Sequential Laying


Difficulty: Intermediate Read time: 6 mins

Sequential laying is an alternative way of laying off a multiple bet.

It’s a little more involved than the straightforward back and lay, but it’s a handy technique to have in your locker for when the right kind of offer comes along.

In this guide, I’ll explain what sequential laying is, how it works and walk you through an example of how it should be done.

What is sequential laying?

Sequential laying is a matched betting technique that enables you to lay against doubles, trebles and accumulators, that you’ve placed at the bookies.

It’s a strategy that you can use on any sport, but it’s most commonly done using football matches or horse races.

How does sequential laying work?

Sequential laying works by placing a sequence of lay bets against each leg of a multiple that you’ve placed at a bookmaker.

You can only lay your bets sequentially if the individual legs of your multiple bet don’t overlap. That’s because you need to know the outcome of each leg before moving on to the next leg.

Let’s say you place a treble on three football matches that kick-off at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon. You wouldn’t be able to lay the matches sequentially as the matches overlap one another. If, however, the three matches were played on different days, there’s no overlapping, so you could lay each leg sequentially.

The idea is that you place a lay bet on the first leg and if that wins, you then place a lay bet on the second leg. You continue placing lay bets on each leg unless one of the legs loses, in which case you stop. Don’t worry, all will become clear shortly.

When to use sequential laying

Sequential laying can be used to do the following types of offer…

  • Enhanced multiples where a suitable lay market isn’t available.
  • Any offers where you need to place a multiple as your qualifying bet.
  • Acca insurance offers where you get a free bet if one leg lets you down.

Laying multiples is now actually easier than ever after the launch of a brand new ‘Multiples’ feature from Smarkets. It allows you to build any multiple you like and lay it as one bet at the click of a button.

That makes it a lot quicker than sequential laying as you don’t need to keep an eye on the progress of each leg and be ready to place the next lay bet if your selections keep winning.

Sequential laying is still worth getting to grips with though. You can often get smaller qualifying losses and therefore bigger profits laying sequentially. It will likely depend on the offer you’re doing as to which method you prefer.

How to lay sequentially

Let’s say one of the bookies are offering the following enhanced acca with a maximum stake of £10.00….

‘8/1 on Man Utd, Arsenal & Chelsea all to win’

The three matches kick-off at 12:30, 15:00 and 17:30 the same day and so don’t overlap. The individual lay odds for each team are as follows…

Man Utd to win – 2.50 (6/4)
Arsenal to win – 2.00 (evens)
Chelsea to win – 1.50 (1/2)

Multiplying the lay odds of each selection will give you the combined lay odds…

2.50 × 2.00 × 1.50 = 7.50

You can divide the boosted odds of 9.00 (8/1) by the combined lay odds of 7.50, to work out the expected value…

9.00 ÷ 7.50 = 1.20

So, the price boost has a positive expected value (EV) of 20%, which is very good.

You’ll want an expected value of at least 10% when laying sequentially. That’s because the lay odds can fluctuate while you’re waiting for the outcome of each leg. Sometimes the odds will move in your favour, increasing your potential profit. Other times it will go the other way.

I’ve created a Sequential Lay Calculator that takes care of the numbers for you. Simply enter your back stake and odds and the calculator will tell you how much to lay on each leg…

Select bet type

Back Bet (Bookie)

%

Leg 1 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 1): £

Leg 2 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 2): £

Leg 3 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 3): £
Bookie
Exchange
Total
Leg 1 loses
£
£
= £
Leg 2 loses
£
£ + £
= £
Leg 3 loses
£
£ + £ + £
= £
All legs win
£
£ + £ + £
= £

So, you start by placing a lay bet on Man Utd. If Man Utd win, you would then place a lay bet on Arsenal. If Arsenal win, you would then place a lay bet on Chelsea. You simply lay each leg as long as your selections are winning. If any of them lose, your enhanced acca has lost and you don’t need to place any more lay bets.

