Lay The Draw Strategy

Sunderland in action

Lay the draw is perhaps the most frequently used strategy when it comes to football trading. Its simplicity, along with the rather high winning percentages, make it one of the most popular ways to lay a bet. It’s a rather straightforward strategy that can be used even by newcomers to bet exchanges, as long as they follow a clearly set plan.

Nobody is sure who invented this strategy. It appeared some years ago in betting exchange website (mainly as lay the draw betfair) and immediately became massively popular. But what exactly is laying the draw and how can it be used? Does this strategy remain profitable in 2017 or is it no longer relevant? Have the bookies found a way to counter it or can you still earn some money?

What does lay the draw mean?

The procedure of laying a bet is often used among punters in betting exchanges, as they technically offer odds on a certain sporting events, similar to a bookmaker. On the “lay the draw” strategy the target is quite simply avoiding a draw. It is used almost exclusively in football, but apart from the lay the draw football strategy it can be technically expanded to every sport that offers the draw as a match result. As the draw has a general confirmation percentage marginally surpassing 30% a punter starts with a near 70% percentage of winning. If you pick matches fulfilling certain criteria carefully, this percentage can increase even further. That’s why there are so many punters who lay the draw for a living.

Picking the right matches to lay the draw

How is this achieved? The basic rule is to pick matches with clear favorites, where there are less possibilities for a draw. A strong team playing at home against a minor opponent won’t settle for a draw and will give everything they’ve got up to the last second. The draw odds might be higher, making your exposure to risk higher as well, but the percentage of a draw in some leagues stands below 25%, thus giving a theoretical 75% winning possibility.

An alternate category is when the draw is an undesirable result for both teams. Matches during the closing stages of a league, when both teams need every point they can get to achieve their goals, are highly recommended.

What should you avoid? Matches were opponents have little to no difference in strength or when you know a draw suits them both. In addition, laying the draw in matches with an away favorite, are far from profitable as stats indicate.

Lay the Draw example

Suppose you’d like to lay a draw at 3.30 odds with a €100 stake. This means that expect your “initial” bet, to have an “exposure” of another €230. If the draw result is confirmed, you have to pay €330 to the punter (or punters) who backed it at these odds.

Lay the draw betting

You can intervene during the match, if you think you should protect your stake. In case one of the teams scores, the draw odds will go up, especially if the favorite finds the net. This means you can now back the new odds that are higher than the pre match laying odds and secure a profit.

As the match goes on and the one goal lead remains, the odds for the draw will increase. In case another is scored from the same side, they usually reach double digit odds further increasing your “back the draw” profits.

If the match ends with a winner, you get your €100 and win the €100 that other players staked on the draw.

5 basic lay the draw strategies

There are five basic lay the draw strategies

  1. Laying the draw pre match. You just pick a match before it starts, put your money on laying the draw and wait for a winner at the final whistle.
  2. Laying the draw at halftime. It might look similar to the above, only this time you don’t lay pre-match, but pick a match that stands as a draw at half time. It’s safer, as your exposure (the money you must pay backers) is roughly half to that of a pre-match bet.
  3. Laying the score at halftime. An alternative strategy, where you don’t lay the draw result, but a draw score (0-0, 1-1, 2-2 etc.). The exposure is much higher, as correct scores have much higher odds, but the possibilities of winning are much higher as well. In a match that stands as a goalless draw at HT the odds of 0-0 for a correct score could drop to even 4.50 from over 10.00 before the match. This can prove to be quite the bargain as both teams have a whole half time to score a single goal.
  4. Laying a halftime draw. Instead of waiting for the halftime to place your wager, you lay a pre-match bet on the half time draw. This has a much lower exposure, as the draw odds for the halftime usually stand around 2.00.
  5. Lay the 0-0 for halftime correct score. It’s worth trying this when you’re sure that at least a goal will be scored in the first half. Usually the odds of a 0-0 correct score at HT are much smaller than the FT ones (often more than half).

