Beginner’s Guide to Lay Betting

What is lay betting? If this question has been on your mind, you’re at the right place! Our beginner’s guide to lay betting will reveal everything you need to know about this betting method, including ways to boost your profits.

Recommended to Read Next: What is No-Risk Matched Betting?

3 Key Takeaways:

  1. Lay betting means betting that a certain outcome will not happen.
  2. With lay betting, you’re betting against other bettors, effectively acting as a bookmaker.
  3. Lay betting can help you clear sportsbook bonuses through matched betting.

Lay Betting in a Nutshell

You can think of lay betting as the exact opposite of traditional betting. Instead of backing a team to win, with lay betting, you’re wagering your money that the team in question will not win. Any other outcome will bring money your way.

Apart from the match-winner, you can lay bets on many other betting markets. We’re talking things like goals (or points), handicaps, player markets, outrights, and so on. In fact, any market you can bet on, you can also bet against.

Lay betting has a little bit different lingo than the old-fashioned sort of betting. The ‘layer’ is the bettor who’s betting that a certain outcome is not going to happen. The ‘backer’ is the one who’s betting that the outcome will happen.

That said, lay betting is practically a betting duel between a backer and a layer. However, the potential profit they can win is not the same.

The backer bets their money in order to get a winning that equals their stake times the odds. In the case of the person laying the bet, their prey is the stake of the bettor.

Effectively, the layer is playing the role of the bookmaker. They’re making profits when backers lose, same as traditional bookmakers do when regular bettors lose.

Becoming a makeshift bookmaker is possible thanks to the invention of betting exchanges. Only at sites like Betfair, Matchbook, and Smarkets can you take the bookmaker’s seat and act as a layer. In old-school sports betting sites, you can only be a backer.

How Does a Betting Exchange Work?

The house always wins, bookmakers are the ones that get rich, not gamblers is the traditional view on gambling. Opening your own sportsbook would be almost a guarantee of success. But, for that, you need to have a lot of money to invest.

Since the invention of betting exchanges, you can assume the role of a bookmaker. And the best thing is that you’re the one who decides how much money you can lose potentially. That is, how much money, you will potentially have to pay-out to the winning bettors.

And you got to thank for this to Betfair, the first betting exchange in history. Founded in 2000 by two British entrepreneurs, Andrew Black and Edward Wray, Betfair quickly caught the eyes of sports bettors. The betting exchange brought something new to the betting universe, enabling any player to become a bookmaker for a moment.

Nearly two decades after Betfair first saw the light of day, the way in which betting exchanges operate remains pretty much the same.

They act as intermediaries between the bettors who want to back a certain outcome and those who want to lay it. For their services, betting exchanges take a small fee.

Laying a Bet – A Step-by-Step guide

Although it’s not rocket science, bet laying isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for those with zero experience with betting exchanges. If you’re a newbie when it comes to laying bets, worry not, we’re now going to guide you through the entire process!

Step 1 – Deciding Which Betting Exchange to Use

Betting Exchanges

Although the number of betting exchanges is not as big as the number of traditional sportsbooks, you still have a decent selection before you. Sites like Betfair, Smarkets, BETDAQ, and Matchbook are the ones that first come to mind when betting exchanges are discussed. At Oddshero we support Betfair and Matchbook.

Which one should you go with is something that depends on many factors. For most layers, the fee the exchange takes on winnings is the main criteria.

Another important factor is the number of markets offered. Not all exchanges will let you lay bets on events from the Norwegian First Division. But, some like BETDAQ will! Together with many other soccer events from all the corners of the world.

Other exchanges, on the other hand, are more focused on the sports popular in North America, i.e. American football, baseball, and ice hockey.

Step 2 – Registering an Account

Matchbook Sign-Up

Another crucial factor that comes into play when choosing a betting exchange is your location. In order to be able to sign up, you need to be from a country whose players the exchange accepts.

If you’re eligible to sign up, that’s exactly what your next step should be. Usually, the entire process goes smoothly. Everything should be done in a matter of minutes.

And once you’ve created an account, it’s time to fund it. You need to deposit your money to the exchange in order to be able to start laying bets.

In this example, we’ve decided to use Matchbook.

Step 3 – Find the Bet You Want to Lay

Lay on Tottenham

Browse the offer of the betting exchange if you need some inspiration to find a bet you would lay. If you already have a bet in mind, you can use the search function. All the major exchanges have this feature.

