One of the biggest advantages of the advent of betting exchanges is the ability to act like a bookie and lay selections – or in other words bet on them to lose.
At first glance it seems like a great idea and the easiest thing in the world to lay a horse or team to lose. After all, you’ve probably heard the phrase “you never see a poor bookie” and that is exactly what they do.
However, anyone who has tried laying will have found it more difficult than it at first appears and there is the potential for your bank to get severely hit by a big priced lay going on to win the race or event.
One possible solution to this is to lay favourites. This way your liability is lower because you are going against the jolly, who will generally be at low odds and often odds-on.
Below we take a look at some possible angles to take if you want to lay favourites and how you can make a profit from doing so.
How to Lay Favourites on Betfair
Just in case you are not familiar with how to use the exchanges, here is an example of how to lay on Betfair.
We have a horse race, the 16.05 at Bath. The favourite is Road to Paris, ridden by Luke Morris.
If you want to lay the selection (i.e. bet on it to lose), you simply click the pink box next to the horse in question and that brings up your betslip on the right hand side.
The odds at the time in question are 1.68, so we then enter our stake, which in this example is £100, and then click the yellow “Place bets” box.
You would then have laid the favourite in this race, Road to Paris. If it goes on to win, we would have lost £68 (i.e. our liability), but if any other horse wins we would collect £100 profit.
If you felt that the odds were too high and you want to lay at a lower price, you can always request a lower price and see if it gets matched. To do this just enter the price you want in the betslip and click place bets. You have the choice of letting it go in-running, taking whatever the Betfair Starting Price (BSP) is, or of cancelling the bet if it is not matched by the time the race starts.
So that in brief terms is how to lay a favourite on Betfair.
Why You Need an Edge
Whilst the idea of laying favourites might sound appealing, you still need an edge over the market in order to make a profit overall. If you just laid favourites at random or without having an edge over the market, you could expect to lose £5 for every £100 you staked, due to having to pay Betfair’s commission rate of 5%. Or to put it another way, if you staked £10,000, you could expect to lose £500.
The good news however is that there is usually better liquidity on favourites so you should have no problem obtaining prices and of course you do not need to put down as much money as if you were laying a 50/1 shot for example.
Some Strategies for Laying Favourites on Betfair
OK, so we’ve looked at how to lay a selection on Betfair and pointed out that you need to have an edge over the market if you want to make a profit by taking on favourites. Let’s take a look at some strategies for laying favourites on Betfair.
Taking on Dodgy Favourites
A simple strategy for horse racing involves looking at horses who are racing in unfamiliar conditions or trying to do something they haven’t done before. That might be winning at a distance a horse hasn’t won at before or ground it doesn’t perform well on. If you had a combination of these factors you could have a good opportunity to lay.
One horse racing system that has done exceptionally well from laying favourites is Little Acorns. It is a low-liability laying system that involves using a combination of factors to pick horses to lay on Betfair at odds-on. It has been around for a number of years and has won numerous awards so is held in very high regard. With over 594 points profit made in 65 months it is easy to see why. Only seven of those 65 months have been losing months which is top-notch consistency.
In a similar vein to Little Acorns but in a different sport, Tennis Goldmine is also a system that follows a set of rules for laying favourites in tennis matches on Betfair. It also completed a successful trial here on the site and comes from the tennis betting guru Patrick Ross, who is one of the most established tennis betting professionals on the web. Coming with his betting and trading tips as an additional add-on, which also have an excellent long-term record, Tennis Goldmine is a solid strategy for laying on Betfair.
Conclusion – Keeping It Real
Laying favourites sounds like a simple way to bank easy profits but it is important to keep it real – just like any other form of betting, you need an edge over the market or you will just lose money from doing it.
The reason bookies are able to make money from laying is that they have an over-round, or in other words have an inbuilt house edge which means they offer slightly worse odds than what the actual chances of winning are. As a layer on the exchanges though you don’t have that advantage – and you have to pay the exchange’s commission charges.
So if you want to make a profit from laying favourites then you need a winning strategy. We have outlined a few above which have worked well over the years, so they could be worth checking out.
Whether you follow those strategies or devise your own though, please gamble responsibly and only risk money you can afford to lose.