How you should proceed

Laying the draw pre match

  • Cash out when the favorite scores. If you follow this immediately after the first goal of the match, you wipe out your chances of losing (you’ll only lose when a match ends as a goalless draw). In most cases you get around 30%-40% of the total profit you’d claim with the initial odds.
  • Back the draw when odds reach 2.00. As minutes pass and no team manages to break the deadlock, the odds for a draw will naturally drop. To avoid losing all your stake you should have a cut loss edge, a point where you’ve agreed you must cash out and accept loss. This edge is usually set at 2.00 odds for the draw, at around 65-70 min. for an average match.

Laying the score & draw at halftime

Obviously, if the ball finds the net and you’ve layed the score you instantly win your bet. The same pretty much applies for a draw when the favorite scores, as you can either cash out your bet or wait for the final whistle, if you think they won’t concede. But what happens if no added goals are scored when you’ve layed the score and the match draws to its close? In this case it’s best to let your bet run, as the odds usually reflect this liability. Additionally, there is always the chance that one of the teams will manage to grab a late win.

Lay a half time draw or correct half time score 0-0

This laying strategy is once again best used when a strong favorite is pitted against an underdog. However, we don’t advise it, unless you’ve found really valuable odds as there is a far larger liability of a half time ending goalless. It’s practically similar to the above, with the only difference being that it’s easier to cash out when a goal is coming from the match underdog.

Lay the draw trading

A more advanced strategy contains both laying and backing. You just lay the draw, but you back the draw correct scores, starting from 0-0 and going to 1-1 or 2-2. If you’re sure that at least a goal will be scored you can omit backing the 0-0 and claim more profit. In this case you only lose if a 3-3 or 4-4 draw appears with the total profit you can claim being around 10-20% of your stake.

In Play Trading Scanner

The In Play Trading Scanner is a new tool brought to you by the guys over at Pre Match Trading, and as you would expect from these lads, it’s pretty good at what it does.

In essence it is the polar opposite of Pre Match Trading, as it is a tool that helps you trade a match in-running. As opposed to the Pre Match Trading model, where you make your money before a ball is kicked.

It’s basically a tool to help you trade or bet on football, not a football betting or trading system. There is a short video below showing examples of how it works…..

As you can see from the video, the whole idea of the in play scanner is too give you all your info and data in one place, and putting you within one click of placing a trade/bet – as opposed to having numerous windows open on your browser and chopping and changing from one screen to another, and missing out on a trade.

All the stats you need are included on the In Play Scanner page, shots on target, possession, etc, along with the live relevant Betfair prices. This makes it a great tool if you are looking to trade a match that isn’t live on TV, or you cannot access pictures too.

There is also a direct link to the relevant Betfair page from the stats page you are viewing. For example if you are viewing the stats on Hull V Stoke on a Saturday afternoon, you could click the live Betfair price on your stats screen and it will take you direct to that market on Betfair (as long as you are logged in).

With all the latest live match stats to hand this allows you to make an informed decision as to whether you think there is likely to be goals in the match, and who is more likely to score.

The software can help you spot a misaligned price. For example, if Team A is at home and they are trading at around Even money, and Team B is trading at 5/1 and is having more attacks and more shots on goal, the software shows you this.

What this is basically telling you is that Team B has a better chance of scoring than the odds suggest, so you might decide against backing Team A on this basis, or you might decide to have a couple of quid on Team B at 5/1.

Or it could be that you are sure this match has another goal in it, and by having these stats you may wish to load more of your spread on Team B (at 5/1) scoring the goal, rather than just laying the draw or the correct score. It basically opens up more options for you.

The In Play Trading Scanner costs £29.00 for one month, £75.00 for 3 months, or £135.00 for 6 months. This means you have the option to just try it out for a month, or take it for a longer period where your purchase will work out at better value for money.

Other Trading Systems and Services

William Hill Cash Out Facility

I may be a bit behind the times here, but I’ve noticed in my William Hill account over the last couple of weeks that they now have a cash out facility.

For those not in the know, this is the option to cash your bet in for a profit (assuming your team is winning) before the match has finished.

