Lay betting is an option you will find on betting exchanges. Instead of betting on an outcome for a sports event, you wager on the opposite result. In the simplest form, you are betting on an outcome not to occur.

Lay betting has become popular with many bettors, but you won't find it on traditional betting websites. The rise of betting exchange websites has led to more and more punters experimenting with the betting style. Here, we will delve into lay betting and explain it further.

Lay Betting Explained

There are two parts to every wager. The first part is that a punter bets on a result to occur. This is known as a back bet. The second part is when a punter wagers on an outcome not to occur. This is the lay bet.

Oftentimes, traditional sportsbooks are the lay side. They provide customers with odds that they are willing to lay. Betting exchanges are different and allow you to become the traditional bookmaker. On an exchange, you can back both parts of the bet (back bet and lay bet).

Lay betting appears complex. Yet, like everything in the sports gambling world, once you learn about it, it becomes clear rather quickly. The simplest way to understand a lay bet is to think that you are betting not to win. Lay bets work in a market in which there are three or more selections.

Let's use an example from horse racing. There is a horse race with five runners. One of the horses is just returning from an injury and doesn't look likely of recapturing his previous form. You see an opportunity to win profits on a bet. Rather than back all of the other competitors in the race, you can place a lay bet.

If the horse you bet against doesn't win, then your lay bet wins. However, if the horse you bet against wins, then your lay bet loses. The great thing about a lay bet is that any number of selections can win for your bet to be successful. The only result that cannot occur is the horse you bet against to be victorious.

What is the Purpose of Lay Betting?

There are a variety of reasons why punters place lay bets. In some cases, punters find it easier to pick a result that won't occur than an outcome that will happen. Other punters choose to lay a bet because there isn't enough value in the market.

Advanced bettors will place a lay bet first and then back the same selection using in-play betting. This is known as trading and is a more advanced method of betting on sports.

Lay Betting In Horse Racing

When you use lay betting, you are essentially making money off of the losers. So, rather than spend your time trying to pick a winner, it can be easier to choose losers. This is one of the reasons so many punters lay bets on betting exchange websites.

To lay a horse, as it is known in horse race betting, you simply bet against the favourite winning the event. If the horse you bet against loses the race, you win the bet. However, if your horse wins the race, then you lose the bet.

Losing the bet means you have to pay up. The money you must pay is the liability. Liability is your stake multiplied by the horse's laying odds minus the stake.

Lay Betting in Football

Lay betting in football once again works by betting against a result to occur. There are multiple systems to use for lay betting in football. One popular method for football is laying the draw in which you bet against an outcome other than a draw for a single match.

There are other systems in which you can lay the underdog, lay goal totals, and much more. Some of the lay betting strategies for football are more complex and shouldn't be tried by beginners.

One of the most popular lay bets in football ahead of a major tournament or league beginning. A punter can simply lay a bet on a team not to win the tournament or league. If that team fails to win the event, then the bettor wins.

Lay Betting On a Betting Exchange

Lay betting is available on betting exchanges and allows punters to essentially become the bookie. You can propose a lay bet on a betting exchange or take someone else's bet. Betting exchanges have made lay betting popular because you are betting against another punter and not a traditional sportsbook.

Can You Lay Bet With A Traditional Bookmaker?

Betting exchanges are popular with lay betting because you take the role of the traditional bookie. Traditional sportsbooks do not allow lay betting. Therefore, you will need to sign-up to an exchange platform to participate in lay betting.

Best Places to Lay Bet

There are a number of lay betting websites available. It is important to only use vetted betting websites. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before playing. Also, it is important to read customer reviews to ensure the sportsbook meets your needs.

  • Betfair

  • Smarkets

  • BetDAQ

  • SpreadEx

  • SportingIndex

  • Matchbook

Traditional sportsbooks like Bet365, PaddyPower, BetFred, and others are not betting exchanges. Therefore, they do not allow you to lay bets.

Is Lay Betting Profitable?

Lay betting can be profitable. In a sports event with three or more selections like a horse race or football tournament, you can wager against the favourite to win profits. Oftentimes, a favourite can be overvalued in a sports event.

For example, Brazil are often considered favourites to win the World Cup. However, the Brazilians get overhyped by the media and football fans leading up to all major tournaments. By laying a bet on Brazil (betting against them to win the World Cup), you can earn a tidy profit if they fail to win the competition.

Lay betting can be profitable, but you need to pay attention to the odds and any news about the participants of a sports event before wagering.

Lay Betting Strategies

There are a number of lay betting strategies. The most popular strategy is currently the lay arbitrage betting system. Using the lay arbitrage strategy, bettors wager on an outcome of a match or race with a bookie and then lay the same outcome on a betting exchange for a profit.

For example, you back Manchester City to defeat Chelsea with a traditional bookie. You then lay a bet against Manchester City (bet against them to win) with a betting exchange. You will earn a nice profit for the lay bet. Meanwhile, if the bet wins with the traditional bookie, you cover yourself.

There are multiple strategies for lay betting. Depending on the sport you want to wager on, you will be able to research a clever strategy.

Lay Betting and Matched Betting

Matched betting uses a ‘back and lay betting’ strategy. It turns free bets into money. You will find a variety of free bets offered by bookies. These free bets are provided to new customers or to entice existing customers to wager more often or on a specific game.

Unfortunately, there is no promise that our bets will win. Matched betting takes away the risk involved with betting on a specific outcome. This happens when you place an equivalent wager against the same outcome from occurring. You will win no matter the result.

The great thing about matched betting is that it allows you to make money off of the free bets you receive. Professional bettors that use matched betting often use a program that helps them calculate the exact amount of back bet and lay bet to stake.


Lay betting is a popular method to wager on sports. It is only available on betting exchanges and won't be found on traditional bet websites. The system allows you to become the bookie and wager against an outcome from occurring. The potential profit can be lucrative if the wager wins. However, if the bet loses, you must cover the liability.