Leg 1: Lay against Man Utd

The first lay bet is simple. You just need to lay enough to cover your £10.00 bookmaker stake.

So, factoring in Betfair’s 5% standard commission, you just need to lay £10.53 against Man Utd, which is confirmed by the calculator above…

Betfair lay bet against Man Utd for leg 1 of our sequential lay.
Betfair lay bet against Man Utd for leg 1 of our sequential lay.

Let’s take a look at your situation following each possible outcome…

Outcome Bookie Betfair (Leg 1) Profit/Loss
Man Utd win - -£15.80 £15.80 loss
Man Utd don't win -£10.00 +£10.00 £0.00

If Man Utd win, you lose £15.80 on this lay bet at Betfair and move on to the next leg.

If Man Utd draw or lose, you’ve lost your £10.00 stake at the bookie, but you win £10.00 at Betfair. You’ve broken even and you don’t need to place any more bets.

Leg 2: Lay against Arsenal

Let’s say Man Utd won, meaning you now need to lay the next team in your enhanced acca. You need to lay enough to cover your £10.00 bookmaker stake, plus the £15.80 you just lost on your Man Utd lay bet.

So, again factoring in commission, you need to lay £27.15 against Arsenal, which is confirmed by the calculator above…

Betfair lay bet against Arsenal for leg 2 of our sequential lay.
Betfair lay bet against Arsenal for leg 2 of our sequential lay.

Let’s take a look at your situation following each possible outcome…

Outcome Bookie Betfair (Leg 1) Betfair (Leg 2) Profit/Loss
Arsenal win - -£15.80 -£27.15 £42.95 loss
Arsenal don't win -£10.00 -£15.80 +£25.80 £0.00

If Arsenal win, you lose a further £27.15 on this lay bet at Betfair and move on to the next and final leg.

If Arsenal draw or lose, you’ve lost your £10.00 stake at the bookie, plus the £15.80 you lost on laying Man Utd, but you win £25.80 on this Arsenal lay bet. You’ve broken even overall and you don’t need to place any more bets.

Leg 3: Lay against Chelsea

Let’s say Arsenal won, meaning you now need to lay the next team in your enhanced acca.

You’re now on the final leg, which means you have two choices. You can either continue as you have been for a risk-free shot at the maximum available profit or you can lock in a smaller guaranteed profit.

Risk-free method

If you decide to go for the risk-free method, you just need to make sure the ‘Risk Free‘ default setting is selected at the top of the Sequential Lay Calculator…

Select bet type

Back Bet (Bookie)

%

Leg 1 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 1): £

Leg 2 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 2): £

Leg 3 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 3): £
Bookie
Exchange
Total
Leg 1 loses
£
£
= £
Leg 2 loses
£
£ + £
= £
Leg 3 loses
£
£ + £ + £
= £
All legs win
£
£ + £ + £
= £

You need to lay enough to cover your £10.00 bookmaker stake, plus the £15.80 and £27.15 you lost on your Man Utd and Arsenal lay bets respectively.

So, again factoring in commission, you need to lay £55.73 against Chelsea, which is confirmed by the calculator above…

Betfair lay bet against Chelsea for leg 3 of our sequential lay, when aiming for a risk-free profit.
Betfair lay bet against Chelsea for leg 3 of our sequential lay, when aiming for a risk-free profit.

Let’s take a look at your overall profit/loss for each possible outcome…

Outcome Bookie Betfair (Leg 1) Betfair (Leg 2) Betfair (Leg 3) Profit/Loss
Chelsea win +£80.00 -£15.80 -£27.15 -£27.87 £9.18 profit
Chelsea don't win -£10.00 -£15.80 -£27.15 +£52.95 £0.00

If Chelsea win, you’ve lost £15.80, £27.15 and £27.87 on your three lay bets respectively. You’ve won £80.00 on your enhanced acca at the bookie though, giving you an overall profit of £9.18.