This seams to be the bookmakers finally waking up and realising that to compete with the betting exchanges, they will perhaps have to offer punters some of the same options we have long taken for granted from Betfair, Betdaq, etc.

This is great news for me in particular, as I generally use my Hill’s account for a bit of speculative betting – allowing me to concentrate my betting bank fully on my Betfair Football Trading.

Will My Account Be Restricted If I Keep On Cashing Out?

I don’t know, that is something I will have to keep an eye on moving forward. At the moment though, it’s working fine for me – but I am not a big gambler with William Hill.

I have read anecdotal evidence of accounts been restricted, but they could also be successful accounts that would have been restricted anyway.

There is a way around this though, and a method I use just in case. Just open yourself a Betfair account (and get a £30.00 Free Bet in the process), and cash out with them instead.

It’s a much better method, as you have differing cash out options, as opposed to just the one with William Hill….. and you are not annoying William Hill in the process, and possibly having your account restricted…… more William Hill Cash Out details are here.

To give a brief explanation of the differing cash out options…. With William Hill, you get one price offer, which is based on giving you an equal return on all three outcomes of the football match you have placed a bet on.

ie, you may have placed £20.00 on Team A to win (pre kick off), and they have now gone 1-0 up. The return from William Hill will be based on giving you the same amount of money back on Team A, whether they win, lose or draw. An even return on all three possible outcomes (ie, £5.00 back on Team A if they win, £5.00 back on Team A if they draw, £5.00 back on Team A if they lose).

With Betfair you can do things differently. Again, assuming Team A have just gone 1-0 up, and you still expect Team A to win, but want to make sure you don’t lose your £20.00 – you can adjust your cash out accordingly.

In this case you can just cash out your bet in a way that allows you to leave no loss on Team A if they only manage to draw or lose. And leave a larger chunk of profit on Team A winning (which after all, was your original bet)… a cash out option you don’t get from William Hill.

It might be broke down something like this, you get £15.00 back if Team A win, nothing back if Team A draw, and nothing back if Team A lose. Or you could adjust the cash out to give you £10.00 back if Team A win, £5.00 back if Team A draw, and nothing if Team A lose.

Put simply, there are more cash out options with Betfair.

There are still plenty of good reason to open a William Hill account these days. They have plenty of live streaming on football, from France, Portugal, Australia and Holland. They also cover Snooker, Cricket, Darts, Tennis, Ice Hockey, just to a name a few. You just need an active account to watch.

You also get the 0-0 Bore Draw refund on correct score and double result bets. There is William Hill Acca Insurance, where if you have a 6 (or more) team accumulator, and only one match lets you down, you will get a free bet to the same value.

And there is also Goal Scorer 2nd Chance, where if your selection for first goalscorer scores the second goal, you will get a refund. (all three refunds come in the form of a free bet, up to a maximum of £50.00).

Pre Match Trading – Week 39 Results

20 May Mallorca v Betis / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £4.12

A week’s online football trading profit of £4.12

Total Pre Match Trading profits to date is £256.67. My football betting bank now stands at £356.67, I started off the experiment with a betting bank of £100.00 and use around 75% of my available bank on my trades, which are all done pre kick off using Betfair.

Not much to report this week, as there was just the one match traded, so thankfully it was a win. I had to trade this match three times to get over £4.00 green on both sides.

I get the feeling it’s going to be a quiet few weeks over the summer. I know that there’s leagues going on all over the world, but it’s finding matches with enough liquidity to trade that’s the problem. It will at least give me the opportunity to try out the system on matches I know nothing about, which is something I have been looking to do for some time now.

I’ve mentioned it in recent posts, I want to look at the possibility of being able to use this system on any football match. In order to see if this will work in the long run, I will need to examine the difference between trading matches I know something about, and trading matches I know nothing about. I suppose at this time of year, I have no option but to try the latter.

The one match I traded this week is a prime example of this. If I’m totally honest I don’t know much about the two teams involved. So what’s the difference between trading this match, and one in South America (liquidity aside)?

