Lay the Draw – How to Profit in 2024

One of the most widely recognized football trading strategies is known as the “lay the draw” strategy.

Although its precise origins remain uncertain, various traders have laid claim to its invention.

This strategy, involving laying the draw on betting exchanges, seems to have emerged shortly after Betfair was established in 1999 and gained popularity on the internet in the early 2000s.

Many individuals realized that when a goal was scored in a football match, the odds for a draw would often surge, sometimes quite significantly. This created an opportunity to lay the draw in numerous football matches, regardless of which team was likely to win, and then close out the trade for a profit as soon as a goal was scored.

Over the years, as more people adopted this strategy, the markets began to react less dramatically to goal events, and the edge gradually diminished. Nowadays, it’s challenging to generate profits solely by laying the draw in football matches without additional research or refining your approach.

In fact, some traders now assert that “lay the draw doesn’t work anymore” or consider it an “amateur’s strategy.” However, we disagree; it can still be effective but demands a bit more sophistication and skill in today’s market to achieve profitability.

Below, we’ll explore three strategies that illustrate how lay the draw can continue to function as a viable trading strategy in 2024.

Strategy One – the Classic Lay the Draw Trade

The traditional lay the draw strategy entails laying the draw before the match begins and adjusting your position during the game depending on how the events unfold. Here’s an illustration of this method in practice, with a straightforward lay the draw trade:

Consider a Champions League match between Leverkusen and Roma. Based on the recent performance of these teams and their scoring histories, it’s anticipated that this game will feature numerous goals.

Before the match kicks off, the odds for laying the draw are priced at 3.95.

 Lay the Draw - Leverkusen and Roma

So we click on the lay button (pink) at odds of 3.95 and place a £10 lay on the draw, giving us a liability of £29.50 if the game does finish in a draw (but we will trade out before the end in any event).

Now the game goes in-running and we await the first goal.

Boom! After 3 minutes, Leverkusen score to make it 1-0.

Now just look at what happens to the odds of the draw on Betfair:

Leverkusen and Roma - Odds on Betfair

The odds on the draw have shot out to around 5.9 from their original price of 3.95.

That means we can lock in a guaranteed profit of £3.28 (which equates to 32.8% profit on our lay stake) by simply clicking on the “Cash Out” buttonEasy-peasy! 🙂


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What Sort of Games to Use Classic Lay the Draw In

Engaging in the classic lay the draw trade indiscriminately in all matches is not a prudent approach and is likely to result in overall losses. This is because there is no longer a specific inherent advantage in the trade itself, as the betting markets have become too efficient for such a simplistic strategy.

The key to achieving profitability with the classic lay the draw trade lies in careful match selection and adherence to specific criteria. Here are the three primary criteria we emphasize when selecting matches to implement the classic lay the draw strategy:

Criteria One – Good Liquidity

The first point we want to make sure of is that there is enough liquidity for us to trade out of our bet when a goal is scored.

So we focus on matches where at least £30,000 has been matched pre-kick-off in the match odds market on Betfair (or another exchange you may use).

Here is an example:

Lay the Draw - Maccabi Tel Aviv v Chelsea

In this game you will see that over £1.5m has been matched on the game before kick-off, which is excellent liquidity and means it will be a good game to trade from this point of view.

Criteria Two – High-Scoring Matches

The effectiveness of the lay the draw strategy is most pronounced in matches where a significant number of goals are expected. Therefore, it’s essential to target high-scoring games when selecting matches for this strategy.

But how can we gauge whether a match is likely to feature a high-scoring affair?

One approach is to consult websites like and examine statistics such as the average number of goals scored and conceded by both teams per game, as well as the frequency of matches ending with more than 2 goals (i.e., over 2.5 goals).

However, for a quicker and simpler assessment, you can turn to the correct score market for the same match. This market provides insights into the likelihood of goals being scored.

