How To Make Money Laying Horses

In the following post I am going to show you different ways on how to make money laying horses on Betfair. It is one of the best ways to increase your winnings from horse racing as it gives you another option that up until the onset of betting exchanges was hard to master.

Before betting exchanges were in existence, if you wanted to lay a favourite, you would have to back all the other horses in the race!

Now with Betfair exchange, you can simply click a button and lay a favourite, or indeed any number of horses in a race.

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If you fancy becoming better at spotting favourites that are going to lose and therefore spotting where the value is in the market, check out Easy Life Winners – Class Always Wins, which is the perfect introductory guide for people new to form reading. After reading the guide, you will know which favourites to back and which to lay on Betfair Exchange.

What is the easiest way to win laying horses?

There are a number of ways to make money laying horses on Betfair but here is a summary of the easiest ways.

  • Laying a favourite that is overpriced (bad value) or also called a false favourite
  • Lay the field on Betfair in running so that you can profit when x number of lays get matched
  • Lay favourites in running by identifying favourites that have lost at short odds before
  • Back a horse pre-race who’s price you think will drop in running and placing a lay bet at half the odds and double the stake to double your winnings or lose all if not matched (also called DOBBING meaning double or bust)
  • Variations of DOBBING where you back and lay a horse to win a certain percentage of your initial stake.

Bonus Section

  • How to tell if you are laying a horse at a value price in under 20 seconds

Lets now look into each strategy in detail and you can then choose which method suits you to start making money from laying horses on Betfair

Laying of a favourite, also known as false favourite

Bar far the easiest way to get started is to lay favourites on Betfair that you think are overpriced or false favourites.

In other words, if there is a favourite priced at 2/1 and you think that this horse should not be priced this low and you believe there are at least 2 more horses in the race that have as good or better chance of winning, then this would be an obvious lay bet.

Finding favourites to lay is easier than you think. Only 1 in 3 favourites win so therefore the odds are stacked in your favour.

However this does not mean you can lay every favourite and expect to make money. In fact you would lose all you cash very quickly.

When laying a favourite you need to identify which favourites are true favourites and which favourites are false favourites. Once you master this, you can expect 4 from every 5 favourites you lay to go on and lose.

Imagine having an 80% strike rate? The losing runs would be very small and you would grow your bank consistently.

When you begin to lay favourites, I would recommend not laying higher than 4/1 (5.0) on the exchanges.

If you have a strike rate of 80% and you placed an average lay bet of 5.0, you would break even. (To be totally honest, you would lose as this does not include the 5% commission Betfair takes from all your winning lay bets).

However when we lay favourites with a maximum lay bet odds of 5.0, we will be putting on a range of lay bets odds, E.g. 1.5, 2.1, 2.5, 3.0, 4.9 etc.

Here is the lay maths & ROI broken down

So if our average lay bet odds are 3.25 and our average strike rate is 4 from 5 (80%), we can expect to make a return on investment of 10.76% on all our bets over a large sample size.

If average odds are 3.25, we would expect the favourite to win 30.76% of the time.

If our strike rate is 80%, meaning 20% of the time the favourite will win, then our profit per bet will be 10.76%.

What profit can you expect from Lay betting?

When laying favourites, an ROI of 10%+ is considered exceptionally high. However anything between 5 and 10% ROI is a very good return you can expect.

Having a lay betting method/system in place is a great way to diversify your betting portfolio. I would urge everyone to have a lay method as well as a back method. Both work well together.

How to find a favourite to lay?

There are a number of ways to spot a false favourite

  • Overhyped by the media
  • Overbet by the recreational punters

What is an overhyped horse?

Let’s look at an example of a horse that is over hyped by the media.

Min is a great example in the Supreme Novices’s Hurdle in Cheltenham 2016 festival. The media pumped up the reputation of this horse as if he was a superstar just because it was trained by Willie Mullins and because he had a good record record in this race.

