Most people haven’t even heard of a lay bet, so in this post, I explain what lay betting is and how you can use laying bets to make money by combining with bets placed at bookmakers.
Lay betting is the key to understanding Matched Betting and once you understand how lay bets work you will be able to make your own profits from exploiting offers without gambling.
The primary site I used to make over £40,000+ is Outplayed.com. If you are interested they offer a free trial where you can expect to make your first £40 following simple step by step written and video instructions.
You can also use lay betting to make money arbing bookies when their odds are higher than that of the exchanges.
Read on to find out more.
Table of Contents
Lay Betting Explained
I’m going to explain a back bet at bookmakers first because this is the typical bet most people make and already understand to some degree.
However, bear in mind the role of the bookmaker in the explanation of a back bet, because effectively what they are doing is the lay bet side of the transaction. Which I will explain in more detail later.
A back bet is a bet to win. You are backing an outcome. Although I say “a bet to win” this includes betting on an outcome like a draw or a correct score like 1.0. These are all back bets. If you bet on the outcome and get it right you win.
When you go to a bookie to place a bet you are placing back bets, you are betting on a bet to win by predicting an outcome.
If what you bet on wins, you get your winnings and also get your stake back.
So if the bookie decimal odds are 3.0 on England to win. If you bet £10 and if England wins you get £30 back.
If however, England loses, you’ve lost your £10 and the bookie keeps it.
What is a Lay Bet?
A lay bet is effectively a bet on an outcome to lose or not to happen.
So if for example, you lay bet on a horse, you would want any other horse in the race to win.
When you place a lay bet you are actually accepting back bets like the bookie would for England at 3.0 in my back bet example.
Therefore to keep the stake you want the outcome not to win, in this case, England. So you would either want the other team to win or the result to end in a draw.
Lay Bet Example On A Horse Race:
Example of a Horse Race lay bet.
6 Runners – Named Below:
- Shut the front door
- Cue Card
- Arctic Fire
- Native River
- Presenting Percy
- Let’s Dance
You could lay bet any of these horses in this race. Let’s say you choose to Lay bet the horse “Cue Card”. You would be betting on Cue Card not to win. So in this instance, if any other horse wins the race, you win your lay bet.
A lay bet is a bet on the outcome not to win. So, you’re effectively betting on any of the other possible outcomes to win, just with one bet. In this case, by lay betting one horse, you are betting on one of all the other horses to win. All under one bet.
How Does Lay Betting Work?
Instead of backing a team or player to win, when you lay a bet you’re betting on them to lose or not achieve a particular outcome.
However, when you place a lay bet you will see a stake and a liability. Unlike bookmakers back bet you are not actually betting the stake, you are actually betting liability.
This is important to understand because if you are for example placing a £10 stake at high odds your liability will be much higher than the £10 stake.
You can also only place the stake if there is enough availability in the exchange.
We cover each aspect in more detail below.
What is the Lay Bet Stake?
The lay bet stake is the middle ground of the transaction at the betting exchange, matching back bets and lay bets.
When you place a lay bet stake you are effectively accepting a back bet stake.
Think back to my original example.
The punter backs England for £10 at decimal odds of 3.0
The bookie, or in this case you at an exchange, accepts the £10. This is the £10 lay stake.
The lay bet stake is what you win. Like the bookie, they accept the £10 bet on England to win. If England loses, they keep the £10. That’s what the bookie wins, they keep the stake.
A lay bet is effectively accepting a back bet.
What is the Lay Bet Liability?
The liability is what you are actually betting when you place a lay stake.
The liability is what the lay bet loses when the back bet side of the transaction wins.
The bookie accepts £10 on England to win at odds of 3.0. If England wins, the bookie has to pay out the winnings and give the stake back. In this case, the bookie would lose £20. They give the £10 stake back and £20 of their own money.
The liability is what a lay bet loses if the back bet side actually wins, so in this England example the liability was £20.
How Back and Lay Betting Work Together
I created this infographic to hopefully illustrate how the back and lay betting works.
I use the example of a punter going to bookmakers to make a £10 bet on England.
The bookie accepts the £10 the same as you would place a lay bet stake. Effectively a bet on England not to win. If England does win, the bookie has to pay the £20 liability and give the stack back.
This is effectively what you are doing at a betting exchange when placing your lay bets.
What is the Lay Bet Availability?
Lay bets can only be placed at a Betting Exchange. For an exchange to place, there have to be people willing to back at the odds you want to lay at. If no one is backing the event you can’t match a bet.
So the availability is the amount of money currently in the market for you to place your lay stake. Or think of it as the amount of people’s money that want to back the event at that odds price.
