Lay Off Betting


Lay off betting is used by punters and bookmakers to increase the chances of winning and reduce the risks of betting. Bookies lay off bets to betting exchanges and high street bookmakers, and punters can lay off bets on exchanges as well as benefiting from cash out.

What are Lay Bets? 

On betting platforms and in bookmakers shops, there are different forms of betting available, the most common way to bet is to back a team to win a game or a horse to win a race; if the prediction transpires, a punter gets a return based on the bookie’s odds. Lay bets are different.  

Instead of backing a team or a horse to win an event, a lay bet backs them not to win. For example, if someone places a lay bet on Liverpool to win the league means that you think Liverpool won’t win the league, and the return on the betting exchanges reflects these odds.  

Sometimes punters and bettors use lay bets to narrow the odds of losing; for instance, some might back Manchester City to win the league and also place a lay bet on Manchester City, so if Liverpool takes the title, the bettor will still receive money back since Manchester City lost out.    

Where to Place Lay Bets? 

If you like betting, there are many markets, platforms, and bookmaker shops to choose from. These days, the most popular way to place bets is online or using an app; betting apps are convenient and user-friendly; often they provide you with some free money to start you off. 

Alternatively, you could visit a high street bookmakers shop where you can talk to the counter staff about the odds and watch some of the events live on the television. Unlike an app, you don’t need an account and can ask some questions, but you won’t receive any free bets or wins.

Wherever you decide to place your lay bets, you will need a strategy if you want to be successful. Whether you get your information from tips and tipsters or from your own research and intuition, make sure to check the odds and returns to reduce liability on matched betting.    

Ways Bookies Can Lay Off Bets 

For bookmakers to be successful, they need to reduce their liabilities of losing, which they can do in a number of ways. For instance, if there are two football teams that are equally matched and a punter has ten pounds to spend, they should receive the same return when they bet. 

Another popular way for bookies to reduce liabilities is to place lay bets on betting exchanges. At first, there was resistance to betting exchanges as they took business away from the high street, but they are now embraced because bookies can trade liabilities on these exchanges. 

Bookies also use these exchanges to benefit from cash-out options. Punters love cash-out options because it gives them more agency over the bet, but it benefits bookies in two ways. Firstly, it reduces their overall liability, but it also allows them to alter the cash-out percentage. 


When people think about betting, they normally think about backing a team or a horse to win, but it’s also possible to place a bet in the opposite direction. This is called lay betting, and it’s popular with punters and bookmakers to narrow the odds and reduce liabilities in sports betting.

One way of using a lay bet to reduce your liability is to place an odds-on lay bet, so if you place ten pounds on a team at odds of 1.5, you can return ten pounds and are liable for five. Conversely, if you place the same money on odds of 3.5, you will return ten and be liable for 25.

Punters benefit from lay betting, but so do bookmakers. There are various ways that bookmakers can offset their bets with other bookies and exchanges; bookies can also reduce their liability using cash-out options while earning a little extra by changing the percentage.  


1. Is Lay betting legal?

Yes! Lay off betting and matched betting are legal and used by both punters and bookmakers to narrow the odds of losing.

2. Can you make money laying bets?

Absolutely, lay off betting is the reverse of back betting, and you can return better odds depending on the position. Bets can also be hedged using lay bets. 

3. What happens if you lose a lay bet?

Losing a lay bet means your team or horse has won the event; in this case, your liability is returned to your account along with your stake.  


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