Ideally, you should look for games where the odds of the match ending 0-0, and consequently your trade losing, are greater than 15.0. This indicates a less than 7% chance of the game finishing goalless, providing a favorable outlook for a successful trade—over a 93% likelihood of success, to be precise.

To make this determination, examine the odds in the correct score market for the 0-0 scoreline.

Maccabi Tel Aviv v Chelsea - Looking at 0-0 odds

Indeed, you’ve found the kind of odds you were seeking in the correct score market, with 0-0 priced at 16.5 to back. This is promising, indicating that the game is a potential candidate for executing the lay the draw strategy.

We’ve also highlighted a key aspect of the lay the draw strategy—identifying matches where teams are likely to win convincingly with high scores, such as 3-1 or 4-2 outcomes. Leagues like the Dutch and German ones are known for featuring such high-scoring games.

To excel in this strategy, it’s crucial to invest time in researching and analyzing data from websites like

By identifying teams that have a tendency to participate in high-scoring matches, you can significantly increase your chances of profiting from the lay the draw strategy. These are the types of matches that offer the greatest potential for success with this trading approach.

Criteria Three – Matches Without a Strong Favourite

The types of games you choose to use the lay the draw in will depend to a certain extent on your approach to risk.

Personally, we like to stick to matches where our liability is not too high at the start.

We therefore stick to matches where the draw is priced at between 3.5 and 5.0 before kick-off. Anything above 5.0 and the liability starts to get a little high.

Here is an example:

Porto vs Dynamo Kiev

This is a fairly evenly matched game, as indicated by the draw odds at 3.75. This provides us with room for trading in the event of a goal, especially if the initial goal is scored by Porto.

The rationale behind our choice of a minimum draw odds of 3.5 is that, in general, it’s challenging to find matches where the match odds are lower than 3.5 when the odds for a 0-0 draw exceed 15.0. When a match is expected to be high-scoring, the likelihood of a draw, particularly a goalless one, decreases. Consequently, this expectation is partially factored into the draw odds.

What we aim to avoid are the rare instances where teams have a vested interest in playing for a draw. For example, this could occur when both teams would advance to the next round of a tournament with a draw. Additionally, we steer clear of matches that seem suspicious, like those occasionally observed in Italian football, where the draw odds are significantly lower than expected, such as 2.0.

Based on our experience, when the draw odds are uncharacteristically low and raise suspicions, it’s prudent to avoid such matches. They may be subject to irregularities or, at the very least, carry the perception of potential manipulation.

Conversely, we typically focus on matches where the draw odds are below 5.0 to ensure that we can secure a profit or, at worst, incur a minor loss if a goal is scored. When there is a strong favorite in a match, one common outcome is that if the underdog scores first, the draw odds can decrease, potentially placing you at a disadvantage in your trade.

In situations where the draw odds exceed 4, this tendency to see a reduction in draw odds is more likely. Some traders opt to restrict themselves to matches where the draw odds are below 4.

However, our preference is to include matches with odds between 4.0 and 5.0, provided we believe there’s a substantial likelihood that the favorite will score first.

Even if they don’t, any resulting losses are anticipated to be manageable. Nonetheless, once the draw odds surpass 5.0, the potential for significant losses in the event of an underdog goal becomes a significant concern.

Summary – Selecting Matches for the Classic Lay the Draw Strategy

To summarise then, these are the three criteria to focus on when selecting matches to trade the classic lay the draw strategy in. We focus on matches where:

  • Over £30,000 has been matched on the match odds market before kick-off;
  • The odds of the draw are between 3.5 and 5; and
  • The odds of 0-0 are 15.0 or above.


Strategy Two – Laying the Draw In-Play

The strategy described above involves laying the draw before kick-off and is the most common form of laying the draw.

However, there is another approach to the trade and that is waiting for a game to go in-play before entering a trade.

The advantage of this approach is you can see how a game is developing before you put any money down.

