Written by:
Paul Ricci
Fact checked by:
Oliver Dickinson
Updated:
January 9, 2024

Lay The Draw

Lay The Draw Guide

Lay The Draw, or LTD for short, is one of the most popular betting strategies among sports traders. The easiest way to explain it is that you’re betting that the match WILL NOT end in a draw. With an LTD bet, you’re betting that either team A or team B will win the match. Due to the nature of the strategy, it’s particularly popular among soccer bettors and fans.

There’s a reason why so many traders swear by this strategy, and although it has somewhat fallen off in recent years, it’s still considered to be one of the tried-and-tested betting exchange strategies.

But what makes this strategy so appealing? Why is it so popular in the first place? How does it work? Can you make money with this strategy? We’ll answer all these questions, and our team of veteran traders will provide first-hand tips and tricks on when to implement LTD, when to trade out, and how to go for the big bucks.

How Laying The Draw Works

First, we must point out that even though it might be possible to bet against the draw at a betting site, the odds will probably not be favorable. Some bookmakers do offer odds for Team 1 or Team 2 to win, but you’re likely to get better odds at a betting exchange such as Betfair or Ladbrokes exchange.

If you’ve decided to use a betting exchange, you should first familiarize yourself with how they work and how they’re different from traditional sports betting. At betting exchanges, you can essentially act as the bookmaker and ‘back’ and ‘lay’ bets. Now, with the Lay The Draw strategy, you should choose a match in which you will lay the draw result. This means that the other trader, the backer, should back the draw (bet that the match will end in a draw) for the exchange to be valid. Keep in mind that if the backer wins, you’ll have to pay out the liability – which is why you have to be very careful when laying bets.

The Lay The Draw strategy is particularly popular with soccer bettors because it’s common for soccer matches to end in a draw. Although it is theoretically possible to lay the draw in a basketball match, it’s unrealistic to expect that someone would back such a bet.

With the Lay The Draw strategy, if someone backs your bet, and any team wins the match – you win the trade. You’re betting that the match won’t end in a draw, so any situation except a draw works for you. If, however, the match does end in a draw, you’ll have to pay the liability.

The sports betting strategy has been heavily contested in recent years, and it has become so popular that many traders now question whether laying the draw is still profitable. The short answer is yes – it can still be profitable, but you must find the right opportunity. Also, it’s worth noting that most traders use this strategy in play, and not before the match starts.

Lay The Draw Betting Example

The best way to show how the Lay The Draw strategy works is via an example. First, we must choose a match. To simplify, we’ll choose an English Premier League soccer match between Brentford and Aston Villa. Now, there are several scenarios, so for the first example, we’ll go with what we believe to be the best use of this strategy: live betting.

Let’s assume that it’s the 75th minute and the score is still 0-0. We watch the match live and see Aston Villa play their best soccer on the wings of Ollie Watkins and Leon Bailey, but the ball just won’t find the net. However, Brentford is playing at the Brentford Community Stadium and has the home-field advantage – which presents a great opportunity to lay the draw.

Even though there are a mere 15 minutes (plus stoppage time) left of the match, we believe that the game will not end in a draw, so we decide to lay the bet. We visit a betting exchange and see that the draw odds are 1.75 decimal. We decide to lay the draw by placing a $20 lay bet on the draw, with a liability of $15. The liability means that if the match ends in a draw, we’ll have to pay the backer $15.


It’s minute 85’ and Aston Villa finally finds the net. The score is 0-1, which means that if the game ended like this, we would win the $20 lay bet. Now, there are several options again – or so-called ‘Lay The Draw’ exit strategies.

The first option would be to wait for the game to end, risking that Brentford might equalize – which would mean a lost bet for us. Another option would be to trade out, and there are various options on how to do that.

The first trade-out option would be a simple ‘Cash out’, which is a feature that’s available at many betting exchanges. Another, and probably more profitable option would be to hedge your bet. This involves quick thinking and possibly using a hedging calculator, but you can now hedge your bet by placing a small bet on the draw. Let’s assume that Aston Villa’s late goal increased the draw odds dramatically. The live odds for a draw are now 4.5 decimal. We could now place a $5 bet on a draw, and with this, we have secured a profit regardless of how the match ends.

