Lay Betting – A basic look at the basics

A quick overview of Lay betting

Trading at Betting Exchanges

You have probably come across a Back and Lay betting system and that is basically matched betting. It is where you go and place a normal bet, backing an outcome to happen. Let’s say for example a Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester City.

You may fancy the Londoners to get the win so you place a stake on Chelsea to win. That is backing the Blues to win and that is the only outcome on that bet single that you want to happen and can have to happen to get a return.

Lay betting is just the opposite of that. By Laying Chelsea in this example you are betting against Chelsea to win. So there’s a big difference because you are now looking at one of the other two outcomes on the match to happen, as long as Chelsea don’t win the game.

So what you can do is employ a Back and Lay system, where you do go and back Chelsea to win the game, but then laying off bets against them winning. This is something that you can do easily at betting exchanges like Betfair.

The Breakdown of Laying

We get that it can look a little bit complicated especially when you are looking on screen at a betting extending and are seeing a bunch of numbers thrown at you. Basically, on an exchange like Betfair, you are going to see a column of blue boxes giving you the prices on Backing on each of the three outcomes of a match. Next, to that, you have a column of Pink numbers which are the Lay Options.

So next to Chelsea you have for example a price of 3.15 to Back or 3.2 to Lay them. So you make your choice. You either back the Blues to take the win in the match or you go and Lay them and hope that they don’t win (not lose necessarily, just not win). So that is the basics of it really and how Lay betting can help you out with some options. But then you can take it forward and do your matched betting.

Matching a Bet

The quickest and simplest way to figure out a matched bet is to use an online calculator. It is just so quick and you won’t waste time trying to figure anything out. Keeping with an example of Chelsea winning the game. If you were to go and Back them to win, then you would need to lay off that bet as well. That’s all that matched bets are. Laying off every bet that you make.

There may now be the burning question of “Why do that?”

Well, by coming up with matched bets you are creating situations where you are limiting your losses. Let’s look at the scenario where we back Manchester United at 9.4 to win the Premier League. They get off to a flying start for the new season and those odds catch up and the next time you look halfway through the term they are going well and the odds have fallen let’s say to 5.4 odds. But they are now down to 5.6 odds to Lay.

  • Say you had a £10 stake on the Red Devils at 9.4 odds to win the Premier League
  • Now you see an opportunity later in the season to Lay them at 5.6 odds
  • If you were to Lay £16.94 now on United at that Price (which is saying that they WON’T win the league)…
  • Then you will find yourself in a position of winning £6.08 if they do and £6.09 if they don’t.
  • Tip – just use a matched bet calculator to figure out how much you need to lay.


That’s a scary old word. What is Liability? Let’s clear that sucker out of the way first.

We back Romelu Lukaku to score first in a United match with a £10 stake. Our liability was £10. That was all that we stood to lose.

However, when you Lay a bet, you are aiming to win £10 so let’s say you Lay Lukaku at 4.0 odds in the first goalscorer market. You multiply the stake by the odds and which is £30 and you add on the initial Lay stake which is £10 so that is your liability.

If he then doesn’t score first in the game you will win £10 (minus a Lay commission). If you were to lose than that would be a costly liability that it cost you.

But of course, there we come back full circle to match betting because you could have backed Lukaku to score first, even if it was at another bookmaker for a great price and then went to an exchange and played the Lay option on him. Doing that, eliminates the Liability of a straight single Lay bet.


So Laying bets give you a great option to basically cut down on risk. That’s really the upshot of it all. It is a practice which can be very nuanced and the application of it when it comes to live in-play betting are huge. Imagine you have backed Chelsea to beat Manchester United but 35 minutes into the match they are 1-0 down. Naturally, the odds on the Blues winning the game are going to drift a bit. So you could lay them at the point to try and eliminate some of the losses that you would incur if the Blues didn’t recover.

The other application is that if the game is tied still 0-0 at 60 minutes it could be a time to think about Laying the draw, banking on someone to score. You could lay the draw before the start of the game and wait for a goal to be netted and then go and get a bit of Hedge betting down on the other outcomes in the match to try and pick up profit. Another strategy would be to lay the correct score. Really the scenarios in which to deploy some Lay betting are endless.

It is a supremely useful tool and we can only recommend doing as much research as possible on the subject, looking at different strategies and finalising your own plans. It is something that you will get the more out of the more time that you put into figuring it all out.