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Andrew O'Malley

Lay betting brings something a bit different to the table than the traditional types of bookmakers that most people will have experience with. You are getting access to a lot more possibilities when you start to consider lay betting. This allows you to not just bet in favor of a selection, but you can also bet on something not happening. Therefore, you might bet on the Sydney Swans not winning the AFL Grand Final thanks to lay betting. This guide will look at all of the core aspects involved with placing lay bets and the best platforms on which you can make these types of wagers.

What is Lay Betting?

Lay betting allows you to act as the bookie. You are betting that a certain outcome is not going to happen. For example, you might think that the Sydney Swans are not going to win the AFL for the upcoming season. You will lay Sydney Swans in this market.

Lay betting is available as part of sports betting exchanges. These platforms are nowhere near as common as traditional sportsbooks. However, they are regularly used by experienced bettors who are looking to have as much flexibility as possible with their betting approach.

How Does Lay Betting Work?

When you visit a sports betting exchange, you can choose your preferred sport and particular fixture as you would with a regular sportsbook. However, you will then see something a bit different. You will see the best odds that you are able to back a given bet happening, as well as the best odds if you want to bet against this outcome.

The best odds for backing an outcome will usually be colored blue and the lay bet option will be colored red. You simply add the type of bet you want to make to your betslip and then enter the stake you wish to place.

betfair lay betting

If you back a certain event happening, this will work the same as a normal type of bet. If you win, you will get your stake back, as well as the profit. However, if you lay a bet you need to be aware of the liability. As you are acting as the house, you will need to pay out if the bet is actually successful for the backer.

Betfair Lay Betting Explained

betfair australiaBetfair is the name that is synonymous these days with lay betting. As well as having a traditional sportsbook, many experienced bettors use Betfair due to its popular exchange. This allows you to place and lay bets with your peers. This exchange is probably the most liquid out of any options that are on the market today, especially when it comes to Australian bettors.

After you sign up for an account and deposit funds, you will be ready to get started. You choose what sport and specific fixture you want to bet on and you will see the options that are currently available for that fixture. The options are divided into boxes, with blue representing you backing an event happening, while the pink refers to a lay bet.

The prices that are in the white boxes are other prices that people have placed bets at, but they are not the most optimal odds at that given moment in time. The monetary figure that you will see shows the total liquidity available at that given set of odds. This is the total amount you will be paid out by the people if the bet is a loser. You have the ability to offer any odds when laying a bet. However, you want to offer odds that are somewhat realistic, or else your bet will not get matched. Betfair has a useful lay betting alculator that allows you to quickly figure out what your liability will be for a given bet if it is a loser.

As soon as you choose what bet you want to place, you then choose your stake. If it is a lay bet, you will be deciding the total stake that another bet can place on this market. Therefore, if the odds for a bet that you are laying is 2.72, then you will have a $172 loss if someone places a $100 bet and they are successful. If your lay bet is a winner in this instance, then your payout will be $272. You also need to consider the commission, which is normally 5% of your winnings.

Overall, Betfair makes it very easy for people to get started with lay betting. They have detailed guides on their site explaining all of the key features on the platform, as well as outlining some key Betfair lay betting strategies. Getting started today and trying this out for yourself is a great way to quickly learn the ropes.

What is the Lay Bet Liability?

It is important that you are always aware of the exact liability that you have when it comes to lay betting. If you are placing a regular type of sports bet, you will just lose the stake if your bet is not successful. However, if you make a lay bet, then you will have a liability in case the backer is successful and you have to pay out on this wager.

You are acting as the bookie in this instance. Therefore, you are paying out the winnings on a successful bet. For example, if you lay a horse in a race at odds of 3.00 and the stake that the backer places is $20, your liability is going to be $10.

Why is There Commission on Back and Lay Betting?

With traditional bookies, they make their money by setting the markets in such a way that they are almost certain to make a profit in the long run. However, when you are acting as the bookie on a sports betting exchange, the platform provider needs a way to make their own return.

Therefore, they will usually charge you a commission on all winning bets. The size of the commission will vary from operator to operator, with certain types of bets having more commission charged than others at times.

Lay Betting Strategy 

When it comes to any form of betting, there are going to be different approaches and strategies to follow. Some people have success with one system, whereas others end up not seeing much profits from following a similar approach. Therefore, it is a good idea to try out a variety of different strategies before seeing which performs the best for you.

Some people think that lay betting appears to be an easy way to make money. However, it is not the case in reality. You can quickly rack up big losses if you do not respect the art that is involved with lay betting. However, this should not put you off trying out lay betting, as it has many great advantages that you can use in your favor. Here are some of the most popular and best lay betting systems and strategies that you can incorporate for both football and horse racing lay betting:

Football Lay Betting System

Soccer bettingThere are many different ways that you can get involved with lay betting on football games. One of the best ways is to get involved is bet trading. This allows you to take advantage of having access to the latest important information. If you are more informed about a certain game than your peers, then you can take advantage of price mismatches on exchanges.

You can keep an eye on hints of player injuries or controversy within a team camp that might have an impact on the outcome of an upcoming game. If you react to this news as soon as it is released there is a good chance that those offering odds through an exchange have not seen it and the odds have not been reflected accordingly. This allows you to often get some very good value bets. Sometimes you can even trade your bets to cash out a profit before the game has even started by being quick to react to these changing prices.

Another simple strategy for lay betting football games is by laying draw bets. This is an approach that a lot of beginners take when they are learning the ropes of lay betting. This strategy sees you winning if the match doesn’t end in a draw. While the odds are short, you can start to build up some profit without taking on too much risk. As soon as a team scores a goal you can cash out this bet and lock in a profit. Only a small percentage of football games end up in a scoreless draw, so the chances of a goal are pretty good. Many football fans also enjoy using lay in betting during games to hedge their pre-match wagers.

