Betfair Exchange: Placing a Lay Bet on the Exchange

Betfair Exchange: Placing a Lay Bet on the Exchange
James Boyle
Wednesday 18th September 2019

In the next edition of our Betfair Exchange educational series, it’s time to look through the process of placing a lay bet on the Exchange.

The ability to place a lay bet is one of the main attractions when it comes to betting on the Betfair Exchange. We can play the role of the bookmaker, but it also opens us up to a world of advanced cash-out and trading opportunities both ante-post and in-play.

Similarly to back betting on the Exchange, laying can be a different betting process than you’re used to.

Placing a Lay Bet on the Betfair Exchange

We start off at the same page as when wanting to do a back bet, where you can navigate around the different meetings and races of the day.

When placing a lay bet, we’re interested in the red columns.

For the purposes of this guide, let’s say we’re looking to place a bet on the 7:00pm at Kempton.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, we think Dubai Discovery is not a worthy favourite here. So we want to lay Dubai Discovery. We take a look at the race market and find the lay odds on offer are 3.8. The number below that price (£18) is the amount of money currently available at that price.

We’re a few hours out from the race so the market hasn’t really got moving, but you can accept a bet up to £18 at odds of 3.8 for a liability around £50 before your money will go unmatched. Alternatively, you can wait a little while for more money to enter the market but that comes with some risks, or even possible rewards, as the price may lengthen or indeed shorten.

If you’re happy with this price and the liquidity, click the red button to add it to your betslip.

This is where things are different from a back bet. After adding the lay to your betslip, you’re prompted to enter the Backer’s Stake. This is, effectively, how much you win (minus commission) should your lay bet land.

However we can actually lose more or less than the backer’s stake should our bet not land. This is called Liability, as explained in this article on backing and laying. The liability is effectively our stake and the Backer’s Stake is our potential profit, so if we want to win £18 by laying Dubai Discovery, we enter that into the Backer’s Stake and see that it results in a liability of £50.40.

The liability is worked out like this: (Backer’s Stake x Lay Odds) – Backer’s Stake = Liability.

Your liability is just how much the person on the other side of the bet could profit from your bet.

If you’re happy with the odds and liability, you can go ahead and click Place Bet.

However, if you’re not happy with the odds on offer, or want to bet more money than is currently available, there are a couple of options open:

  1. If you want to bet a larger amount, you can click the Market Depth button in settings section to see a full range of liquidity on offer. In this case, you can see there’s a further £34 available at 3.9 and £15 available at 3.95.
  2. If you want better odds, you can request them by changing the Odds field on your betslip. With lay betting, we’re actually looking for lower odds (lower odds = less liability), so in this case I’m requesting odds of 3.65 to lay Dubai Discovery, and after placing that bet I then have to wait for a backer to come along and match my bet.


Remember, you get won’t always get matched. Sometimes there just isn’t anyone willing to bet at your odds on the other side, so make sure you know exactly what has been matched and what’s not.

More in this series:

What is the Betfair Exchange?
Back and Lay Betting Explained
Advantages of Using the Exchange
Placing a Back Bet on the Exchange

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