Laying horses is fraught with unpredictability. This is where a solid staking plan becomes your anchor.
In this post, we'll dive deep into the best and most effective staking plans for laying horses, ensuring you have the tools to manage risks and optimise returns.
We'll only focus on staking plans, not on the betting strategy itself.
If you want to learn a simple laying betting strategy, then check out my last post about a horse betting In-play lay strategy you can use.
Understanding the Basics
Before delving into staking plans, it's crucial to grasp the fundamentals of laying in horse racing.
When you lay a horse, you're essentially taking on the role of the bookmaker, predicting that a particular horse won't win.
Here's a brief rundown:
Laying a Horse: If you lay a horse at odds of 5.0 for £10, you stand to gain £10 if the horse loses.
However, if the horse wins, you'll owe £40 (5.0 odds mean you pay out £50, but you already have the £10 stake). The potential payout versus liability is a unique facet of laying, making the staking strategy all the more crucial.
Why a Staking Plan is Essential for Laying
Horse racing, with its myriad variables from the form of the horse to track conditions, is inherently unpredictable.
This unpredictability is intensified when laying horses due to the increased risk associated with potential high liabilities.
Risk Management: With potential losses that can exceed your original stake, it's essential to determine in advance how much you're willing to risk.
Consistent Growth: While it's tempting to chase big wins, a staking plan prioritizes steady bankroll growth over time.
Emotional Equilibrium: A pre-determined strategy means emotions don't dictate betting decisions after a series of losses or wins.
2x Most Popular Staking Plans for Laying Horses
Let me give you two examples of very safe and popular staking plans you can use.
#1 - Fixed Liability Staking
Definition: Regardless of odds, you set a fixed amount you're willing to lose (liability) on each lay bet.
Example: If your fixed liability is £20, and you lay a horse at 5.0, your stake will be £5 (£20 divided by 4 – as 5.0 odds mean a potential 4:1 payout). If the horse wins, you lose £20, and if the horse loses, you gain £5.
Pros: Simplicity, straightforward risk management.
Cons: Potential returns might be limited, especially if laying at higher odds frequently.
Deep Dive: The roots of this technique can be traced back to early betting practices where simplicity was favoured. Those who lean towards fixed liability often prioritize horse selection over intricate bankroll adjustments, focusing on their in-depth knowledge of the race and contenders.
Imagine a bettor, John, who dedicates a month to place 30 lay bets using the fixed liability approach. Starting with a £1000 bankroll, he risks £10 on each lay. Whether he wins or loses, the next bet remains £10. By the month's end, even after a series of losses, he's able to maintain better control over his bankroll's fluctuation.
#2 - Percentage of Bankroll
Definition: You risk a set percentage of your current bankroll on each bet.
Example: With a bankroll of £1000 and a set risk of 2%, you're willing to lose £20 on each lay bet. If you lay a horse at 4.0, you'd stake £7.
Pros: Adjusts automatically to your bankroll size, protecting against bankruptcy.
Cons: Following a losing streak, the amount staked (and potential profit) can become increasingly small.
Deep Dive: This dynamic strategy draws inspiration from financial risk management strategies, such as the "Kelly Criterion". Its appeal stems from its self-regulating nature, making it a favourite not just in horse racing but also in casino games and general sports betting.
Take Sarah, an enthusiastic bettor with a starting bankroll of £1000. She decides to lay 2% of her bankroll each time. Her first bet is £20. If she faces a loss and her bankroll drops to £950, her next stake would be £19. On the other hand, if she wins and her bankroll rises to £1050, she increases her next stake to £21. This method ensures that she's protected from a string of losses decimating her bankroll, while also allowing her to capitalize on a winning streak.
Implementing a Layered Approach: Combine Both
While the staking plans mentioned so far provide structured betting, a layered approach can further refine the process.
This involves combining different methods or adjusting strategies based on specific scenarios.
Using Fixed Liability for High Odds: When laying horses with very high odds, a fixed liability staking plan can ensure losses don't spiral out of control.
Percentage of Bankroll for Favourites: When laying favourites or horses at lower odds, using a percentage of your bankroll might optimise returns while ensuring risks are manageable.
Consider Alex, a seasoned bettor with years under his belt. For significant races, where he's confident about the outcome, he leans towards a fixed liability.
However, in races with unpredictable outcomes, he resorts to the percentage of bankroll method.
His rationale? In riskier bets, he wants the self-regulating nature of the percentage strategy to shield him from substantial losses.
5x Staking Plan Pitfalls to Avoid
Every strategy, no matter how well-crafted, can have its pitfalls. While laying horses using a staking plan can help manage risk, it's not infallible.
Recognizing common mistakes can be as important as knowing the strategies themselves. Let’s delve into a few common pitfalls and how they might manifest in real-life situations.
#1 - Overconfidence and Deviating from the Plan
Example: Tom, an experienced bettor, had been using the percentage of bankroll strategy with great success. However, one day, believing he had a sure tip from an insider, he decided to risk a massive chunk of his bankroll, instead of the typical 2%. When the horse won (leaving him with a huge liability as a lay bettor), he faced a devastating loss. If he had stuck to his plan, the loss would've been far more manageable.
#2 - Ignoring External Factors
Races aren't won on statistics alone. Weather conditions, the horse's health, and even sudden changes in the jockey lineup can influence the outcome.
Example: Amy usually studied a horse's past performance when deciding to lay a bet. However, she overlooked a key detail one day – her chosen horse had never raced in the rain before. On a wet, muddy day, her 'sure lay bet' horse overperformed and, rather surprisingly, won the race, catching her by surprise and leading to a loss.
#3 - Neglecting to Review and Adjust
Sticking to one strategy without periodically reviewing its effectiveness can lead to continued losses if it's no longer suitable for the current conditions or your financial situation.
Example: Neil had been using a fixed liability staking plan for years. But over the years, as his bankroll grew, the fixed amount no longer represented a meaningful sum. Instead of reassessing and possibly adjusting his staking amount, he kept things unchanged. This stagnation meant that he wasn’t maximizing his potential earnings from successful lays.
#4 - Betting Under the Influence
While it might seem obvious, it's a pitfall worth emphasizing. Alcohol or drugs can impair judgment, leading to rash decisions.
Example: Clara, usually a disciplined bettor, made the mistake of laying a bet after a few glasses of wine during a dinner party. She ended up risking much more than she would have sober and regretted it when she checked the race results the next morning.
#5 - Not Setting a Stop-Loss
Regardless of your strategy, it's essential to know when to stop. Having a predetermined 'loss threshold' can prevent a bad day from becoming catastrophic.
Example: Sam, feeling optimistic, started his betting day early. However, luck wasn't on his side, and he faced loss after loss. Instead of stopping after reaching a certain loss limit, he kept on trying to 'win it back,' leading to an even bigger dent in his bankroll.
Summary: Which Staking Plan Is Best For you?
Laying horses offers bettors an exciting alternative perspective in the realm of horse racing. While the potential rewards are enticing, the associated risks demand a well-thought-out staking strategy.
By selecting and sticking to a plan tailored to your risk appetite and betting style, you pave the way for more consistent outcomes and a more enjoyable betting experience.
Whether you're a novice or seasoned pro, refining your staking approach is a sure bet to improved performance.
The best staking plan for laying horses comes down to your personal circumstances, but I hope this post has helped you better understand what’s available and the risks that come with them.
Personally, I would use the Layered Approach, because it allows flexibility. You can also capitalise on favourites and outsiders more often without risking a huge amount of your bankroll.
To continue the learning process, I recommend reading our in-play laying strategy, which is very suitable for beginners, because it works really well when laying horses.