Horse Racing Lay Betting Systems

horse racingHorse racing is one of the most popular sports for bettors. The excitement as the horses battle it out down the stretch is exhilarating. Lay betting is a popular way to get involved in a race if you are not too sure who is going to win, but you are confident that a particular horse is not going to be in contention.

To have a profitable lay bet in a horse race, you usually need there to be at least ten runners taking part. Then you can look at the three favorites in the betting and see what their odds are on the exchange. People will then see which of these horses has odds that are between 3.0 and 5.8 and then lay this horse. This is because statistically, this bet will be a winner about 80% of the time.

Horses that have these odds in a race of that size usually will wind up winning just 17% of the time, allowing you to profit on the other 83% of time. Another useful strategy is looking at public sentiment and seeing which horses have a huge level of support but don’t really have the prospects to back up this support. The odds for this horse will often be lower than they should be, presenting you with an opportunity to take advantage as a lay bettor if you believe that there is a mismatch in the odds for a skewed reason.

5 Ultimate Lay Betting Tips

It is important that you take the time to learn the different strategies when it comes to lay betting. There are also some useful lay betting tips that can come in handy as you look to make the most optimal decisions with your betting. Here is a look at some free lay betting tips that might prove useful in your pursuit of profits from your betting:

1. Always Be Aware of Your Liability

Lay betting brings some extra considerations into the equation. You need to always be aware of your liability if you are laying bets. You will not be losing your stake like you would with a regular type of bet. You are acting as the house and therefore you can open yourself up to significant losses if you are not careful. This is where lay betting calculators can often come in handy in order to always be aware of what the downside of a given bet might be.

2. Have a Strategy

It is important that over time you develop a long-term strategy for your lay betting. This means that you will not be randomly laying bets willy nilly. Instead, you will have a plan in place that makes sense, meaning that you are following a thought-out staking plan and constantly refining this plan based on your results. This can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.

3. Find a Niche

One of the best characteristics of successful bettors is that they often focus on a specific sport or a given type of event. This means that over time they will become very familiar with the participants in the fixtures and can better recognize when to ay bets and when to place back bets. Otherwise, you can spread yourself too thin, not do as much proper research and ultimately open yourself up to lower returns in the long run.

4. Don’t Forget About Match Betting

A popular approach that people take with sports betting exchanges is match betting. This sees you utilizing a lay bet in order to minimize the risk associated with placing a back bet. You will place a lay bet and a back bet on the same outcome.

You need to make sure that the odds are suitably sized that this makes sense and you will be able to profit no matter what the outcome might be. Naturally, you will need to be using multiple sports betting accounts in order to get the ideal mashup of odds to make these bets viable.

5. Knowing Your Odds

If you are dealing with different types of odds, things can get confusing. This makes it easy to have a mistake that could potentially be very costly. If you are switching between fractional and decimal odds, you should always be using a calculator to make sure that you are fully aware of the bets you are placing. Oftentimes it is better to stick to one type of odds format. Most leading lay betting sites these days give you the chance to choose between different formats.

Difference Between Lay Betting Websites and Traditional Online Bookmakers

There are some similarities and major differences when you are comparing a traditional online bookmaker to a sports betting exchange like Betfair. The sportsbook will be setting the odds for a given event. On lay betting websites, the punters will be setting the odds.

With traditional sportsbooks, you will not be able to place lay bets, but this is a reality with exchanges. There will also be no commission charges on traditional sportsbooks, but you will need to pay a commission on your winning bets through a sports betting exchange. Finally, the liquidity of a given market can dictate the bets that you can place on an exchange, whereas this is not really an issue with a traditional bookmaker.

Criteria Lay Betting Platform Sportsbook
Choosing own odds fa shield close 1
Back Bets
Lay Bets fa shield close 1
Restrictions fa shield close 1
Liquidity Concerns fa shield close 1

Lay Betting Australia – Final Thoughts

As this guide clearly showcases, there are a lot of different ways that you can use lay betting got your advantage. It adds an extra tool to your betting armory, giving you more flexibility in your pursuit for profitability. Once you learn the ropes, you will wonder how you ever survived without having lay betting as part of your strategy.


Do lay betting sites ever offer promotions?

Unlike traditional sportsbooks, you will not always get too many bonus offers through sports betting exchanges. However, they will usually provide you with some free bets or credit from time to time to encourage you to bet. Unfortunately, Australians cannot get their hands on welcome offers for these platforms.

Is there commission charged on every single bet?

You will only be paying a commission on an exchange if you have a winning wager. The rate of commission varies depending on the operator, often going between 2% and 5%. You should be aware of the commission rate before placing a bet.

Is lay betting better than traditional betting?

There is no option that is better than the other and thankfully you do not have to choose between these two approaches. Each of these options has its own specific occasions when it is preferable. You can then chop and choose between them as needed.

What is the best lay betting website?

As there aren’t too many lay betting sites to choose from, the decision-making process is a bit easier than when you are trying to find the best traditional sportsbook. Betfair generally is the preferred option as it always has plenty of liquidity.

Can you place a lay bet on any market?

Nearly every type of betting market can be turned into a lay bet. However, you will often be curtailed by the liquidity on an exchange if you are looking at less popular fixtures or more obscure betting markets.

Andrew O'Malley

Andrew has been writing guides for SafeBettingSites since 2021, having already spent many years in the industry working for other major publications like Blockonomi and Gambling.com. He is an expert in all things gambling, especially online casinos and sports betting.