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Lay Betting Strategy – A Comprehensive Guide

lay betting

Lay Betting Strategy

Unlike traditional sports betting – where a wager will be placed on an event occurring – lay betting involves placing wagers on something not happening. For example, placing a wager on a horse not to win a race or a football team not to win a game. 

Thanks to the surge in betting exchange markets, the popularity surrounding lay betting has rapidly grown. With more flexibility and additional benefits available for bettors, it’s a bet-type with advantages that sports fans are keen to take advantage of.   

But there’s more to lay betting than the basic definition. In our comprehensive guide to lay betting, you’ll learn the fundamentals, understand systems and learn the importance of strategy in lay betting. 

Understanding the Fundamentals of Lay Betting

Lay betting occurs primarily on betting exchanges rather than traditional online bookmakers. A bet placed will not be made against the bookmaker, but rather against another bettor who believes the opposite result. 

For example, if a bettor believes that Liverpool will lose their upcoming match, they will be matched against a bettor that believes they will win. If you’re a winner, they’ll pay your earning but if you’re a loser, you’ll pay their earnings. 

Depending on the chosen bookmaker, players may be able to choose their own odds – opening the door to massive profits. The bookmaker will take a small percentage of the bet to cover their fee. 

Different Lay Betting Systems

There are many different lay betting systems (bulleted below) available for bettors to use: 

  • Matched Betting
  • Value Betting
  • Arbitrage
  • Trading in-play
  • Sequential Lay Betting
  • Hedging 

Different lay bets are best used in different sports. It takes time to develop your strategy and to learn which type of bet performs best in different events.

Laying Horses Strategies

Laying of a favourite

The laying of a favourite is one of the simplest lay-betting strategies in horse racing. 

The idea is to place a bet on the favourite to win the race – the strategy is to evaluate whether the odds are too low. This technique is research-heavy and involves collecting data on recent races, the weather, opponents, and any other information available to the public on the day. 

There’s the chance to make great profits – potentially before the race starts. But it is a time-consuming method with deep research. 

Laying the field 

The laying-the-field strategy is one that focuses on losing horses rather than the winners. 

Start by selecting the lay-all function before removing one-to-two horses that are favourites to win the race. If you place the lay bet on the whole field the profit will be minimal. 

This type of lay bet is excellent where there is no clear favourite to win the race and the profit can be huge. However, the profits when selecting all are minimal and it can be challenging to get at least three matched bets.

Football Lay Betting Strategies

Lay the Draw

The lay-the-draw strategy is a simple and popular lay bet used in football that involves placing a bet on an equal final result. 

As soon as the favourites score the first goal, the price of the draw will rise and bettors can close their trades for a profit. If, however, the game does finish with a draw, the bet will settle as a loss. 

The idea is to look for mismatched games that are unlikely to end in a draw. As long as the game finishes with an uneven result, you win the bet. 

Building Your Own Lay Betting Strategy

Understanding the markets

Choosing the right sport and event for lay betting. Focus on sports that you know about and are genuinely interested in. 

Analysis and research

The role of data and statistics in lay betting must be addressed. Use the information available to you to influence your betting strategy. 

Risk management

Set the right stake and maintain a balanced betting portfolio. Managing risk is vital for a successful lay betting strategy. 

Emotional control

Avoid common psychological traps in betting. Avoid making rash decisions and foolish actions. If the fun stops, stop. 

Best Tools and Resources for Successful Lay Betting

There is a huge number of tools and resources available for successful lay betting strategies.

Top platforms that allow lay betting include Smarkets, Betfair, Betdaq and Matchbook. These betting exchanges are vital for lay betting and offer additional functions and flexibility that are impossible in a traditional bookmaker. 

Sports data and analytics services are other valuable tools that should form a key component of any strong lay betting strategy.  

Practical Tips for Lay Betting

One of the most common mistakes to avoid in lay betting is to place the lay bet before the back bet. 

It is vital that bettors place their back bet before placing a lay bet as the liability is larger than the stake. If the back bet does not go through, there is an unprotected lay bet with the potential to cause trouble as it may not be covered. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you place a back and lay bet?

A back and lay bet essentially allows the bettor to act as the bookmaker. 

By first placing a back bet, the bettor is wagering that something will happen. By placing a lay bet, the bettor is wagering that something will not happen. This type of betting is offered on betting exchange sites. 

Do All Bookmakers Accept a Lay Bet?

Lay betting is typically offered on betting exchange sites rather than traditional bookmakers. The exchange site will match users with each other than believe in opposite outcomes for the bet. 

Lay betting is entirely legal and there are no laws or rules preventing the betting practice in the UK.

What are the Advantages of Lay Betting?

The main advantage of lay betting lies in the number of outcomes that are impossible with a traditional bookmaker. 

For example, lay betting can allow users to either lock in a profit or cut their losses across all outcomes, similar to the stock exchange. 

What are the Disadvantages of Lay Betting?

Compared to other types of sports betting, there are minimal disadvantages to lay betting – the only drawbacks lie in the strategy challenges. 

What is Liability in Lay Betting?

The liability in lay betting is the second number you’re likely to see when placing a bet. The first number is the stake, or how much you’re willing to wager, the second is the liability and is the amount required to pay if the bet is incorrect.