Laying the Draw System

Filed in Strategies 35 comments

The article describes one of the methods of live (or in-play) trading that exploits the statistics of match draws. The method can be successfully used in the football betting sector, where draws are highly unpredictable but occur in 25-30% of the matches. Laying the draw is among the simplest Betfair trading systems that guarantee profits regardless of the outcome. The best part is that the strategy is completely legit, since unlike ordinary bookmakers, Betfair has a financial interest in your success.

We assume that you’ve carefully read Betfair Trading tutorial, which illustrates the basics of trading on the world’s largest betting exchange platform. We also assume that you already have a Betfair account. If you still don’t, now it’s a good time to sign up – the tutorial will be much easier to understand if you have an unlimited access to Betfair trading platform.

To quickly demonstrate how lay the draw strategy works, let’s take a Friendly International match between England and Ghana. On Betfair head on to Football ? Coupons ? {Day} In-Play Coupon as shown in the screenshot below.

On the In-Play Coupon page you’ll find three columns stating the market’s back and lay odds for three possible outcomes. The left column corresponds to the home win odds; the middle column shows the draw odds; and the right column shows the away win odds. The rows show the upcoming matches and you’ll have to decide which game to pick. Your choice is crucial, since the success of laying the draw system depends on proper selection of the games. Later on, we’ll describe how to pick the games wisely.

After selecting the games, the next obvious step is to decide upon the lay stake. The pre-kick lay odds in the game between England and Ghana were 4.2 at the time this tutorial was written and we laid £100 on draw. Once the match started and England scored its first goal, the back odds increased to 7.4. Then, we backed the draw with a stake of £60.

Can you feel the magic? If a draw occurs, your profit will be £60•(7.4-1) – £100•(4.2-1) = £64, and if one of the teams wins, your profit will be £100 – £60 = £40. That’s arbitrage – one way or another, you profit.

Picking the Games to Lay

Picking the right games is crucial for lay the draw system. The right game to trade is a game whose chances for final score 0-0 are very low and the draw-lay odds are somewhere between 4.1 and 4.8. It might sound complicated, but the truth is, that finding such a game is easy if you know where to look.

Many online resources provide you with free predictions of the expected scores. Ideally, you should pick games whose expected scores are far from 0:0, i.e. 2:2, 3:2, 3:3 etc. However, be careful as long as you don’t know the exact probability of the expected score. Statistics is tricky, and many resources will simply show you the outcome with the highest probability, while hiding the fact that the difference between the probability of score 3:3 and score 0:0 is very low.

Actually, you don’t need the expected score. Instead, you can deduce the probability of score 0:0 by a cross-validation of three independent factors. The following should hold for an ideal game:

  • The probability of the draw should be low – pick games with draw probability below 25%.
  • The probability of total under 2.5 goals should be low – choose games whose under 2.5 probabilities are smaller than 40%.
  • The defensive skills of the playing teams should be significantly lower compared to their attacking skills. Good attack, bad defense – perfect recipe for a goal-rich game.

SciBet is among the few betting tips resources that provide a wealth of information on the upcoming football events. It serves as our quick, one stop information source for lay the draw system.

On the main page, you may see horizontal bars with 1×2 probabilities. Just hover over one of them, and you’ll see the exact numbers. Clicking on one of the games will take you to the game page where the probability of total under/over 2.5 score and the defensive/attacking skills of the teams are presented as shown on the screenshot above.

Lay the Draw Exit Strategy

Lay the draw system is based on the assumption that at least one goal is scored during the game. Otherwise, the draw-back odds will never increase. For such cases, a loss reducing exit strategy (hedging) is required. One of the two operations below will ensure you never risk the entire stake.

