Understanding The Back And Lay Strategy

Posted by Henry Watkins on August 20, 2016 in

Sportsbetting is a highly volatile market that usually comes its fair share of risks at any given time, so finding ways to minimize risks is very crucial if you are looking to get the best of your betting endeavors and maximize your profits. One of such methods to minimize your risks and increase your chances at profitability is the back and lay betting strategy. Below is a brief explanation of how this online sportsbook system works and how you can use it in your favor.

Here’s a Closer Look At The Understanding Of The Back And Lay Strategy



What is “Back” and “Lay”?

Back: This term is simply used to refer to the action of placing a bet (making a wager). When you back a bet, it means you have outlayed funds on an outcome with where another bettor is risking that you may be able to win. In other words, rather than bet against the bookmaker (as is usually done in regular sports betting), a back bet entails betting  against another bettor in a betting exchanges platform, who also bet on the same game but chose a different outcome.

Lay: This form of bet is more-or-less the opposite of backing, where you accept a bet rather than place one. In betting exchanges, laying a bet means you are taking someone else’s bet with the risk that he might win or lose. Put more simply, in lay bets, you assume the position of a bookmaker, meaning you can offer a bet to other users and decide at which betting odd you want to do so.

Example of the Back and Lay Betting Strategy

Take a hypothetical example of a soccer game between Arsenal and Chelsea with the following odds…

1.80 Arsenal, 2.50 Draw, 1.95 Chelsea

Now, assume that you want to place a back bet on Chelsea in this game. To do so, you’ll have to find a betting exchange section with your bookie and make the rightful selection of Chelsea on the ‘back” bet section, which will most probably come with slightly better odds, let’s say Chelsea at 1.97. Using this example, you would therefore back Chelsea at 1.97. So, for a stake of $100, your total payout would be $197, translating to a profit of $97 (on top of your $100 stake).

If you are interested in the lay option, the procedure is same as above where you firs find the “lay” bet section with your bookie. Taking an example of laying a bet against Chelsea at 1.99 for $100, it simply means that you will be betting AGAINST a Chelsea win, so you’ll get paid IF Chelsea loses or the game ends in a draw. Using this example, you would win $100 if Chelsea wins and also win $100 if the game ends in a draw. But if Chelsea loses, it means you’d lose the $100 stake plus the $99 in liabilities (from the 1.99 odds that your offered), totaling to $199 in losses. The reason for this, as we earlier mentioned, is that you are assuming the role of a bookmaker, so you either win big or lose big (with the liabilities being on you).


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Final Pointers on the Back and Lay Strategy

In most back and lay markets, you will often come across the following rules and pointers (sometimes in different variations), so ensure that you take note of them:

  • Bookmakers rarely offer bettors the possibility of laying bets because this is actually the role that is played by the bookies themselves. Fortunately, that’s where betting exchanges come in, allowing punters across the world to bet against each other by backing and laying selections at varying odds.
  • Most bookmakers charge up to 5% commission on your profits as their ‘cut’ for facilitating the betting exchange. This commission is only paid by the winner of the event.
  • Back and lay bets are often marked differently, using a different color to help you differentiate them from the normal odds. In case you haven’t seen such bets at your sportsbook, you can make an inquiry about the same.
  • Apart from (appealingly) setting the odds you are offering during lay bets, you also have to set the maximum amount of money a so called Backer (the person who buys your bet) can bet.

Depending on how you feel about the market, you can decide to back or lay. But as always, you should ensure that you fully understand the position you are taking and what it means for you in terms of profits and losses. If used carefully, back and lay can be a great way to minimize profits and maximize returns.