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What is Laying?
Sunday, January 19, 2020
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What is laying?


What is laying?

OK - Back to basics.

When you go to the bookies you can back a horse to win. For example, if I back the horse 'Red Rum' to win at 3/1 for £10 I will get £40 back if it wins. This is made up of the winnings (3 x £10) £30 plus my stake back.

The bookie has accepted this bet and has effectively placed a lay bet with you. His liability for £10 stake is £30.

On Betfair the odds are displayed in digital format. This is easy to work from one to the other. Just add 1. So odds of 3/1 are expressed as 4.0 on Betfair. Odds of 5/8 are expressed as 5/8+1 = 2.6.

So when you place a lay bet on Betfair you are accepting someones bet and have the same liability of the bookie in the above example. You obviously don't get to meet this person and hand over a betting slip as Betfair process the bets very quickly.

Laying a bet means you are betting on something not to happen – a match not to end in a draw, a horse not to come in first, a rugby team not to win by over 7 pts etc.

It might sound new, but you’ve probably been doing it unconsciously for years. Have you ever had a bet with a mate? It might have been over a game of pool, or on a football match on TV. Two opposing sides, two opposing opinions. He’s backing his team – if they win, he wins. If they lose, you win – you’ve effectively layed his bet by betting on something not to happen.

With Betfair you can not only lay any selection, but also choose the price you want to take, and how much you are prepared to risk. The shorter the price you wish to lay, the less money you have to risk compared to your potential reward. Laying the Tie in the market below at 13.5 might sound safe, but for every £10 you want to win, you have to risk £125 - high risk and low reward. The market says Europe at 1.9/1.91 are much more likely to win, but to win £10 by laying that outcome, you only need to risk £9.10.

laying on betfair

In the example, you’ve chosen to lay the USA at the current odds of 2.52. Note that on the left hand side, your potential loss (liability) is shown as £15.20 but on the right the figure is £25.20. This is because your counterparty's stake is included in the Payout figure, as each Betfair user must ‘pay’ for their bet first with the money held aside from their account until the market and each bet is settled.

There are all sorts of reasons why people lay bets. Some people find it easier to pick a horse that won’t win, than one that will win. Some people lay a bet because they think the price is too short. Others will lay first, then look to back the same selection later in-play – that’s called Trading (see ‘What is Trading?),

Laying need not be scary – you are in full control of how much you wish to risk and how much you could win. In a lay bet, you always stand to win the stake of the opposing bet (e.g. £10 in the example above). You could be betting against one person or several. As mentioned above, your liability is £15.20