Group 1 Kingsford Smith Cup lay betting race ratings

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:

  1. Use their form process to come up with a probability of each horse winning
  2. Convert those probabilities into rated prices
  3. Bet when they can secure a better price – an “overlay”.

Mathematically, this is the way to make money from racing. If your probabilities and rated prices are consistently more accurate than the market, you will make money on the punt.

So shouldn’t it also work the other way around?

You can lay horses on Betfair, so if you have a genuine under-lay… the horse will win less often than the market price says, and you’ll finish up in front. Right?


Yet looking at how many of the Champion Bets racing analysts bet, few of them actually lay bet on a consistent basis. Why is that?

We asked two of our team…

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.”

If you want to learn more about lay betting – and the Exchange in general – then check out our Guide to the Betfair Exchange. The Betfair Hub is also a good resource for further information..

Punt like a pro with Trevor Lawson’s Melbourne Ratings.

As well as a full set of rated prices, speed maps and suggested bets, you can spend each and every raceday with a pro punter: the Melbourne Ratings Live Page gives you direct access to Trev himself to ask whatever you like.

If you're keen to win, it’s the only way to punt.

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