Lay betting is opposite of normal betting where instead of betting on something to happen, you bet on something not to happen. For example, if you lay a football team to win a match, it means you are actually backing it not to win. You will win if the team loses its match.
Calculating the liability of a normal bet where you back something directly is simple as the liability is equal to the amount you bet. However, the things are a little complicated when you need to calculate the liability of a lay bet.
What is Liability?
In simple words, betting liability is the highest amount you can lose in a bet.
When you are backing a team to win, the most you can lose is the stake you placed on that bet. However, when you lay back a team it’s the amount you will lose if your team wins since you are backing that team to lose. In short, the amount you are risking is your bet liability.
Calculating liability on a let bet
If you are backing a horse in a race for $50 at even money or in any other type of bet, your liability will always be the same, i.e. $50, as this is the best you can lose in this bet.
Calculating lay liability on these bets is, however, a little tricky. It will depend on the betting stake. To calculate a lay bet liability, you simply multiply the stake by the bet amount. Let’s see how.
So, if you are betting on even money (1/1) stake, the liability would be the same as the money you bet, i.e. $50.
In case of a 2/1 stake (3.00 on exchange), your liability would be $40, and so on.
Calculating liability on uneven odds
When you get odds that are not even numbers, this is what you do in order to calculate the liability.
For example, you want to place a $10 bet and the odds are 2.60 on an exchange. You can calculate the liability in the following way.
- Remove 1 from the odds figure.
- Then, multiply it by the bet amount. This is what your liability is.
In the above example, your liability is 10 x 1.60 (2.60 – 1) = $16, so you can lose this much amount at the most.
Wondering why we subtracted one from odds. Let’s find out through an example.
If you bet $1 at 5.00 on an exchange, it is the same as betting $1 at 4/1 with a bookmaker. It means the price, in case of an exchange, includes the return stake as well. So, for a $1 bet at 4/1, you will win $4 and the original $1 that you invested, so total $5.
There are some automatic liability software and websites online that can help you calculate liability for any of your lay bets.