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Betfair Betting Strategy: Hedging and Back To Lay

There are many Betfair betting strategies that professional punters use to maximise their profits. Here’s a couple of common strategies including Hedging your bet and a Back-To-Lay strategy using In-Play betting markets.

Betfair Betting Strategies

Now that we’ve got a good understand of how to use Betfair, there are a couple of ways to use it to help make you a better punter and maximise your profits. Read on for some simple Betfair betting strategies that you can apply on the Betfair exchange.


The first Betfair betting strategy we’ll take a look at is “hedging” your bet.

Say for example you had a three-leg multi on, and the first two legs won. You might stand to collect $1000 if the third leg gets up, but to ensure you profit either way, you might lay the last leg. If the last leg was an even money favourite, you could lay $500, and you would make $500 from your bet regardless of the result of the final leg.

Another scenario where you might want to hedge on Betfair for a horse race is if the track conditions change. You might have backed a horse on a good track the day before, but suddenly end up on a heavy track after overnight rain and you know the horse will struggle in those conditions. Rather than risk losing your stake on the race, you can lay that horse to minimise your losses. The easiest way to calculate this is to look at your liability for that selection, which simply means how much you stand to lose if the horse wins.

If for example I had a multi going for a potential $500 profit (for simplicity we’ll say it was a $1 stake) and got cold feet coming to the last leg, laying on Betfair is nearly always far more beneficial than using a bookmaker’s ‘cash out’ feature, which gives you a  much smaller percentage of the winnings. If I had this horse, Saracen Knight going for $500 profit and wanted to ensure the best result regardless if it won or lost, I should be laying $225 at the $2.22 odds, for a liability of $274.50.

Betfair Hedging

This table should help explain the maths of it:




Final Result

Horse Wins

Win $500

Lose $274.50

Profit $224.50

Horse Loses

Lose $1

Win $225

Profit $224


It can sometimes be tough to get the exact amount matched at the right odds, but this method of laying can be done to hedge your bet and ensure profit regardless of the result which is a great position to be in!

Back To Lay

The back-to-lay betting strategy is a commonly used method of betting by professional punters, and similar to hedging, it is used to ensure profit on a race regardless of the outcome.

It can be done in a couple of ways – the first is quite similar to hedging and involves taking ‘overs’ about a horse, perhaps when markets first opened a day or two before before the race, and then laying the horse at the lower odds on race day to ensure profit.

Betfair In PlayThe second and probably more common way is through in-play betting. Unlike with other sports, live trading on racing via an app or website is legal in Australia, and Betfair’s racing markets continue to change even when a race is being run. If a race is in-play, you’ll see this green symbol at the top of the market.

You should also notice that the odds of each horse are changing basically every second, generally a lot faster than before the jump. There will also generally be less liquidity, or volume of money available, on a selection because fewer people use in-play betting.

The basic principle of the back-to-lay strategy is identifying a horse that will trade at lower odds during the run, backing it before the jump, and then laying it in play at the lower odds to ensure profit. In horse racing, the leader wins a far greater proportion than horses who settle at the back of the field. Whilst it’s simply impossible to predict what horse will lead each and every race, it can be done in some scenarios. A horse that is leading will very often trade lower, because the market knows it has a greater chance of winning. This is more pronounced when the horse perhaps wasn’t expected to lead.

Conversely, a horse that might have been expected to settle close to the lead might miss the start and settle back. In this case the odds will always increase. Identifying the horses most likely to be suited in running and getting a good, energy-conserving run are the ones most likely to present as back-to-lay opportunities.

How to Implement the Back-to-Lay Strategy

A horse might be trading at around $6.00 before the jump, and you’ve mapped it to get an easy lead, or settle in a good position early, whereas some of the other fancied runners might be giving it a six-length head start. This presents as a good back-to-lay opportunity. So you back the horse at the $6.00 before the jump, and then use the lay column to set some lay opportunities. You might think that the horse will trade at around $4.00 during the race, if all goes to plan.

The two bets would look something like this:

Betfair Back-to-Lay

Remember to always take into account the commission, which in this case is 6%.

Using our table once again, we can see that if Sansom does trade at $4.00 in-play, we will make a guaranteed profit, regardless of whether the horse goes on to win the race.


Back Bet

Lay Bet

Final Result

Horse Wins

Win $500

Lose $456.84

Profit $43.16

Horse Loses

Lose $100

Win $143.14

Profit $43.14

Depending on how much lower you think the odds will decrease, the lower you can choose to set your lay bet. It’s more risk, but will equate to more profit if both bets are matched. You can even do part of your stake at different odds, perhaps some at $3.00 and some at $2.00.

BetFair Keep In PlayThe important thing to ensure with your lay bet is that you click ‘Keep in-play’. Once clicking confirm on your bet, you will be able to select that option.

The default option is Cancel bet, which will mean your lay will be cancelled when the race starts. If you click ‘Take SP’, you will get the Betfair Starting Price, effectively Betfair’s version of the tote.

There are many great betting strategies at Betfair that professional punters use to profit. We’ll continue to bring you more Betfair betting strategies to help you improve your betting.

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