Laying the draw is one of the most popular sports trading strategies for beginners.
Football is one of the largest spectator sports in the UK. Almost everyone understands the basics of a Football match. It’s much easier to implement a trading strategy around a sport you understand. And love…
Laying the Draw Explained
So, how do you lay the draw and what does it mean? If you’re not familiar with what a lay bet is, read this first.
Instead of betting that a draw will happen, we are betting that the match result WILL NOT be a draw. In other words, either the home or away team will win. This strategy is almost always used in-play.
To get a better idea of how the strategy works, let’s take a look at an example setup:
For argument’s sake we select Chelsea vs Crystal Palace for our trade. Chelsea are playing at home and, are more likely to win. Chelsea has scored 59 goals so far this season, which is the 2nd highest in the league.
It’s now 75 minutes into the game and the score is still 0-0. Chelsea are looking more likely to score. There have already been a few near-misses. Crystal Palace is looking like they are about to crumble!
We start by placing a £10 lay bet on the draw at odds of 1.85. Liability is £8.50 but we stand to make £10 profit if the match ends in a win from either side. Of course, we will cash out before game nears 90 minutes to avoid any late upset.
82 minutes in and Chelsea manage to score a goal! The score is 1-0 and the odds of the draw drastically increase. I could risk it and leave my bet until the final whistle but I would lose all my profit, and my £8.50 lay liability if Palace equalise.
We could ‘cash out’ via the Betfair website, or green up using a trading tool taking our profit without any further risk. Depending on the situation, time of match, state of play and teams involved will effect the closing price. But so late in a game you’d expect a high stake-profit return.
Lay the Draw Tips:
Laying the draw isn’t a sure-fire strategy for every match. Picking the right ones is key, here’s a few tips towards that:
Match Selection Is Key
Would a professional poker player make a raise without know the probability of getting a good hand?
No, they wouldn’t.
You need to know that the game your trading has a high probability of goals being scored. Using widely available football stats, take your time to research how teams perform under different environments. Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- Recent head to heads – Have these teams played against each other recently. If so, what was the result?
- Recent scores – Have these teams had any draws recently? Any 0-0’s?
- Key players missing – It’s always useful to check if any of the top goalscorers are missing from the squads.
- Average goal time – We’ll talk more about this below
Games involving teams teams that need to win are usually good start. Perhaps the home team needs to win to avoid relegation? You will often find that in situations like these, teams do everything they can to score a goal.
Keep in mind that if you find a good looking game with little or no money available on Betfair, you may have a hard time trading or cashing out. Liquidity is always our friend.
Some teams have a tendency to score more goals within certain time-frames.
For example; Manchester United score the majority of their goals (26.15%, to be specific) between 76 and 90+ minutes.
Knowing this information, it would make good sense to place your lay bet at 76 minutes. This is assuming that your other criteria has been met.
When is the best time to trade out?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. Make sure you stay consistent with your exits during each game. If you lack consistency, it will be very hard to analyse and optimise your strategy in the future.
The simplest way to exit your trade is to use Betfair’s cash out button as soon as a goal is scored. However, you might find that this doesn’t give you the best return in the long run. Each time you’ll lose a price increment or two, and if you’re doing it via a bookmaker you’re getting ripped off bigtime.
The complexity of your exit depends on your level of understanding for the game. For example, you may be watching the game and see that the home team (who are currently 1-0 up) is still trying for another goal.
Perhaps you are more numbers oriented and have set a target for the draw odds. In this case, you might be waiting for the odds of the draw to go above 6.0 before you cash out.
What happens if the underdog scores first?
The underdog scoring the first goal can make things very tricky.
You need to be prepared for this as it will happen.
How the market reacts to an underdog goal depends entirely on the circumstances. If the goal was a lucky break, the market will likely assume that the favourite can still equalise with relative ease. In this case the draw odds might even drop, putting you in the red!
You might choose to reflect on the current in-play statistics and judge whether the favourites are still likely to win. If you do decide to wait for the favourites to equalise and score another after that, you are in danger of losing your whole lay bet.
It may be safer to cash out for a small loss and move on to the next game.
Sometimes it’s clear that the pre-match underdog has actually turned out much stronger on the day. Maybe the original favourites are playing some of their less experienced players? This is the best case scenario for you as the odds will reflect the newfound strength in the underdogs. In this example, the draw odds would naturally rise and put you into some profit.
Is Laying The Draw still profitable?
Being one of the most popular sports trading strategies has definitely made things a little harder. When a lot of people are using the same strategy, the edge does fade away slightly.
The key really is to focus on match selection. Picking low probability matches will result in disaster.
So long as you put the effort in with your research and stick to markets with enough money available to trade out, you should be onto a winner.
Optimise Your Strategy
Recording your results is vital to long-term success trading Betfair. Not only does it help with knowing your P/L, but it helps you to increase it too!
Let me explain…
Let’s say you lay the draw in 100 different games. Let’s also imagine you have made 15% profit so far. If we look at our previous results and figure out where we are losing money, we can make changes to our strategy to avoid those losses in the future.
You might notice that certain leagues perform better than others. Perhaps you are more profitable when you lay the draw in the first half market?
Only your records will tell. Focus on what’s working and cut out what’s not. Who knows. Maybe you can turn that 15% into 50% or more!
Related Article: 4 Profitable Football Trading Strategies…