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Betting.net / Betting Guide / What Does a Lay Bet Mean? Lay Betting Explained 2024

What Does a Lay Bet Mean? Lay Betting Explained 2024

Publish Date: June 24, 2021
Fact checked by: Jesse M Cox

To lay or not to lay? Here’s everything you need to know about making a lay bet

There are many different terms, odds and markets in betting and it is important you’re aware of all of them. Our experts are on hand to make sure that lay betting is explained to all bettors new and old.

If you’re wondering ‘what does lay mean in betting?’, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to answer this question, and we aim for readers to leave this page knowledgeable in this betting market. Let’s take a trip and dive into everything there is to know about lay betting!

Key Takeaways From Lay Betting

  • Often goes by ‘matched betting’, ‘arbitration’ or ‘arb betting’
  • Lay betting odds on exchanges are often displayed as decimals, rather than fractions
  • It allows punters to sell bets instead of the usual odds in backing a bet
  • You play the role as the bookmaker and bet against other people
  • Profit can be guaranteed if done correctly

Lay Betting Explained

Many different things have been added to the world of betting down the years and the simple betting on an outright market is now just one simple way of betting, so it’s important you have an understanding of an oddsmaker explained to you and lay betting explained to you.

In today’s age, with sportsbooks opening up in many places in the US each year, you can now bet on a variety of different sports, markets and odds online and in person. For example, soccer betting allows you to bet on the outright winner, corners, bookings, goals, shots, under/over betting and so many, many more. Here at Betting.net, we will discuss each of the popular methods of betting in sport and hand you a comprehensive guide to each one so that you know exactly what it is you’re betting on, what you can bet on, and give you tips and tricks for every single way of betting in the USA and in your state.

In this guide, we will be talking about lay betting explained, and how does a lay bet work in this ultimate lay betting guide.

Lay Betting – The Lowdown

Lay betting has become a popular way of betting and it’s important you’re aware of what to do. Lay betting is an option that you will find on exchanges, such as the Betfair Exchange, which means sports bettors can offer odds to sell a bet instead of to back a bet through the bookmaker.

This bet type is an element of matched betting, as if you choose to bet on this option, you will both back and sell the bets you’re working with in the same game to guarantee a winning. Yes, you guarantee yourself a win in some way if you know what to do, how to sell the bets and if you’ve chosen a sensible market.

Essentially, lay betting is a type of betting procedure that will work in two ways, but it is only placed when you are selling a bet and not buying a bet. In a nutshell, it is often placed by punters who play the role of bookmaker and fancy themselves as quite the connoisseur when it comes to betting, hence the name ‘lay betting’. As is often the case with other markets, too, lay betting is also often called by terms such as ‘matched betting’, ‘arbitration’ or ‘arb betting’, so when you read about lay betting explained, do also remember that it might be referred to in a different way, but it is the same.

Remember, if you’re looking for a multiple bet explained, or anything else, we will give you the lowdown for each market and betting strategy at Betting.net.

Lay Betting Explained – Example of Lay Betting

To get an understanding on a betting option, you will need to see examples on it, as this will be the easiest way that lay betting is explained in this online betting guide. So, for example, instead of betting on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl, you simply lay the New England Patriots instead. This now means that you would win your bet if anyone other than the New England Patriots win the Super Bowl.

Essentially, you act like a bookmaker when you lay an outcome, so you’re not betting directly against the bookmaker and are instead betting against other bettors through this bookmaker. This is why some sportsbooks have an exchange section of their site, as this is where all the lay betting takes place, such as the Betfair Exchange.

So just remember when lay betting is explained, lay betting is the option on change from the regular betting punter, to the role of a traditional bookmaker by offering odds to sell a bet instead of backing that bet to win. To further give an example, you can even give real life scenarios to this with things like “I bet you won’t put this ball”, or “I bet you won’t make it there”. All of this is acting as the bookmaker and laying a bet, rather than backing directly for it.

Over the years, the way people bet and the understanding of the constantly changing betting world from bookmakers has brought these types of markets into great popularity. Cash-out options, in-play markets and lay betting are just some of the options offered outside of the traditional betting methods.

Lay Betting Explained – Be Aware of the Different Odds

Lay betting explained shouldn’t be enough to fill your knowledge on lay betting, as the simple definition and examples of this betting market might not be enough to completely understand the market. So, as well as this, you should clue yourself up on the different ways in which odds are offered such as American, decimal and fractions. This is simply because, in some places, odds on exchanges are often displayed as decimals, rather than fractions. This will differ around the world, but the usual odds you’re used to seeing might not be offered on the exchange, and it’s pretty pointless knowing how does a lay bet work if you don’t know how the odds themselves work.

