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BACK & LAY at Betfair

Compared to other betting sites, Betfair offers you interesting alternatives on the common betting system. They are known as “back”- and “lay”-bets and we will explain to you how you can use this betting system for your own purposes. This article shows you, step by step, how to place sports bets at betting exchanges like Betfair.

Now it’s time to explain how betting exchanges generally work, in comparison to normal bookmakers (here you can visit our bookie review section) work in generally. In figure 1 you can see a typical 3-way-bet market of the game Leicester City against Manchester United.

figure 1: 3 way bet market at betfair for Leicester vs Man United

What exactly is a “back”-bet?

First of all, at Betfair, “back”-bets and their odds are always marked in blue.

Secondly, a “back”-bet is practically a common sports bet where you put you stake on a certain outcome of a bet. You are betting FOR something. If you bet 10 Euros on Manchester United you win the amount of your stake times the odds.

In this example (figure 2): 10 Euros x 1.67 = 16.70 Euros, minus the amount of your stake of 10 Euros would make a clear profit of 6.70 Euros.

back bet strategy at betfair

figure 2: see how it works placing a back bet on Man United

The only difference to a regular sports bet is that your bet is not against the book-maker but against another betting exchange-user (who has bet on a different outcome of the game in question). Additionally, as you see in Figure 1, the provider set a ceiling amount which you cannot over bet.

Attention: Bear in mind that Betfair charges a commission of up to 5 % from the profit of your bet; that means your account will only be credited with 95 % of the profit you generate. If you lose your bet you do not have to pay any commission.

Betfair overview after placing a back betfigure 3: Betfair screen after placing a back bet on Manchester

What is “lay”-betting?


This is a bet where you don’t bet on a specific outcome of a game but you bet AGAINST it. To be exact, in this scenario you will hold the position of a book-maker. If you’re not happy with the odds offered, you can propose a bet to other users, and you decide at what odds you want to do so.

Here in Figure 3, you see how you set the odds you want to offer and also the maximum amount a so called Backer (your counterpart who buys your bet) can bet.

By offering a “lay”-bet you get a double chance bet. As you bet AGAINST Manchester United in our sample, you win your bet if Leicester City wins and also if they draw. Before you place a bet you can check the Premier League fixtures and results to see who is matching up.

lay bet strategy at betfair

figure 4: see how it works placing a lay bet against ManU

So now you sell your bet for 10 Euros at odds of 1.68. This means your betting account looks like this (see also in figure 5):

If the Leicester City wins you win 10 Euro
If they draw you win 10 Euro
If Manchester United loses, you lose 16.80 Euros. (10 Euro x 1.68 = 16.80 Euros – stake 10 Euros = 6.80 Euros clear loss)

lay bet overview at betting exchange betfairfigure 5: this is how your screen looks at Betfair after placing a lay bet

We hope that this brief introduction into “back”- and “lay”-bets at betting exchanges helped you to understand this complex topic. As you can see, there are more betting strategies than just the common bet against the book-maker. In the German Bundesliga or Premier League Market you will always find enough people who will back or lay your bets. To build a successful betting concept, it is essential to invest a little bit of time to fully understand the betting market. To conclude, we want to show you another strategy which can prove very fruitful, if it is done right.

“Laying the Draw”-Strategy

To begin with, this strategy is not really for beginners. It takes a certain comprehension of the betting market and also the field (e.g. football) you want to bet on.

But this is how it works: first you search for a game in which you expect a goal within the first half. So you compare earlier games of those teams and check if the teams are prone to scoring a goal in the first 45 minutes, or if one team is the favourite.

In the next step, you place a “lay”-bet at Betfair on a Draw. So you bet that either Team A or Team B wins. You offer odds of 4.5 with a stake of 10 Euros.

In this scenario you would:

lose 35 Euro on a Draw (10 Euro stake x 4.5 odd – 10 Euro stake = 35 Euro)
win 10 Euro on a Team A Win
win 10 Euro on a Team B Win

The next step is to wait for the game to start and a goal to be scored. If a team scores, the odds on a Draw increases (to e.g. 6.8) and you place a “back”-bet on the Draw. Now you place 6.62 Euros on the Draw which would mean you get the profit of the “back”-bet” of 38.40 Euros (6.62 stake x 6.8 – 6.62 stake = 38.40) in case of a Draw.

In case of a Win by either Team A or B you will get your 10 Euros from the “lay”-bet, less the amount of the “back”-bet (10 Euros “lay”-profit – 6.62 Euros “back”-loss = 3.38 Euros clear profit).

In case of a Draw you will get your “back”-profit decreased by the “lay”-loss. (38.4 Euros “back”-profit – 35 Euros “lay”-loss = 3.4 Euros clean profit)

Team A wins: 10 – 6.62 = 3.38
Team B wins: 10 – 6.62 = 3.38
Draw: -35 + 38.4 = 3.4


As you can see you will not make a substantial amount with every bet, but if you use this strategy more often, you can of course yield some good profits. The only case in which you would lose your stake of 35 Euros, is if the game ends with a 0-0 draw.

But firstly, we minimise that risk by doing a profound research before the game(s) and secondly, statistically speaking, only 6 out of 100 football games draw 0-0.


Hint: Place your “back”-bet on the Draw quickly after the first goal as the odds are at their highest immediately after the goal. You can also keep your stake for the “lay”-bet small, so in case of a 0-0 Draw, your losses will be minimal. If we caught your attention with this topic, we recommend you read our article about hedging in sportsbetting.

Back to all Livetipsportal betting strategies.

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