In the above Betfair image, you can see the lay bet odds and availability in the pink column
Taking Burnley as an example, at odds 2.28, underneath you can see £3. This is all that is available to lay bet at these odds. No one is offering to back more than this at a lower odds price.
If you want to lay bet Burnley, you would have to do so at 2.30 odds, where underneath you can see there is £243 available.
If you are wondering what the £137 is underneath odds 2.26, that’s lay stake money waiting to be matched if lay odds go lower and people want to back at those odds.
The availability and odds change all the time as transactions are matched. In the lead up to a game or start of a race, they will be changing far quicker than you will be able to even see.
Liability On Multiple Lay Bets On The Same Event
When you place more than one lay bet on the same event you might initially think you need liability for each individual bet.
However, this is not the case.
In fact, you can lower the liability by lay betting (betting to lose) on more than one outcome.
This is because only one of the bets can lose. Therefore you only need enough liability to cover the worst-case scenario. Which would be the biggest payout should it win the event and therefore you lose your lay bet (because you bet on it to not win).
Why Is There Commission On Lay Bets?
If there was no commission the betting exchange wouldn’t make any money.
Betting exchanges charge a commission on both back bets and lay bets.
Currently, Outplayed.com my Matched Betting subscription site of choice has a 0% commission deal with Smarkets.
Outplayed offers a totally free trial and membership is well worth considering for the 0% deal alone.
Where can you place a Lay Bet?
You can place a lay bet at a betting exchange.
The 3 most popular exchange or lay betting sites are :
Of the 3, I prefer Smarkets and Matchbook as the commission is lower and sometimes they even have promotions where for whole months they have offered 0% commission.
Smarkets is, in my opinion, the easiest betting exchange to use.
Lay Betting To Make Money
The best way to make money lay betting is to combine with back bets to exploit bookies free bet offers and refunds. You can see more examples of in my how to make money from free bets post.
I have personally made over £30,000+ from Matched Betting within 3 years and in relatively few hours compared to most work from home tasks anyone can do.
I joined Outplayed.com , which sources all the sign-up and daily reload offers for existing customers. They also provider step by step instructions, some with videos showing how to complete the offer for profit.
You can read my full Outplayed review here. It includes tips on how to maximize profits.
On average I made approximately £800+ a month. I detailed my first 44 months income in the post how much can you make from matched betting. It also includes earnings data from other Matched Bettors for 2021.
Any other form of lay betting systems are just another form of gambling and should be totally avoided. The only way most of those profit is to sell the impression the system is profitable. Don’t fall for it.
Price Boosts Example Of How to Make Money From A Lay Bet
These price boosts illustrate perfectly how you can profit using a lay bet.
A price boost is basically a special offer by a bookmaker. They increase the odds on an event, generally for a short amount of time. If this odds boost is higher than the lay odds in a betting exchange, it is very quick and easy to make a profit.
Using England as an example, if the bookmaker boosts the odds from 3.0 to 3.75 on them winning and the lay odds at a betting exchange like Smarkets are 3.40, we can profit.
Here’s what it would look like in a Matched Betting Calculator if we could stake £200 on this outcome.
So to confirm:
- Back Bet at Bookie of £200
- Back odds at the Bookie boosted to 3.75
- Lay Odds the Betting Exchange (Smarkets) 3.4
- Lay stake £221.89
- Liability 532.54
- Smarkets Commission 2%
- Profit £17.46
Placing 2 bets, a back and lay bet would literally take 5 minutes.
Now, don’t get me wrong, price boosts this good aren’t available all the time, but they do come along and some bookies currently offer a boost you can choose to use on any sport once a day and make £6-£10+ in 5 minutes.
Other price boosts are released and certain times of the day and if you are a member of Outplayed.com you can set yourself up via desktop or mobile to receive notifications of when they are posted.
Backing and Laying To Make a Profit Via Arbing
Another method of using lay bets to make money is to back and lay for a profit.
Whenever the odds at a bookie are higher than the odds at the exchange, we can potentially back and lay to make money.
You can read more about this potentially lucrative option in my Arb Betting post. It’s certainly an option to consider while there are 0% commission deals available.
Much the same as Price Boosts, although the key difference being that Price Boosts are an official form of offer.
Whereas arbing, as it’s known, is taking advantage of out of place odds, hence the bookies frown on these and may restrict your betting stakes.
Even so, I’ve made hundreds of on certain accounts that weren’t giving me offers anyway.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens if you Lose a Lay Bet?
If you are Matched Betting and have place a back and a lay bet and the lay bet loses, the back bet will have won.
If there is anything you don’t understand please ask and I will endeavour to explain clearer.