What is a Lay Bet


Perhaps the most confusing, and arguably the most important part of matched betting is the Lay Bet. Which is essentially the bet that not only protects against you losing at the bookmaker, but it’s also used to guarantee profits from the free bets. If you can understand a Lay Bet, you should have no problems at all with matched betting whatsoever.

Examples

Let’s first imagine three scenarios:

  • Manchester City to beat Arsenal
  • Kane to score for Tottenham against Southampton
  • A horse to win at the Wolverhampton 14:00 race

 

 

Going back to basics, everyone is probably familiar with a Back Bet. These are traditional bets made with bookmakers, and you’re backing something to happen. This could be for a football team to win, somebody to score in a match, or a horse to come first. In these bets, you would risk your own money for potential winnings. Examples would be placing £10 on Manchester City to beat Arsenal to win £35. Or £10 Kane to score for Tottenham against Southampton to win £40. Or even £10 on a horse to win at the Wolverhampton 14:00 for £60. It’s common for these bets to have high risk but with high winnings. But also the chances of winning are quite slim.

A Lay Bet

Lay Bet is exactly the same to a Back Bet, but instead of betting on something to happen, you’re betting on something not to happen. In the examples above, a lay bet would be £35 for Manchester City NOT to beat Arsenal to win £10, or £40 on Kane NOT to score for Tottenham for £10 winnings, or £60 on a horse NOT to win at the Wolverhampton 14:00 for £10 winnings. In essence, a lay bet is basically putting yourself in the shoes of a bookmaker, i.e your risking the winnings of the back bet to potentially win the punters stake. Lay bet’s are not made with bookmakers but made on betting exchanges such as Betfair, Smarkets or Matchbook.

So, a back bet is where you are betting on something to happen. A lay bet is where you are betting on something not to happen. If you place a back bet with a bookmaker and a lay bet with an exchange on the same event for the same stake, the two bets cancel each other out. This is because if you win at the bookmaker, you lose at the exchange. But if you lose at the bookmaker, you win at the exchange. This is important as it protects against any risk, you don’t win anything, but you don’t lose anything either. The key to matched betting is always placing a lay bet to counteract the back bet.

Examples Revisited

Let’s look at the above examples again, and presume that we placed the above bets and we shall see what happens with different outcomes:

  • Manchester City to beat Arsenal
    • Manchester City win – You win £35 at the bookmaker, but lose £35 on the exchange
    • Manchester City do not win – You lose £10 at the bookmaker, but win £10 on the exchange
  • Kane to score for Tottenham against Southampton
    • Kane scores – You win £40 at the bookmaker, but lose £40 on the exchange
    • Kane does not score – You lose £10 at the bookmaker, but win £10 on the exchange
  • A horse to win at the Wolverhampton 14:00 race
    • The horse wins – You win £60 at the bookmaker, but lose £60 on the exchange
    • The horse does not win – You lose £10 at the bookmaker, but win £10 on the exchange

 

 

You can see from the six possible outcomes, we have not won anything, but we have not lost anything either, no matter what happens in the event. If you understand this so far, it’s all good. And you’re probably thinking what is the point of placing two bets like this. Well, for the simple reason that 99% of bookmakers offer you free bets. But only on the terms that you place a bet with your own money first.

Matched bettors never leave anything to chance. So when placing our first bet to qualify us to receive a free bet, we then place a lay bet. This protects the cash. The bookmaker then gives us the free bet and we use exactly the same method to cash out the free bet. Place it with the bookmaker, and place the lay bet with an exchange.

Summary

It is the lay bet that makes up the second part of matched betting. Matched betting involves placing two bets, a back bet and a lay bet. If a back bet does not have a corresponding lay bet, we call this an unmatched bet. Every bet you place at the bookmakers will have a corresponding lay bet, we never leave anything to chance, and never do we gamble. By placing the lay bet, you are covering all outcomes of the event.

A Matched Bet = Back Bet (bookmaker) + Lay Bet (exchange)

Bookmaker Offers

Bookmakers offer literally thousands of pounds every month in free bets and bonuses, by using lay bets we can cash these out with any risk involved. At Regular you have access to the Odds Matching service that finds the best events to place the bets on. It also calculates what your lay bet needs to be, protecting you from risk. This is what we do here at the Matched Betting Centre. Whether you’re starting afresh or an experienced matched bettor. We want to make sure you have all of the relevant tools available, and a full list of bookmaker offers ready to cash out.

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