Of course, you could go with option 1 after Aston Villa scored and wait for the game to end, which would be the most profitable scenario, but also the riskiest one.

Placing Lay the Draw Bets

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The Lay The Draw strategy is one of the easiest to comprehend and execute, which is why it’s often used by beginner traders. As we mentioned, the strategy is usually used for soccer (football) trading, and even though you can use it at traditional betting sites, here we’ll talk about placing lay the draw bets at betting exchanges.

The hardest part of the strategy is finding a suitable match. If you think that you’ve found a great trading opportunity, all you need to do is

  1. Find a betting exchange that you like from this page.
  2. Register as a new user by creating an account.
  3. Verify your account by providing all the necessary info.
  4. Log in with your details and fund your account by using a payment method of your preference.
  5. Claim the welcome bonus after you read the terms and conditions in detail.
  6. Locate the soccer (football) match that you want to bet on.
  7. Select the draw trade.
  8. Check out the ‘Lay The Draw’ odds and the liability you would have to pay out if the match ends in a draw.
  9. If you’re certain that you want to place the bet, click on the ‘Lay draw’ odds, and place your wager.

You can choose to place an in-play bet or lay the draw before the match starts. If you want to lock in the lay-the-draw trading odds before the match starts, you can do it at any betting exchange of your preference. Just locate the match you want to bet on, and click to lay the draw. The odds for laying the draw are usually in pink.

Once you place your lay bet, a backer should back it, and the bet is on. Now, all you have to do is wait for the game to end and, depending on the result of the match, either net a profit or pay the liability. Of course, you can protect your bet by placing various in play bets after the game starts. For example, if the score is 2-0 at halftime, you can hedge your bet by backing a draw bet on the same game – but with better odds. Remember that any goals that have been scored in the game affect the match odds market prices dramatically, so the draw price may change if any team leads after the first half.

Lay the Draw Tips and Strategies

As with any other betting strategy, ‘Lay The Draw’ cannot guarantee winnings. Even though the strategy can be effective, it’s still up to you to find the match you want to bet on and understand that there’s risk involved with using it. However, we’ll provide you with some tips and strategies we’ve experienced first-hand that might help you make better decisions.

Look for High Liquidity Betting Exchanges

You can’t execute trading strategies if you don’t get your bets matched, right? In comparison with traditional betting sites, it’s very important in bet trading that you choose an exchange with high liquidity.

Even though most platforms list how many bets have been placed on their site, it’s best to check it yourself or read trusted reviews for the platform. High liquidity means that you’ll have your bets matched quickly and that you’ll be able to control your bet and perform an exit strategy if needed.

Plan your Exit Strategies

Speaking of exit strategies, you should have one! Even if you’re certain that the bet will go your way, it’s best to have an exit strategy planned in case anything goes wrong. Of course, you can’t always come out in profit, but at least you can lower your losses if you time your hedge bets right.

There are many different exit strategies that apply to the Lay The Draw system, some of which we talked about above.

The most common exit strategy is to back the draw if the score is still 0-0 or 1-1 in the second half. For example, if you have laid the draw in a match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, and the score is still 0-0 until the 70th minute and both teams seem like they don’t have many scoring opportunities, it may be wise to back the draw now. The odds would be somewhere around 2.0 decimal, but by backing the draw, you’ll accept a ‘managed’ loss and not get hit by the full impact of the liability of your laid bet.

Various scenarios might happen in the game that affect your bet, which is why it’s important to be quick and decisive when performing your exit strategies.

The Underdog Scores First

This might be both good news and bad news for your bet, depending on when the first goal has been scored. Imagine a scenario where the underdog scores first early in the game. For example, Manchester City is playing against Crystal Palace, and Palace manages to score in the first half. This is a bad scenario for you because the odds for the draw will lower because the market will assume that Manchester City is likely to equalize.

If this City equalizes soon enough, it’s level play all over again. However, if City doesn’t equalize until late in the game, you might be in a bad scenario because the odds to back the draw will be very low, yet you’re at risk of the game ending in a draw. Your options in this situation is to wait for the final whistle and hope for the best, or back the draw as soon as the underdog scores and hope that if the favorite scores, you’ll be able to lay the draw again.

