Lay Betting: How to Bet Against a Team

Lay Betting Stake

When betting on football, there are times when you could quite possibly be better off betting against a team than for one. This is an area that many people overlook, mainly because they don’t really understand the concept of it, but it can hold a lot of value.

The concept of betting against a team is to suggest that they won’t win that match. It could be that they draw the game or that the other team win the game, either way, so long as the team you have bet against don’t win, your bet will.

Note that this isn’t the same as betting on the other team to win, this is a slightly different angle and affords a little more wiggle room.

There are a few different ways that you can effectively bet against a team, and some offer better results than others, so let’s explain how they all work and which option might be best.

Lay Betting

The lay bet is the purest form of betting that something will not come in. You set the odds and then someone takes the price that you set. If that team wins then you lose and pay out at the odds you set, but if the team don’t win (lose or draw) then you take the backers’ money.

This process is done via a betting exchange rather than a regular bookie, but if you think about, it’s exactly the same process that a traditional bookmaker employs. They ‘lay’ every single market that you see on their website and they profit when the bets that you place lose. The lay bet on an exchange works just the same, so people are essentially taking the place of the bookmaker when they lay something.

Let’s use Betfair to walk you through how this would work. The first thing that we need to do is find the team that we want to bet against.

We have a game between Arsenal and Burnley that we think Arsenal are not going to win, even though they are odds on to do so. We decide to bet against them and lay Arsenal to win.

Lay Bet 1

As you can see, the lay price on Arsenal is that of 1.32. It’s at this point we need to decide how much money we want to try and win and how much money we want to leave exposed. When you lay a bet, the maximum you can win is based on the backer’s stake. So, if someone bets you £10 at odds of 1.32, then most you can win is £10.

Lay Bet 2

We decide that the amount we would like to try win is £50, so our backers’ stake is £50. As you can see from the above, if Arsenal were to not win this match (i.e draw or Burnley to win) then we would win £50, but if Arsenal did win then we would lose £16 based on the lay price of 1.32 that we have taken.

The exchange allows you to set your own price, but you will need to wait for it be matched before your bet is accepted, so it needs to be realistic.

Double Chance

The next market that allows you to effectively bet against a team to win is the double chance market. For this bet you are able to back two results and if either one of them take place then you win your bet. Technically you are betting for two different results rather than against one, but the end result is the same.

The possible combinations are as follows:

  • Home win and draw
  • Home win and away win
  • Away win and draw

If you were to take either two of the win and draw bets, then you would essentially be betting against the remaining team win.

Let’s look at the Arsenal v Burnley game and see how this would work:

Double Chance Bet

As you can see, the results are priced up accordingly given that Arsenal are clear favourites to win. When you add in the draw result the odds become insanely yet understandably short, given that if they don’t win the next most likely outcome would be the draw. Here, you have the two most likely results covered.

However, seeing as though we want to bet against Arsenal to win, our bet would be the Draw/ Burnley result, priced at 3.5.

Which Offers Best Value?

Football Money

You may look at the double chance price and recognise that 3.5 is a much bigger price than the 1.32 odds that we saw at the exchange, but this is not how the market works.

You see, when we lay £50 on the exchange, given that we are getting odds of 1.32 our exposure would be £16 should the bet lose. If it wins, then we get £50 from the person(s) who have placed the opposing bet.

With the double chance bet we are backing (taking the bookies odds) instead of laying.  So to keep things even and work out which offers best value, we need to make sure that we have the same exposure for both bets. We know that we stand to lose £16 on the exchange, so we need to back the double chance bet at £16 too. If the back bet loses, it’s goodbye to our £16.

Next, we need to work out the returns from the double chance bet:

£16 x 3.5 = £56

As you can see, if we take this price on the double chance market we are set to win £6 more than the £50 that we would win on the exchange for the same bet. The final number will actually be even higher than that as we need to take into account the 5% commission charged on winning exchange bets, so all in all we would actually take £8.50 more from the double chance bet.

Does Double Chance Always Offer Better Value?

We tend to find that it does often offer better value, so taking the best price double chance bet from a bookie as opposed to laying it on the exchange, especially when you take commission into consideration, can pay off.

However, this is not gospel for each and every bet, and as ever with any type of betting, you need to make sure that you shop around for the best odds possible to make sure you are getting maximum value.

Correct Score Betting

Correct Score Betting

The final inclusion that we want to cover is that of correct score betting. This market is not as closely linked as the lay and the double chance bet, but it can still be relevant.

In a game like Burnley v Arsenal, if Burnley were to end up winning then it would probably b=have been a very close game. They aren’t capable of beating the Gunners 3 or 4 nil, that just wouldn’t happen. A score draw or a 2-1, maybe 3-2 result are feasible, but it’s highly unlikely that Arsenal wouldn’t get at least one.

Whilst this is much harder to predict, you are getting super long prices for results that are highly likely if Arsenal are not going to win this game. You could split a £10 bet 4 ways and you will be getting odds that include 10.5 (1-1), 22.0 (2-2), 31.0 (2-1) and 91.0 (3-2). This is a riskier way to bet against a team, but if you apply a  bit of common sense to these bets then there is logic to them as an alternative to the lay and the double chance bet.