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Back and lay betting | How it works and how to make money

August 2nd, 2017 Beginner, Matched Betting, Sports Betting

Betting exchanges are confusing places for many. Just the thought of lay bets alone is enough to have some people running towards their local William Hill screaming. But back and lay betting, or trading as it is sometimes known, is a lot more complicated than it looks.

So what is back and lay betting?

Back and lay betting is a way of creating a position in a betting exchange market where you are guaranteed to win, no matter the outcome.

Think of it like the stock market, where the principle is to buy high and sell low. Or sell low and buy high. By doing this, you automatically make money based on the differences in prices of which you’ve traded.

Read our beginner’s guide to lay betting for more info.

The same principle applies on the betting exchanges, except it’s usually over a lot shorter time frame. And the events that can change the odds are a lot more predictable.


How can I use back and lay betting?

Ok, so let’s start with an easy example of back and lay betting to begin with:

At the start of a football match, your favourite team have a price of 5.0

As a diligent gambler, you think this is great value, and place a £10 bet on them to win. Your expected profit is £38 after commission.

What happens next, is where you make your guaranteed profit. Just after half time, your team take a 1-0 lead, and you notice their odds drop to 2.0.

You can now use some of the £38 potential profit you’ve got in the market to lay your team at 2.0. If you lay them for £25 you are guaranteed a total profit of £14.25 win, lose or draw at the end of the match.

A simpler form of betting which involves both back and lay bets is matched betting.  As the name suggests, matched betting is where you match back and lay bets. It’s a great way to make guaranteed profits. For more information about matched betting, please download our free guide:

Introduction to matched betting


How much money can I make from back and lay betting?

Back and lay betting can be very profitable, but let’s not beat around the bush here. It is STILL betting.

You may not be betting on a specific match result, but you’re now betting on something else – the movement of prices.

You need an event (or lack of event if you’re relying on the price naturally decaying), to happen for you to be able to make your trade.

If the event doesn’t happen, you have to either hope it wins, or trade out for a loss.


What are the best sports for back and lay betting?

There is no one right or wrong answer when you start back and lay betting, it is unique to the individual.

The first place to start though is with a sport you understand the fundamentals of. Then you need to study the markets, and figure out how the prices move during certain situations.

The more you’re able to internalise these price movements, the better you can judge your back and lay bets and make a healthy profit.

Typically though, sports where there are high swings, multiple times in an event are best for back and lay betting. Sports like cricket and tennis are great, because the odds can change in a second!


Intro to matched betting download