Back, lay and layback: are they different or not?

In sports betting the concepts of "back" and "lay" usually go together and are associated with bets placed in one direction or the other. They are very common in matches where two teams compete, although some bookies may allow "backear" or "lay" bets in other sporting events where more than one team is involved.

The concepts back and lay in sports betting are associated with what is sometimes simply known as layback, a concept associated with experienced users as they are almost always the ones who make use of these bets.

Before we continue, let's clarify concepts: lay and back are antonyms, but the term "layback" is used as a noun to refer to lay / back bets.

Back / lay in sports betting: what is it?



When we talk about lay and back, we refer to a type of betting in which one bets against or in favor of a team. In other words, you bet on a team to win or lose. Its essence is very simple, but the way to extract the full potential of back / lay bets is what makes it predominantly professional bettors who get the most out of this type of bet.

Something very important to understand how lay betting works is that you bet the amount you want to win, not the amount you want to risk. This very basic concept is the one that often leads those who make the leap from other types of bets to lay betting to make a mistake. When they make a mistake in the amount they put at stake, the result is far from the expected one.

To succeed with the lay in sports betting, it is essential to follow a simple mathematical rule to obtain the desired amount we want to win. And, yes: the amount we "want" to win also depends on a formula, because it is not only what we want to win, but what we can afford to bet to seek victory. Any bet outside these margins is not at all guaranteed to be viable in lay betting.

How do we calculate the layback?

Winnings = (Desired Amount x Odds) - Desired Amount

Pros and cons of lay and back bets



Going by layback in betting has its advantages and disadvantages. Main advantages:

  • There is a higher probability of winning if an event is predicted not to occur.
  • They offer a wider profit margin than the lay odds, despite having to deduct the part that the bookie takes.
  • Only the money wagered is at stake.

However, it also has its handicaps:

  • We do not have this possibility in all bookies.
  • It is not within the reach of an inexperienced user, although the concept is easy to understand.
  • We can expose ourselves to the risk of not having enough liquidity and not being able to layback.

How to approach a layback bet well


Back and lay bets are, respectively, bets placed for or against a team winning. However, something that looks like a 50-50 that we can leave to chance is not something that depends only on luck.

The basic thing if we want to stop losing money is to understand that a layback bet allows us to obtain effective profits as long as we know how to keep our bankroll under control. Otherwise, we will not avoid losing and we will expose ourselves to a lack of funds to continue betting.

Therefore, it is essential to set a ceiling on the amount we bet, taking into account the necessary amount we want to win and what is our stack.

But timing is crucial in this type of betting, whether we bet for or against. Normally, professional users tend to place their back / lay bets at strategically chosen times: for example, after 75 minutes if there is a draw, or in the last minutes if one team is ahead, as you will be more likely to place a back bet in favor of the advantaged team.

How to have a better chance of squeezing the potential of the bet? By doing a good analysis. As it happens in games such as poker, having a great analytical capacity to improve decision making is crucial. Our judgment will be key to support the decision to make a back or lay bet at a specific moment of the event.

This is the main reason why layback bets are not suitable for inexperienced users. You don't get that analytical ability out of thin air: it takes experience and experience to be able to correctly judge the odds of getting the most out of a back/lay bet in order to get it right. If you don't have it, your decision making will be inadequate, and you will be exposed to a constant stream of losses.

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