One of the most popular search phrases for this blog is 'lay the field' which was one of the fun strategies we used to demonstrate regularly at our Betfair Education sessions. It's been a while since I've made a post about it so today I've decided to have a go and post an example of how it works.
Quite simply, we are looking for at least two horses to trade short in-running, with a jackpot occurring if even more do (there have been races where four horses have traded at 1.15 or shorter, my favourite was the day at Worcester when I had three matched at 1.34 and not the winner because it was never in front until the line).
In this example I have gone for the double lay - laying £20 at 1.45 on all runners (worst-case scenario -£9 if one horse hits the front and isn't challenged) and then again for £88 at 1.07 (risking another £6.16). Worst-case scenario of -£15.16. The second lay at 1.07 is for the jackpot, when one trades really short, but also not risking enough to wipe out all of the profit when two are matched at 1.45 (£11).
To set up all the lay bets, the simplest way is via the Gruss Betting Assistant. It will cost you £6/month to subscribe. If that's too much for you, then realistically, you shouldn't be betting in the first place.
You can set up all the lays manually on Betfair which isn't a problem in small fields but not much fun on today's 24 runner handicaps at The Curragh. Set the amount you wish to risk via the Liability link - click up comes box, input the amount, click OK and the stakes are set. Then if you are doing this before the race, make sure you select the Keep option!
Is this guaranteed to work? Absolutely not. There is no gambling plan in the world which is guaranteed to work. Will it make you rich long term? Highly unlikely. Will it send you broke short term? Highly unlikely. But you will have a lot of fun doing it. Just bear in mind that all systems are prone to losing streaks, and laying odds-on shots is particularly likely to have that. But on the other hand, you can have days with three 1.03 shots beaten and spirits are high once again :)
Why did I choose 1.45 and 1.07? No reason really, feel free to choose your own numbers. The lower you go, the less likely you are to get matched but the jackpot will be higher. The higher the price, the more chance you have of getting matched, but a losing streak suddenly becomes more costly. There is no compulsion to stick to just odds-on laying either. The maths is simple - match 2 at less than 2 for a profit (assuming level stakes), 3 at less than 3, etc. I know of guys who will do it in golf tournaments laying the field at 6, looking for at least six players to matched at that price. I'd probably avoid it when Tiger is playing though...
Experiment with the price, the stake, which types of races (class, venue, distance, odds of favourite etc) and learn more about how the markets work. Some tracks will work better than others. And there's no reason why it won't work on other sports, you just have to understand when and why the prices move to do it successfully.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments, the longer this post gets the less likely people are to read it!