What is Back and Lay in Cricket Betting?

For advanced cricket bettors, back and lay betting is a technique that they often use in order to attempt a managed return. In theory, the practise can reduce losses and potentially even guarantee a win so let’s take a look at what it actually means.

What is Back and Lay in Cricket Betting?

A back bet is a traditional sports bet on an event that you think is going to happen. In cricket terms, there are many examples but let’s say that we want to stake on Joe Root to score a century in the first test match of a series against India.

A lay bet is a stake on the event not happening so, in this case, we would bet on Root not to score a century.

What Does a Lay Bet Mean?

A lay bet is any bet on an event not happening. We’ve used one example here but there are many other instances where this could take place.

You could stake on India not to win the world cup or on Australia not to beat New Zealand in their first ODI in a series. Effectively, we are betting on them to lose.

In most cases, you would be betting against another customer, usually on an exchange as opposed to a sportsbook. Think of it as the equivalent of a gentleman’s wager that would have happened centuries ago. One bettor would say, ‘I bet that horse wins’ while the other would say ‘I bet it doesn’t’. They shake hands and strike up a bet.

Back and Lay is the modern equivalent of that wager, taken into the digital age.

What is Back and Lay in Cricket Betting

What Happens if a Lay Bet Wins?

A lay bet wins when the event doesn’t happen: So, using our Joe Root to score a century market as our example, a profit will be returned if he failed to go past three figures.

If you had staked ‘no’ on Root to score a ton, you would collect a return if he had scored 99 or less. In terms of paying out, a lay bet offers those returns when it is successful, in the same way as conventional betting.

Back Betting

This is the traditional form of betting that we are more familiar with. Here, we are backing a team to win, a player to score a hundred, a team to hit most sixes or many other common examples.

You are ‘backing’ the event to take place so, if you have bet on Joe Root to score that hundred, you collect a return if he makes 100 runs or more.

cricket Back Betting

What is a Betting Exchange?

A betting exchange still accepts bets from its customers but it works in an entirely different way to that of a conventional bookmaker. With a sportsbook, the operator sets the odds and you are, effectively, betting against the house. If you lose then it’s the bookie who takes your money.

Very few sportsbooks offer the opportunity to take a lay bet so the exchanges are the place to be in this respect. The customers provide the liquidity so, if there is one bettor putting up money as a back bet, saying that Team A will win, you can go in and take the ‘lay’ option, which says that Team A will lose.

There is one very big operator in the Betting Exchange space but there are many more available. All of them provide the opportunity to take a lay bet and they are the best option for anyone who is looking to get involved with Back and Lay.

The operator makes their profits by taking a small percentage from each winning stake and that’s how they stay trustworthy and financially secure.


While it’s not for beginners, Back and Lay can be an interesting and useful system when you have more experience. It’s also very easy to understand and I’d suggest just trialling a few theoretical bets first.

One of the potential advantages is that the exchanges can often provide better odds than the conventional sportsbooks. So, if you’re more comfortable with back betting, why not head to an exchange and compare their prices.

Taking a back and a lay bet at the same time is also a way in which experienced bettors look to lock in a definite profit. This is done in the live markets where the odds are shifting all the time once a cricket match begins.

Let’s say that you’ve taken a back bet before a match has started and, as the game gets underway, the chances of that bet winning become smaller. By balancing this out with a lay bet, there is a possibility that a profit will come in no matter what the outcome may be.

In order to carry out that system effectively, you will need more experience and to be good with numbers but it’s another reason why Back and Lay can be attractive.