Moving onto other issues, and the summer months will give me time to experiment with other systems and start to look at my season long bets for next year. I will probably leave placing my season bets for next year until new managers are announced and players are signed, but I will certainly keep an eye on football bookies online to see if there is any early summer bargains to be had.

Chelsea could be a big betting mover if Mourinho comes in. It won’t just be him, there is certain to be a couple of massive signings arriving with him. I believe the markets have factored in Mourinho arriving, but maybe not a couple of world beating signings. This is just an example of what I will be looking at.

I will also try out Assured Soccer Profits this summer, as that is a system that definitely requires no real football knowledge, so is ideal for this time of year.

Pre Match Trading – Week 38 Results

13 May Brighton v C Palace / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won 94p
13 May Sociedad v Granada / Over/Under 3.5 Goals – Won £1.00
15 May Benfica v Chelsea / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £4.78
15 May Palmeiras v Tijuana / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – LOST £8.06
19 May Tottenham v Sunderland / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won 96p
19 May Newcastle v Arsenal / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.47

A week’s online football trading profit of £2.09

Total Pre Match Trading profits to date is £252.55. My football betting bank now stands at £352.55, I started off the experiment with a betting bank of £100.00 and use around 75% of my available bank on my trades, which are all done pre kick off using Betfair.

When trading football on Betfair, it only takes one dodgy trade to ruin a weeks figures, and that’s exactly what happened this week.

The game in question I knew nothing about. It was a late night match on a Wednesday, and I tried to trade a gap in the market. Obviously the market was misaligned as my lay of Under 2.5 goals got matched (my back bet didn’t), and the price then continued to get backed in.

I placed my back and lay bets one tick above and below the market price. With the gap already in the market, I assumed that left me a lot of leverage (if the price was wrong or moved). Clearly that wasn’t enough leverage as the price was clearly wrong. And then to compound that misjudgement, the odds continued to get backed in.

I’m not sure if it was wrong to get involved in the match. I want to be able to use this system on as many matches as possible, so I need to explore trading football matches I know nothing about.

I want to find out if this is a system that can be used only on matches I know something about, or if it can be an emotionless, statistical system that can be used on nearly any match.

I’ve won and lost trading with and without knowledge. Sometimes though, knowledge is key. For example, if it was Manchester United V West Ham the Saturday before a Champions League fixture, it would be good to use the knowledge gained to know not to get involved before the teams are announced as Moyes may keep his big names on the bench, meaning a big price shift.

Moving forward, it’s something for me to ponder as I try to hone the system. I know trading Over/Under 2.5 goals a tick at a time sounds pretty basic (and it is), but trying to eliminate as many of the little things that can go wrong (as possible) is important, as some weeks this can be the difference between profit and break even, or loss.

Don’t forget, you can now follow football gambler on Facebook.

Pre Match Trading – Week 37 Results

8 May Chelsea v Tottenham / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £1.11
9 May Leicester v Watford / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.84
10 May C Palace v Brighton / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.43
11 May Aston Villa v Chelsea / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.16
11 May Man City v Wigan / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £3.94
11 May Espanyol v Real Madrid / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £3.25
12 May Watford v Leicester / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.09
12 May Stoke v Tottenham / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.56
12 May Malaga v Sevilla / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £1.07

A week’s online football trading profit of £21.45

Total Pre Match Trading profits to date is £250.46. My football betting bank now stands at £350.46, I started off the experiment with a betting bank of £100.00 and use around 75% of my available bank on my trades, which are all done pre kick off using Betfair.

This is more like where I want to be. My weekly target is around 7.5% profit (basically I am happy with anything between 5% and 10%), and Week 37 seen a profit of just over 9% come in. And that was just from the nine matches traded.

The last few weeks have really seen a turn around in fortunes, and it is now starting to reflect in the betting bank.

Without wishing to bore, I am still using my two ticks above and below the back and lay price method (for those not familiar, I mention it every week now). And I am also sometimes going three ticks above and below, mainly on matches with lower liquidity.

Sometimes I’m finding I don’t get matched, but that’s ok as it’s slowly dawning on me that I don’t need to get involved in every match. And as making 9% profit from just nine traded matches shows, not having a losing trade can make a huge difference.

