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Apr 19, 2021 share tweet

Is it better to Back or Lay?

If you are a beginner on Betkeen or simply new to betting exchange, we strongly recommend you to read the following article: Betting exchange explained in order to get the basics. Back bets and Lay bets are the main concept you need to know, but perhaps you are also wondering if it is better to place Back bets or Lay bets, especially on events with only two possible outcomes.

In this article, we briefly explain about the importance of odds equivalencies in order to maximize your profits on Betkeen. Knowing equivalencies is important, especially when you are trading on small odds movements, and to a lesser extent, when you only place single bets. Successful Betfair traders are aware of this tip everytime they trade on sports or just go for a value bet.

Odds equivalents allow you to be aware if it will be more profitable to place a Back bet on a selection or to place a Lay bet on the opposite selection. You will get the highest possible odds and therefore have a better long-term return.

Let's see an interesting example for a tennis trader (in-play), on a market with the following odds:
  • Novak Djokovic: Back 1.05 / Lay 1.06
  • Alexander Zverev: Back 18 / Lay 18.5

The big majority of bettors who wish to bet on Novak Djokovic will rush to place a Back bet @ 1.05, even though a Lay bet on Alexander Zverev @18.5 is the smart play. Placing a Lay bet on Alexander Zverev @18.5 is the equivalent to Back @ 1.057 (see the exact formula below) and therefore offer a higher return than 1.05 available on the Novak Djokovic selection.

Let's suppose that Novak Djokovic's selection odds drop from 1.05 to 1.04, the gamblers or traders who placed a Lay bet on Alexander Zverev @ 18.5 will already have the opportunity to close their trade with a guaranted profit (Lay Novak Djokovic @ 1.05), while the others will get a profit/loss = 0.00 because they can only Lay at the same price as the initial Back bet.

Some may think that on such high odds, it will be difficult to quickly determine how much to bet, but we remind you that you can use our Cash Out function at any time, inplay or offplay.


How can I calculate the equivalent odds for Back and Lay?

The formula is very simple: equivalent odds = decimal odds / ( decimal odds - 1). If we keep the same example of 1.05 (Back) odds, the Lay equivalent is 21 (1.05 / (1.05 - 1)), therefore 18.5 gets us 1.057 (18.5 / (18.5 - 1)).

More examples:
  • Back @ 2.0 = Lay @ 2.0
  • Back @ 1.5 = Lay @ 3.0
  • Back @ 1.25 = Lay @ 5.0
  • Back @ 1.08 = Lay @ 13.5

We recommend you to download this Odds Equivalents Excel Sheet (download link available below the introduction), that will help you to optimize your winnings. It is useful to keep an eye on this table while betting or trading (or even better, to memorize most of it!) to make sure to get the best odds possible.

If you need assistance on how to use odds equivalencies according to your different betting or trading strategies, please let us know through our support media (Twitter) or by email: [email protected]

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