A lay bet is the opposite to a back bet. Instead of you betting on an outcome to happen, you are betting on it not to happen. Lay bets involve you putting up liability in exchange for someone else's stake. You will place lay bets on a betting exchange, where they match you with individuals that want to place a back bet.


You lay England to win for £10 at odds of 10-1 (11.0 in decimal format). If England win you pay out £100. But if England don’t win (lose or draw) you win the £10 stake.

Betfair Exchange Betslip

With Lay bets you are taking a bet, the same as a bookmaker would. This means that you are betting on the event not to happen. However if the event does happen, you will need to pay out just as a bookmaker would, in the example above, this would be £100 and is known as your liability

What Is Liability on a Betting Exchange?

When you place a lay bet, you are taking a bet from someone else. If you lay a bet is odds of 9-1 (10.00 in decimal) for £10, you would need a liability of £90 to cover the winnings you would need to pay out, this is your liability.

Betfair Liability

When you place a lay bet, the liability is taken from your exchange balance and held in escrow, until the event is settled. If your lay bet loses, you will pay that £90 to the person that you made the bet with. If the lay bet wins, you would win the stake of the bet that you took.

Liquidity When Laying Bets

To ensure that your lay bet gets matched, you need to check that there is enough liquidity in the market you are looking to lay. This is represented by the number below the odds on the betting exchange. To ensure that your lay stake gets matched, make sure that the value underneath the odds is greater than the amount that you want to lay.

Betfair Liquidity

Lay Bets and Matched Betting

Laying allows you to mirror any bets that you make at the bookmakers, hedging against any loss that you could potentially make. By using free bets, and calculating the correct lay stakes, you can lock in profit regardless of the result. To find out more about how this works, read our full matched betting guide to see how our members are making up to £1,000 per month in risk free profit.

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Useful Links

  • What is a Back Bet?
  • What is a Betting Exchange?
  • What are Odds?
  • Bookie Signup Bonuses
  • Matched Betting Guide


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