If, however, the favorite scores first, this might be the best situation for you. If you want to insure the bet, you can hedge it by backing the draw again. This way, you’ll end up in profit regardless of the final result.

Choose the Right Match

Ideally, you would want a match in which both teams desperately need the victory. For example, if one team is in the relegation zone and it’s late in the season, they might fight very hard to win the game. Even if they’re the underdog, they might go for an all-or-nothing approach, which may be the perfect opportunity for you to lay the draw.

Predicting vs Laying the Draw

If you’re laying the draw, you’re essentially predicting that the match will not end in a draw. If you’re good at predicting the draw, you will be good at predicting which matches will not end in a draw.

In fact, it’s easier to predict that one team will win the game instead of predicting that the game will end in a draw. To successfully predict the draw, you first need to establish which team needs the win more, and whether both teams need the win in the first place. There are matches where the draw works for both teams, so it wouldn’t be smart to lay the draw in such a game.

The recent match between Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint Germain is a good example of this: A situation where a draw was enough for both teams to proceed to the knock-out phase of the UEFA Champions League.

Instead, establish the intent for both teams, check whether both teams desperately need the win, check the expected goal scoring, and previous matchups. If all of these aspects suggest that the game will end in a draw, don’t use LTD. If, however, these aspects suggest that there will be a winner in the game – regardless of who it is – it might be a great LTD opportunity.

The odds may tell a lot about a match. If the odds for the draw are suspiciously low, it might be an indicator that the game will, in fact, end in a draw, so it would be best to avoid laying the draw in such a case.

When You Should Trade Out

Unfortunately, there’s no one-fits-all system that can tell you when is the best time to trade out. As with any other strategy, consistency is key. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be in a better position to decide when is the right time to trade out – if ever. For example, betting exchanges such as Betfair offer an early cash-out feature, but you’re likely to lose value with this option.


Also, there are different exit strategies that apply to different situations, which is why it’s crucial to watch the game live and act quickly and decisively based on the action happening on the field. You can also set target draw odds for when to trade out. For example, you can set a target that if the draw odds reach above 5.0, you’ll trade out.

As is the case with all betting strategies, your exit method should align with your own understanding of the game and be based on research and analysis.

Can You Make Profit Laying the Draw?

Such is the nature of betting exchanges that for a trade to be successful, there must be two parties willing to lay and back a trade. When LTD gained popularity, it seemed like every trader was trying to utilize it. So, there were plenty of traders willing to lay the draw, but very few backers that were willing to back that trade. This means that the price for the draw will decrease, and the liquidity will increase – making it risky for the trader to lay the draw.

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a profit with Lay The Draw. You can still make a profit with the strategy, but you have to keep in mind that the profits may be lower, and the losses may be higher – especially on heavily contested matches.

The strategy is most certainly not dead, but you have to be clever when choosing the matches that you’re going to bet on. Placing a random lay bet and hoping for the best will likely result in a loss. Instead, do your research, consider all your exit strategies, and make sure that you watch the game live and be ready to act quickly and decisively when things change on the field.

Going for the Big Bucks

Recording results is crucial for long-term success with LTD, or any betting strategy. You must track your P/L ratio, because it not only tracks your profits and losses, but also helps you improve it.

For instance, if you’ve laid the draw in 50 games and achieved a 12% profit, you should analyze your records to gain insights. Identify which leagues or markets are more profitable for you, and adjust your strategy. Are there any unsuccessful approaches? Cut them out! 12% ain’t bad, but 24% is better, and you can achieve that by fine-tuning your strategy.

Keep your exit strategies sharp at all times, monitor the market, the trade prices, and everything that’s happening in and around the game you have bet on, and you’ll maximize the chances of coming out in profit.

AUTHOR
Paul Ricci

Paul Ricci is a resident sports writer at Minimum Deposit Betting Sites, largely focusing on the US betting landscape. His main interests lie in football (both the US and the non-US variants) and in developing and writing low-stakes betting strategies.