Deciding whether to engage in a trade during a football match hinges on the game’s dynamics and your willingness to take on risk, with the opportunity to assess the action as it unfolds, often deviating from pre-match expectations.

The timing of when to enter a trade is a crucial consideration, influenced by your risk appetite and desired time frame. Waiting until late in the game can be an advantageous choice.

The final 15 minutes of a match tend to be the most open, as teams push aggressively for a victory. Additionally, waiting until this stage often results in lower odds, reducing your potential liability compared to laying at the outset when odds might be 3.5 or higher.

Moreover, in the event of a goal being scored, you can anticipate a significant rise in odds, translating into a larger profit on your trade.

To make the most of late-game trading, it’s essential to:

  1. Observe how the match is progressing and the number of scoring opportunities being created.
  2. Concentrate on teams known for scoring late goals, as identified using resources like soccerstats.

For instance, here’s an illustration from the 2020/21 Premier League season, showcasing goals scored and conceded by different teams in various time periods:

As evident from the data, there are significant disparities in the number of goals scored and conceded by different teams during the last 15 minutes of their matches.

For instance, teams like Leicester City saw a total of 33 goals in the last 15 minutes of their games (23 scored and 10 conceded), while Newcastle witnessed 30 such goals (15 scored and 15 conceded). In contrast, teams like Arsenal experienced only 14 goals during this period in their matches.

Utilizing this data can serve as a valuable guide to help pinpoint which teams warrant your focus. However, the most accurate indicator is watching the game in real-time.

Observing matches live enables you to distinguish between those that are wide open, with teams attacking aggressively and defenses fatiguing, versus games that are dull and gradually heading toward a draw. This firsthand insight can inform your decisions when executing lay the draw trades, and the more matches you watch with this perspective in mind, the better your ability to identify suitable opportunities.

Alternatively, if you have limited time to watch numerous matches live, there’s a helpful tool available from Trade On Sports. They’ve developed a series of bots that monitor leagues globally and analyze extensive data to identify late-goal opportunities with value.

In your own trial, these bots yielded an impressive profit of £5120, making them a worthwhile option to explore for traders who seek efficient ways to identify late-goal opportunities without the need for extensive live match-watching.

Other times of the game

Certainly, your focus need not be exclusively on the last 15 minutes of a match; there are various junctures during a game where you can employ the lay the draw strategy.

For instance, you can refer to the provided chart to identify teams that tend to either score or concede goals just before half-time, a period known for its goal-scoring potential.

Alternatively, the timing of your trade may be contingent on the specific match you’re watching. For instance, if you find yourself midway through the second half and witness a flurry of shots directed at the goal, you might opt to initiate a trade at that juncture.

As previously mentioned, there exists no definitive “correct” or “incorrect” moment to engage in the trade. The crux of successful in-play lay the draw trading hinges on ensuring that your strategy is well-conceived, incorporating statistical insights, and ideally, live match observation. This holistic approach maximizes your prospects of achieving sustained profitability.


Strategy Three – Laying the First Half or Second Half Draw

Another approach to using lay the draw is to focus solely on one half of a football match.

The advantage this has is that it can focus the mind and reduce the risk at the same time.

Let’s say for example you chose to focus on the first half.

It would make sense to select the Half Time market rather than the match odds market in this scenario.

Here is an example from a World Cup qualifying match between the Netherlands and Norway.

Whilst the odds for a draw in the match odds are quite high at 4.5, for the HT draw they are around 2.48.

To kick things off, when engaging in the lay the draw strategy in the Half-Time (HT) market, your potential liabilities are typically lower compared to the Match Odds market. However, it’s essential to acknowledge that the likelihood of a draw (resulting in a loss of your trade) is higher in this scenario.

In the event of a goal scored by either team in the first half, the odds for a Half-Time draw often experience a notable increase, presenting an opportunity to exit the trade with a profit.