  • When the match time is past 60 minutes, and the score is still 0-0, back the draw with a large stake even if the odds are low. In this way, you will regain a part of your investment. Let’s get back to our previous example and assume that no team scored during the first 60 minutes. The draw-back odds decreased to 2.5 and we backed the draw with £100. This simple operation reduced the loss from 0 – £100•(4.2-1) = -£320 to £100•(2.8-1) – £100•(4.2-1) = – £240.
  • Before the match kick-off, back the total under 0.5, score 0-0 or no goals with a small stake. These 3 markets generally have very high back-odds. In the game between England and Ghana, the total under 0.5 odds were 6.0, and we backed the outcome with a stake of £10. In case of a 0-0 draw, we would reduce the loss from 0 – £100•(4.2-1) = -£320 to £10•(6.0-1) – £100•(4.2-1) = -£270.

Laying the Draw Summary

The strategy is simple and perfectly suited for football market. It can be implemented in various ways, but the basic steps are as follows:

  1. Pick a game with a low 0-0 score probability using free online betting tips resources.
  2. Lay the game before kick-off time, when the odds are between 4.1 and 4.8.
  3. Back the game in-play when one of the teams scores and the odds increase.
  4. Hedge if necessarily, either before kick-off or after 60 minutes.

A good strategy is a strategy that has multiple exit opportunities, and laying the draw certainly falls under the above category. However, laying the draw is not the only football system out there, and if you’re seriously into footbal trading, Mark Andrews’ new product, which covers 10 Betfair football strategies, is the way to go.

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Laying the Draw System, 9.1 out of 10 based on 211 ratings

Relevant Questions:

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Posted by Betfair System   @   8 April 2011 35 comments
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Apr 8, 2011
#1 Ben Ascof :

Wow, thanks guys! Excellent tutorial, when will you be releasing the horse racing one?

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Author Apr 9, 2011
#2 admin :

Hello Ben and thank you! Our next tutorial will deal with the ways to earn on Betfair without the need to trade. The next planed is the horse racing tutorial.

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Jun 3, 2011

What site has free downloadable horse racing clips?

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Jun 14, 2011

Easiest way to get research on betfair odds?

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Jun 26, 2011
#5 Roxie :

Shoot, who would have tohught that it was that easy?

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Nov 14, 2011

I do like your approach to the old LTD system and in fact use SCIBET myself when assessing trades; however in backing 0-0 is sure enough safer but if the dog scores 1st the odds often decrease on the draw causing loss on both MO & CS markets. Far better to enter the market after H/T when most LTD traders are twitching to accept a loss. Further by laying the draw you are actually backing both teams to win and if your research indicates a strong win for the fave why back the dog to win as well?
I developed a method incorporated into a spreadsheet which determines the liability on laying the draw & indicates the amount to back the fave for majority of profit with an amount to back the dog as cover.
Unfortunately this method is still susceptible to the dreaded 0-0 but overall has more ROI over long term.
“Beat The Dog” is for my own personal use but I am sure anyone can produce a similar method with workbook that is superior to LTD.

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Jan 8, 2012
#7 John :

Great tutorial, thanks a lot. I wonder about one thing however: why do you say you should choose games with (draw) odds between 4.1 and 4.8. Isn’t it better when the odds are even lower?

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Jan 13, 2012
#8 evren :

büyük ö?retici bu sistemi denedim fakat ?öyle 4.10 ve 4.80 aras? oranl? back lay güçsüz tak?m 1gol at?nca oranlar 4.10dan bile dü?ük oluyor yani bence ssitem çok riskli bir sistem

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Author Jan 14, 2012
#9 Betfair System :

Hi John and Evren,

You’re absolutely correct, the lower the pre-kick odds the less money you’ll risk. However, our suggestion stems from the statistics of horse races, which shows that in-play odds do not raise significantly when the pre-kick odds are very low.

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Jan 14, 2012
#10 evren :

merhaba büyük ö?retici cevap verdi?iniz için te?ekürler ?imdi sistemin temel anlam? maç 2.5 under maçlar? seçmek te galiba bu ve 4.10 ve 4.8 x oran + birde bu x oranlar? ortalama (1. 1.70) (x 4.30) (2. 6.20) oranl? maçlar ve -2.5 underli maçlar

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Jan 18, 2012
#11 beefdripin :

Re #9, the relative (%) change in the draws odds is similar regardless of the starting price…

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Jan 28, 2012

A strategy Iv’e not yet studied enough to put into practice, getting ones head round the maths seems to be the important point. Which tools do everyone use to calculate the amount of stake required for each stage of the bet.

