Since publishing this article I have released my Lay The Draw Strategy eBook. This documents my entire approach to this method in extensive detail, showing every check I make during my analysis when selecting my trades, as well as my exactly how I manage each and every live trade.
Laying The Draw is probably one of the most well-known Betfair trading strategies of them all. There are various reasons for this, such as the fact that it appeals to people who enjoy football (which is a lot of people after all), but also because the method is pretty simple compared to most other trading methods. If you can follow a few simple but very important rules, many traders find profitability quite quickly with this strategy.
I have used Lay The Draw (LTD) on a daily basis (depending on each day’s offerings) for many years now, and I really like it as I found it was the most stable earner for me as far as football is concerned. After just a few minutes of careful research, you can take a position in the market before a game kicks off and then walk away, grab a beer and sit and watch the match. (You do not need to watch the match of course). Then if the favourite scores or the game goes according to the statistics (usually it does, not always, that’s trading folks) you pop back to the computer and hit the one click green up button, and hey presto, you bag a nice profit, take another swig of your beer, and enjoy the end of the game. Better still, when the family try to change channel, you can say “No, I need to watch this, it’s business” 😀
If you don’t get any goals, you set yourself a time limit or an odds limit (stop loss) and you trade out, or with trading software you can set an auto-fill stop loss which exits your trade for you without you returning to the computer. Be careful with this though, you should always check the software did exit your trade for you, as a blip or connection issue could be costly. (Here speaks the voice of experience!)
In recent years Betfair has introduced a great little trade exit or “cash out” button within their website, so another great reason for using this method is the fact you don’t need trading software since this development. This is a major advantage as most trading methods I use require software both for speed of trade entry as well as speed of exit, for example in horse racing where you need to get in and out in split seconds.
So, how does Lay The Draw work?
Well here is a basic outline of my process, and I must stress that everyone has their own way of doing this so you don’t need to follow my rules, I am just sharing what I do as a lot of people asked me to:
- Go to Betfair.com and pull up the “Today’s In Play” coupon (page).
- Scan down all games and find ones which qualify based on the odds
- Then go to a football stats website and look up those games to get the team stats. This will compare the teams’ form and scoring stats. There is a lot of personal judgement involved at this point, but what I look for is a strong home favourite who normally beats the away team (in last few years), and scores at least 1.5 goals per game while conceding less than 1 goal per game. I would also want to see that the away team scores less than 1.2 goals per game, and concedes more than 1, ideally more than 1.5.
- I will then go to my trading software and LAY the draw.
- Enjoy the game and wait for the home favourite to score a goal. When they do you have two choices. You can either take your money and run (as I used to always do) or more recently I tend to make a judgement call based on how the game is playing combined with the strength of the home team scoring stats. If they usually score 2.5-3 goals per game, and if the game looks lively with lots of shots on target, I will usually wait until HT latest to trade out, often getting a second goal which will normally double your winnings for that trade. It’s a judgement call every time though, and you can wish you had traded out if the away team scores! Choose one approach and stick to it, that’s the secret to evening out the “luck factor”.
P.S. The above is just a very brief outline and definitely NOT enough information to try trading with. For an extremely detailed description of my method, including every click and every check I make before trading, as well as what I do in the various scenarios (both good and bad) to protect myself or take maximum profit from a successful trade, read my detailed eBook.
I usually watch the games on my computer as I have several screens and I have one just for live feeds of games. You can find various good sites for live football coverage all over the world. Some of the stream sites have very annoying adverts everywhere, but if you full screen the video player after closing all the pop up ads, you won’t get any more. That took me a year to work out and I was glad when I did! Having a dedicated screen (plus Sky Sports and BT sports packages) also helps a great deal.
The best setup is a top team like Barcelona playing a team around the bottom of the league, except in that case the odds would probably be 7-10 on the draw making it too expensive to trade from the off. However in SOME cases, I will watch a game, and if it is electric but bad luck prevents goals causing an unexpected half time score of 0-0, I will sometimes get in later on by laying the draw then. The risks are greater though because half the game has already been played so the chance of no goals being scored may have increased, but again it’s a judgement call and this is not something a beginner should be doing really.
How much do you stake? How much can you win?
Well I would usually stake a maximum of 5% of my bank, but that’s fairly high and I spent a long time on 1% or 2% stakes until I knew my selections held up over the long term. I also use smaller stakes in various situations such as when I am not as confident in the trade, if the odds are not as nice, or whatever else.
To explain the numbers, let’s say I do a £200 lay, which if laying at odds of 4 means my total liability is £600 but this is irrelevant. What is more important is that, if I laid £200 @ 4 and exited at my stop loss point of 2 (by backing the draw @ 2 for £200 and then redding up) my total liability is £200. So if I enter a trade by laying the draw at odds of 5, and no goals come so I exit @ 2, my max loss is £300 which is about as much as I am prepared to risk, and the stats would need to be VERY good to get involved in a trade at odds of 5.
I doubled my trading bank two seasons running early in my trading career, pretty much only using the lay the draw strategy with my personal angles and rules, these are my “edge” (which I share in the ebook of course!). This was when I knew I had found a winning selection process. It can be a very profitable trading method and I know of several traders who do very nicely with LTD, for have done for many years too. £100k+ per year tax-free is achieved by some full time traders, and each trader has their own take on the overall strategy. You need a lot of practice to get to that level though, and like all trading, don’t go into it expecting to make that in your first year. If it was that easy everyone would be doing it, and they definitely aren’t!
Exiting a lay the draw trade
I usually exit when the odds come down to 2 or at 65-70 minutes, whichever comes first. I will also exit if the away team (underdog) score first, although again it is down to my discretion based on the game play, and if the home team are banging in shots and have just been unlucky not to get a goal, then the away team flukes a penalty or similarly lucky goal, I will sometimes stay in and wait for the home team to come back to 1-1 when you can exit if you want to, or wait and see if they can take the lead as per the stats, which is my usual course of action in that situation.
You can learn about this method online, it’s been around so long and has been so popular with so many traders in the past that there’s a fair bit written about it. However do be careful, many people use it wrongly and in my view are nowhere near selective enough.
My own approach is ultra-selective, only risking my bank when I can’t find any reason not to. That approach has stood the test of time for me, and has impressed many of my readers too.