What is a Lay Bet?
A lay bet is a bet where you bet that an outcome won’t happen in a particular event.
Example: The football match Man City vs Leicester with the following odds:
You don’t think Leicester will win, ie. you think the game will end in a Man City win OR a draw. So you want to place a “lay” bet on Leicester. Notice in the above odds that there are 2 different odds next to each potential outcome, the pink column shows the “lay” odds whilst the blue column shows the “back” odds.
If we “lay” £10 on Leicester at odds of 14.5, we have a liability of £135 and the following is possible:
1. Man City Win – as Leicester did not win, we win our lay bet, giving us a profit of £10.
2. Draw – as before, Leicester did not win, we win our lay bet, giving us a profit of £10.
3. Leicester Win – we lose our lay bet, giving us a loss of £135.
What happens in the event of a draw?
If you are not familiar with “laying” bets, the draw scenario can be confusing.
Using the same example above, if we “lay” Hull, and the outcome of the match is a draw, our lay bet wins as Hull didn’t win. The only way we lose our lay bet is if Hull win. So if Sunderland win or the match is a draw, our Hull lay bet wins.
You will probably hear the phrase “lay bet” banded around on matched betting sites but what exactly is a lay bet? Here is my simple explanation.
What is a lay bet?
A lay bet is a type of bet where you are bet that something won’t happen. The easiest what to think of it is as the opposite to a back bet.
Where can I make a lay bet?
Lay bets are only available on a betting exchange (What is a betting exchange?) rather than a traditional bookmakers (What is a bookmakers?).
Example of a lay bet
The football match Stjarnan vs Celtic has the following odds:
You don’t think that Stjarnan will win, so you think that the match will end a Celtic win OR a draw. You want then to put a lay bet on Stjarnan.
As you can see above in the screenshot of odds from Betfair that there are two different odds next to each possible outcome. The pink column shows the lay odds while the blue column shows the back odds.
If you lay £5 on Stjarnan at odds of 10, we have a liability (what is a bet liability?) of £45.
From that bet the following outcomes are possible:
A. Celtic Win – as Stjarnan did not win, we win our lay bet, giving us a profit of £45
B. Draw – as before, Stjarnan did not win, we win our lay bet, giving us a profit of £45
B. Stjarnan Win – as Celtic did win, we lose our lay bet, giving us a loss of £45
What happens if it’s a draw?
A draw can be confusing if you are a newbie. I know it took me a little while to get the hang of it.
As with the same scenario above here is what would happen if it was a draw. If we put a lay Celtic, and the outcome is a draw, our lay bet wins as Celtic did not win.
The only way we lose that lay bet is if Celtic win.
To summarise, if Stjarnan win or the match is a draw, our Celtic lay bet wins. If Stjarnan loses, our Celtic lay bet loses.
What do I win or lose with a lay bet?
Ok, in my opinion, this is probably the most important part of making a lay bet. Continuing with the same example as above here are the two scenarios, this time with a £100 bet.
Scenario: win or draw your lay bet
If you win or draw your lay bet you will win back your original stake plus you will win your stake minus comission.
For example, lay bet £100, you will receive your stake (£100) plus you win your stake (£100) minus commission (5%). Your returns are £195, where you make a profit of £95.
£100 + (£100-5%) = £195.
Scenario: lose your lay bet
If you lose your lay bet you will lose the liability of the bet (what is a bet liability?).
For example, lay bet £100, you will lose your bet (£100) multiplied by the odds minus 1 (10-1). That makes your bet liability and loss of £900.
£100 x (10-1) = £900.