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 bets 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 with a Matched Betting strategy.

Only a select number of outlets offer lay betting, so if you’re looking to get in on the act, you need to pick your sites carefully. At Betting Apps, we know all you need to know about layoff 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 the  Betfair, Betdaq, or Smarkets Exchange apps. They’re our most trusted  Exchange bookmakers. All three betting exchange providers offer a large number of markets on which to place lay bets, and every major fixture across football, horse racing, and many other sports is 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.

App Features Access

Betdaq Exchange
Betdaq Exchange app

  • 2% commission rate
  • Informative football stats
  • Horse racing and greyhound live streaming
  • cash out

Betfair Exchange
Betfair Exchange app

  • 5% commission rate
  • Strong odds
  • In-Play betting
  • Set your own odds

Smarkets Exchange
Smarkets Exchange app

  • 2% commission
  • Excellent layout and interface
  • Biometric log-in
  • Live statistics on in-play events

What Are Lay Bets?

Lay bets are a type of bet exclusively offered by betting exchanges rather than traditional betting companies. In simple terms, they involve placing a bet against a specific outcome.

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, 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 in a draw or Liverpool win the game.

This ultimately means two outcomes are in your favour, and one isn’t when playing this 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 offers this option.

If you haven’t opened an account with a betting exchange yet, don’t 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.

Once your account is opened, you can begin to place lay bets. There are a number of reasons 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 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 winning bet 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 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 to ensure you’re getting the best profit.

For Example:


From the images above, we created an example of how this is done using the iPhone betting 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 are 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 bet, so the liability is £83.34, which you must 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, a net profit of £153 is the actual amount returned, regardless of the outcome.

Choosing when to place a lay bet in this scenario is always down to your judgment. You might decide it’s the best time to lay off if, for example, the team takes the lead and it’s 1-0 within 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. You can now get a £206 profit if added to the calculator.

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!


A lay bet is simply betting on something not to happen. For example, if you lay Liverpool in the Champions League final you are betting on them not winning that match. 

You make money when that event does not win. For example, if you lay a horse at 1/1 odds you will win the bet at those odds if the horse does not win.

There are many reasons to place a lay bet. These include people betting on a horse they think won’t win, taking a calculated risk on a team they think will lose or laying off a back bet that they have already placed. 

If a lay, or back, bet is not matched on the exchange then the bet is not placed. If the event starts before your bet is matched then your funds will be returned to your account. This will appear in unmatched bets in your account. 

Once the bet is matched it is not possible to cancel a lay bet on any betting exchange. The only option is to minimise the loss or lock in the profit with an alternative back bet on the same market.