Betting with Bookie - Back vs. Lay
Betting with Bookie is an ongoing educational series designed to demystify the betting experience. Each article will tackle sports betting terminology and concepts in a simple way, in an effort to make you a better bettor.
Every bet you place on a sportsbook, no matter what that bet is, is taking the same stance, that you think something will happen. You think the Cleveland Browns will win. You think Barcelona vs. Real Madrid will end in a draw. You think the Pittsburgh Penguins will win by more than 1.5 goals.
It’s the most straightforward action in sports betting and is the equivalent of placing a back bet on a betting exchange. Place the amount you wish to wager, on the event of your choosing, and hopefully collect your winnings after the game!
But what if you wanted to take the opposite action? What if, for example, you just knew that Barcelona vs. Real Madrid would not end in a draw? You aren’t quite sure who will win, but you are sure of what won’t happen. What we’re describing here is a lay bet, which is a bet you can only explicitly place on a betting exchange.
In a sense, you’ve actually been laying bets your whole life without even knowing it. On the playground you might’ve said, “I’ll bet you my dessert that you can’t do a backflip.” And if you lost that bet, you owed your adversary one dessert.
Wagering on something NOT to happen is called a lay bet.
The stakes, though, are a bit higher outside of the playground. In sports betting, the individual who lays a bet is responsible for paying the backer’s winnings in the event the outcome goes the other way. Just like the house would have to do in a normal sportsbook. So, you have to be pretty confident in your prognostication skills.
As an example, let’s say you lay Cleveland to win the game - that is, bet on Cleveland to not win. Let’s also say that you lay Cleveland to a stake of 10 dollars, with odds of 2.80. (Those are decimal odds - more about odds systems in another article).
Now, if Cleveland lose, you get to keep the stake of the person on the other side of the bet (who made a back bet on Cleveland) so you would win 10 dollars.
But, if Cleveland win, you need to pay the person on the other side of the bet their winnings, which is calculated as follows:
Then the game starts and Cleveland (darn them) go ahead and actually win. So you end up paying out 18 dollars and cursing the day you ever decided to bet against teams named after colours.
(In actual fact, that 18 dollars is automatically taken from your account balance and held by the betting exchange when you submit your bet, to make sure the funds exist to pay out in case you lose. The backer’s stake of 10 dollars is similarly taken from their account balance when they place their bet.)
Every bet on an exchange has an opposite bet. What one person backs, another person lays, so the two actions are more like interactions.
When you lay a bet, you effectively get to be the bookie.
Bookie is bringing provably fair sports betting to the world by building our betting exchange on the Peerplays blockchain.