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What Does Lay-off Mean in Sports Betting?

What does lay-off mean when it comes to sports wagering, and how can an agent use a layoff account to help cover his losses?

The term lay-off in sports betting refers to a situation where a bookmaker will place a bet with another bookmaker to reduce the liability on a certain event or to simply just balance their action out.  

The art of bookmaking is full of small details that can make a big difference. Today we’re going to go over one of those difference makers, the lay-off account.

The best way to understand this process is with a real-world example.  Say the New England Patriots and the host Los Angeles Rams have been a hot topic in the industry and the Sunday Night Football game is seeing heavy action at your sportsbook. 

You are seeing a big increase in both the number of bets and the amount being wagered on average.  Trouble is, most of that action is coming in for the Los Angeles Rams at home. If they were to cover the spread then your book would stand to take a significant hit to your bankroll. 

To make sure that doesn’t happen to you and to minimize your risk as much as possible, you can use a layoff account to make a mirror bet on the Rams to cover the spread. Therefore, if the Rams do in fact win, the payout you collect will ideally cover the losses at your own sportsbook or at least soften the blow. 

If, on the other hand, the road team comes away with the covers, you will reap the rewards at your own sportsbook and cover your losses on your layoff account. 

The layoff account is essentially the bookmaker’s version of hedging a bet and is a powerful tool that can really save you from getting railroaded by a single game.  

Overall the concept is relatively straightforward and by the time you’re done with this article, you will be an expert in using your lay-off account wisely.  

Using Lay-off Bets to Balance Your Sportsbook

Using a layoff account can not only help you avoid losing big on just one event but can also be used in a daily fashion to keep your sportsbook balanced.  The idea here is to develop a hyper-vigilant approach to using your layoff account in order to keep your sportsbook as close to 50/50 as possible. This is a process that requires a lot of time, especially if your sportsbook sees a lot of action for an independent outfit.

The idea with laying off risk is really quite simple: you keep a balanced book and live off the juice with near-zero risk to your overhead. While zero-risk does sound appealing, it comes at a significant price to your earning potential.  

If your book is truly balanced down the middle then the outcome is you are neither really winning or losing. It’s at this point you realize that being a bookie is a lot like being a sports bettor in that there is a risk/reward system in play.  

A sportsbook that lays off all its action will never turn a significant profit when compared to a book that uses their layoff account more sparingly.  Keeping a balanced book is useful if you are going through a rough patch and need to conserve your bankroll more than taking a chance to add big wins to it.  

Living off the juice can keep you in business short term, but is not recommended as a long-term strategy.

How to use your lay-off account

Let’s get specific with an example of a situation where you might choose to layoff a bet and how to do it.  

Say it’s a Sunday morning and you are prepping for a full day of NFL football.  As kickoff nears, you will want to look over your client’s bets and calculate home much you stand to either win or lose from each given outcome of the game.  You would then begin to make bets on games that you stand to lose a significant percentage from, betting on the side you are looking to avoid losing money too.  

This way, at the very least, you are effectively minimizing your loss potential. 

Let’s go back to that New England Patriots vs Los Angeles Rams game we were using in the previous example.  Say your sportsbook has taken 10 bets on the Rams +3 and eight wagers on the Patriots -3, each at -110 odds. If the Rams pull out a win your outflow would be $210 or 10 winners being paid $21 each.  This would leave you down -$12 which is not an ideal outcome. If the Patriots end up winning your outflow is just $168, or eight winners being paid $21 each. In this case, you would be +$30 on this game alone.  

Now if you want to cover your ass for the possibility of a Rams win, you can place a $20 wager with your layoff account on the Rams +3.  So then, if the Rams cover, your outflow is still the same at $210, but with the $38.18 you just won, you’re netting +$6.18 instead of taking a loss.  This does lower your total winnings if the Patriots end up covering, but either way, you are coming away with money won.

Alternatives to using a layoff account

The clear alternative to using a lay-off account is to do your best to avoid needing to in the first place.  This is accomplished by minimizing the acton on games you expect to see heavy volume on a particular side.  

First off, you can just set a low limit on that which has the effect of minimizing your exposure to any one event of your choosing. 

Another tactic to use is to make the odds for a heavy favorite unfavorable for your clients to bet on.  Most sportsbooks put these types of odds to use on a regular basis to ensure that players are betting on the things the book wants.  

If the client wants to win any significant amount of money they will be forced to stake a huge amount which creates a greater risk for them and a win-win situation for you.  This works for moneylines, spread bets and totals alike.  

Just adjust the lines as you see fit and try to persuade your players to go in another direction which helps keep your sportsbook safe from overexposure.

Laying off Bets as a Boss Action Agent

Boss Action agents have a lot of advantages over those sportsbooks operating elsewhere.  The layoff account is just one of those advantages, but it becomes really useful when combined with custom wager alerts. 

Boss action agents can use these betting alerts to inform them when a specific action is taking place at their sportsbook and make adjustments in real-time.  This allows you to be fully aware of what is going down at your sportsbook and lay off action quickly, and effectively. 

 Just provide us with your cell phone number or email address and you will receive a text or email about the day’s games based on the custom parameters you have set for your clients. 

These alerts can be made for specific big players, a certain game or even based on how much is being wagered. Once alerted, you will then easily be able to react without delay and make sure you stay on top of everything going on at your sportsbook. 

Now just head over to your lay-off account and bet away with the comfort of knowing you might have no chance of losing money tonight.

Don’t forget, as an online bookie agent your focus should be on long-term and consistent revenue, not just looking for days with massive profits.  

If you want to make Boss Action a long-term solution for you, you need to be thinking about how the decisions you make today will impact things that have yet to occur yet.   

Remember, over the long term most regular sports bettors end up on the losing end of things, so look at your sportsbook operation as a marathon, not a sprint.  

Boss action offers some of the best features and resources online for online bookie agents to start their business on the right foot.  If you still haven’t signed up yet then click ‘Join Us’ above and get the ball rolling on your custom sportsbook. 

You can also use the live chat feature on the right-hand side or call 1-877-531-7479 to speak with one of our account experts with any questions you might have.