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Feb 6, 2012
#13 Fox :

I don’t understand the formula:
£60•(7.4-1) – £100•(4.2-1) = £64
Why do you subtract 1 to 4.2?
I completely understand the first part £60•(7.4-1).
But I don’t get the -1 in £100•(4.2-1)

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Feb 6, 2012
#14 Fox :

There is an error in the formula
£60•(7.4-1) – £100•(4.2-1)
it should be £60•(7.4-1) – £100•(4.2) = -36£

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Author Feb 8, 2012
#15 Betfair System :

Hello, Fox.

The formula is correct. Think of it this way.. ignore the back stake for a moment and assume that you only laid £100 on draw with odds 4.2.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet someone matched your bet and backed the draw with £100. If the draw happens, that person on the other side of the planet will earn £100•(4.2-1) and this is the exact amount you’re going to lose.

Hope that helps.

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Feb 9, 2012
#16 Dave Summers :

#6 – Peter, Can you give an indication of what prob a team needs to become a dog in your sheet?
Keep having the dog team score first and have had to nervously wait for them to score more than 1 for the draw odds to go up. If they don’t, cut your losses time, and I’ve rather just be looking at three small green numbers at the end of the day!

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Apr 1, 2012
#17 Anko :


Im really impressed of your strategy but isn’t it better to choose a match where the odds are almost the same? So when a team scores the back odd for a draw always rise. And you will be always in profit. With your strategy when the dog scores the back odd doesn’t rise much.

Is this a better strategy?

Sorry for my bad English.

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Apr 5, 2012
#18 betfair :

Great tutorial, thank you but for them : the match started and Ghana scored its first goal. i cant understand what i have to do after this. tell me plz

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Apr 11, 2012
#19 Ger :

I have tried the following. I find a match were both teams are nearly equal in odds for a win and the lay the draw if under 4.0. I then back a draw 0-0 no less than 12.0 so to cover my loses if it ends 0-0.The only problem I have is that the profits are very low.

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May 5, 2012
#20 LosingPunter :

Thx for this free info. There are people on Ebay charging upto £50 for this free info. While also making outrageous profit claims. Never ever underestimate what people will do to scam money.

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Jun 12, 2012
#21 Jeffs :

would it not also make sense to back 0-0 at the end of the match just in case the match ends up at 0-0?

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Jun 12, 2012
#22 Jeffs :

i mean you back it at the beginning…say odds are 10, you place a few quid at the beginning so you definitely profit….you’ll slightly minimise maximum profit but you’ll still profit…does this make sense?

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Jul 26, 2012
#23 Conkers :

This doesnt work. For instance, if I put £100 lay on 3.5 odds to draw before game, then a team scores the back odds are around 5, so i put £60 on 5/1. So 60 x (5-1) – 100 x (3.5-1) = -£10. So i lose £10 if its a draw, and win £40 if a team wins. Ive tried this 3 times and lost money when its a draw!?

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Author Jul 29, 2012
#24 Betfair System :

Hello Conkers,

In your case the perfect stake ratio is 1.429. For example, if you lay £100, then you should back with £100/1.429 = £70.

In the case of draw you get: £70 x (5-1) – £100 x (3.5-1) = £30, and in the case of win you get once again: £100 – £70 = £30.

Hope that helps,

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Aug 1, 2012
#25 jeremy :


betfair system is trying to say that it is not always the same stake of 100 then 60.. you need to work out the back odds so you do profit, if the back odds for the draw rise above the lay odds for the draw which is your first bet then you cant lose.. this goes for any sport… if you can back at a higher price than a lay you win, simple.

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Aug 2, 2012
#26 Conkers :

Hi again, ive got to know this strategy a little better, ive found that when you need to trade out at around 2.0 (as there are no goals yet) then you lose fairly bigtime. Say I have a few good games and am in profit, then all it takes is 1 bad game where there are no goals (which happens a fair bit) if you let the game go on till the end and its still a draw then you lose massive, you can trade out when the draw bet is 2.0 and you dont lose as much but still lose a fair bit, thus knocking you back bigtime! Its also a nightmare when the underdog scores first.

