Lay betting is quite simply betting on an outcome you think will not happen.
In football this is a new and increasingly profitable area for punters to take advantage of. Many tipsters now provide football betting tips advising to back against (laying) a team from winning, or in some instances backing against or ‘laying’ the draw as they believe either side will win instead of the match finishing all square.
Lay betting is also particularly popular in horse racing as it is often much easier to lay or bet against a horse than selecting the winning runner and rider.
Lay Betting Explained
Lay betting is common on betting exchanges and works when two punters have opposing views. When odds are agreed this then becomes a matched bet. The odds therefore that punters are willing to bet on are usually much higher than traditional bookmakers and betting exchanges notoriously have better odds.
If we take an example of an English Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool.
If you want to make £10.00 and think Manchester United will not win (i.e. Liverpool win or a draw) then the best price in which to lay Manchester United is at 2.05. If the match ends in a draw or a Liverpool victory then you will win £10.00, but if Manchester United win then your loss or liability will be £10.50.
If you think Liverpool will not win (Manchester United win or draw) then the best price in which to lay Liverpool is 3.70. If the match ends in either a Manchester United victory or a draw then you will win £10.00. If Liverpool win then your potential loss and liability is £37.00 as this is a much more unlikely result and outcome.
Lay Betting Explained – ‘Trading’ for a Guaranteed Profit
One of the advantages of lay betting and betting exchanges is the potential to guarantee a profit through back-lay sports arbitrage. This involves betting on both outcomes (backing and laying) so that your total liability or loss is less than your total return or profit. This can occur as individuals have varying opinions and thus odds on a result or outcome. Differences in odds may also be brought about by a number of factors such as team news, injuries, suspensions and the starting eleven.
Lay betting can also be used as part of a long term betting strategy. For example, Everton traditionally finish the Premier League season strongly and usually achieve a top half finish. Backing Everton to achieve a top half finish whilst their odds are higher when they are in the bottom half of the Premier League table early in the season and then laying Everton when they have climbed up the table and are more assured of a top half finish should also guarantee punters a profit.
Lay betting can also work on in play betting markets. For example having backed Arsenal prior to kick off in the game against Newcastle in the 2010/2011 Premier League season, Arsenal found themselves 4-0 up away at St James Park. Laying the Arsenal win might and could have guaranteed many punters a guaranteed profit with the right stake levels as anything other than an Arsenal win seemed extremely unlikely. Newcastle famously came back and drew the game 4-4.
Many sportsbooks now offer ‘Draw No Bet’ and ‘Double Chance’ markets as an alternative to lay betting.
Literature on lay betting explained is available on most betting exchange websites. The leading football betting exchange in the UK is Betfair.