Laying The Draw Tips and Strategy | How Much Profit Can You Make?

laying the draw on betfair

Laying the draw is one of the most popular sports trading strategies for beginners.


Because football is one of the largest spectator sports in the UK. Huge volumes of money are traded in-play every week and almost everyone understands the basics of a Football match. Plus it’s much easier to implement a football trading strategy around a sport you understand and love.

It stands to reason; the more a sport is bet on, the more opportunity there is for making a profit. It’s just a case of working out your strategy. Laying the draw is a perfect place to start, as we’ll explain here…

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, watch 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. There’s a good reason for it.

To get a better idea of how the strategy works, let’s take a look at an example:

Match Selection:

For argument’s sake, we select Chelsea vs Crystal Palace for our trade. Chelsea is playing at home and, is more likely to win. Chelsea has scored 59 goals so far this season, which is the 2nd highest in the league (March 20).

Now bear in mind here that YOU MUST GET VALUE.

One way of getting maximum value is to make sure you’re paying the least commission.

Entry Trade:

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 the game nears 90 minutes to avoid any late upset.

Exit Trade:

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 the match, state of play and teams involved will affect 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 surefire strategy for every match. Picking the right ones is key, here are a few tips towards that:

Match Selection…

Would a professional poker player make a raise without knowing the probability of getting a good hand?

No, they wouldn’t.

You need to know that the game you’re 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?
  • Expected Goals (xG) – are the team performing in line with their typical xG?
  • 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 that need to win are usually a 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. Play becomes frantic and scrappy, which can also result in a surprise goal for the underdog.

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.

For a few more, updated tips, see this vid below!

Predicting a Draw?

Laying the draw is one thing, but consider this. If you can predict a draw, then it’ll highlight which matches are perfect for LTD.

Have a look at this concise addition to the YouTube channel:

Expected Goals is changing the game of football. Possibly, it’s the biggest indicator of any football prediction.

Goal Timings:

Some teams have a tendency to score more goals within certain time frames.

For example; Manchester United scores 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 have been met.

It’s a topic of its own so I’d recommend our article about how to find average goal times article after finishing here.

When is the Best Time to Trade Out?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, unfortunately. 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 lay the draw strategy in the future. You need consistent trading behaviour to identify inconsistent results.

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 big time.

The complexity of your exit depends on your level of understanding of 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. However, if it’s later in the game, it could make you a sizeable profit. Timing is important…

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.

Optimising Your Lay The Draw Strategy (Max Profit)

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. Stranger things have happened!

Boosting Your Footie Strategy:

For those who are serious about improving their football trading, there’s now a fast-track route to improvement. We have taken special care to put together a reliable resource that covers all things footie trading. Starting from the bottom, it will teach you about laying the draw effectively along with many other techniques that have been developed through hard work and experience.

Click here to see the details.

We can’t guarantee your success, although we can give you a significant shortcut that cuts out some expensive mistakes. Like many things in life, getting educated and focusing on the right areas drastically increases the chance of success. It’s the defining factor for those who routinely beat the odds!

Related Article: 4 Profitable Football Trading Strategies…

15 thoughts on “Laying The Draw Tips and Strategy | How Much Profit Can You Make?

  1. I have developed a much more sophisticated approach then the LTD >

    have a look at the effect of the time of the opening goal in terms of expectation / lack of expectation of a draw <

    what you will find if you trade the draw in play is that 0-0 FT is out of the equation as you will not be laying the draw in games that are 0-0 in general

    1. Looking at the data of goal times is a very useful thing, Jonny. We look at it in the footie course quite a bit more. A combination of historic data and real-world activity is the best combination for efficiency.