The optimal scenario for this strategy is a late first-half goal, preferably scored by the Netherlands, as this outcome can yield a substantial profit on the trade.

As with all trading strategies, thorough statistical analysis is a valuable component of this approach. In this context, focus on identifying teams that frequently score (or concede) a significant number of first-half goals, as they are particularly well-suited for this strategy.

For instance, consider Liverpool during the early years of Jurgen Klopp’s managerial tenure. They were renowned for their aggressive starts at Anfield, aiming to dominate opponents in the first 30 minutes of matches. Teams with a similar propensity for early goals are prime candidates for this strategy.

Laying the draw in the second half

Alternatively, you can implement the lay the draw strategy in the second half of a football match. While there isn’t a specific “second half” market for this purpose, you can effectively utilize the Match Odds market, which is also the most liquid market on platforms like Betfair.

Similar to the Half-Time market approach, if a game is still level at half time, the odds for a draw in the Match Odds market tend to decrease significantly.

The ideal odds range for executing this trade typically falls between 2.5 and 3.0. This allows you to lay with a manageable liability while still yielding a decent profit in case of a goal in the second half.

Once again, the most favorable scenario is for a late second-half goal, preferably by the favorite team, as this outcome can lead to a larger profit on the trade. If a goal is scored in the dying moments of the game, you could potentially achieve a 100% profit on your trade.

For traders seeking a degree of protection for their trade, one option is to cover the current score at half time. For instance, if the game is tied 1-1 at half time, you can place a bet on the 1-1 score while also laying the draw.

This approach ensures that you won’t lose your entire stake if there are no goals in the second half. However, it means you would break even or incur a minor loss if an early goal occurs in the second half, but you would still make a profit if the goal materializes toward the end of the match.

The decision to cover the current score depends on your risk tolerance. Regardless of your choice, conducting thorough research on teams known for scoring (and conceding) a substantial number of second-half goals is vital when implementing this strategy.


What to do if it Goes Wrong – and Right

Certainly, you are not limited to focusing solely on the last 15 minutes of a match; there are other opportune moments during a game to employ the lay the draw strategy.

For instance, you can refer to the provided chart to identify teams that tend to score (or concede) goals just before half-time, a period renowned for its goal-scoring potential.

Alternatively, your decision may hinge on the specific game you’re observing. For example, if you find yourself in the middle of the second half and witness a barrage of shots aimed at the goal, you might opt to initiate a trade at that juncture.

As previously mentioned, there is no universally “correct” or “incorrect” timing for entering the trade.

The key to successful in-play lay the draw trading lies in ensuring that your overall strategy is well-constructed and incorporates statistical insights.

Ideally, this strategy should also be informed by real-time match observation, offering you the highest likelihood of achieving sustained profitability in the long term.


There Is No Goal

Even when you choose matches with expectations of high goal-scoring, there will be occasions when both teams struggle to find the net.

If you have laid the draw before the match, the advisable course of action in such situations is to exercise patience and wait until the game reaches the 70-minute mark or the draw odds decrease to 2.0 (whichever occurs first), and then execute a trade to exit your position.

Typically, you can anticipate losing approximately 50% of your stake in such cases. While it can be frustrating, it’s an inherent aspect of trading. By diligently selecting matches, you can minimize the occurrence of this outcome.

Alternatively, you have the option to allow the game to continue until full time, accepting the full loss if it concludes as a goalless draw. However, this approach carries greater risk. Based on our experience, if a game remains goalless by the 70th minute, it often ends as a 0-0 draw. Therefore, trading out at that point is generally viewed as a more prudent choice.

The Underdog Scores First

In matches where the draw odds exceed 4.0, a common occurrence is that if the underdog scores the first goal, the draw odds may actually decrease, putting your trade in a losing position.