I think the other fact was the horse’s name made for great headlines as Min rhymes with “Win”!

However when you look at the form of the horse coming into the race, he had a blemished record, losing two races in France. He also had two facile wins against poor oppositie in Punchestown. Also the contours of Punchestown race courses which is a predominantly flat curse is totally different to the severe undulations of Cheltenham. To finally confirm he was too low a price at 15/8 was the fact that he had never raced a Grade 1 race before!

This to me was the perfect example of a hyped up horse by the media. Of course the recreational punter jumped on it as well to give 15/8 about a horse that should have been at least 5/1.

full form of horse Min who is an overhyped horse

You cannot find over-hyped horses on a daily basis but you can definitely find 3 to 5 favourites each day that are overbet by the recreational punters.

Finding over-bet favourites is the bread and butter of the disciplined layer.

If you fancy becoming the bookie and profiting when a horse loses then LayZy Profits is the perfect tipster for you. Every day, you’ll receive an average of 4 lay betting tips to lay. Check out his winning graph here (proofed results).

How to find an overbet favourite?

You first need to reverse engineer where recreational punters get their information to find the selections they are about to place.

Let’s break down the different types of recreational punter

  1. Just backs favourites blindly no matter what
  2. Backs the horses tipped up by the Racing Post, Daily Mirror, online forums, naps tables, newspaper tipsters etc. They sheer weight of money placed on this selections will plummet the price into favouritism
  3. They use quick form reading to find their own selections such as look at horses who won on going, distance, course before. They examine jockey form, trainer form, horse recent form etc and they invariably end up backing the first or second favourite

So we now know that recreational backers will place bets quickly with limited research on their selections. Even if they do perform some research, it is using widely known factors that are already incorporated into the early morning prices.

Therefore we need to look at stats that are often overlooked by the betting public or at least spend more time on the more commonly available stats to determine a weighting for each stat so we can come up with our own ratings our tissue prices.

Here are the most common factors that you hear punters and commentators mentioning a lot

  • The horse is in good form
  • The stable/trainer is in great form
  • The horse is well suited to the going/distance/course
  • The jockey is in top form
  • Trainer has a great record at course
  • That’s an interesting jockey booking

A lot of the newspaper tipsters have very limited time as they tend to tip up a horse in each race, so all they can really do is look at the stats above to make their short list and pick a horse quickly. They tend to try and pick the “winner” but not the best value horse in the race.

If everyone is doing the similar research or backing tipsters who use similar research, of course they will be lots of favourites over-bet and that is where we can make some money by laying.

So if you want to find angles that may mean a favourite is overbet and that the general betting public haven’t seen, then here are some pointers.


Make sure if you use trainer at course stats that you understand how their strike rate is broken down. A trainer may be down overall for one track, but on deeper inspection, he may be a huge winner at 2 year-old non handicap races but a loser in every other race type.

I know this info can be found for free on the Racing Post, but it takes a few extra clicks to get it, which at least puts you ahead of the lazy recreational punter.

Speed And Pace

UK punters still do not make full use of speed figures here and it is also hard to get your hands on some good pace scores. Therefore you have to pay to get this information. You can use websites like or

Field Size

Some horses cannot perform in big fields and you will see their strike rate explode when they race in fields of 7 or less. This is one often overlooked stat.

Class Ability

A horse may have a fantastic winning strike rate but if they have 0/3 or more in a higher class, it usually means that they have reached the ceiling of their ability and they will not become competitive again until they are in the class below again. You will see horses prices double when they have 3 unsuccessful attempts in Class 2 handicap and then dropped into a class 3 handicap at 10/1 because of mid position placings in a class too competitive for him.

Age & Sex

Do you understand how much the age of a horse has an affect on the ability of a racehorse? Do you know that female horses have a terrible record when racing up against their male counterparts? Did you know that Gelded horses actually have a worse record than full horses?


Some horses will only perform in certain times of the year. It is always good to look over this information.

