horses running

“I bet you can’t finish that whole soda in one gulp!”

Ever been challenged by one of your friends to do something that he bet you couldn’t do. What you don’t realize is he is inadvertently lay betting against you. The most basic definition of lay betting is when someone bets on an event not happening. Even though he may not be familiar with the term, a person who bets has most probably done lay betting a couple of times in his career. Think about it; if you are flipping a coin and betting on whether it would result in a heads or a tails, you are effectively betting against the other outcome to not happen, as both of them cannot happen together.

Why do lay betting?

While the odds of both results are 1 to 1, let’s looks at another example to understand what advantages and disadvantages lay betting offers. Suppose in a horse race of 6, you bet that a particular fan favorite would lose the race. You are effectively being the bookmaker, accepting bets that the horse would win from people betting for the horse’s victory. If the horse wins, you will be losing money, but if the horse loses, you win. You might just think, why not do normal betting and just bet on a horse to win instead of losing.

In order to analyze how it is different, let’s look at the odds of the bets. There are 6 horses in the race, and only one will win. So the odds of each horse winning (excluding external factors) are 1 to 6, including the horse you lay bet against. However, 5 of the horses would lose, therefore the chance of your horse losing is 5 to 6. You have a 5/6 chance of collecting your bet by lay betting instead of a 1/6 chance, if you had opted for the horse to win.

Lay betting tips

Lay betting has its advantages as it is sometimes easier to pick an outcome from not happening than to pick one from happening, so it can be a safer way to bet. It is a common misconception that lay betting decreases the payouts from bets as the odds are low, which is not the case entirely. You must know when and on what you should lay bet. For example, if you lay bet against a fan favorite horse in the above example, more people will bet on that horse to win than any other due to it being a fan favorite, decreasing the odds of it losing and increasing your pay out correspondingly.

It would also be wise to have some estimates on the probabilities of events happening in order to make an effective lay bet. This can be done by using predictive services or tipsters, and than using that information to make a favorable bet.

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