What is a Lay Bet?

lay bet exampleThe betting industry has dramatically changed over the years, with easier accessibility being a big part and what you can actually do also being another. In terms of how we bet, we have seen a big shift, and a lay bet is the perfect example of this.

With a lay bet, the roles are reversed, rather than placing a bet on a selection to win as normal, a lay bet is you accepting a bet from someone else, they are betting on the selection to win, while you are hoping they do not win. If you are on the right side, and the selection loses, you get to keep their stake, while if you are on the wrong side, then you have to pay out the winning bet you have accepted.

If you’ve ever fancied being in place of the bookmaker, rather than trying to beat the bookmaker, then a lay bet is how you go about that, and now it gives you the chance to take up that role.

Where to Accept a Lay Bet?

Betting Exchange Liability

The big change in betting and being able to accept a lay bet from someone has only happened because we now have platforms where you can legally do this. These are called betting exchanges, where people bet against each other rather than with a bookmaker.

When you sign up and visit a betting exchange, you are using a platform that has been put there to bring people together, but regardless of whether you are accepting lay bets or placing regular bets, you will be doing this with other people. No bookmakers are involved, of course, they can access the exchange and back or lay themselves, but their bets go in the pool like everyone else’s, you won’t ever specifically deal with a bookmaker for either yourself.

How to Accept a Lay Bet?

Man Betting OnlineThe key to understanding lay bets is knowing that on the platforms available, you don’t choose who you bet against, you will never know who it is, all you are doing is accepting a bet from a pot of money.

By working in this way, people can back or lay selections at any amount they want and taking any odds they want. Of course, it needs someone to accept the opposite side of the bet when it comes to odds, but in terms of stakes, your money becomes part of a pool, so you don’t need to specifically match up with someone wanting the same stake and odds, just the same odds.

If you accept a lay bet with a value of £10, this may be one person betting £10, it could be five different people betting £2, or you could be taking £10 in stake from a much larger bet, for example, a £100 bet that is split across different layers.

There are two elements you need to fix in when you put up a lay bet the first is the odds you are going to lay at, and the second is the size of wager you will take on. This will give you a potential outlay of the bet if you lose, and you must have this in your account to cover the winnings, to show you can pay out if you lose before the bet is confirmed.

For example, if you accept a £10 bet at odds of 5/1 (6.00), then you could find yourself paying out £50 if the bet wins, so, therefore, you must have £50 or more in your account before you can accept this.

Examples of a Lay Bet

exchange back and lay markets for football matches

As this is a style of betting that many people won’t have experienced before, here are some examples of a lay bet, what it looks like, the potential winnings and the outlay you must have available to show you can pay out the bet if it wins.

It is important to note here that winnings and returns you pay are all the full amounts. Betting exchanges earn their money by taking a commission from the bets, so if you win, you will have to pay a commission amount. This varies depending on the exchange you use, and you may also be able to change the amount you pay in commission, depending on how your account is set up.

Laying at Odds Against

Accept a £10 stake lay bet at odds of 3/1.

If the selection loses, you will win stake money of £10

If the selection wins, you will have to pay out £30 to the winner.

As you can see here, because you are taking a bet at odds against, the amount you win is less than the amount you have to pay out should the selection win.

Laying at Odds On

Accept a £10 stake lay bet at odds of 1/2.

If the selection loses, you will win stake money of £10

If the selection wins, you will have to pay out £5 to the winner.

With this example, because you are accepting a bet at odds on, you will win more money than you have to pay out if you are successful. You are the one winning big here, and risking the least, as you are on the opposite end to normal of an odds-on bet.

Understanding the Risks of Lay Betting

wooden blocks with question marks on

The biggest thing you need to do is understand the risks of lay betting before you get started. This way of betting is completely the opposite of regular wagering, where you are backing a selection to win, so you need to change your mindset.

Usually, some people would avoid betting on odds on chances because your winning returns are less than the stake amount. With lay betting, it’s the opposite, if you lay at odds against, your potential winnings are less than the potential payout if the bet wins.

Therefore, many people who lay selections do so in sports where there are many odds on shots, such as football, for example. Understanding the risk involved and the different ways of working is key before you even begin if you want to be a successful layer.