What Is Laying the Draw Strategy?

Written by: Alex Windsor
Fact checked by Brian Webb  
Updated: July 4, 2024

Laying the draw is a bet that a draw will not happen. You offer punters odds, and if a draw doesn’t occur, you take their entire stake. Keep reading to learn about one of the most profitable yet simple betting strategies!

How Does Laying the Draw Work?

Betfair Match Odds

Unlike a place bet, where you accept odds from a bookie, with a lay bet, you actually play the role of the bookmaker. A laying the draw wager involves setting odds on a draw happening.

If a draw does occur, you pay out the decimal odds you offered multiplied by the punter’s stake. However, if a draw doesn’t occur, then you take 100% of the punter’s bet.

For example, let’s say Chelsea is playing Arsenal, and you lay a draw at 3.5 odds and accept a £100 bet. If the match ends 2-1, you keep the whole £100. However, if the game ends 1-1 you need to pay out £350, and your total loss after deducting the punter’s £100 stake will be £250.

Is Laying the Draw Strategy Profitable?

Laying the draw can be very profitable; however, like any sports betting strategy, it depends on the odds you offer, the games you select and how you manage your bankroll. Novice bettors look at the EPL and see that only 22% of games end in a draw and immediately think it makes sense to lay the draw on every match.

However, if you, on average, offer lay odds of 5.00 or higher over the long term, you’ll lose money because you’re pricing the chance of a draw happening at 20%. This extra 2% is the punter’s edge, and it also doesn’t account for the commission you have to pay to the exchange.

It doesn’t matter how frequently or infrequently a draw happens, your profitability from laying the bets comes down to how well you can price events. For example, if the true odds of England drawing with Costa Rica is 50.00, but you’re offering punters 70.00, you’re eventually going to go broke. However, if you can consistently offer odds below the true odds, you’ll print money.

That’s why picking random games and laying the draw is not going to prove profitable over the long term, as the markets are too efficient, and the odds on exchanges are too close to the true odds. Your winnings are going to get eaten up by the exchange’s commission.

Pros and Cons Of Laying the Draw Strategy

Draws are not very common in football. So, by laying the draw, you can take advantage of novice bettors who refuse to accept statistics and continue to back it occurring.

Another major advantage of the laying the draw strategy is you can often guarantee yourself a profit by hedging your lay bet and backing the draw after a team scores.

On the flip side, you have to pay the betting exchange a commission on all winnings. The big layers pay much lower commission rates and, therefore, can offer enhanced odds compared to the small fish.

There are also issues with laying the draw if an underdog scores the first goal. The draw odds may not increase enough to lock in a profit.

Finally, laying the draw strategy can be a bit like picking up pennies in front of a steamroller. You consistently book small profits and then an unexpected draw happens, and you have to pay out a huge bet wiping out your bankroll. Whilst it is one of the most popular betting methods, it may not be the best for you. Check out our other betting guides to see if there is a better strategy for you.

Pros:

  • Draws are unlikely to occur
  • You can guarantee a profit by hedging

Cons:

  • Commissions can be high
  • Not always possible to hedge your bet
  • A single loss can be very expensive

How to Lay a Draw?

Betfair Match Odds Bet

Laying a draw is a little different from making your standard place bet. But don’t worry, follow along as I walk you through all of the steps:

Sign Up to a Betting Exchange

To lay a draw, you need to sign up to a betting exchange. A typical bookmaker doesn’t allow you to lay bets. The biggest betting exchange is Betfair, and the registration process is standard. You fill out the registration, share your personal details, and upload your ID. Smarkets is a great alternative to betfair if you are not yet a member of an exchange.

Deposit Money

Now your account is verified, just tap the deposit button, select a payment method and enter your details. Deposits are credited instantly, and you can top up your account via debit cards, e-wallets, bank transfers, and vouchers.

Find a Game

Your job is to hunt down a football game that has no chance of ending in a draw. However, don’t just look for the highest odds because your potential losses will be through the roof. Stick to the games where the odds for a draw are in the 3.5 to 5.0 range.

Set Your Odds and Stake

You can accept the market odds or create your own. However, be aware that if your odds are significantly lower than other offers, no one is going to bet. Then, type in the size of the bet you’re willing to accept and hit the place bet button.

Before you lay a bet, check your liability; this is the amount you’ll have to pay out if a draw occurs. For example, if you lay a draw between Man City and Man Utd at 5.00 odds and accept a £100 bet, your liability is £400.

Once someone has accepted your odds, tune in to the game and pray it doesn’t end in a draw. If there is no draw, you keep the punter’s entire stake!

How Do You Make Money Laying the Draw?

As mentioned previously, picking a random footy match and laying the draw will eventually send you to the poor house. To make a profit, you need to get a bit more creative. Here are some laying the draw strategies I’ve had success with:

Find the Right Games to Lay the Draw

Your ability to pick suitable games to the lay the draw will ultimately determine your long-term profitability. The first step is pulling today’s football matches and filtering for games with odds between 3.5 and 5.00. Then, look for games that meet the following criteria:

  • Home team is the favourite
  • Home team scores 1.8 goals or more per match
  • Home team concedes less than 1 goal per match
  • Away team scores less than 1.25 goals per match
  • Away team concedes more than 1.5 goals per match

Trade to Lock in a Profit

After laying the draw, you wait for the home team to score. Once the ball sails past the keeper, you then back a draw occurring. After the goals, the odds for a draw will have shifted, and the difference will be your guaranteed profit.

Let’s say you lay a draw at 5.00 with a £100 stake. If the home team scores and the odds of a draw shoot up to 7.5, you bet £66.67 on a draw happening. Now, no matter the result (home win, draw, or away win), you’re guaranteed £31.66 in profit (factoring in 5% commission).

You may also want to read our guides on the Masaniello betting strategy and the very popular matched betting guide.

Cut Your Losses At the 70ish Minute Mark

If the game is still scoreless in the 70th minute, don’t pray for a late goal. Instead, back a draw and recover some of your losses. If both teams have struggled to generate attacks and get the ball on target, it’s unlikely things will suddenly turn around deep into the second half. Don’t be stubborn, reduce your liability and hedge!

For example, if you lay a draw at 4.00 with a £100 stake, the game is 0-0 in the 70th minute, and the odds for a draw have shrunk to 2.50. You bet £160 on a draw. No matter the result, you lose £60 rather than £100.

Give the above strategies a go and start laying the draw with the best of them. Start with low liability until you get the hang of it, then slowly ramp up!

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Alex, a ten-year iGaming industry veteran and Managing Editor at BettingTools specializes in sports betting and betting tools. He also provides insightful reviews, ensures the accuracy of all offers, and maintains content quality helping you make informed choices. Combining professional expertise with a passion for football and soccer, Alex ensures we offer you a reliable resource, focusing on betting tools to assist with odds, accas, and other betting strategies.