Football betting is consistently one of the most popular gambling markets around, and the start of a new English Premier League season signals the return of the nation-wide obsession once again. Although the eventual winners of the league are often predicable, betting on one-off matches can prove to be somewhat more of a challenge. For example, not many would have backed the relegated Blackburn Rovers to beat eventual runners-up Manchester United 3-2 at Old Trafford last season.
For this reason, ‘laying’ has become a particularly prominent form of football betting in recent years. Using this betting strategy, you no longer simply bet on one side to win; instead, a lay bet is made against an outcome. So, for example, if you were to lay a team, you would effectively be backing that team to lose or draw.
If we were to look at it in practical terms, let’s imagine that Manchester City are playing Reading at the Etihad Stadium. In this scenario, a Reading win is perceived to be unlikely by bookmakers. As such, let’s imagine that you lay the Berkshire side to win at odds of 10/1. If you stake £500 against a Reading win, you would see a return of £50 if Manchester City draw or win the game. In this context, you can see that the lay bet certainly ranks up there with the safest of football betting strategies.
Of course, the lay bet requires an inversion of normal odds. Instead of 10/1, in this example your likelihood of a return is actually 1/10 (hence the £50 pay out on a £500 wager). As such, laying football teams that have little chance of winning will build up a good bank over time (a degree of patience is required). Similarly, if you think you have a line on a particular match-up – something the bookies have missed – then you could see a high return by laying the favourites. If, for example, Manchester City are missing key players through injury but are still heavy favourites to win on reputation alone, it could be worth betting against a City win for a potentially rewarding payout.
Another method of football betting which is increasingly on the rise in the UK is Asian Handicapping a form of fixed odds betting that originated in the Far East.
The Asian Handicap in football betting evolved because the Asian market loved to bet on English football. However, punters were not so enamoured by the prospect of losing their money to a full-time draw, leading to a system whereby both teams in any given match are given a handicap or spread before the game. This is most often offered in fractional form (e.g. 0.5 goals, 1.5 goals), which neutralises the possibility of there being a draw outcome.
The system also means that the chance of smaller sides winning against the spread dramatically increases. For example, if Reading, with goal odds +1.5 were playing away against Manchester City with goal odds of -1.5, both at fixed odds of 11/8, then Reading’s chances of winning would be substantially higher than the 10/1 they were originally priced at. So, while lay betting is generally used as a means to building the piggy bank in smaller, incremental sums, Asian Handicap betting tends to encourage larger, individual wins.
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