In the past I don’t think I put much emphasis on not losing. I think I traded with the attitude that I needed to get involved in as many matches as possible and in the long run the wins would outweigh the losses.

Which judging by the results from December to March, was clearly the wrong attitude.

Pre Match Trading – Week 35 Results

22 April Man Utd v Aston Villa / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £3.86
23 April B Munich v Barcelona / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won 97p
23 April B Munich v Barcelona / Match Odds – Won £1.90
24 April Dortmund v Real Madrid / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £1.64
25 April Basel v Chelsea / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £8.06
26 April Leicester v Watford / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.11
27 April Man City v West Ham / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.80
28 April Espanyol v Granada / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.10
28 April Reading v QPR / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £1.94
28 April Chelsea v Swansea / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won 99p
28 April Valladolid v Sevilla / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £3.64
28 April Sociedad v Valencia / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.52

A week’s online football trading profit of £32.53

Total Pre Match Trading profits to date is £214.72. My football betting bank now stands at £314.72, I started off the experiment with a betting bank of £100.00 and use around 75% of my available bank on my trades, which are all done pre kick off using Betfair.

This is more like it now. Another week’s straight wins with no losses at all, and I’ve finally broke through the £200 profit barrier.

The only significant difference I can see in my trading, is that I have started to put my back bet and lay bet up a couple of ticks more away from where I used to.

For example, if a market was showing Over 2.5 goals at 1.95 to back and 1.96 to lay, I have been putting my bets up at 1.93 or 1.94 to lay, and 1.97 or 1.98 to back. Whereas in the past I would have placed my back bet at 1.96 and my lay bet at 1.95.

This seems to have given me more leverage if a market moves a bit more aggressively than anticipated. It also makes a steamer slightly less costly. The flip side is that sometimes I don’t get a bet matched at all though, I feel this is a price worth paying though – remember, patience!

Is it the new slightly adjusted method that has led to these profits? Or have I just hit a run of good fortune? Not sure really, all I can do is carry on doing what I’ve been doing and see if it’s still producing good results in a few weeks time.

Pre Match Trading – Week 31 Results

26 March Montenegro v England / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £1.41
26 March Chile v Uruguay / Match Odds – Won £4.10
27 March Venezuela v Colombia / Match Odds – £2.72
30 March Southampton v Chelsea / Match Odds – LOST £34.98
30 March Everton v Stoke / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £2.83
31 March Aston Villa v Liverpool / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won 56p
31 March Mallorca v Deportivo / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £1.91
31 March Espanyol v Sociedad / Over/Under 2.5 Goals – Won £1.58

A week’s online football trading loss of £19.87

Total Pre Match Trading profits to date is £162.26. My football betting bank now stands at £262.26, I started off the experiment with a betting bank of £100.00 and use around 75% of my available bank on my trades, which are all done pre kick off using Betfair.

One obvious disaster with the Southampton V Chelsea match. I put my bets up on the Wednesday night and my lay was matched by the time I got up on Thursday.

By this stage the price had already moved the wrong way for me, all this meant my money was tied up in the trade until Saturday, meaning I missed out on trading opportunities on Friday.

I could have traded out there and then (Thursday morning) for a couple of quid loss, but I was of the opinion that the Chelsea price would come back in.

I got the feeling on Thursday that the market felt that – with two games to come in three days – Chelsea might put out a weakened team (on the Saturday), which (in hindsight) is the point I should have exited the trade. I assumed that the market was wrong and that Chelsea would prioritise the league, but Rafa being Rafa, decided differently.

Even then, I still expected the Chelsea price to come in. I assumed that the reason why the price was long (in the first place) was because the team was already widely suspected to be weak. When the team was finally announced on Saturday afternoon, the price drifted again, showing that it hadn’t already been totally factored in to the price.

Overall the price just kept drifting. It got to the point in the end where there was nothing really I could do, I was doomed with the bet and I just had to accept it. It’s not often we see a side like Chelsea trading at around 2.20 away at Southampton. Even taking the result out of the equation, I still expected a Chelsea weakened team to get backed in, not to keep drifting out, which it did – eventually to 2.40 and beyond.

