A sportsbooks lay off is when a sports bookies place a bet on another bookie in a bid to reduce their liability on a bet that’s taking place.

Sportsbooks would usually lay off a bet when players start laying a huge amount of money on one team. This would alarm the bookmakers as they could end up taking a huge financial hit, paying out to so many winners would be a bad day at the office for any bookmaker. If over 90% of players bet on one team to win the championship and they end up winning, then you can guess what the pay-outs would look like. Sportsbooks are securing themselves by placing a big bet on that same team to win the championship. If they place a big enough bet they could even out the pay-out if the public picked the winning team.

Other Lay Off Options

The ‘everyday’ bettor will place a bet on a team that looks like it’s going to win due to its talented players or because the other team looks much weaker. Sportsbooks sometimes place unfavourable odds on teams that are more or less certain to win, and rightly so. Bookmakers can put out spreads, which will push a certain advantage or disadvantage, and even out the betting field. Most of the time bettors will stick to their original pick, but keep your eyes open as you may be able to benefit from enhanced odds if you bet the other way.

Why Sportsbooks Don’t Lay Off Bets

There will be cases when the sportsbooks won’t consider a lay off bet. This is generally down to the fact that most of the time the player is not picking winners, if the majority of the betting public were picking winners then the bookmakers will struggle to survive financially. There are events in the sporting world that can tip the scales and change the game for better or worse for bookie, things like player injury and bans. However, most of the time sportsbooks are happy to take a hit occasionally since the betting public usually fancies betting on the underdogs.

What it comes Down To

Despite what you may think, sportsbooks aren’t the bad guy. They are simply a component in the sports betting game. Much like the bettor, bookies try to avoid losing bets as they could end up taking a huge financial risk. Therefore, by occasionally laying off bets they simply secure themselves. As a bettor, by understanding their motivation you can benefit by understanding a bit about how they balance their books and how this can benefit you.

Alfie Palmer
A veteran bettor and a skillful writer, Alfie’s hands are on the best odds and bookmakers out there, willing to share his pearls of wisdom with anyone who is interested to know more about online bookies. Currently residing in the culturally vibrant city of London, Alfie likes to make an occasional bet.
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