Wednesday, July 15th, 2020

Laying the field – Deadly Effective Betting Strategy, For Low Risk Profits

October 5, 2011 by  
Filed under Betfair Tutorials, Recent Articles

From site navigation through the sheer volume of choice, everything you need from a betting exchange is provided by Betfair. But before you can start to profit from this innovative betting platform you need to learn how to use it effectively.

Betfair provide the technology – learn to use it properly to maximize your edge!

Some time ago I was asked to attend and help out at  a promotional training event run by Betfair. The main objectives of these events are too…

  • Introduce new customers to the Betfair platform
  • Develop existing customers knowledge of the site
  • Help individuals find answers through facilitation and discussion
  • Enhance the skill set of both the individual and the entire customer base.

Whilst at this training seminar I remember sitting and listening for an hour or so to various Betfair users. It started to become clear that most punters attending were only scratching the surface as far as using the sites main features and functionality was concerned.

Later on I asked the three guys who hosted the event how many of these seminars they did per year and the answer surprised me, in that year alone they had done around 72 in the UK.

The head honcho of the training department told me that a lot people who attended these courses were not aware of many of the sites great features and that this was a common issue across the board. Whilst many punters are perceived by others to be expert users, the truth is some what different and profitable punters are thin on the ground.

In this article we are going to be looking at one particular method discussed at the seminar and how to implement it. It is a valuable trading strategy that some of you may or may not know.

This simple but effective method is often over looked, but can reel in some pretty consistent low risk profits if used on the right type of races, it will also make a great addition to your existing Betfair trading portfolio. Combining a few simple methods such as this can prove reasonably profitable if executed with discipline and common sense.

Think outside the box

Far too many Betfair users, even the ones who consider themselves seasoned punters ignore what is right under there noses.

The majority of punters are blinded by the obvious when using Betfair, don’t forget it’s the shrewd punters who do the complete opposite of everyone else who are actually making consistent cash off the radar.

Learn to think outside the box and you will soon be creating your own Betfair strategies that very few punters are using, this is ultimately where you can gain an edge over the market. Remember once the masses start to use a particular method regularly it stops being profitable. For example Bettors who are just taking the odds on offer are seriously at a disadvantage.

Most generally take prices at the first show in the morning; this can be a time when 9-5 ers back obvious short priced favourites causing market over-reaction.

When ever there is a market over reaction to a price, it is generally false and based on rumor and flimsy evidence. For example – Traders follow the price to steal a tick or two, Joe punter is persuaded to back an obvious steamer, or lay an equally obvious drifter.

These are just some of the many different scenarios which happen every day.  The reality is, any value to be had lies in doing the opposite to the masses, who as rule of thumb base there decision to back or lay a favourite on very limited information, usually swayed by some kind of media hype or other such nonsense.

Key points to remember are…

  • Don’t just take the price on offer. Ask for what you want, if it’s realistic you’ll probably get matched
  • Look for gaps in the market where you can get value
  • Bet in-running
  • Lay or back more than one selection in an event
  • Do the opposite of what everyone else is doing, oppose rumors and media hype
  • Use the free tools Betfair have spent years designing to make your betting experience more efficient and profitable.

Think and operate outside the box, challenge the status quo.

Laying the field (a simple but effective trading strategy)

What’s involved?

  • Laying all selections at >100% for a profit
  • The best way to set this up is via the lay all and pay out functions
  • Lower your prices to include a margin
  • Click on payout to balance a book
  • If all bets are matched all out comes will result in a profit.

What I’m going to show with the next few examples is how to lay the field in-running successfully, and hopefully cover all bases. This type of bet is good for the risk averse among you and can create steady profits over time. There are 4 potential outcomes from this bet.

Potential outcomes

  • If we get 3 or more bets matched we make profit every time
  • If we don’t get any of our bets matched we lose nothing
  • If we manage to lay the winning horse and don’t get any other bets matched we pay out a small amount, usually 1 point and no more
  • If we get 2 bets matched we break even

How to do it

Here’s how to set the bet up using Betfairs on screen functionality

1. Hit the lay all tab on the left hand bet slip.

2. Set the odds of every runner in a race.

To do this very swiftly, simply hit the number 2 in the first backer’s odds box and then hit the TAB KEY on your computer keyboard. This drops the cursor down to the next section. Hit the TAB KEY and 2 repeatedly for every runner in the race, this takes a matter of seconds.

