How to Lay horses

In simple terms laying a horse means betting on the horse not to win (or not to place depending on the market). The odds are a lot lower than backing them to win.

This is a strategy that people use to build up the smaller returns over a period of time/ a number of lays. Sometimes it seems easier to pick a horse that you know won’t win rather than one you think that will!

laying horses on Betfair – Beginners guide

To lay bets you have two main options – Betfair or Betdaq (also know as Ladbrokes exchange since Ladbrokes bought them out). We recommend Betfair as the platform is easier to use and it’s easier to cash out in running if you wish. If you’re new to the Betfair exchange you can get a £20 matches first bet below.

Now you’ve got your free bet here’s our step by step guide to laying horses on Betfair.

Step 1 – Identify the horse!

Sounds simple, but isn’t! It’s worth looking for horses who are out of form or don’t like the ground/ track. There’s loads of places you can get information on the horses, here’s a few we’d recommend

Racing post – form, write up, stats.

The racing app – iPhone/ Android app that calculates races based on a computer system (free app to use)

Step 2 – Lay the horse

Now we have the horse it’s time to get the lay on. On Betfair the lay side is the pink odds, the back side is the blue odds. Click the pink odds you want to take (as below) and this will go in your betslip on the right (or open up for the stake on mobile/ app).

How to lay horses step 1 - make the lay

Then enter your stake in the box.

IMPORTANT – The risk you are taking is for the “liability”. Example above – The backers stake is the amount you’d win – in this example £5, the liability (£6.30) is the amount I’d lose if the horse WON.

Step 2 confirm the bet

Once you’re happy with the stake/ odds for your lay you can confirm the bet as below

Step 3 bet confirmed

Now the market for that race will look like this –

How the market looks once the horse is layed

This shows that if your horse wins you will lose £6.30 (the amount in red next to your horse) or if any other horse wins you’ll win £5 (the amount in green next to all the other horses).

Cash out/ greening up

Greening up is a term used by Betfair users when they cash out or lay off the bet. This means there is a green figure next to every result securing a return on every outcome.

There are ways of trading horse races pre races to secure a profit, here’s an example of how it works from the highly recommended Caan Berry (a full time Betfair trader).

How the exchange works

The Betfair exchange is different from a standard bookie as it matches bets from people all around the world. When you win your lay on the horses your returns are subject to a 5% commission that’s automatically deducted.