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Knowledge and inside information is power

The joy of laying

28 Mar 11 22:10
HELLO, good evening and welcome to my blog. I hope it reaches you well. Some of my followers are interested in knowing why they should lay odds, rather than back. Laying can be as much fun as betting, and as profitable, in the right circumstances.

A lay bet means that you effectively become the bookmaker (without necessarily having to don a ropey sheepskin coat) and decide which odds you want to offer to potential punters. In a football match between United and City, for example, you’d make a profit if you laid City and the match ended in a United win or a draw. If you laid United, but City won or it was a draw then you’d win. If you laid the draw and either of the two sides won then you’d pick up your winnings.

In “two outcome only” events such as the major knock-out tournaments tennis, darts, snooker and so on where the match can only end with a winner and a loser, laying is slightly different as effectively all you do is pick who you think will lose rather than who will win. If you pick the loser correctly, you win the money. In events with large numbers of competitors, such as greyhound racing (six) or horse racing (up to 40) each dog or horse you lay means you are effectively backing all the others to win.

Choosing the right lay bet is every bit as scientific as choosing the right win bet. One question that is often raised by people interested in laying but not sure why they should pick a lay bet instead of a win bet, especially in a one-on-one contest, is “Why should I pick someone to lose, rather than someone to win?” The simple answer is, “It’s all about liability.”

Your liability is the amount of money you stand to lose if your selection is unsuccessful. If you back something to win at 2/1, for example, and your stake is £10, your liability is also £10. If you win, you get £30 (£20 winnings, plus your original £10 stake returned to you). If you lose, you lose £10. If you were to lay something at 2/1, then to win £10 your liability would be £20. In other words, you’d stand to lose £20 if you got your lay bet wrong – i.e. the person/dog/horse you reckoned would lose actually won. If you got it right, however, and your assessment that the person/dog/horse would lose came true, then the £20 you put up in the first place would be returned to you, along with the £10 that some poor mug punter had thrown away in the hope that he’d be taking the loot.

It’s ‘cheaper’ to lay an odds-on favourite than it is to lay a rank outsider. To lay a 1/10 shot in an attempt to win £10 would only cost you a liability of £1, whereas to lay a 10/1 shot in an attempt to win £10 would cost you a liability of £100. Laying is only currently possible on betting exchange sites, such as Betfair, where you are going up against other punters, rather than bookies.

We'll chat a bit more about combining both 'disciplines' i.e. backing and laying on the same event - which can be done ante-post and in-running, soon. Until then, my followers, enjoy your punting & may lady luck be on your side - or better still in your bed, on your lap or in the kitchen preparing you a hearty meal.

Remember: No system is fool-proof, but only a fool ignores wise advice.
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