In some cases, decimal odds are used on exchanges and this is because they are more accurate than fractional odds. Fractional odds can be a lot less concrete with offering an exact amount, and decimals will simply give the lay betto more transparency. We understand that If you are not used to dealing with decimal odds or fractional odds, they can be a stumbling block when playing with lay betting.

When working with decimal odds, it is vital to understand that the person backing against your lay bet has their stake included. So for example, odds of 2.00 are EVENS (1/1), with the stake counting as 1.00 and odds of 3.00 is 2/1. If you’re unaware of how to convert them, there are simple ways to do this from fractional to decimal by dividing the first number by the second number. Then, add 1.00.

So, to put this into perspective, an 11/4 is 11 divided by 4, which then reads as 2.75, plus 1.00, which then amounts to a 3.75 odds. If you want to go the other way around as you’re more knowledgeable on fractional lay betting, simply subtract 1.00 and convert to a fraction, reducing to the easiest form.

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Do Remember That Lay Betting Guarantees a Profit

Similar to the rising method in betting, there is a higher chance of winning with lay betting and with lay betting, a change in the landscape of the sport and the odds can present you with an opportunity to lay a selection you have backed and get a profit from it. For example, if you back a soccer match to be a tie at odds of 3.6 with a stake of $100. Once the first half is done and the match looks a little easier to predict and the game is still a tie, the odds of a draw will likely shorten to something like 3.0 or a little higher or lower.

If you chose to lay at this price to win, your liability would increase and if the match is a tie, you win a little more, but will then lose the amount you laid. However, as you sold the bet with better odds as a lay bet, you would have made a profit without actually betting on the match itself.

On the other hand, if the match is not a tie, you would still win, but minus the $100 stake, but this also results in a profit margin. In reality, the fact that you are guaranteed to make a profit with lay betting does make it one of the best ways to make money through gambling.

Lay Betting Explained – Learn About Profit, Liquidity and Liability

The most important thing to understand about laying a bet is that the profit is the amount you could win, the liability is how much you could lose, and these are incredibly different to a traditional bet that you will place on just one market. For example, placing $5 on a +200 bet will earn you a profit of $10, no questions asked. However, this easy formula is reversed when you’re playing with lay betting.

How Much do I Have to Bet With Lay Betting?

As lay profit will guarantee you a profit if you know what you’re doing, it’s important to know that you will need to be able to put forth a little bit more cash than a regular bet. For example, to make a bigger profit, you’re going to need to deposit more than you would when placing a bet on a +200 to just make $30 and although this won’t be a drastic amount, to make it worthwhile, you’ll want to play with a bit more than usual.

This is simply because, you’re selling a bet and to sell that bet, you’re going to want the odds to increase on it. For example, to make a profit of $10, the person placing the lay bet would have to be willing to risk $50 as the liquidity is the amount of cash that is available to back on a bet or use as a lay bet in a chosen market.

In a nutshell, this is simply because when placing a lay bet and having this exchange, it comes between two playing bettors, as opposed to when betting directly with the sportsbook.

What Other Betting Guides & Strategies Are Available with Betting.net

Now that lay betting is explained, you’ll want to use this momentum of understanding how does a lay bet work, to now increase your knowledge on all the other areas of betting with Betting.net. In this guide, we’ve only touched on one aspect of betting and there are so many more areas to explain and for you to learn.

At Betting.net, you’ll find all our strategies and guides on betting across the site and not just lay betting explained.

Lay Betting Explained – Conclusion

Lay betting is certainly one of the more complex options in betting as it does go into the category of the more untraditional ways of betting. Now that lay betting is explained, your next step is jetting off to find the sportsbook that offers this option for you.

Do remember that with lay betting, you’re playing the role as the bookmaker and not betting directly on that market alone. So, if you play your cards right and you fully understand this lay betting guide, you can be guaranteed a profit. Of course, things are not that simple in gambling, but once you’ve nailed down lay betting, you can start to earn some money through it.

Ultimately, whether you’re looking for a system bet explained, or anything else, we can help you with this.

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Lay betting explained FAQ

❓ What else is there to know once lay betting is explained?

When lay betting is explained to you, you’ve learned about one of the more complex areas of betting as these untraditional markets tend to confuse a few people. We do believe you should be aware of options like this in betting, as there are so many, so do head to our guides and reviews to see what there is left to know.

❔ Which sportsbooks offer lay betting?

Many sportsbooks out there will offer lay betting, but some may not. Essentially, this will be down to the operator themselves and we will find you the perfect lay betting operator in our reviews section. This way, you’ll find the sportsbook perfect for you.

🤔 How does a lay bet work?

All our guides have things like lay betting explained and under/over markets explained, and if you take a look around the site, you will be equipped with all the betting knowledge you need

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