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What Does Lay Mean in Betting?

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What Does Lay Mean in Betting?

Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:11 am

A lay bet is not the easiest thing for your average online sports bettor to understand. However, if you follow this guide, we will help you grasp the basic concepts behind this exciting new way to wager online. The first step to doing so is to understand what a lay bet is and how it works. Without further ado, let us get started.

What Is a Lay Bet?
At its most basic, a lay bet is a wager that something will NOT happen in a sporting event. Most bookmakers offer you the ability to back an event, which essentially means that you are betting that an outcome will occur, such as Team A beating Team B. They seldom give you the chance of betting on Team B losing. Betting on Team A to win is not the same as placing a lay bet on Team B to lose. What if the footy match ends in a draw?

Virtually all lay bets are found at exchanges, not sportsbooks. These sites allow you to “be the bookie”. They allow you to lay a bet (bet on something not happening) if you can find people who are prepared to back your wager (bet on the opposite occurring). This is also known as arbitration betting.

A Basic Example
Arguably the best way to explain this complicated type of wager is to provide you with an example.
Chelsea and set to take on Liverpool. Ordinarily, a bookmaker will offer you odds on either Chelsea or Liverpool winning or a draw. These are “back” bets. A bookmaker will not allow you to “lay” a bet. If you choose to lay a bet, you are predicting that either Chelsea or Liverpool will not win the match. As you can imagine, this includes the draw.

If you were to lay a bet on Chelsea, then Chelsea loses and draws the match, you will win your bet. However, this can only occur if somebody else accepts your lay and backs Chelsea to win. You effectively become the bookie for this bet.

How Do I Lay a Bet?
To lay a bet, you must first visit an exchange. Once there, you can select the market that interests you. Check the best lay prices and odds. The shorter the price you wish to wish for, the less money you will risk compared to your potential winnings.

Other bettors will then choose to “back” your lay bet. If they are triumphant, you must pay them their winnings. If you win, you pocket all their stakes. Of course, this is a considerably basic way to look at it, but that is roughly what you need to know.

Learn About Lay Betting
It is imperative that you read up on laying bets in detail before trying anything too risky. You are essentially the bookmaker for lay bets. It is vital that you understand that the formula for betting with lay bets is different from conventional sports bets (backing outcomes).
For instance…
- At a conventional sportsbook, you can back a horse to win at odds of 5/1. If you wager £10 on that horse, and it wins, you will win £50. That is simple enough to grasp.
However, when you lay bets, the formula is reversed.
- At an exchange, you are placing a lay bet on a horse not to win. To win just £10, you must risk £50.
Because you are taking on the mantle of a bookmaker, you should be doubly careful where you put the decimal point when you lay bets. If you are not careful, you could end up risking an awful lot of money. Fortunately, most reputable exchanges protect you from this by only allowing you to risk (bet) what is in your account.

Top Tips for Laying Bets Online
It sounds effortless to pick any horse not to win, right? However, placing successful lay bets is a lot trickier than it sounds. To help you understand and better hone your skills, we have put together a few top tips for laying bets online.
- You need to head to a betting exchange to lay bets. Very few online bookmakers (if any at all) permit you to lay bets.
- A lay bet is wagering that an outcome will not happen, but this is not the same as simply backing one team over another.
- Lay bets typically offer smaller dividends than your stake. This means that if you lay a bet at £5, your potential winnings may only be 1.25, for example.
- While you can regularly win if you place skilful lay bets, you will not accumulate a large sum of cash quickly. You will only make small profits with average lay bets. Moreover, if you want to win large sums straight away, you will need to risk immense sums of cash.
- There is virtually no point in laying bets with small odds. You will receive next to nothing in terms of winnings.
- We would always recommend that you use a lay bet calculator before attempting to wager at exchanges. This will showcase your potential return, but also your liability, or in other words, the amount of money you stand to throw away if things go pear-shaped.
- We also do not recommend that you lay favourites. Of course, these would generate a massive windfall if they came good. However, this requires a lot of punters to take your action and back your lay. However, favourites are favourites for a reason, so you will most likely lose out here.
- If nobody matches your wager (by backing), and there is plenty of money left in the market, then you may end up having your stake returned. However, each exchange deals with unmatched bets differently.

The final piece of advice we have for you is this - read. You need to understand and study liability (the amount you are risking), liquidity (the amount of money available to back or lay in any given market), and profit before engaging in lay betting. There are plenty of resources out there for you to peruse, and many betting exchanges have walkthroughs and tools to help you better understand the basics.

Have a look at our hedging calculator: portal/hedging-calculator/
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Re: What Does Lay Mean in Betting?

Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:29 am

All this not to be confused with the expression "lay the points" (quite popular in America), which means that you bet on the favourite to cover the point spread . The opposite is "buy the points", when you take the underdog with + handicap.
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Re: What Does Lay Mean in Betting?

Wed Oct 13, 2021 11:25 am

we can say that lay is also betting for example "Barcelona vs Real Sociedad", if I bet X2 its the same as laying Barcelona, under 2.5 goals is lay over 2.5 goals, right? what is the real difference?
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Re: What Does Lay Mean in Betting?

Wed Oct 13, 2021 1:10 pm

it's the same thing, S3kt0r. There's no difference in your example. However usually on the exchanges you could get slightly better odds.
in sports with multiple participants like golf, horse racing, greyhounds etc. it's much easier to lay one of the participants if you don't like his chances. You can't back 99 golfers to win the tournament, just because you don't like the chances of golfer №100, can't you? :)

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