Lay Betting Explained

Lay betting explained – What is lay betting?

With our guide to lay betting, we’ll answer your questions of ‘What is lay betting?’ and have lay betting explained in simple terms that anybody can understand. The concept of lay betting has only been with us for a short while, but once we have lay betting explained, you’ll see how it’s a great way to get a little more value for your sports bets. So keep reading to learn how you can lay bets on your favourite sport.

Lay betting explained in simple points

  • Bet on a outcome not to happen
  • The opposite of backing a bet
  • Lay bets at betting exchanges
  • Interesting way to get better value odds
  • Watch out for how much you are liable for

What is lay betting?

Lay betting means that you will be betting on an outcome not to happen in a sporting event. It’s the direct opposite of what you will normally be doing with your sports bets. While standard sports bets will usually encourage you to bet on who will win a match or a race, with lay betting you will be betting on teams or athletes not to win the sporting contest.

In this way, you are effectively acting as a bookmaker who puts on odds that punters would ordinarily back. As a result, you will commonly only be able to lay bets on a betting exchange. Betting exchanges will allow customers to either back or lay bets on a variety of sporting events, and while you will have to pay commission on whatever profits you make, it’s a nice way to think a little differently about betting on sport.

Lay betting is something that can easily be applied to a variety of sporting encounters. Whether you want to bet on anything from a Premier League football match to the cricket Test match, lay betting has the potential to give you access to odds that you simply won’t find by trying a standard sports bet.

Lay betting explained with examples

If you are still asking ‘What is lay betting?’ we thought that it would be useful to have lay betting explained through a couple of different examples. While these focus on football and horse racing, it’s easy to see how the concept of lay betting could be applied to anything from rugby and cricket to basketball and motor racing.

Horse racing lay bets

If there was a clear favourite for a major horse race like the Cheltenham Gold Cup, then you might wish to try a lay bet on this runner. This would be much simpler to win your bets as we all know how difficult it is to predict a winner when there are many different runners in a big horse race.

It’s also worth noting that if the favourite in a horse race has very short odds, then it could work out to be more profitable to lay the favourite to lose when compared to just backing this horse to win the race.

Football lay bets

Let’s imagine that there was a Premier League match between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. While this game looked fairly evenly balanced, you felt certain that Arsenal wouldn’t have what it takes to beat Tottenham.

Rather than betting on Tottenham to win, you could instead put down a lay bet on Arsenal. This would mean that you’d bet on Arsenal not to win the match. As a result, you would win your bet if Tottenham won, or if the match was drawn. This is essentially the same as a double chance bet where you’d win on two markets in 1×2 betting markets.

Benefits of lay betting

One of the key reasons to try lay betting is that it often makes it easier for you to win your bet. After all, if you’ve ever tried betting on the Grand National, you will know how difficult it is to predict the race winner. But with lay betting, you’ll find it much simpler to bet that one particular horse won’t win the race.

It’s also worth noting that lay betting has the potential to unlock even more profits with your bets. If a Formula 1 Grand Prix race had Lewis Hamilton down as the clear favourite with short odds, you could try laying that driver and find that you get better odds by backing Hamilton not to win the race.

Another key reason to try lay betting is that the lack of betting margin means that the odds are frequently better than you’d find at standard sports betting sites. After all, betting exchanges will allow you to bet against other sports fans, and this means that you’ll be directly betting on their odds with no betting margin to skew the price.

Plus it’s hard to deny that it’s nice to try a different betting tactic that allows you to effectively play the role of the bookmaker. All of which means that you’ll have to think a little more critically about how the average punter puts down their sports bets.

Disadvantages of lay betting

We can’t really answer the question of ‘What is lay betting?’ without pointing out a few disadvantages of using this betting tactic. The first thing that you should realise about lay betting is the fact that it’s not something that newcomers to sports betting should try. Instead of trying to outwit other punters, you’d probably be better served by just taking single bets on a standard sports betting site.

You should also realise that losing lay bets with high odds could mean that you’ll be liable for quite a bit money. Most people who lay bets will keep the odds fairly short so that their liability is reduced. Thankfully most decent betting exchanges won’t allow you to lay bets that you can’t actually cover with the money already in your betting account.

We should also note that lay betting is fairly counterintuitive and goes against the thinking of most sports fans. After all, most of us enjoy sports bets when we are backing our favourite team or player to win, and there’s unlikely to be quite the same thrill of winning your lay bets just by hoping that somebody else loses.

Tips for lay betting successfully

It’s essential to understand the psychology of other sports fans when you try lay betting. You’ll be looking for those punters who are blindly backing their favourite teams to win when you put down your lay bets.

This is the best way to unlock value in your lay bets, and you can usually get the best options for this whenever the big sporting tournaments like the FA Cup final and teams like Manchester United are involved.

We should also note that live betting can be a great way to shake things up now that you’ve had lay betting explained. This enables you to react to the market by changing your bets halfway through a sporting encounter.

For example, you could start a football match by backing a certain team to win, and then as the match progresses, you could lay your original bet to either keep hold of a profit or minimise a potentially nasty loss. Some punters will use a back and lay bet calculator to figure out how to do this, but it’s still a popular way for sports fans to gain a little more flexibility over their bets.

What other betting guides and strategies are available?

Now that we’ve had lay betting explained and answered the question of ‘What is lay betting?’, it’s worth thinking about what other advanced betting options are available – and you can learn more right here at, thanks to our comprehensive range of guides and strategies. You’ll definitely want to have a multiple bet explained as this combines several single bets to give you the chance to make some massive winnings. Whereas if you have an over under bet explained, you’ll discover that this can give you a touch more safety with your sports bets.

Anybody who is a fan of spread betting will need to have backdoor cover explained, and it could be worth having a bad beat explained to try and come to terms with any unexpected sports betting defeats. Just don’t forget to have a halftime bet explained so that you can get more flexibility with your football or rugby bets.


We hope that we’ve answered all questions about ‘What is lay betting?’. By having lay betting explained we can see that it is a great tactic to try when looking for extra value for your sports bets. By effectively betting against other sports fans, you’ll try and anticipate how most people will bet on sport and beat them at their own game.

While lay betting might not be the most straightforward way to enjoy sports betting, it’s definitely one of the more interesting ways to bet on your favourite sport. As long as you remember to factor in your liability, you should definitely enjoy having lay betting explained for great new way to bet.

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