chapter 2.1 - Lay betting


Lay betting is when you bet on an outcome not to happen. For example, if you placed a bet with us on a horse not to win a race, bet on a football team not to win a game or bet on a golfer not to make a birdie on a particular hole.

In lay betting, you essentially become the bookmaker. It is exactly the same as the times in your life that you might have said to a friend: “I bet you that xxx won’t happen”.

The same is true when you are watching sporting events. While it can be tough to predict the eventual outcome of a horse race or football match, you might often find it easier to take a stance that one horse / team will not win. In this instance, lay betting allows you as the gambler to back your belief and bet that something won’t happen.

golf player
lay bet equation
! In lay betting - it is vitally important to know that you can lose more than you have staked.
For example, if you decided to lay a 2/1 shot for £20, if it loses then you win £20. But if you are wrong and it wins you lose £40 (2 x £20).

A key factor in having a lay betting explained is to understand the increased liability that can exist when you lay a bet. It is important that you understand ‘liability’ in relation to lay betting before getting involved.
Liability refers to the amount of money you can lose when striking a lay bet.

When you back something to win, the most that you are going to lose is your initial stake. In a lay bet, your overall liability, or risk, can be greater. The total risk involved is therefore the amount the bet will cost you if your selection (that you backed to lose) actually wins.


horse racing Illustration

The most likely platform on which to place lay bets is on a betting exchange. What is a betting exchange, you might ask?

A betting exchange is essentially a marketplace for punters/gamblers. It is like a stockmarket, but people are dealing in winners and losers instead of stocks and shares.

With exchange betting you can buy or sell any given outcome in a sporting event. You may choose to back a horse at a selected price or to lay a horse to lose at the price offered.

You can also trade in or out at any time while your event is ongoing on a bet exchange. This is usually in an attempt to secure a profit irrespective of the final outcome.

The key difference between a betting exchange and a traditional bookmaker is that on the betting exchange, gamblers bet against each other. Essentially, you can dicate what price you want to back, or lay, any given outcome at. In many markets there will be significantly more fluctuation in terms of the price available on a betting exchange, as different, independent parties take a viewpoint on how the event is going to unfold.

On a betting exchange, customers can take on the role of bookmaker, by setting their own odds on a sporting event and accepting bets, or the punter, by placing bets using the odds offered by other exchange users.

With exchange betting, it is the customers, not the traditional bookmakers, that set the market by offering their own take on the prices of each outcome. A betting exchange merlely facilitates its users in placing and accepting the wide variety of bets on both winning and losing outcomes (backing or laying). The betting exchange will typically charge a nominal commission on bets placed.

betting exchange table


Experienced punters will use lay betting systems to ensure the best chance of making a profit when they are betting. This may involve back and lay betting.

In this method you could, for instance, back a horse at 10/1 before a race and then, during the race, lay the same horse at much shorter odds to ensure you make a profit regardless of the outcome. In order to achieve this, the punter could use a back and lay calculator in order to figure the exact margins they are working to.

Back lay betting requires an in-depth knowledge of betting exchanges and in-play betting but can prove to be profitable over time if done correctly.


Lay betting is particularly popular in horse racing. As you might know, picking the winner in a race is no easy task! Often, if the race favorite is a short price, it is more profitable if you back this horse to lose (and it does lose) than if you back it to win.

horse racing punter


Having reviewed the stats, you may find that if Liverpool are playing Manchester United, you feel confident that Liverpool will not win the game. Therefore, you can lay them.

You are effectively placing a bet that Liverpool will not win the match. In this instance, you will win your bet if Manchester United win the match or the match ends in a draw. This is a lay bet example in a popular football betting market.

football table


The same principles hold true in all sports. It is vital for you to establish a thorough understanding of lay betting before getting involved.

football table

On the next page, we will begin to look at some of the traditional types of ‘multiple bets’ that you can place. These are used when you wish to combine a number of selections together on a bet and, when successful, they can lead to large payouts.
We will start with the Trixie bet.