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Aug 5, 2012
#27 Will :

Conkers, I know how you feel. It’s all going really well and the winning game build then it all goes wrong.

For me choosing the right games has been most important. And deciding how long to leave the trade open before exiting to stop loses.

If the loses are stopped short profits from winning trade outweigh the loses.

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Aug 7, 2012
#28 JB :

Interestingly, the odds for the favorite increase at almost the exact same rate as the draw odds decrease. But if the fav scores first it’s odds will decrease by almost exactly twice as much as the draw odds will increase. So if you lay the fav and back the draw before game starts and then trade them both out after some time has passed with no goal you profit on both and if the fav scores before you trade out you can still trade them both out and only lose half as much on the draw as on the fav. You have to be pretty sure that the fav will score first though because if the dog scores first you will lose on both bets. I haven’t actually tried it. I just noticed that fact about the odds movements using BetAngel’s Soccer Mystic odds simulator. You can see it on youtube in the soccer betting vids by “betangel”. So you would want a game where the fav is the home team and significantly more likely to score first.

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Aug 7, 2012
#29 JB :

Actually, it might work better to lay both the draw and the fav then if the fav scores first you will make more on the fav bet than you lose on the draw bet if you trade both out right after the goal. If there is no goal when it’s getting close to the end of the game then you should be able to trade both out and come out close to even since the fav odds went up at the same rate as the draw odds went down. If the dog scored first then both Draw and fav odds would increase and you would profit from both.

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Aug 23, 2012
#30 LM :

I want to get into this a little more and have been dipping my toe into this strategy. However, this strategy is all about someone scoring first then laying the odds there after as we know… Can someone explain why you wouldnt just bet on at least one goal scored pre-match and bin off laying altogether? Or even just backing the fave to score first?

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Sep 1, 2012
#31 JG :

You can scientifically analyse the statistics until you are blue in the face. In my opinion, this is a crap strategy for various reasons. In order to make money out of this, one or more of the odds have to be wrong. I understand that many many years ago, there was an over-reaction in the market when a goal was scored – but surely if you just backed the draw at this point, you would have made money, as this is the market error. You can suggest picking games that are unlikely to finish 0-0, but the chances of a match finishing 0-0 is reflected in the odds already. If you believe from looking at sci-bet that the market is wrong and a goal is much more likely than the odds in betfair show, then why not simply lay 0-0? MAJOR problems occur also if the underdogs score first and the likelyhood of a draw increase. To make money, there has to be a mistake in the market somewhere. This system is so old and so well known. Do you honestly think that if this was making any money, people would be sharing this knowledge? I think this is a publicity stunt from betfair to get foolish people to trade and increase their revenues.

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Sep 6, 2012
#32 Eksing :

#24 Betfair System:
How do you calculate the perfect stake ratio?

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Sep 6, 2012
#33 Eksing :


Never mind. I got it. It was too simpel 😉

5/3.5 = 1.429

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Sep 11, 2012
#34 druss :

I have currently laid the draw in the current england vs ukraine match @ 3.56 ! unfortunately ukraine is up 1-0 and the odds to back the draw are only at 3.4 even at the 68 minute mark ! what do you suggest at this stage , when the underdog scores and only has a one goal advantage? Thanks!

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Sep 21, 2012
#35 Beefdripin :

More observational than hard research – the system suggests hedging at 0-0 to minimse potential losses, however this assumes that the probability of a draw increases proportionally over time. I appreciate that this is how the exchanges generally behave but the reality is there are more goals scored in the last 30mins than the first 30mins. This looks like an opportunity to enter this market at 60/75 minutes when 0-0 and the odds of a draw are now <2.00. A goal at that stage would provide significant arbitrage profits ("green book") and should the game end 0-0, the losses are no greater than the "closed" bet in the original example.

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