Laying Horses Strategy Explained [4 Expert Tips Included]

Laying Horses Strategy Explained by TheTrader

In this article we’re going to describe in details:

  • What does lay mean in horse racing?
  • How to get profit from it?
  • What is the best laying horses strategy?

Continue reading and get the answers to these questions and much more!

Harry TheTrader 9 minutes

The method of making money from trading is a hot topic of conversation, but few explain it thoroughly. It’s popular because many novice traders are looking for a profitable way to profit from trading.

However, few professional traders are willing to fully explain their strategies as they don’t want to share their knowledge that could help others, which in turn, could reduce their income.

Nevertheless, we’ve decided to review the strategy of laying horses as one of the techniques of making money from trading.

So, what exactly does laying horses look like, what does it involve, and how can you make money from it?

Find out below.

Chapter 1

How Does Laying Horses Work?

How Does Laying Horses Work?
  • What is laying horses?
  • What do profits depend on?
  • Is it possible to make a living from it?

Let’s find out!

Laying horses involves betting/trading on selected horse races, mainly through laying.

However, depending on the strategy, you may have to place some back bets to guarantee yourself a risk-free profit.

Lingfield horse racing line at Betfair Exchange

The rest depends on the strategy you choose, plus your budget, the time you can devote, and your commitment and willingness to learn.

These factors are critical initially, allowing you to perfectly understand your chosen strategy and how to stick to it.

Can you really make a living laying horses?

We would be lying to you if we said it was impossible to make a living laying horses.

A small percentage of expert traders are successful at it, showing a tremendous deal of skill, and yes, they make a living from trading on horse racing.

So how do you go about it?

What are the skills you need to have?

And most importantly, what are the strategies for making money on laying horses?

Find out below!

Chapter 2

Best Laying Horses Strategies

Best Laying Horses Strategies

Which strategies are the best?

We’ll explain what the following strategies are all about:

  • Laying the favourite
  • Laying the field
  • Laying the place
  • Dobbing in horse racing

Check it out!

Laying the favourite

Philadelphia hoese racing betting line at Betfair

This strategy is potentially the simplest one.

The task here is to place a LAY bet on the favourite of the race – the favourite being the horse with the lowest odds to win.

And this strategy is based on you assessing whether the odds on the favourite are too low.

Our lay bet to the favourite

How do you find overvalued odds on a favourite?

The most significant and challenging part of this strategy is finding a horse that you think the odds have undervalued.

It is similar to the situation to value bets, where you look for overvalued odds, but, in this case, it is the other way around.

What should you pay attention to?

  • Public information before the race
  • Recent races & statistics
  • Weather
  • Opponents
Great ProfitsRequires deep research
Possibility to make a profit before the start of the race with the correct estimation of the oddsRequires looking for favourites with smaller odds and a fair number of opponents
The smaller the odds on favourites, the smaller the riskTime-consuming

Laying the field

Turf Paradise hoese racing betting line at Betfair

Do you think your chosen horses always lose? Then this strategy is easy and could be for you.

The laying the field method is focused on losing horses. By laying, you will effectively limit the frequency of your losses, but when they do come, they will be relatively costly.

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Laying the field is betting on every horse to lose; for example, you will win eight times and lose once in a nine-horse race.

First of all, you have to choose the right race.

Secondly, press the Lay All button, which streamlines the whole process and automatically adds lay bets on all the horses to your slip, but relax, it doesn’t place the bet for you.

choose the right race and press lay all button

If you want to try and increase your profit and take a little more risk, exclude a maximum of two horses that you think are contenders to win the race.

If you don’t and you place a lay bet on all the horses, and several of them get matched, your profit will be minimal, as shown in the attached picture:

minimal profit of laying the field strategy

Going back to the plan of excluding two horses, enter the price you want to lay each of the selections, and press the ‘Liability’ button highlighted in blue next to the dot.

Our bet according to laying the field strategy
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Please note! The lower the lay odds on all horses, the less likely your bet will be matched.

