Lay Bet

Our guide to lay betting covering the different lay betting sites, strategies, systems, as well as the common risks and some lay betting tips.

Exchange sites have become popular in recent years and these sites have created lay betting. Lay betting gives gamblers a chance to play bookmaker and set their own odds for other users of the exchange to bet with on sporting events.

Lay Betting Explained

When placing a bet on an exchange site you will be faced with two options, you can either place a back bet or a lay bet. If you decide to place a lay bet you will be betting against the outcome of a sporting event.

Therefore if you were to place a lay bet on Team A and Team A won you would have lost your lay bet. Any result that differs from Team A winning will result in a successful lay bet.

Lay Bet Examples

Imagine Southampton football club are playing Liverpool on the weekend and we see that that it is possible to lay Southampton with odds of 6.0.

A $10 bet will mean that you have a liability of $50. Therefore if your lay bet were to win you would return $60. The profit however is only determined by how much you stake. In this case, your profit will be $10.

If you were to bet on a heavy favourite the money you would be liable for would be less than the money you would return if the bet was successful.

Imagine we lay a bet on Barcelona to win at odds of 1.25. A $40 bet would mean that we have a liability of $10. In simpler terms, we are risking $10 to win $40. Therefore if Barcelona win we lose our liability of $10. If they lose however our lay bet will return $40.

Lay Betting Sites

Lay betting is only available on exchange sites and is key to making money from it. When you place a bet of any kind on an exchange site you are not betting against the bookmaker you are betting against other users of the exchange site.

How To Lay a Bet on Betfair

On Betfair, there is a sportsbook page and an exchange site. Firstly we will need to choose the exchange site to place a lay bet.

Then you will need to select the sports event you would like to bet on. You then will be presented with odds in a pink section and a blue section next to every potential outcome of the event. To place a lay bet you will need to select the pink option.

How To Lay a Bet on Smarkets

To place a bet on Smarkets you need to select the sports event you want to bet on then select the lay option on the right-hand side of the selection you want to select.

Then you will need to enter the amount you wish to stake. The maximum amount you will be allowed to stake will be listed below the selection. This number represents how much money has been matched at those current odds.

Lay Betting Risks

When placing a back bet or betting with traditional fixed odds you are only betting with the amount you are staking. With lay betting, the amount you are staking is not as important as the amount you are risking. Otherwise referred to as liability. Therefore you will have to be very cautious with the true cost of your bet.

Bankroll management is key in all forms of gambling but it especially applies to lay betting. It is important that you practice lay betting staking plans. This is a term used for managing how much money you stake on an individual race. For example, most systems would recommend that you bet with no more than 1% of your current bankroll.

Lay Betting Systems

Lay betting can be complicated. There are several risks involved and it will take some time to get used to. Therefore it is good to look at some strategies that can help you be successful.

Back-to-Lay Betting

Back to lay betting is the process of backing a sporting outcome and then laying the bet when the odds move in our favor. Basically placing two bets on the same outcome, one for and one against.

In order to make a profit, the lay odds have to be lower than the odds that the outcome was originally backed for. Your stake on both bets will influence the payout distribution.

If you place an equal amount of money on both bets you can only make money if your selection wins the race. However, if you decide to trade out you can make an equal amount of money regardless of the outcome.

Maria Laying System

The Maria laying system can help us with our bankroll management. The lady who created this system started with a bankroll of $3000 and these were the restrictions she set herself. As you can see the higher the odds the less money you should stake.

  1. Prices below 3.5: lay to 1% of bank
  2. Prices from 3.6 to 7.4: lay to 0.6% of bank
  3. Prices from 7.5 to 11: lay to 0.4% of bank
  4. Prices higher than 11 do not lay.

So, when starting off with a $3000 bankroll the maximum bet you can stake should be $30. This system is designed to limit risk and make sure your results are not too heavily skewed by just a few results.

Curve Betting

Curve betting involves the process of predicting the market. Recognizing the peak of the market is crucial in the exchange market and if this can be done correctly on a consistent basis it will be possible to make money.

Smarkets and Betfair both provide graphs for their users. With research and reliable software, many users make consistent profits by using this curve betting strategy. It is not an easy process to learn but it is considered to be one of the least risky strategies on the exchange sites.

Top 5 Best Lay Betting Tips

  1. Use a lay betting calculator: This way you know exactly what your liability will be for every bet and this, in turn, will help you with your bankroll management.
  2. Use trading software: This way you can monitor the market in a more sophisticated manner and seek a bigger edge.
  3. Scan other markets and set odds that are below what other bookmakers are offering. This way you are more likely to set odds with long-term value.
  4. Bet on pre-match markets: Odds are unlikely to fluctuate massively before a match is in play or before team news has been announced. Therefore betting pre-match will minimize your risk.
  5. Don't lay heavy undergods: This is because if the underdog wins it can be very costly and this strategy doesn't allow for any failure. One big loss would wipe out many successes.


Our answers to very common lay betting questions punters often have.

What is lay betting in horse racing?

When you place a lay bet on a horse for example you are betting against that horse to win.

If that horse does not win the race you would have won your lay bet.

How much do lay bets payout?

The payout of the lay bet will depend on how much you stake. It will not be how much you risk.

For example, if you were to stake $20 with a liability of $10, you would be set to make $20 if the bet was successful.

Who sets the odds for a lay bet?

The odds for a lay bet are set by other users of the exchange site.

Other users will set the odds they are looking to bet on and this will appear in the lay section.

How does lay betting work?

When you place a lay bet you are effectively playing bookmaker. You set the odds that you are willing to accept and when they are matched the bet will be in place.

Alternatively, you can lay odds that have already been set by another user if you believe they represent good value.

Can you make money lay betting on exchanges?

If done correctly you can make money from lay betting on exchange sites.

If you have a strategy and practice bankroll management then the chances of success increase.

What is Lay Betting Code?

Lay betting code is a popular system available that claims to help people place successful lay bets.

To be a member of Lay betting code you will have to pay a monthly fee and they will send you selections through email.

Lay betting allows you to bet against an outcome of a sporting event. This means that you can act like a bookmaker and set your own odds or match odds that appear attractive to you.