A Clear Guide: What is Back and Lay in Betting?

The common perception regarding betting is that there is a serious risk of losing money, but techniques like back and lay betting are able to overcome the same to a great extent. For those who want to manage their returns, reduce losses, or even get better odds, the idea of going with back-and-lay betting makes a lot of sense.

What is back and lay in betting?

Despite betting being prevalent in many parts of the world, several people are still not sure about what is back and lay in betting speak. It is essentially two concepts where punters can go in favour of an outcome or they can decide to back against an outcome from taking place. The two different formats available in the back and lay betting can make it quite a difficult proposition for newcomers to wrap their heads around. However, this is as simple as any other betting concept and it may not take more than a few minutes to understand the same.

Lay Betting

Many people wonder what is lay in betting? This is a term used to denote the bet placed against the occurrence of an event. While this may find its biggest use in the world of horse racing, it can also be effectively used to back troubled teams in a major series. In the lay bet, punters will be going up against other punters on the platform instead of betting against the sportsbook. This would be almost similar to the bet placed between two friends but on a digital platform.

Let us consider the example of Australia once again. If India can be backed at 4.00 to win the World Cup, the struggling Australian team cannot be backed not to win the World Cup. Irrespective of where Australia ended up in the tournament, the punter will make good returns as long as the Socceroos do not end up lifting the trophy.

Back Betting

The back bet is very similar to the traditional betting structure that everyone is familiar with in modern times. Essentially, the punter will be using the back bet to go with a team to come out successful or an event to take place. Depending on the probability of an event happening, punters get appropriate prices. In this form, the punter has no significant difference compared to how they are placing a bet using a sportsbook.

An example of a back bet would be to back India to win the World Cup at odds of 4.00. If a user place is a bet of Rs 100 on this market, they can expect to get back Rs 400 if India wants the World Cup. If India does not win the competition even after coming to the final, the punter stands to lose the entire Rs 100. Due to the risky nature of these bets, the rewards can be quite high but the probability of success is rather low.

How does back and lay cricket betting work?

The most effective use of back and betting can be seen in the world of horse races. However, it is not to say that cricket punters can also gain a lot from this system. Many people are not aware of what is back and lay in cricket betting. One of the best ways to explain the same would be to use an example. Let us take the example of an injury-hit Australian team who are travelling to the ICC World Cup competition. Due to the inclusion of many unknown stars, Australia is not expected to win the tournament. Rather than try to pick a winner from the many teams that take part in the competition, cricket punters might use the betting exchange to back Australia to not win the World Cup. This is an example of a lay bet.

If India comes into a tournament as strong favourites to win, the simple back bet can be used to go with India to win the tournament.

Reasons for Betting Exchange

The betting exchange is the place where one goes to the next step beyond learning what is back and lay in betting. These sites are different compared to the regular bookmaker where it is only possible to back on an event taking place. It is not possible to go down the opposite route unlike at a betting exchange. There are a handful of sportsbooks that are starting to provide exchanges as well. This enhances liquidity for the customer while also being able to improve opportunities for arbitrage betting as well. Similarly, some of the sportsbooks are also providing the option of laying the bet in cricket matches. Once people have figured out what is lay in betting, they would be able to appreciate the feature to a great extent.

Taking Advantage of Draws

The regular betting style can be very one-sided and it can provide returns to the punter only when things go in favour. However, one can take advantage of multiple betting opportunities when using the lay and back betting options. One of the most interesting would be the strategy of laying the draw. It is not really recommended for beginners due to the severe complexities that go behind the same. This can be used especially in test matches where the outcome can go in favour of both teams. If two very strong teams are going up against each other and the punter is not sure about who the winner will turn out to be, they can choose to lay a draw.

If there is a high likelihood of rain playing spoilsport in a test match, one can also decide to make good returns using the lay and back betting options. For example, if punters expect rain on the second day of a test game, which has an even chance of both teams coming out successful. In this instance, one can go back to draw towards the end of day one. If the rain comes as expected on day two, there will be a significant drop in the odds for the draw. Now, the punter can go ahead and lay the draw so that the possibility of a loss is completely eliminated.


One should remember that back and lay betting is certainly not for the beginner. If and when used properly, these setups will be able to provide users with a lot of advantages. The better prices and flexibility in bets are the biggest draws. Since punters are not going up against an army of statisticians who are working to set the best prices for the company, the exchanges often have a slight edge compared to a regular sportsbook when it comes to prices. The commission paid to the exchange is negligible compared to margins imposed by bookmakers on their markets.

The world of cricket betting can be fascinating at many levels. Initially, it may appear that cricket may not be so suitable for back and lay betting options, but that is proved otherwise.

CricNerds Staff

CricNerds Staff