Then click on the KEEP At In-Play radio button in the bet slip

Submit bets at the bottom.

Wait for the race to start and watch to see if any of your bets get matched. To prove this is not purely hypothetical I have implemented this strategy on a race, you will notice a green screen has been achieved on most of the bets placed. There were several other races on which I employed this strategy successfully, but in order to keep this “how to lay the field Tutorial” condensed I’ve just including one example.

Please note stakes are small because this is just to prove this method actually works, as you get more familiar with it you could increase stakes/odds to what ever you feel comfortable with. Even using Betfair minimum stakes of just £2, it’s possible to generate steady but realistic profits. All screenshots are taken at then end of a race when the winner is known and the market is suspended.

Screen shot 1

Layers liability

Screenshot 1 above was a little rushed and doesn’t show that several bets were matched in this race, take a look at the one below it shows that I actually got 4 horses matched at odds of 2.00 for £2 and made a nice little profit of £3.80 on this race. PRESENT actually won the race, so I paid out on that one.

My total liability would have still only been a maximum £2, because only one horse can win. In effect it’s just like backing horses because we are simply losing our stake money if we only manage to lay the winner, which is the value principle I’m always banging on about.

Screnshot 2


One or two readers have contacted me to say they like this strategy, but are not getting enough bets matched or they are simply laying the winner at 2.0. If this is the case then it’s wise to increase the odds until you find the right balance between getting bets matched and making low-risk profits. For example yesterday I tested this strategy on three random races; see screenshots  examples below…

Test, record and modify the strategy on plenty of different races

To put this into perspective I applied no form reading whatsoever and these bets literally took seconds to place. The core aim of sharing this Betting strategy with you is to facilitate discussion and experimentation. What I definitely didn’t want to do was to spoon-feed you an exact methodology. The idea is to test, record and modify the strategy on plenty of different races until the right balance is struck between consistently getting matched and making small but low-risk profits. Naturally this may take a few weeks or months to do.

Consider how competitive races may actually be. If the odds of the top four horses in the market are close, this will indicate how competitive a race actually is. Conversely if the favourites odds are very short compared to the rest of the field the race may be worth leaving alone.

After all this is only a bet placement strategy and not a system. Ultimately that’s where you guys come in.

Please feel free to submit your comments below?

Further reading & Betting exchange tutorials

Jonathan Burgess

Jonathan Burgess is an official Betfair Accredited Trainer and racing columnist for various respected betting industry publications such as: Betting School, The Daily Punt and Betfair’s Education site. He also runs the Profitable – False Favourites Betting Tips Club Which cost just 24 pence a day. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

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17 Responses to “Laying the field – Deadly Effective Betting Strategy, For Low Risk Profits”
  1. Rod Fifield says:

    Hi Jonathan

    That’s a very interesting strategy !!

    I am just wondering which race types would be most appropriate. I presume larger fields, competitive looking races, and definitely nothing with an odds-on at the start !!

    Cheers, Rod

    • Jonathan says:

      Hi Rod
      I have tried this strategy on lots of different races and found it to be successful across the board. However found it was more successful in flat races of short distances (Such as Sprint’s of 5 and 6furlongs) which are usually run at speed, Ultimately this leads to close finishes. Let’s not forget close finishes in flat racing means several horses will trade at around 2.0 and below. Having said this, I`ve also had some Success with laying the field in close finish national hunt (jump) races.

      it’s a case of trial and error and recording the results for a few weeks, to test which are the best races to employ this lay the field betting strategy on.

      kind regards
      Jonathan Burgess

  2. Ben says:

    Spent a couple of hours on timeform and have spotted the information that I need. I now have some solid starting criteria to make this work for me. I had often wondered why anyone would want to lay all the horses given the way the over round works.

