Lay betting allows punters to experience a completely unique way of betting. Instead of backing one horse in a field of ten or one team to win a soccer match, you can take a position on one selection and all other selections can be profitable.
For many profitable punters, lay betting is a crucial weapon in their armoury, as it opens up races and events for betting that, in the days of back betting only, were previously closed.
Lets focus on some commonly utilised Lay strategies and some basic tactics for Betfair punters that are new to Lay betting.
Laying Short Priced Favourites
Just like backing a team or horse when you see value present in the market, Lay betting works off the same principle but just in inverse pricing. When a horse or team that is priced over an expected or fair price ($3.00 instead of $2.50) it provides value for a Back bet. The same applies to Lay betting – but when the odds are shorter than your expected or fair price.
Next time you identify a selection not worth a Back bet as the price is too low, consider this selection as offering value as a Lay bet.
Utilising the Betfair market graphs can assist in determining the best price for your Lay bet. They can be found in the market view on the desktop website next to the Lay price.
If you’re after a shorter price than what’s currently available on the Lay side, consider putting in your own odds and wait to be matched or you can consider keeping your bet to go in-play.
Laying at Big Odds
Any horse, at any odds, can be laid of course. The issue for many punters is that, if laying horses at bigger odds, the nature of the risk-reward ratio changes. If laying a horse for $10 at $21.00, there is a high chance (around 95%) that you will win $10. However, on occasion, you will lose $200, which for many people represents a large chunk of their betting bank.
Some punters profit from this kind of approach – finding horses at big odds that they think should be even bigger still. They take the odd significant hit when one of them wins, but they still profit in the long run. That approach is not for everyone, though, and as with any betting strategy, it requires you to be able to identify the odds that represent value.
Basic Lay Tactics
If you’re new to lay betting, the following three tactics are recommended to get you started:
- Look for short-priced favourites that are poor value. Every day, there are horses running whose short-odds have more to do with hype than their proven ability. Most punters over-react to hype, and if they hear that something is “well fancied” by the stable, they’ll get stuck in no matter what the odds. Discipline yourself to go against the crowd in these instances and you can profit in the long run.
- Look for races where the top two or three in the betting are all poor value. In competitive handicaps you can often get three horses heading the market at around $6.00 when, in reality, their chance is no greater than four or five other horses at bigger odds. By laying all three horses, you give yourself a chance of winning a decent amount should they all lose. However, should one of them win, your losses are limited, because although you will pay out $50 on the winning horse, you will get back $20 from the other two bets.
- Lay in-play. In nearly every horse race, a number of horses will trade at artificially short odds as they look to be travelling strongly. On numerous occasions throughout a day, savvy punters are able to lay three, four, and sometimes more horses at odds-on in the same race.
If you’ve had a perception until now that Laying is the preserve of expert punters, and something to be avoided unless you really know what you’re doing, it might be worth relaxing your stance.
As long as you pay careful attention to your liability for any bet before confirming it, Laying can become an invaluable tool in making you more profitable, opening up ever more sophisticated betting strategies that are not available with traditional bookmakers.