Once you’ve found an outcome you wish to bet against, you need to look for the lay box. Click on it and a bet slip will pop-up.

In this particular example, we’re going to focus on the Champions League clash between Crvena Zvezda and Tottenham.

Step 4 – Placing Your Lay Bet

Bet Slip at Betting Exchange

This is where things are getting a bit complicated. In old-school sportsbooks, putting your stake means typing in the amount you wish to wager.

In betting exchanges, the amount you input is the amount you wish to win. It’s the amount you’re going to get from the backers if their bet proves to be a losing one.

But, what if you end up on the losing side? In that case, you will have to pay-out the winnings of the backers. Referred to as the liability, it’s the amount listed right next to the stake in the bet slip.

In this example, we’ve decided to lay Tottenham. We’re betting that Tottenham will not beat Crvena Zvezda. If the Spurs fail to win the game, we’re going to get €100.

But, if Tottenham manage to win, we’re going to have to pay a total of €72.99 to those who backed the Spurs.

Laying Bets in Matched Betting

Almost all sportsbooks in the world give some kind of incentive for players to sign up. In most cases, it comes in the form of a deposit bonus. The problem with these bonuses is that it’s not easy to turn them into real money.

In the past, you had no other option but to rely on luck in order to clear the bonus. But, then, someone thought of matched betting, a method that guarantees you’re going to turn the bonus funds into real cash.

How it works is that you cover all the potential outcomes, so that regardless of what happens in the match, you’re going to be the winner. You ensure this by placing the bonus funds on one outcome while putting your own money on the other outcome (or two other outcomes in a 3-way bet).

The traditional way of doing matched betting is to place a back bet in the sportsbook that’s given you the bonus, while also laying a bet in a betting exchange.

By using a betting exchange for this purpose, you get the luxury to balance the odds, as well as your stake. This way you can easily match your back bet, hence the name of this method – matched betting.

Which Betting Exchange to Choose?

Betfair is not only the oldest betting exchange in the world but it’s also the most popular. With a yearly revenue measured in hundreds of millions of Euro, this betting exchange is used by a huge number of bettors.

A large number of users equals better laying opportunities. Basically, the chances that you will find someone to back a bet that you’ve layed are pretty high.

Although it’s the biggest and most popular, Betfair is not the only betting exchange on the planet. Actually, there’s a handful of exchanges you can choose from and many of them are doing all in their power to overtake Betfair.

How they’re trying to do is by offering a larger market coverage, in-play options, and even lower commission fees.

Speaking of fees, they’re often the deal-breaker when it comes to choosing which betting exchange to use. The fact is that some exchanges have too high fees, which can take a seriously big chunk off your betting profit.

Oddshero only works with the most reputable betting exchanges, each with reasonable commission rates. We support Matchbook and Betfair, so to use an exchange with Oddshero, you would have to choose one of them.

Laying Bets with Oddshero

Oddshero Matched Betting

To make profits with matched betting, you will have to find good bonus deals, as well as track down good value in betting exchanges.

In order to do all this, you will need help from some kind of matched betting tool. And we got exactly the kind of tool you need – Oddshero.

The reason why Oddshero might be your ideal choice is that it offers many more options than regular matched betting tools.

In addition to the standard back + lay matched betting method, Oddshero also lets you make two back bets in order to clear your bonus. Simply use the sportsbook bonus to place a bet and Oddshero will find a back bet at a sharp bookie.

Considering that Oddshero covers a huge number of sportsbooks, it means that your matched betting adventure can last for ages.

And we still haven’t told you the best thing about our tool – using Oddshero for placing 2x back bets to clear the bonus at Bet365 is completely free!

Of course, this doesn’t mean Oddshero doesn’t also offer the good-old back + lay method for bonus clearing. It does and it covers all the most popular betting exchanges in the premium version of the software.

3 Key Takeaways

  1. With bet laying, you get to act as a bookmaker. You’re going to win if backers lose.
  2. Apart from betting against other players, you can also lay bets against yourself. When doing matched betting, you can either place the Cover Bet in the form of a 2nd Back bet at a Cover Bookmaker or by laying the Bonus Bet on a betting exchange.
  3. Laying is a useful tool to have for a matched bettor as it enables you get to clear bookmaker bonuses in only a few clicks. The best part is that matched betting is completely risk-free.

What to read next:

Back and lay betting | How it works and how to make money

What is no-risk matched betting?

How to do Matched Betting on Football

Get The Best Articles and News To Your Inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay updated.