Better last time out results than meets the eye

Sometimes a horse will finish in 4th position but the speed it posted was in a very fast race and did not get penalised by the handicapper. Spotting these type of horses is a gold mine.

If we consider the above factors with all the regular form analysis, then we can find favourites that are overbet and lay on Betfair.

Act Like A Mini Betting Syndicate

There are countless ways to analyse a betting market and some of the biggest betting syndicates use over 100 variables when coming up with their tissue price.

Therefore always look at different ways to spot a factor that would influence the position of a horse in a horse race.

You then need to apply a weighting to those factors (how important that factor is) and come up with a rating for each horse in the race.

Once you have a rating for each horse in a race, you can quickly turn this into a 100% book tissue price and compare the price to what is on offer on Betfair.

If you spot a horse priced at 3.0 on Betfair but you have it marked as 20.0 in your tissue price, then this horse needs to be investigated immediately.

Double check the horses form and class ability to ensure that you didnt miss something. Once you are happy that there are at least 2 other horses in the race with class ability, then you have yourself a lay bet!

Now onto another lay betting method…

Lay the field bet

This is where you lay all horses in a race at 2.0. This lay bets are left live in play.

You profit lose your stake if only 1 horse matched (obviously as it goes on to win)

You break even when two lays are matched

You double your money when 3 lay bets are matched

Now this worked a dream back around 2008/2009 but now it is so popular that you need to research races that lead to competitive finishes, race courses that lead to competitive finishes as well as data around performances of horses compared to their odds to see where you can make this type of bet work.

No longer can you just put lay bets of 2.0 across the board, but you need to act more efficiently than the recreational wannabe trader.

For more info on this type of trading, check out the sports trader who covers this and  host of other trading strategies.

Lay the favourite if it has lost at low odds before

Some punters look for horses that were favourite but can never seem to finish the job when it comes to the last furlong of the race.

You can look at the current favourites using timeform racecards and input the going and trip data for today and see what the favourites strike rate was. Look to see how low it went in the in play betting market. If you it has lost twice at odds below 1.5, then place a lay bet of that price as you only need to be right 1 in 2 times to breakeven.

This, however, can be laborious if done manually.

Double or bust – Back a horse that you think will drop in price and place an open lay bet at a lower price

This is one of the trending bet types you will see on people advocating on forums today.

You use pace analysis of a race to identify horses that you think will halve in price during the race.

The strategy here is to find horses who like to lead and are in good form and have all the conditions to suit.

Here is a quick strategy for you to follow without paying for pace notes

  • Look at the top 3 horses in the market.
  • Look at their last 3 races and in 2 of the last 3 races,  the horse must have taken the lead before the 2 furlong to go mark (disputed lead at the start does not count)
  • All age handicap all weather flat races qualify for this
  • Also works on flat turf races but ensure that the horse is also suited to the prevailing going.

Once you find a selection, back the horse at the current price using Betfair exhange fixed price.

Then put a lay bet at twice the stake but half the odds on Betfair exchange lay market.

Example of DOBBING strategy.

Force Of Nature is joint favourite to win the 2 mile class 5 all age handicap at Lingfield on 04/04/2016.

If you look at her last 3 races in running comments, you will see the following.

  • Chased leader until led over 2f out, ridden and headed over 1f out, weakened inside final furlong
  • With leader and clear of field until 5f out, led over 4f out, ridden well over 1f out, joined by cruising winner 1f out, headed final 100yds, soon outpaced (op 8/1)
  • Disputed lead 3f, chased leaders, ridden over 2f out, weakened over 1f out

The horse has shown that it has lead near the closing part of a race on 2 of its last 3 occasions, proving that it is a leader. As it is joing favourite, the market is telling us that the horse has a reasonable chance of winning, therefore we are expecting a decent run.

So we place a £100 back bet at 5.0 on Betfair back exchange (Blue)

We then place a £200 lay bet for 2.50 on Betfair exchange lay market (Pink)

If the horse does as expected and drops in price to below 2.50, we can expect to double our stake.

