – based on the P&L.

    I use it only in certain circumstances such as today – My selection Red Riverman is 2.78 and the place bet is too low to bother with. Now another horse in the race is Man of the Match ( according to the odds ) is in with a good chance- I solve my dilemma by greening up – Instead of betting that my selection will win – I green up with expectation that win or lose it will RUN WELL and I will get a little back – BUT more importantly, my bank will remain in tact and available to fight another day.

    In summary i would say that greening up is a skill that can be used in certain situations.


  5. I don’t think that you can compare the Betfair exchange poker with sports betting because when playing poker perfect odds can be calculated (and are) by the bots that provide the liquidity in the games market. Because they are providing perfect odds it makes it impossible (as far as I know) to win long term on them.

    In the sports betting markets the liquidity is provided by other punters which means that the odds are not perfect and that is why we can take a profit in them. I agree though that greening up definitely needs to be part of your strategy building from the beginning in order to make it work effectively.

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