A sports bettor has two betting options when placing bets on professional, team based sports. Sports investment would not happen if these two options did not exist and play a part on each side to complete the bet.
These options, which represent the two sides of any open sports Market are known as "backing" and "laying". When we say sports market, it could be anything from, what team will win the match to handicap bets and any other form of betting that will be available for any competition.
"Backing" on one hand, refers to supporting your favorite team, with an investment done in favor of that team. For instance, imagine that you like Swansea City's chances against a team like Liverpool and you go on to check the handicap market. You may log in to your account and discover a price like this on offer:
Swansea City | +0.5 | 1.826
Liverpool | -0.5 | 2.120
Since you prefer Swansea City's chances for this match, you make a bet of $100 on the +0.5 goals given to Swansea. At the end of the match, if Swansea City wins or draws with Liverpool, then you would have won your wager and gain a profit of $82.60. In the world of sports betting, you are said to have just "backed" Swansea City.
Conversely, we have the term "Laying". This refers to a situation where you do not like a teams chances and you are willing to risk them.
Using the previous example with Swansea City and Liverpool, you "backed" Swansea City, but by taking the bet from you, the bookmaker, "Laid" Swansea City to you. The bookmakers lay prices in the markets for a living and feel confident of the fact that by managing bets coming in on both sides of an event, and also building in a small margin for doing that, they will get a profit in the end. Punters, on the other hand, hope to overcome that margin and by making very good predictions, make a profit.
It is also possible for Bettors to function as bookmakers by "Laying" a prediction through betting exchanges. In that situation, the bettor is predicting that his or her selection will not win. As opposed to bookmakers who are required to "lay" both sides to gamblers, at a betting exchange, a bettor only needs to lay and not back it.
When you "Lay" it serves an important function. Aside from not allowing the markets to work by choosing the opposing side if every gambler backing a selection, it also serves as a means of supporting your claim that a chosen result, will not happen.
For the sake of ease, take a look at this table of a horse racing market.
Horse 1: 1.90
Horse 2: 2.10
Horse 3: 3.10
Horse 4: 5.50
Now, assume that "Horse 1" with a pay of 1.90, is ridden by a jockey that we do not have a lot of confidence in. As far as the horses are concerned, we do not have an opinion for what horse will win the race, but then, we would like to risk "Horse 1". This is a case where one can "Lay" an outcome, to get profit.
If you go on to "Lay" "Horse 1", then you do that by accepting the "backing" part of the bet and then because of that, you can suffer a loss if the horse wins, and the backer will get the money.
Using that example, if perhaps, a backer on a betting exchange, decides to bet $100 on "Horse 1", your risk here will be $90 which is the money required from you to the backer, if the horse wins. However, if the horse does not win, then your profit, is the backers bet, which in this case is $100.
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I am willing to bet that on more than one occasion, you have come across advertisements that offer you betting systems that will make you rich, easily. You may have encountered similar assertions via various means such as junk mail, spam, e.t.c
Now, don't get me wrong, I am not talking about betting tipsters because there are some very good ones out there for games like football, and even less known sports and sometimes, dedicated, disciplined punters may turn a profit. A lot of these tipsters don't charge for these nuggets and just drop the free advice, and leave it available to anyone.
The ones I am referring to in this article are the betting systems which claim that if a gambler just follows a set of rules, he or she will earn big, in the long run. Some of the systems even claim that analysis of the event being bet on is not necessary.
A popular betting system that has this claim is the Martingale system. It is a rather simple idea and when you first read about it, it seems like the Holy Grail. This system is usually associated with roulette and other games where even chance bets are available, but it has been adapted for football and horse racing as well.
I'll make use of roulette as an instance. The concept behind this system is that you place a bet of 1 unit on either red or black. If you record a win, then you have a 1 unit profit and if you lose then you have to double your bet to 2 units and still bet on that same color. If you record a win this time, you receive 4 units, still making a profit of 1 unit when you consider the initial 1 unit you lost. In you lose though, then you double the bet to 8. You repeat this until you win, and when you do, it is always a profit of 1 unit. At first glance, this looks like easy money, but sadly, looks are deceiving.
This system, while it may appear to work on a short run, there is a problem and that is, on the long run, a long sequence of losses will definitely occur and when this happens, the repercussions will be very tough. Firstly, the bettor will need to have a large bankroll. After about 6 losses, the stake would have increased to about 64 units with a cumulative outlay of 127 units. Similarly, after 8 losses, the stale will be at about 256 with the outlay being 511, and all this is to win 1 unit. Even in a case where your bankroll is up to the task, then your system would still fall when you come up against the bookmaker limit. This is the point where you realize that the long term odds were not in your favor from the start.
I recently read about a horse race betting system that lives up to its name. Only that, the name happens to be "Backing Favourites Blindly". The system instructs you to, well, back favorites blindly. It is based on the assumption that on any day, a favorite must win at least once. Your task then is to set an amount that you would like to win and then when you've reached that amount, you cease betting for the day. In the first race, you have to bet on the favorite that will return the profit you want. If the amount is 50 units and the odds are 2/1, then your stake will be 25 units. Now, assuming you win, then that's it for the day. Easy right?
If you lose though, you have to move on to the next race and bet enough to return 75 units to you. If the favorite is 6/4, then your investment will be 50 units. I'm certain some of your seeing the potential in this theory, now let's examine it a little. The long losing sequence that must happen, will need you to have a large bankroll and a bookmaker who will let you wager your large bets which will only get larger. Now, you may have the money, but the carefree bookmaker is something that is most likely not going to happen. Once you start losing, any profits acquired the day before, cease to matter.
In summary, be careful around these betting systems. Betting systems only make money for the people who sell them. If you go looking for an easy way to win easy money, you will only come back much poorer than you left.