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Most sports betting consists of betting that an outcome or event will happen. This could mean betting that a horse will win a race, a football team will claim a trophy or a golfer will emerge triumphant at the end of a tournament. This is known as backing an event to happen. Before the rise of online sports betting backing was virtually the only kind of bet which could be placed, but betting exchanges make it possible to bet that something won’t happen, which is known as lay betting. Other names sometimes used for lay betting include lay bet matching, arb betting and double betting.
When a bettor lays a bet they are, in effect, acting as the bookmaker, which is why this is a form of betting which is generally enjoyed more by experienced bettor than those new to the pastime. Lay betting is a key part of matched betting, which is the practice of placing two bets simultaneously, one which backs an event to happen and one which lays it not to happen, thus increasing the chances of emerging with some kind of profit.
There are several advantages to laying bets. The first of these is that a lay bet on Roger Federer at Wimbledon will pay out if any other player in the field actually wins the tournament, thus greatly increasing the chances of success. Another big plus point when betting on football matches, for example, is that a lay bet on Liverpool will pay out whether they lose or draw the match, just as long as they don’t win.
Most online betting exchanges offer the option of laying bets and a calculator for determining the amount of profit desired and the amount that will be lost – known as the liability – if the chosen lay bet actually goes on to win. Many bettors utilise lay betting by backing a player or team to win and then, if there is a shift in the odds, laying a bet on the same team or player and therefore guaranteeing a profit. The most sophisticated bettors might decide the odds on an event are too short and therefore offer their own odds to tempt other members of a betting exchange to place back bets. Any bettor taking this option needs a strong nerve and clear grasp of what their potential losses could be.