Lay Betting Guide

Lay Betting Guide

When you bet on something, you are usually betting on it to win, or maybe place. Lay betting is the exact opposite of this. Instead of betting on a competitor to win, you are betting on the competitor to lose.

This is known as “laying a bet”. If you bet on a horse to lose a race, you “laying a horse”.

When a punter lays a bet on an event, it is usually only worthwhile if the odds for the event happening are very short.

Say Manchester United are playing a lower-league side in a cup tie. The odds of Manchester United winning are of course, short. The odds of the other team winning are long, but it may be more worth laying on Manchester United, rather than betting on the other team to win.

Which Betting Companys Offers Lay Betting?

Traditional bookmakers do not tend to be keen on taking lay bets. A bookie loves nothing more than when a favourite doesn’t win – they make far more money than when it does win.

However, paying out to punters who laid the bet eats into such profits, and the winnings paid out to successfully laid bets are often greater than the winnings paid out to those who backed the favourite. This is because as the odds for a favourite winning are usually short, and the odds of a favourite losing are consequently long.

When it comes to finding somewhere to play a bit of lay betting, it’s best to stick to exchange apps like the Betfair exchange and the Betdaq app. A betting exchange differs from a bookmaker, into a betting exchange “connects” punters who wish to bet on the same event, but with opposing outcomes.

One will want the event to happen (such as a horse winning), whilst the other will want the event not to happen. Whoever wins is determined by the outcome of the event. Betting exchanges make their money by charging a commission for every bet.

Lay betting example

lay-bettingIs Lay Betting Right For Me?

To decide this, you need to understand how lay betting works. Say, for example, you spot that a horse has odds to win for a race of 1-3. You consider that these odds are too short for that horse as it has little chance of winning. You choose to lay the horse for a £1 stake.

If the odds of the horse winning are 1-3, then the odds of it losing are 3-1. If you win (i.e. the horse loses), you will receive £4 back (winnings+stake), if you lose, you lose your stake.

Things work differently at betting exchanges when it comes to lay betting, as you become the bookmaker. You offer a stake and a price for an event NOT to happen. Say you offer Everton beating Chelsea at 10-1 for a stake of £10. Someone else accepts the bet. If you win (i.e. Chelsea win) then you win the stake of £10. If you lose (i.e. Everton win) then you have to pay out £90 ((the stake x the price you offered) – the stake).


Lay betting is not for the faint-hearted nor the casual gambler. You really need to be on top of your game at betting exchanges, as you in effect become the bookmaker. Of course, bookmakers make tidy profits in the long run, but that’s only because they are the experts. If you offer a bet and get the odds wrong, and an unlikely scenario happens, then you could be liable for a lot of money. Lay betting is a tidy way of making a regular profit, but only if you know what you are doing.