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Dobbing – What it is and How to do it

Here at Honest Betting Reviews we like to look at betting jargon and try to demystify it for you. Today we look at the term “dobbing,” ask what it means and how to do it.

Dobbing is a form of hedging in which you place a win bet and hedge it using in-play betting. The term “dobbing” is derived from the acronym DOB as in “double or bust” betting, though it is better known in some circles as back-to-lay betting. Although usually associated with horse racing, it is an appropriate betting strategy for any betting market where there is an opportunity to bet prior to the event and in-play or in-running. 

Essentially it is a form of arbitrage betting where you rely on making a profit from the difference between betting odds rather than from the result of the event.


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How to dob

Taking horse racing as an example, you first place a bet on a horse that has a reasonable chance of winning. Let’s assume that the odds are 10.0 decimal odds (or 9-1 if you prefer to use fractional odds). In other words, if you place a £10 bet on your horse to win and if it wins, you receive £100 from the bookmaker which includes your initial stake. Otherwise you lose your £10 stake.

To hedge this bet using dobbing, typically you would lay the bet at half the original decimal odds, in this example at 5.0 (4:1) for £20, double your initial stake, using in-running betting at a betting exchange such as Betfair. At this stage you won’t know if the lay will be matched, though there are ways to improve your chances of this happening which we will mention shortly. But for now, we will assume that the lay is matched.

Looking at the possible outcomes:

  • If your horse wins you will receive £100 from the bookmaker earning you £90. You will, however, lose £80 on the lay, so your actual profit will be £10.
  • If you horse should lose, then you will lose your original stake of £10, but you will win the lay of £20; also giving you an actual profit of £10.

So you will win £10 whatever the result of the race. So what could go wrong and why doesn’t everybody do this all the time?


The challenge

Dobbing doesn’t always work, as it is critically dependent on your lay being matched. Naturally it is highly unlikely that you lay will be matched if your horse has a bad start or falls at the first fence, but if it is running well and is leading the field at any stage of the race or is right up there with the leading horses and looks as if it has a good chance of winning, the chances of your lay being matched increase substantially.

Thus the real challenge is picking horses that will attract in-running bets. Typically, these are horses that show excellent pace and stamina and, even if they aren’t going to win, they are competitive and the odds are likely to shorten in-race. This way you re betting on a horse to do well, rather than betting on it being an outright winner. It is very much a matter of studying form checking their in-running trading histories.


Pure dobbing involves laying the bet at double the original stake at half the original decimal betting odds as described, but you can also bet-to-lay at different odds, possibly in order to hedge just some of your original stake. You could also lay the bet at considerably shorter odds for a larger stake, for instance if you laid the original bet at 2.7 for £50, should your horse win you would make £90 – 85 = £5 and if it lost you would make £50 – 10 = £40.

Overall, dobbing provides you with more betting opportunities and greater control. It doesn’t always work, but it should be an extra tool in your box that you can use when appropriate. 


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