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The sale of bets on Betfair: Lay Betting

Selling (or "Lay") odds on Betfair where you put yourself in the position of the bookmaker. You are inviting other punters to buy your bet and thus to bet against you. If they win, you must pay their winnings, i.e. their stake multiplied by the odds. If they lose, you keep their stakes.

Let's take a concrete example. Real Madrid is playing host to Milan in the Champions' League. Milan is fresh from a win against Roma and Cristiano Ronaldo is absent from the Milan side. You consider the odds of a Real win (1.55) to be low and believe that Milan will surprise us. The Italians might not win, but they could well grab a draw.

On Betfair, this reasoning leads to selling (laying) Real. You will offer punters who wish to bet on Madrid the odds and the maximum stake which you are willing to accept.

Game Real Madrid - AC Milan, you sell Real on Betfair

This is what the betting interface for the match looks like on Betfair:

 

On the left-hand side (blue part corresponding to the "back"), you bet in favour of Real, Milan or a draw. On the right-hand side (purple part corresponding to the "lay"), you bet against Real, Milan or a draw. This is the part that concerns you for lay betting.

On the current market, you can sell (lay) Real Madrid at odds of 1.56. The amount of 1,867 pounds shown under the odds corresponds to the maximum amount that you can sell at these odds and at this moment.

To sell Real Madrid, you must:

1. Click on the odds for Real Madrid on the lay side

 

2. Enter a stake in the betting window which opens on the right-hand side and then validate.

 

You place a stake of 10 pounds on the sale. Note, this stake does not represent a risk of 10 pounds. Don't forget that you are acting as the bookmaker. The 10 pounds correspond to the amount that you are prepared to accept from punters as your capacity of bookmaker. It is also the amount that you will earn if Real Madrid does not win. The bookmaker keeps the losing stakes.

Your risk here is only 5.60 pounds, i.e. stake x (odds-1). This is the amount that you will have to pay the punters that have bet on Real (and thus against you) if Real wins.

Your situation after selling the bet on Betfair

After placing your bet, here is your situation:

  • If Real wins the match, you must pay the winning punters. This amounts to 5.60 pounds, corresponding to a stake of 10 pounds at odds of 1.56
  • In all other cases (match drawn or a win for Milan), you keep the losing punters' 10 pound stakes.

 

You can sell at lower odds

When you sell odds, you can also try to sell at odds which are lower than the current odds. In this case, you use the bottom arrow to reduce the odds.

 

This way, you can reduce the amount that you have to pay out if Real Madrid wins, but you can't be sure of finding a taker for your bet. Indeed, it is necessary for another punter to agree to back Real Madrid at odds of 1.54.

Your bet is left hanging and increases the available amount at odds of 1.54. This amount has risen from 3,415 pounds to 3,425 pounds with your additional 10 pounds.

 

A few minutes later, the odds on Real Madrid fall and your sale takes place. The market then rises again. The following situation now applies:

 

Your risk is now 11 pounds, i.e. 20 pounds sold at average odds of 1.55.

The match ends in a win for AC Milan. In our example, the sale has earned you 20 pounds.


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