Maybe I don’t know as much about football as I think I do. In analysing the bet, I suppose there had to be an element of doubt about the Chelsea side with the two games in three days coming up. If there is an element of doubt, the plan is not to get involved. So this has to go down as a bad mistake on my part.

Sometimes I can accept a trade can be hit by some bad luck, but not on this occasion. This was just a hopeless trade and I have to take the blame.

I did do a bit of trading in match to try and reduce the loss, but it was based on Chelsea coming from behind and winning. So in the end, it cost me more money. This just goes to show how a bad choice can have a knock on effect (if you are not disciplined enough, which I’m not).

It’s something I’m getting pretty sick off now. I am wondering if it is worth it, yes, I am still in profit (overall with pre match trading), but it is very, very slow progress and incredibly frustrating. I had far more success betting on the Cricket and Rugby Union recently, so I am wondering if I would be better suited to betting on other sports?

To bet on sports in general is something I have done a lot of in the past. Over the years I have gambled on Golf, Tennis, Snooker, Darts, Rugby, Cricket etc, but I decided football betting was going to be my main gambling route.

I’m probably just sounding off as I am a bit frustrated with things. If I hadn’t had success on the cricket and rugby union, I would probably be a lot more annoyed than I was on Saturday.

Anyway, I was bit naughty after recording my Chelsea loss as I had a few £2.00 bets in running on the Saturday afternoon matches (I don’t usually do this any more).

I got lucky with my £2.00 lay of Under 3.5 goals in the Forest V Brighton match at half time (it finished 2-2 with three very late goals). I got matched at 1.05, so at least I got £38.00 back, which was a nice bonus. I think all in all on Saturday, I lost about £15.00 – £20.00.

Pre Match Trading – Week 30 Results

22 March FYR Macedonia v Belgium / Match Odds – Won £3.28
23 March Portsmouth v Coventry / Match Odds – Won £1.27

A week’s online football trading profit of £4.55

Total Pre Match Trading profits to date is £182.13. My football betting bank now stands at £282.13 I started off the experiment with a betting bank of £100.00 and use around 75% of my available bank on my trades, which are all done pre match using Betfair.

Just the two matches traded this week, again my attentions were more on Test Match Betting.

With the Macedonia V Belgium match I concentrated on the Match Odds market and the Belgium price. Belgium were trading at around 1.71-1.72 on Wednesday, so I put a back bet up at 1.74 and my lay bet up at 1.65.

To be honest I didn’t expect the lay bet to get matched, but I did expect Belgium to (eventually) get backed in.

Working on this theory I didn’t want to lay Belgium at 1.70 and then check back to find it had been matched and that their back price was 1.68 or lower (for example). I was basing my bets on the opinion that they may slightly drift out to 1.74 and then maybe come back in to around 1.70, where the price would settle.

I kept checking back and there was no real movement in the price. Then on Friday morning I looked to see that my 1.74 had been matched, and that Belgium were available to lay at 1.68. So I took the lay price there and then and completed my trade.

A week or two back I would have tried to be too smart and put my lay bet up at 1.67, to try and make more. That would have led to me risking the prospect of the price not getting matched and Belgium drifting back out again. A couple of weeks back I would also probably have got back involved in the trade again.

Thankfully I walked away this time. Is this the best way forward now? I’m not sure, but it is the method I plan to adopt for the foreseeable future to see how it goes.

I will also be looking at other football gambling options moving forward. I have done a couple of Assured Soccer Profits trades lately that I will write about, and I have been working on a new staking plan that is nearly ready to go.

With my new staking plan I will go into more details very soon and I be listing all for my football bets on here before I place them. For anyone wishing to follow, don’t worry if my dodgy selections aren’t up to scratch, as other free football betting tips can be used. It’s a staking system that you will be able to use your own selections with.

I expect the football trading to pick up again this week, as the Test cricket has finished for a while now. So there should be more results to analyse next week.