Then you will see the following window:

Max liability in Backers stake

By entering ‘Max liability’, you can control your losses and in this case, it was £9.36.

Now you can press the ‘Place bets’ button and you’re done but make sure you have activated the ‘Keep’ checkbox so your lay bets will go in-play once the race has started.

Lay bet against example in horse racing

In our case, because only one lay bet was matched during the race and that was on the horse who didn’t win it, we were able to earn £4.68 minus commission.

horse racing betting example 2
horse racing betting example 3

However, let us consider other scenarios:

  1. None of your bets are matched – you neither lose nor win anything.
  2. Two bets are fully matched – you will break even.
  3. At least three bets are fully matched – you will make a profit no matter the final result.
  4. One bet is fully matched, and the horse loses – the scenario above, sealing a +50% profit.
  5. One bet is fully matched on the horse that wins – you will lose your whole stake.
Profit can be hugeSmall profits in case of laying all horses
Great strategy if there is no clear favouriteIt can be challenging to get at least three matched bets
Easy loss control 
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In this article you’ll find the in-deth guide on what to do if your bet is unmatched or partially matched.

Laying the place

Laying the place strategy example in horse racing betting

The laying the place strategy involves placing lay bets on horses that you think will not finish in the places in a specific race.

The relevant places are the first two, three or four depending on the number of horses participating in the race.

Place Terms

  • 2-4 runners – 1st only
  • 5-7 runners – 1st, 2nd
  • 8+ runners – 1st, 2nd, 3rd
  • 16+ runner handicaps – 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th

These are the standard place terms with bookmakers. However, on the exchange, it is very common to bet on 2, 3 or 4 horses to be placed, regardless of the number of horses competing in the race.

the standard 3 places line on horse racing at Betfair

How do you choose the right race?

Since the best value is on races with 5-7 runners, these are the races to focus on, as the ‘Place’ market on those specific races will be on two horses To Be Placed.

This is the most crucial point due to the places paid.

Find two lay bets at odds so that the liability does not exceed £180 at a stake of £100 on BOTH horses. Otherwise, there will be no value.

Our bet according to Betfair place market strategy

In this case, the total Liability is £63.

If Tyrrhenian Sea is placed and Broomy Law does not, you will win £100 but lose £54 on Broomy Law, giving a profit of £46 (excluding commission) on the race.

If Broomy Law is placed and Tyrrhenian Sea does not, you will win £100 but lose £9 on Tyrrhenian Sea, giving a profit of £91 (excluding commission) on the race.

If both horses do not place, you will win £200. However, if both horses are placed in the top two, you will lose £63.

The above images are for illustrative purposes only and it is best to look for a lay at odds of 1.20-1.35 on the first favourite.

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You will be surprised how often both horses will be unplaced and the strategy itself is excellent.

However, finding a race with only 5 to 7 runners and the appropriate lay odds mentioned can be difficult.

Profits can be huge even after one raceThe races must meet specific criteria
Requires only two matched betsPossible series of losses
If the liability on both horses is 20% less than the maximum win, you will make a profit even with a 50% win ratio.Requires placing a bet before the start of the race (best liquidity)

Dobbing system

Dobbing system example in horse racing betting

Dobbing is slightly more complicated, but if you’ve ever dealt with back-to-lay betting, you won’t have any problems with it.

Dobbing involves placing an initial back bet and then a second lay bet at half the odds of the back bet.

Our bet according to the dobbing system

OK, but how do you get both bets matched?

And this is precisely the biggest drawback of this method, as research is needed to find the right horse.

You need to look for so-called front runners, horses that like to race at the front in the early stages of a race, which can shorten their odds.

Because the odds will drop on these horses, there is a good chance that your lay bet will be matched. 

So your job is to find the horse that hits the front at the start of the race, place a bet on it, and then during the race, place a lay bet with half the back odds.

This will guarantee you a profit regardless of the outcome of the race.

Guaranteed profit if both bets are matchedRequires deep research
Requires only two matched betsPossible series of losses
 Requires placing pre-race and in-play bets

Chapter 3

What is the Best Staking Plan for Laying Horses?

