Is Lay The Draw Still Profitable?

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Since the early days of Betfair, Lay The Draw established itself as the number one, go to system for the football enthusiasts. Despite the many variations of this type of trade, is Lat The Draw still profitable as a long term strategy?

The strategy is an ideal starting point for new traders, as it can be quite forgiving, provided that you stick to your trading plan. If that means getting out of the trade at 70 minutes, then ensure you get out. Keeping to your plan preserves your bank, and without a bank you can’t profit tomorrow.


For those of you who’ve not seen the Lay The Draw trade, it’s quite an easy concept to get your head around. It goes a little like this:

  • Lay The Draw for a fixed stake (lets say £100 at odds of 3.5)
  • During the match the favourite scores
  • The odds increase to say 4.8
  • Back The Draw for (£72.91)
  • This leaves a green screen making £27.08 Profit before commission.

See, I told you it was easy. However, there are a few flaws which we’ll cover.

  • What happens if no goals are scored within 90 minutes?
  • What happens if the outsider scores first?
  • What happens if the price doesn’t move after a goal?


I think It was John Duncan who really offered a viable insurance option for lay the draw pundits. It was John’s product called the Football Cash Generator that explained how to effectively insure your bet.

The insurance worked like this. Lets say you laid £100 at odds of 3.5. then you’d be sitting on a liability of £250. If the odds of the 0-0 score were at 11.0, then it would cost £25 to cover the £250 liability if no score at the end of the game.

This is the simplest way of using insurance. However, it comes at a price. That insurance bet of £25 has to be covered by the profit on the bet, if you get a winner. Sometimes, this isn’t the case, so insurance really needs some consideration for long term football success.

Although not strictly insurance, you need to be strong enough to close your trade when things don’t go to plan. The first instance is when the underdog scores first, close the trade, take a small loss, and keep some money. Remember, no bank, no trading.

The second time to close a trade is when no goal occurs after 70 minutes usually. Some people close a trade when the odds hit a certain threshold. Whatever method you use, don’t stay in the trade till 90 minutes. Most times you’ll lose more.

Sometimes, is you’re betting on the more bizarre matches late at night, sometimes the odds don’t move very much after a goal. This is usually down to a lack of liquidity. If you experience this too, then exit the trade. I find that matches with over £100,000 matched already, provide plenty of liquidity to allow decent odds.

Half Time

Using the lay the draw strategy at half time is a great way to reduce risk. If you have a strong fancy, that a team will score and at half time the score is a draw, then this is the strategy for you.

At half time, the odds to lay the draw will be around half of what they were before kick off. Quite rightly, laying at reduced odds, reduces the total liability significantly.

What I think is the best feature of half time laying, is that it doesn’t matter which team scores. The price will still drift out enough to back the draw for profit. I also like the fact that you don’t have to concentrate for the whole ninety minutes. With just 45 minutes of play time, and with less liability, your income rate can be considerably higher. The faster turnover allows you to enter more games in any betting session, hopefully producing even more profit. Over the long term these will soon mount up.


I am aware of software than can run the lay the draw strategy completely. This is ideal if you wish to trade whilst doing other things. You set the software to your own parameters, and the software will enter and exit the trade accordingly. A Google search will pinpoint the most viable vendors. I may review one once the football gets back on track.

To get the best out of applications such as this, you really need a virtual server or vps. These allow the software to run remotely twenty four hours a day. It also frees up your main computer to do other things.

I prefer to trade manually, as I like the control to exit a trade when things don’t quite go to plan. Software allows a margin of error, and there’s certainly a place for it in modern society. You could of course consider using statistics based football analysis software to make your picks.

For faster entry and exit speeds, you may wish to use some betting exchange software too. I like Geeks Toy and I also use the Free version of Bet Angel for specific trades. They’re both incredibly fast, meaning you get better prices and more profit when trading.

To Summarise

No matter what your approach is to lay the draw, match selection is critical to your long term success. When you consider that over the long term, just ten percent of matches end in a 0-0 scoreline, that demonstrates how many matches could end in your favour.

Lay the draw has stood the test of time, for very good reason. It works! Even after twenty years, the same principles apply. And as I trade this way myself, lay the draw is still profitable.

Why not give it a good look. Start small and see how you get on. Even if you’d don’t uses software, you can still use the Betfair Cash Out button to exit your trades. This is exactly how I started, and you can still make an excellent income doing the same.

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