What is lay betting?

Everything you need to know about lay betting

Written by Viktor V
Updated over a week ago

Understanding Lay Betting

Lay betting is an exciting and unique type of sports betting where you bet against an outcome happening, rather than betting for it to happen. This type of bet is offered by many online sportsbooks and is an excellent opportunity for bettors looking to take a slightly different approach to their sports betting.

How Does Lay Betting Work?

Lay betting is essentially the opposite of normal sports betting. In traditional betting, which is referred to as 'back betting', you bet on an outcome to happen, such as a team winning, or a specific score - this is the side of the bet that 'backs' the outcome. With lay betting, however, you are betting on the opposite outcome, betting against the team winning, or against a specific score, which is the side of the bet that 'lays' the outcome.

The key difference between lay and back betting is that when you 'lay' a bet, you are essentially acting as the bookmaker, taking the opposite side of the wager than a regular bet, and will be required to pay out when the bet is a winner. In a lay bet, the bettor stands to lose the agreed amount when the event in question happens but stands to win the same amount when it does not. Additionally, lay betting markets offer a greater chance of success over traditional betting markets, and often allow for higher returns.

Benefits of Lay Betting

Lay betting has many advantages over traditional sports betting methods. Firstly, as the bettor is taking the opposite side of the bet, it allows for greater control over the amount of risk that is taken and the potential return. Additionally, with lay betting, the bookmaker takes a significantly lower margin than traditional sports betting, and prices are more competitive as a result.

Finally, lay betting can be used to hedge existing bets. By betting against an outcome, you can effectively reduce your risk when you have an existing bet on the same event. This means you can still benefit from the potential return, even if the original bet does not go your way.


Lay betting provides a unique and exciting way for bettors to experience sports betting. It is an excellent tool for those looking to take a slightly different approach to their sports wagers, as well as providing the potential for excellent returns and effective hedging of existing bets. In other words, you act as the bookmaker and offer odds to other bettors. If the event you're betting against doesn't happen, you win the bet. If the event does happen, you lose the bet and must pay out the winnings to the person who took your odds.

For example, in a football match between Team A and Team B, you might lay a bet against Team A winning. If Team A loses or the match ends in a draw, you win your lay bet. If Team A wins, you lose your bet and pay out the winnings to the person who took your odds.

Lay betting is commonly associated with betting exchanges, such as Betfair, where bettors have the option to both back and lay bets.

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