While there is always an element of risk involved in betting, there are a number of strategies that you can employ to minimise the risk that you're exposed to, and even to guarantee yourself a profit.
One such strategy is back-to-lay betting. This is often an in-play betting strategy (although it can be used pre-event if the opportunity presents itself), which involves backing a selection at a relatively high price, then, at a later time, laying the same selection (i.e. betting that it will not happen) to guarantee yourself a profit if the market moves in the right direction. Even if it does not, you can still lay the selection to reduce your overall loss on the market.
Clearly, this is a strategy designed for betting on the exchanges. Bookmakers rarely offer punters the possibility of laying a selection because this is the role that the bookmakers themselves play. However, the exchanges rely on people betting against each other by backing selections and laying selections at varying odds.
Let’s use an example to demonstrate this back-to-lay betting strategy in action. One commonly used tactic in football betting is to back the draw in a match that is expected to be relatively tight and low scoring. Let’s say that the draw is offered at 3.8 (around 11/4) on Betfair Sports' exchange prior to kick-off, and you stake €100 to back this outcome. Twenty minutes into the game, the score is still 0-0, and the draw is now available to lay at 3.0 (2/1). If you decide to lay the draw at this new price to win €126.67 (which is above your initial €100 stake) with a liability of €253.33 (which is below the potential return from your initial bet), you can guarantee yourself a profit, regardless of the match's outcome.
In this case, if the match ends as a draw, you would win your initial back bet. With €100 at 3.8, you would come away with a profit of €280. However, you would lose your lay bet. On your lay bet you staked to win €126.67 at odds of 3.0, corresponding to a liability of €253.33. Therefore, if the draw happens, you win €280, but lose €253.33, leaving you with a profit of €26.67.
If either team wins, you would lose your initial back bet but would win your lay, i.e. you would lose the €100, but would win the €126.67, resulting in a profit of €26.67. As you can see, you have guaranteed yourself a profit of €26.67, regardless of what the final result of the match is.
This back-to-lay betting strategy can used in almost any sport available on the exchanges, and can even be used pre-event like in horse racing betting. For example, three months before a big horse race, you could back a horse at odds of 20.0. If it were then to win impressively in its final outing before the big race, it would be no surprise to see its odds shorten. You could then potentially lay the same horse at odds of 14.0, for example, locking in a profit before the day of the race even arrives.
To see if you can guarantee yourself a profit on the exchanges, visit Betfair Sports today.