What is the Best Staking Plan for Laying Horses?
  • What are the types of staking?
  • What does their choice depend on?
  • Which one should you choose?
  • How much should your maximum bet be?

Let’s not waste any time!

There is no strict rule for this. There are many staking plans such as Level Staking, Percentage Staking, Ratchet Staking, Maria Staking, Banded Staking, 1-4 Laying, etc.

And we have a separate article on staking plans which we recommend you read.

We can’t tell you exactly which staking plan will work best for you for several reasons – the main reasons being your strategy and budget.

These elements will determine the choice of your staking plan. In addition, the amount of time you can devote to a particular technique will also have an influence.

Finally, it is worth noting that some of the strategies we’ve highlighted require deep research, which involves spending a lot of time before placing any actual bets.

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Keep in mind that regardless of what you read on the internet, never spend more than 5% of your budget on a single bet, no matter how great the bet looks.

Chapter 4

Tips and Tricks from the Expert

Tips and Tricks from the Expert
  • How to prepare for laying horses?
  • How to increase profit or minimise loss?
  • Does trading software have an impact on results?
  • What else should we use when laying horses?

Let’s find out!

Pick a strategy

You won’t achieve anything without a strategy and placing random bets, but that’s probably obvious, right?

Proper preparation is the key to success – you don’t become an expert in a given area just like that.

What’s more, it’s a good idea to set yourself goals and limits.

It is not about giving up on a particular strategy after losing your first few bets but about locating and eliminating the mistakes you have made.

In addition, it is vital to keep an eye on your stakes – set yourself limits and stick to them.

Maximise your profits

Trading is not about placing a bet and sitting back and relaxing. Instead, maximise your profit by choosing the best odds available by using the odds charts on Betfair.

Of course, you won’t win everything, so the same principle works the other way around. If possible, minimise your loss as much as possible or hedge your bet.

Consider using trading software

If you are serious about laying horses, consider the software currently available, especially if you have a decent budget.

Professional and proven software is not the cheapest, but it can be beneficial and profitable.

The choice of strategy is also essential here. Software such as BetAngel or GeeksToy will be much more helpful if you place several bets during one race.

The automated operation of these tools will improve and enhance your experience.

Moreover, the software is much faster than the human hand, saving you money and valuable time.

Use free tools

Utilise web pages with statistics from previous races, for example, Timeform.

Tools can also include listening to radio commentaries or watching live horse racing coverage.

This allows you to find out about the condition of individual horses or hear about the state of the track.

It is not just the statistics that are important here.

Pay attention to the information provided about the individual races as this can impact the behaviour of the odds and, therefore, on your potential earnings.

Chapter 5

Is Laying Horses a Profitable Strategy?

Is Laying Horses a Profitable Strategy?
  • Is laying horses profitable?
  • What do beginner traders fail to deal with?
  • How much can you earn?

Check it out below!

Like any sports trading, laying horses can be profitable.

While my primary trading sport is football, I also deal with horse racing, and I know people who successfully trade on horse racing only, making a lot of money from it.

betting profit and loss in thetrader

If you ever hear that laying horses is not profitable, you are either dealing with a novice or simply a gambling addict who cannot make a profit in the long run.

When you start trading, you need to keep a cool head and this is the main problem of beginners who get carried away by their emotions and repeatedly lose bets.

How much can you earn? Well, it depends on your contribution, not only financially but also mentally and physically.

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The more time you devote to a particular strategy, the greater the profits.

Trust me – they can be enormous – professionals can easily earn several hundred pounds a day.

Chapter 6



Is laying horses profitable?

It is worth asking yourself what being profitable means to you. Of course, anything can be profitable, but can it be profitable in the long run? Because laying horses can be.

Does laying the favourite work?

It works, but it is a difficult strategy that requires monitoring the market and undertaking proper research for incorrectly assessed odds on favourites because, generally, favourites have considerably tighter margins.

How do you always win on horses?

It is impossible to win all your bets. To achieve maximum efficiency and profits, you need to prepare appropriately for your chosen strategy.

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