Knowing When to Lay the Favourite Horse On A Betting Exchange

If you're new to betting exchanges, you may find the terminology used by these sites to be a little confusing at times. Starting with the basics, you need to understand 'backing' and 'laying' but the good news is that this is really very easy.

When To Back, When To Lay?

In simple terms, when you back a horse you are staking money on it to win and when you lay another ride, you are expecting it to lose. You can make a serious profit by laying horses and trading on a betting exchange but why and when should you lay the favourite?

Statistics have shown that in any horse race, the favourites tend to lose two out of every three events that they take part in. With figures such as these, you can see why this practise can be so profitable.

Factors To Consider

With two out of every three favourites losing you might think that the simple thing to do is to lay the lowest priced horse every time. With a success rate of 66.6% you may feel it will lead to a profit but the statistics prove otherwise and this practise will simply lose you money.

However, it is possible to make a profit by choosing when to lay but what are the factors to take into account? Firstly, you could look for a phenomenon known as the false favourite.

Certain horses can get a lot of publicity prior to a race simply because they are favoured by media pundits. Tipsters on TV and in the sporting press might have good records but simply by mentioning a horse, they can get the back price to drop sharply.

When this happens, there is far more value in the lay odds and wins in this market will give you a far greater profit.


Through the course of a week's racing, you will also find some overbet favourites – those that seem almost nailed on winners. Maybe they have the best jockey combined with the best trainer and when they look like such a certainty, their back odds go very low.

At the same time, the lay prices will increase giving you more value. Remember that these horses contribute to the statistic that shows 66.6% of favourites will lose but by laying these rides, you can look forward to far higher returns.

Form Is Everything

Professional and Amateur gamblers alike rely on form when placing a back bet on any horse. Between 80 and 90% of pre-race odds are dictated in this way and that will never change but the key to laying a favourite is in finding the 10% where there is an anomaly.

The lower back prices can be found on false favourites – those that have been talked up by the media – and on overbet horses which seem certain winners.