How to lay bets off: A Simple Guide With Example

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Most of the major bookies now let you “cash out” your accumulators but that may not be the best way to secure the profit. If you have a betting exchange account you can lay bets off to get a potentially bigger profit or cover your stake.

Lay bets are different to traditional types of bet and can often be a good way to boost your winnings on a wager.

They’re becoming increasingly popular with more advanced punters and are regularly used when using a Matched Betting strategy.

Only a select number of outlets offer lay betting, so if you’re looking to get in on the act then you need to pick your sites carefully. At Betting Apps, we know all you need to know about lay off bets, and below you’ll find our complete guide on what they are and how you place them.

Where To Place Lay Bets

We’d always recommend Betfair, Betdaq or Smarkets Exchange. They’re our most trusted  Exchange bookmakers. All three betting Exchange providers offer a large number of markets to place lay bets on and every major fixture across football, horse racing, and many other sports are available.

You can ultimately place a lay bet on any sport and any market. If the betting Exchange is offering lay bets, then you can use the methods above to cover all bases and make a profit.

They give you that extra safety net, and if you need that in your gameplay, then using lay bets is definitely for you.


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Betdaq Exchange
Betdaq Exchange app

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Betfair Exchange
Betfair Exchange app

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  • Strong odds
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  • Set your own odds
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Smarkets Exchange
Smarkets Exchange app

  • 2% commission
  • Excellent layout and interface
  • Biometric log-in
  • Live statistics on in-play events
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What Are Lay Bets?

Lay bets are a type of bet that is exclusively offered by betting exchanges as opposed to traditional betting companies. In simple terms, they work on the basis that you make a bet against a specific outcome happening.

For example:

Let’s say you wanted to bet on a football match between Liverpool and Everton. If you were to place a bet at a regular bookmaker, you’d be placing a wager on a team to win. In this instance let’s say, Liverpool.

With a bookmaker such as William Hill, you would make a ‘Back’ bet on Liverpool, as you would be backing them to win the game.

However, in a betting exchange like Betfair, you can place a ‘Lay’ bet which means you would be betting against them, meaning you would win the bet should the match finish a draw or Liverpool win the game.

This ultimately means two outcomes are in your favour and one isn’t when playing this particular Lay bet.

How To Lay Bets Off To Secure Profit

Placing a lay bet is relatively easy, however, you need to find a betting exchange that will offer the ability to do so.

If you haven’t got an account with a betting exchange just yet, not to worry. Check out the list of betting exchanges in the table above, select one, and register for a new account. You may also be fortunate enough to pick up a new customer deal in the process.

Once your account is opened you can begin to place lay bets. There are a number of reasons for why you would do so. Most commonly that’s as part of a Matched Betting tactic, although you can also benefit from placing a lay bet when playing an accumulator in-play.

In Matched Betting the idea is simple, it’s about covering all outcomes with value. In the case of the latter, it’s a lot more interesting and offers a solid way to earn some returns.

The way to do this is by first finding a bet that’s winning that you want to lay off. This works best when you’re down to the last game, make sure you have a note of the odds and your stake.

Now you need to calculate how to lay it off, start by going to backlaybettingcalculator.com and open the calculator.  Enter the details of your accumulators’ odds, stake, and lay odds for the final game. Then hit calculate and it will tell you the exact lay stake. Remember to add the relevant commission level for your chosen betting exchange app.

The amount locked in is almost always higher than the “cash-out” option from the bookies, just make sure you double-check the numbers so you’re getting the best profit.

For Example:

Lay-bets-off-example

From the images above we created an example of how this is done using the iPhone calculator app.

In this scenario, we have backed an acca at 50.00 (£5 at 49/1) and we have one game to go. The odds for the lay is at 1.5, with lay odds appearing in red, so we’ve added these details to the calculator.

If we let it run the acca is set to return a £245 profit, but if we’re nervous we can lay £166.67 at 1.5. Remember this is a lay so the liability is £83.34, which you will need to have in your account. If we place the lay we are secured a £161 profit regardless of the outcome. With this example showing a 5% commission rate by the relevant exchange bookmaker, net profit of £153 is the actual amount returned, regardless of outcome.

Choosing when to place a lay bet in this scenario is always down to your own judgement. You might decide it’s the best time to lay off if, for example, the team takes the lead and it’s 1-0 with 10 minutes. You’d still lay off at that point and make a profit. The odds will probably be around 1.18 so we’ve added this as an example. If added to the calculator you can now get a £206 profit.

It’s always worth checking the odds to lay on bets if you feel nervous. It’s your choice if and when you do it but it’s good to cover it as there’s nothing worse than losing a big acca to a last-minute equaliser!