    • Jonathan says:

      hi Ben
      Obviously this strategy won’t suit everyone, and the odds can be adjusted to what each individual punter feels comfortable with. The whole idea of providing people with simple but effective betting exchange trading strategies is to facilitate discussion and experimentation. Not every bet will be matched and there will be losing days as well as winning days, but there’s no denying that this strategy is low risk and easy to implement. Please feel free to to keep us posted on your progress.

      Kind regards
      Jonathan Burgess

  3. Paul says:

    Hi, in reference to Ben’s post re looking on Timeform, I have looked over the last few days racing to see what races produce more than 2 that went 2.0 and under in running, but I’m not finding that many to make it into a profitable strategy. If Ben would care to give us feedback on how he’s doing with this, I would be greatly interested.

  4. John says:

    Hi Jonathan, Am I right that the stake is twice the lay price. ie:- 3 to £4 and 4 to £6 etc. Regards John.

  5. Jonathan says:

    hi everyone

    I have updated the Laying the field strategy with some new information and new screenshots – Please read the “update” section above

    Cheers John

  6. bigtimeloser says:

    It’s an interesting strategy, and one that I dabbled with a while ago and got some initially good results before it all went sour.

    Looking at 5900 races of 6f and under from 2008 – August 2011, taking in 16500 selections with odds that dropped as low as 3.0 (as a starting population) I get the following results when laying at different odds markers:

    1.5 = (542)
    2.0 = (1156)
    2.5 = (658)
    3.0 = (1489)

    Where the runner started at a price that was already below the lay marker, I took the last price traded.

    If anyone had some ideas on further tweaking the criteria, then I’d be happy to try and run that through the model.


  7. David says:

    Seems too good to be true,but will give it a try with races where odds for first 4 in the betting are close and where the rest are ‘nowhere’.
    Bigtimeloser said it all went sour,why was this?

    • Jonathan says:

      You need to test, test and work with this strategy. Its not a golden goose, but rather something to add to a Portfolio of good backing and laying systems.

      Cheers Jon

  8. keith says:

    Trying this today at Kempton and Lingfield,will let all know how i get on.

  9. Ray says:

    Hi Jonathon!
    I tried your ‘Laying the Field’ strategy today, 10 August 2013, on Betfair. Like you, I layed all 9 runners at 2.0 for £2 stake, and pressed the ‘keep’ button, hoping that 2, or preferably 3+, would be matched in play. In the event, TimeForm showed that only the winner went to below 2.0. So I was expecting to lose on just that one horse, a loss of £2. But when I checked, I was astonished to see that none of my lays had been matched in play- not even the winner! And I did press the ‘keep’ button on each lay, in case you’re wondering! Is it possible to not actually get matched in play, even when the market price reaches the price layed at?
    I’d be grateful for your thoughts.

    • Jonathan says:

      hi Ray,

      Thank you for taking the time to post comment. As we mentioned in the article above this method needs practice and it needs to be tested on various races in order for it to be fairly consistent. I appreciate what you’re saying and there are races where you will not get matched. Sometimes this happens because of the sheer volume of money waiting to be matched with a single price. betfair works on a first-come first-served basis, so if someone places a bet at 2.00 @ £50 at 8 AM on the morning of the races, and your bet offer is placed after that then you will be behind in the que. You need to understand when multiple offers are also placed a 2.0 meaning there then eventually ends up being £400 for a particular horse waiting to be matched at 2.0 then it’s highly unlikely you’ll get matched, as mentioned above betfair works on a que basis so first come first matched.

      however this does not mean that it is impossible to get matched bets. On the contrary if you test it on various races until you find out which it works best on their are some good profits to be made. I’ve had 10 races matched in a day before now, and then on other days none. basically you have to examine the running styles of the horses to identify consistent front runners whose prices are likely to shorter in play. Unfortunately testing this method on one race is unrealistic, instead you need to test it on multiple races is a risk is very minimal anyway.

  10. colin says:

    This looks like a good way of betting but as you say it is better over 5 or 6 curling races where there may be a close finish, wouldn’t it be better to lay the field with greyhound racing as you may get a more regular chance of being matched.

  11. colin says:

    That should have said furlong.


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