In such situations, you have a couple of options:

  1. Immediate Trade-Out: You can choose to trade out of the position right away, acknowledging that the trade has turned unfavorable for this instance.
  2. Stay in the Game: Alternatively, you might decide to remain in the game. This choice could be influenced by various factors. For example, if the underdog is dominating the match, you might believe they’re likely to score again and secure a 2-0 lead, resulting in a winning trade. Alternatively, if it’s early in the game, there could be a decent chance that the favorite will stage a comeback and possibly go 2-1 up by half-time.

However, if you opt to keep the bet running, we strongly recommend trading out if the score is either 1-1 or still 1-0 in favor of the underdog and the match is approaching the 70-minute mark. In such scenarios, leaving the bet open risks losing your entire stake, which is a situation we aim to avoid.

The “Meltatone” Strategy

Some individuals have proposed a strategy called “meltatone” in football trading circles, which involves laying the underdog when they score the first goal. The idea behind this strategy is to potentially secure a profit or at least break even if the favorite, as expected, equalizes.

However, it’s important to note that we do not endorse this approach. There are inherent risks involved in laying the underdog when they score first:

  1. Potential for Worsened Position: If the underdog scores again, your position can deteriorate further. This is because while the draw odds may increase slightly, the odds for the underdog are likely to plummet.
  2. Continued Decline in Odds: If the match remains at 1-0 in favor of the underdog, their odds will likely continue to decrease, while the draw odds remain relatively stable, putting you at a disadvantage.

Given these considerations, our recommendation is not to take the risk of making the situation worse. Instead, it’s generally advisable to either trade out when the underdog scores first or, if the match circumstances suggest it, wait for a little time to see if the situation evolves in a more favorable direction.


Things Go Right – “Riding the Wave”

Certainly, in numerous cases, the favourite will strike first, presenting us with the choice of either immediately exiting the trade to secure a profit or allowing it to progress in the hope of a second goal.

Our typical approach involves a close assessment of the ongoing match, with a keen eye on factors such as the number of opportunities the favorite is generating and their season-long track record of winning games by a margin of more than one goal.

If the statistical indicators align favorably, we opt to extend the trade, often until halftime or slightly beyond, to ascertain whether the favorite can net a second goal.

In the event that they succeed in doing so, the draw odds are likely to experience a substantial surge, resulting in a handsome profit opportunity for our trade.

By meticulously scrutinizing match dynamics, evaluating statistical data, and making well-informed decisions, we can effectively implement the lay the draw strategy when the favored team opens the scoring, potentially maximizing the profitability of our trading endeavors.


Lay The Draw Summary

“Lay the draw” stands as one of the most recognized and widely adopted football trading strategies within the realm of betting exchanges.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that simply laying the draw in football matches without a structured approach is unlikely to yield profits in today’s highly efficient markets.

Nonetheless, the lay the draw strategy can still prove profitable.

Much like other betting and trading systems, success hinges not only on the system itself but also on the manner in which you execute it.

Conducting thorough research, refining your trading strategy, and honing in on a specific niche—be it the first half, late stages of matches, or particular teams—constitute the keys to achieving positive outcomes.

Maintaining discipline and adhering to the established rules for laying the draw are paramount. Avoid straying from these rules and allowing emotions like fear or greed to dictate your decisions, as this can swiftly lead to financial losses.

Patience is key, and it’s important to allow your bankroll to grow gradually and consistently over time. Most importantly, only risk funds that you can afford to lose, as even with a sound strategy, there are no guarantees of success in the unpredictable world of sports betting and trading.

As an alternative to laying the draw, turn the tables and see how this system made over $100,000 from betting on the draw.





1 reply
  1. TheRake
    TheRake says:

    You say that if I trade out when the draw odds are 2.0 then I lose about 50% of my stake. I presume this refers to the initial risk I have taken rather than the backer’s stake? For example, if I lay £10 at 4.0 then my initial risk is £30 and by backing £20 at 2.0 I lose £10 whatever the result. Is this correct?


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