  2. as a point of interest Man UTD last 26 away games in the PL when 0-0 on 79 minutes < conceded zero goals and scored 9 goals

  3. Laying the Draw in Play ( LTD ) V ” Trading ” the Draw in play around the effect of the time of the opening goal

    “Goals: More goals mean more chances to trade out with a profit. You are always going to hit the odd 0-0 draw, but aim for plenty of goals and you will minimise losing trades. Recent form is a great indicator, making sure that teams you’re banking on have been scoring goals. ”

    My c response > Expectation of a goal is dependent on the current score ( GAME STATE ) added to the effect of the time of the opening goal with reference to accuracy as time decays in the game.

    ” I have been forced to tackle the evolution of the Betfair match odds markets, ensuring that lay the draw is still a profitable trading strategy to use.

    In order to reduce liability and increase profit margins, I set out to develop first half and second half lay the draw strategies. First half LTD is more difficult to get right because teams don’t have to score, but the market knows that so prices are reduced accordingly.

    I developed a couple of very strong strategies which Goal Profits members have full access to, including a daily shortlist of matches delivered by our Team Stats software.

    Kevin further developed these first and second half strategies by taking advantage of goal windows.

    Without Team Stats data I wouldn’t fancy my chances, but the automated filters are working well.

    I also developed and tested a ‘full match’ lay the draw strategy.

    It is higher risk than first or second half lay the draw and that doesn’t suit all types of trader, but it is available for those Goal Profits members who wish to use it.

    Rather than the traditional LTD method with its squeezed margins, this new version specifically looks for matches which are likely to go 2-0 and bank a much bigger profit ”

    My response > The thought process that a high % of games in football end a draw because of teams fighting back ( > 1-1 ) is flawed and the actual reason is because football in general will produce a low goal production hence the draw bias with the caveat that an early goal metric could result in expectation of acceleration of goal production which may lower expectation of a draw.

    If you are at a trading seminar / trading room discussing which games are likely to go from 0-1/1-0 to 2-0/0-2 , this area is known as GAME PATHWAY ANALYSIS

    For example last season in the Premier League in games where the away team opened the scoring in the 0-20 minutes time band , > 1-1 pathway was just as likely as > 0-2 pathway .

    6/63 0-1 FT

    29/63 > 1-1 7-13-9 away teams won 31%

    28/63 > 0-2 1-3-24 away teams won 86%

    We can look at the % of draws in the Premier League in games where the away teams open the scoring in the 0-20 minutes time band

    27% 24% 29% 15% 28% 18% 17% 25% ( 08-09-15-16 )

    What if the early away goal game in the Premier League is 0-1 half time in terms of expectation of draw bias ?

    26% 22% 29% 11% 35% 21% 0% 19% ( 08-09-15-16 )

    Do you look to lay the draw late in games in an attempt to bag a late goal ?

    42% 46% 45% 50% 33% 46% 44% 38% ( goal % 80+ in games in the Premier League where the away team opened the scoring in the 0-20 minute time band )

  4. Laying late on in the game I often cover the next draw up for very little liability. This means you need not cash out when a goal is scored as any loss is covered. It doesn’t cost much.

  5. Layin the draw is the most powerful thing that you can do in the match odds- best to lay the draw set and forget not trade it.

    The only outcome that wins blind in the big 4 leagues over the last 5 seasons or so and nearly 8000 games is laying the draw, backing the draw blind in every game produces massive loss of nearly 600pts from those roughly 8000 games blind.

    Backing every home team blind or backing every away team blind , etc loses. Therefore when you apply certain filters you can drastically improve the profitability of laying the draw. For example you could lay the draw when you have short priced favs at home 1.1-1.5 odds , draw odds less than 10 in say prem, la liga and serie a where the home teams is good value and that alone wins a lot long term.

    There are many angles you can look at, the good thing about laying the draw is you get long winning runs, occasionally you will get beat up but you get nice long runs of green.

    1. Interesting approach GS, I’ve been studying a lot this subject and would like to discuss it further if you are interested!
      I’ll leave my email.

  6. Really great information Caan thank you for sharing your football betting knowledge. I hope to buy you a beer with my laying the draw profits one time haha

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