Here are the three scenarios of this bet

1) – your horse does not run a race you expected and the In Play price at 2.5 does not get matched – You lose £100

Here is what happens with your bets

….. your £100 win bet loses so we lose £100

….. your £200 lay bet at 2.5 isn’t matched so you win/lose £0

….. You lose £100, but win/lose £0, so in total you lose £100 (£0 – £100) – which is termed “Bust”.


2) – Your Horse Loses, but runs well and trades all the way down to 2.5 In Play – You win £100

Here is what happens with your bets

….. your £100 win bet loses so we lose £100

….. your £200 lay bet at 2.5 wins (i.e. the horse doesn’t win but In Play drops below 2.5) so you win £200.

….. You lose £100, but win £200, so in total you win £100 (£200 – £100) – which is Doubling your £100 stake.

3) – Your Horse Wins, trades down to 1.01 In Play, – You win £100

Here is what happens with your bets

….. your £10 win bet at 5.0 wins so you win £400

….. your £200 lay bet loses (i.e. the horse win) so you lose £300. (your lay was 2.5 to £200 – a liability of £3000)

….. You win £400, but lose £300, so in total you win £100 (£400 – £300) – which is Double part of the Double or Bust term.

If you fancy becoming the bookie and profiting when a horse loses then LayZy Profits is the perfect tipster for you. Every day, you’ll receive an average of 4 lay betting tips to lay. Check out his winning graph here (proofed results).

Variations of DOBBING where you back and lay a horse to win a certain percentage of your initial stake

This is where to expect the price of a horse to drop but you want to accept a smaller liability.

Instead of hoping that the price drops by half, you may just want the price to drop by 5% or 10% and be happy with consistant profits.

You can view our detailed post on how to use this strategy  here.

Even these days Betfair have made it very easy to trade out (green up) of an open bet.

It means you can trade out of any bet you have placed normally. So this means if your horse is shortening in price, you can cash out to lock in a profit no matter what happens.

Before you would have to buy special software to perform thisBetfair  “greening up” task or esle use a spreadsheet to come up with the exact amounts to use to ensure you got the same returns no matter what horse went on to win.

Now you simply press the Cash Out button. Here is a video explaining how it works.

This is basically Backing and Laying without the need to know what you’re doing :-) When you back a selection and the price crashes the “Cash Out” button will show you how much money you can “take” by cashing your bet out early.

Bonus section – How to quickly tell if a price is over bet or not (good value/bad value)

Go to any Betfair horse racing market and click on the graph symbol beside any horse you choose. As we are dealing with favourites alot in this post, we shall look at the favourite in the 3.45pm race at Pontefract.

Surprise Vendor is 3.8 to back and 3.95 to lay.

example of how to find a horse that is good or bad value using betfair

Now divide the betting summary – volume €29,570 by Total matched on the event €77,922.

This equals 0.379 or 37%. We turn this into odds by getting 100/37.9 + 1.

This means that the correct odds based on betting volume should be 3.638.

if a lay bet is a value bet

Therefore this means that the correct odds based on betting volume should be 3.638 and it looks like there is slight value in the current back price.

How to get started as a layer

There are 2 ways to get started as a layer and both require you to paper trade your lays first until you have paper traded at least 50 winners to ensure that the system or method you use is the correct one.

If you do not want to waste time learning any of the strategies above then you must pay to get the information so we recommend subscribing to the best laying tipsters.

First and foremost though is that you require a Betfair account. If you do not have one, sign up by clicking here and avail of their £20 free bet new account offer.

If you do not know how to place a lay bet then check out our user guide and video here on how to lay a horse to lose on Betfair.

Learning how to to make money laying horses is still hard work and you must understand that it is still a form of gambling so nothing is for certain. However if you put in the hours or the money into proven systems/tipsters you can make consistent money every month.

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Read Review Visit Betfair Exchange

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