Lay betting is an interesting topic, perhaps because we don’t hear a lot about it from our group of betting experts.
The majority of successful racing punters go about things in, basically, the same way:
- Use their form process to come up with a probability of each horse winning
- Convert those probabilities into rated prices
- Bet when they can secure a better price – an “over-lay”.
Mathematically, this is the way to make money from racing. If your probabilities and rated prices are more accurate than the market, the maths will deliver a profit when you secure an over-lay.
So shouldn’t it also work the other way around?
You can lay horses on Betfair, so if you have an under-lay… the horse will win less often than the market price says, and you’ll finish up in front.
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Yet looking at how many of the Champion Bets racing analysts bet, few of them engage lay betting on a consistent basis. Why is that?
We asked a couple of them…
Lay betting: Cameron O’Brien, Key Bets
For Cameron, laying horses – particularly those short in the market – just isn’t that efficient in terms of getting a return.
“I’ve done a little bit of it, however if I find a favourite I am opposed to I’d prefer to try to back a couple of horses around it,” says Cameron.
“Laying the favourite is essentially the same as backing every other runner, even the no-hopers. I’d prefer to be a bit more efficient, if I don’t like a favourite, and back a few around it.”
Put simply, there are horses in every race that have no chance. The market – which you’re betting into – prices them in anyway, and that affects the price of every other runner… including the horse you may want to lay.
Lay betting: Trevor Lawson, Melbourne Ratings
So much of punting is about the mental application, and that’s a big reason Trevor hasn’t engaged in a lot of lay betting.
“It’s a different mindset, more that of a bookie,” he says.
“It can work in some situations, there’s no doubt. But I’ve been betting for a long time and I’m well trained in the way I do things. In a way, maybe I’m a bit stuck in my ways… but there is a mental adjustment to be made there if you’re going to lay horses.
“It’s different. You consistently risk larger amounts in order to return less. As a punter who’s always looked after his bank, that’s the opposite of what I’m used to doing. That decision-making process is flipped around, so it’s something you have to get used to. When I have a bad day, it’s easier to accept the loss and move on, knowing you have your bank behind you. If you’re lay betting and have a bad day, the damage to your bank can be much greater.
“I know of other punters who do it well, but they’re more the types who have a bookmaking background. So they’re well used to that approach and, I guess like me, are a product of what they’re comfortable with.”