Understanding Lay Betting

Lay betting is another one of those betting terms that sounds somewhat funny. The meaning of lay betting is merely placing a bet that you think will not happen. 

Lay betting, which is what a bookmaker does essentially, can be found on betting exchanges. Betting exchanges are where “punters” can back and sell these picks. 

Top Tips For Lay Betting

When making a strategy for lay betting, you need to be able to find some quick tips to point you in the right direction. As such, you want to be able to put together a winning strategy. The top tips for lay betting are:

  • How to lay a bet
  • Your liability
  • Laying off a bet
  • Bankroll

How To Lay A Bet

Lay betting means you are betting on something not to happen. For example, let us use football. 

If you lay on a football team to win on your bet, you will only win if that team loses the game or the game ends in a draw. For this, two different outcomes are going in your favor. 

Another example is lay betting horses. If you are lay betting on a horse, you win your bet if any other horse wins the race besides the one you put a lay on. 

You are basically the bookie now in this situation. This unique process is done, as mentioned above, on betting exchanges. You are simply putting odds out there, and other bettors are either betting against you or buying in. 

Your Liability 

Since you are playing bookie on betting exchanges, you are liable for when your lay bets go against you, and you have to pay out. Being liable means the amount you could lose in a worst-case type of scenario. 

Let us use the horse racing example from above again:

If the horse you bet against actually wins the race, then you lose. You have to pay the backer their winnings, which could ultimately be a lot more than their original stake. It is very important that you monitor how much you are going to be liable for. 

Laying Off A Bet

Now that we have the basics of lay betting out of the way, we will dive deeper and lay off the lay bet. This sounds like a tongue twister and possibly even more confusing, but here is why: you are now betting against something that you have just previously backed. 

Say you are betting on a soccer event and back Team A to win the event. During the game, they take off and lead early with a surprising 3-0 lead. The odds on Team A to win the game have shrunk. 

You now have the option to lay off this bet. By laying the same bet as backed, you are betting on two different scenarios. You are betting for it to happen and not to happen. This allows you to take a reduction but a guaranteed earnings amount. 


As with any gambling, you are subject to playing with money. With lay betting, you need to understand that you are playing bookie here and that you are liable for when you have to pay out the backer. 

It is because of this that your bankroll will be subject to paying out someone. You obviously cannot pay out more than what is in your account, but you also cannot let yourself get to that point. 

You should definitely keep a very close watch on your liabilities in your lay bets and how much you could lose if your bets go against you. Lay bets are unique in their own right but could be very costly all at one time.

Understanding Lay Betting FAQ

Is lay betting guaranteed to win?
No bet is ever guaranteed to win, not unless you bet on every single possible outcome. By doing that, it kind of defeats the purpose of making money on your bets. Do not get sucked into seeing a betting system online that offers guaranteed methods of winning any bets all the time or showing you how much money they made. Bets are speculative and volatile. The outcomes can change in the blink of an eye, and there is no way to possibly predict this.
How can I put this strategy to the test?
To practice what you have learned and to put his strategy to the test, you can try your luck with writing it down. Find an event you want to lay and the money amount you would have wagered. Look at how the other side, the backer, might have bet and what your liability would look like. Once the event is over, see how you did. Look for things to work on in case it turns out bad or needs improving.
What is a betting exchange?
A betting exchange is somewhat like a stock market for gamblers. This allows you to lay bets. You can buy or sell any given outcome of sporting events. You can also trade in or out of an event while it is ongoing. This is where the laying off a bet comes into play, in the example above, where you bet on both Team A to win and not win. These unique scenarios happen on betting exchanges.
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