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Lay Betting Explained

Lay Betting - © foodinaire - Fotolia.com

It used to be that betting was fairly straightforward. However, of late there are new permutations to the sport of betting. One of the more recent developments that is quite popular but not widely understood is what is commonly known as Lay Betting. Naturally, there is a simple explanation for lay betting, and then there are the more complicated realities of lay betting.

We’ll start with the counterintuitive but straightforward explanation. A ‘Lay’ bet is a bet that something is not going to win or not going to happen. Your best mate can bet all he likes that Man United is going all the way this year, and you can lay bet against him the whole time. You can also use it to bet against individual players instead of teams. For example, you could place a lay bet that David Beckham won’t make a single goal while he’s out on loan, or that Peyton Manning will fail to throw three touchdowns.

Now, I’ve been using both kinds of football as examples, but lay betting really came into its own with horse racing. Even now, the most creative betting happens at the track and lay betting is most common there. In part this is caused by the greater variety of outcomes offered at the track that other sports lack. In football one is either the winner or the loser. Horses can be first, last, place, not place, and so on.

One important thing to remember about lay betting that separates it from more traditional betting is that your odds are mirrored. For example, if the favourite holds odd of 3/1, then your odds are 1/3. Payouts are according to odds in the same fashion as a traditional bet.

Another important thing to remember when lay betting is that you are playing the part of the bookie. Thus, if your instinct is wrong and your bet goes awry, you have to pay out as would the bookie. So unlike a traditional punter who is simply out the money when the bet doesn’t work out, the lay better needs to keep a sharp watch on their liability for the bet. A simple bet for a 10/1 favourite to lose becomes a 1/10 liability if the favourite does indeed win.

For this reason, the casual wager should probably be a traditional bet. Lay betting is not for the faint-hearted or risk averse.

If you want to give it a chance, we recommend to open an account at Betfair or Smarkets and try your first lay bet.

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