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Planning Out Your Lay Staking Plan

Written By Rich Mawer

Rich has been in horse racing since a small boy growing up in Yorkshire and heading to the Malton open days. At University Rich shared a house with a bookmakers son for 3 years, in that time he learned how to read form, course stats, use speed ratings and price up a card. In 1996 Rich went full-time with his betting, then with the advent of Betfair in 2002 Rich switched to the exchanges, learning to trade and lay horses.

I have had over 1000 people purchase and use my two lay systems over the past 12 years and one of the most common questions I get is how I plan out my staking on each lay. I recorded this staking video a while ago, from 4 mins I cover how to stake effectively in lay races.



The Two Options For Lay Bet Staking

As you can see when you set your staking levels for laying, the dilemma you face is the risk of higher liabilities versus the lower return from the bet. The positive is that both of my lay systems have over 90% strike rate, with winning runs of 20 – 30 bets at times, so as long as you are allowing for that in your staking, you should always come out ahead. 

You have basically two options to consider:

  1. Fixed Stakes – which will give you a variable liability but higher return.
  2. Limited Liability – which will limit your liability as you adjust your staking levels to the odds of the horse.

Personally, I have used both over the years and when I first started out I tended to use Fixed Stakes of £5 – £10 fixed stakes, as it grew my banker at a quicker rate over a long winning run, although the impact on your bank can be major when a larger odds horse wins a race. 

For the past 5 years I have moved to a Limited Liability staking model for my lay bets, where I will adjust my stake according to the odds of the selection I am going to lay. The simple fact is it exposes less of my bank and maybe I am more comfortable with that, the older I get 🙂 

How does Limited Liability staking work in practice?

So I would limit my liability to 5 points maximum on any lay bet, this works out as 2.5% if you are using a 200 point bank or 5% if you are using a 100 point bank. So for me using £50 per point, my maximum exposure on any one bet is £250. I find this maximises returns while controlling any losses.

So you work back according to the odds of your selection on Betfair and adjust your stake until you hit your acceptable liability, in my case I adjust my stake until the liability is £250.

Real Life Example Of how this works

A few weeks ago we had a great example of how this works. I had a good lay selection in an all-weather race, over the last 15 minutes in the run up to the race, the horse was friendless in the market and drifted out from odds of 7.4 to 9.2. I layed it at 9.2 for £30, giving me a liability of £246, so under my £250 limit. The horse went on to win the race and I took a rare loss of 5pts. 

Later in the day I had my 2nd lay selection of the day, at the same meeting and he drifted out from 3.25 to 3.7, this time my stake worked out at £92, due to the lower odds. The horse did what was expected and finished a distant 4th and so we gained 2pts back on the day and over the two bets only lost 3pts, despite a 9.2 lay winning. 

However, if I had been using a fixed stake in that same scenario, the impact on my bank would have been far more serious. I would have staked £50 on the first horse and incurred a liability of £410 when it won, an 8pt hit on my bank, not a 5pt loss. 

But on the 2nd selection I would have only staked £50 and made only 1pt back, so overall we would have been 7pts down and not the 3pts we ended up on. 

The fact that both systems have over a 90% strike rate mean that this is a rare occurance and by allowing for it in this manner, you will always make profit. 

So go to the Lay Systems section and enjoy.

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