If Chelsea draw or lose, you’ve lost your £10.00 stake at the bookie, plus the £15.80 and £27.15 you lost on laying Man Utd and Arsenal respectively. You win £52.95 on this Chelsea lay bet though, meaning you’ve broken even overall and there’s no harm done.

Guaranteed profit method

If you decide to go for the guaranteed profit method, you just need to select the ‘Guaranteed Profit‘ setting at the top of the Sequential Lay Calculator…

Select bet type

Back Bet (Bookie)

%

Leg 1 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 1): £

Leg 2 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 2): £

Leg 3 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 3): £
Bookie
Exchange
Total
Leg 1 loses
£
£
= £
Leg 2 loses
£
£ + £
= £
Leg 3 loses
£
£ + £ + £
= £
All legs win
£
£ + £ + £
= £

As you can see, the calculator tells you that you should lay £62.07 against Chelsea

Betfair lay bet against Chelsea for leg 3 of our sequential lay, when aiming for a guaranteed profit.
Betfair lay bet against Chelsea for leg 3 of our sequential lay, when aiming for a guaranteed profit.

Let’s take a look at your overall profit/loss for each possible outcome…

Outcome Bookie Betfair (Leg 1) Betfair (Leg 2) Betfair (Leg 3) Profit/Loss
Chelsea win +£80.00 -£15.80 -£27.15 -£31.04 £6.01 profit
Chelsea don't win -£10.00 -£15.80 -£27.15 +£58.97 £6.02 profit

If Chelsea win, you’ve lost £15.80, £27.15 and £31.04 on your three lay bets respectively. You’ve won £80.00 on your enhanced acca at the bookie though, giving you an overall profit of £6.01.

If Chelsea draw or lose, you’ve lost your £10.00 stake at the bookie, plus the £15.80 and £27.15 you lost on laying Man Utd and Arsenal respectively. You win £58.97 on this Chelsea lay bet though, giving you an overall profit of £6.02.

So, no matter how the final leg pans out, you’ll make a guaranteed profit of £6.01.

It’s entirely up to you which method you adopt for any final legs you come to. If you’re working with a decent boost, it’s nice being able to lock in a guaranteed profit. If the boost isn’t so great or the odds have moved against you, you might have to settle for the risk-free method and hope the final leg wins.

Sequential laying for qualifying bets

Sequential laying also comes in handy for offers where you need to place a multiple as your qualifying bet.

You’re in control of the selections, so you can pick events that don’t overlap. Where possible though, be sure to stick to high profile football matches or horse races. This will help to avoid attracting unwanted attention from the bookmaker.

Let’s say one of the bookies are running the following offer…

Bet £10.00 on a multiple (2+ selections) and get a £10.00 free bet

You decide to place a qualifying double on Red Rum to win the 13:50 at Aintree and Tiger Roll to win the 15:00 at Ascot at odds of 3.00 (2/1).

The individual lay odds for each horse are as follows…

Red Rum – 1.60
Tiger Roll – 2.00

When using the Sequential Lay Calculator for qualifying bets, you should use the ‘Guaranteed Profit‘ setting to minimise your qualifying losses…

Select bet type

Back Bet (Bookie)

%

Leg 1 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 1): £

Leg 2 Lay Bet (Exchange)

%
Lay stake required (Leg 2): £
Bookie
Exchange
Total
Leg 1 loses
£
£
= £
Leg 2 loses
£
£ + £
= £
All legs win
£
£ + £
= £

So, you would follow exactly the same steps for this horse racing double as the football treble further up.

You would lay £10.53 on Red Rum in the 13:50 at Aintree at odds of 1.60.

If Red Rum loses, your £10.00 qualifying double at the bookmaker has lost, but you’ve won £10.00 on your lay bet. You’ve broken even and qualified for your £10.00 free bet.

If Red Rum wins, you’ve lost £6.31 on your lay bet and will need to lay £15.39 on Tiger Roll in the 15:00 at Cheltenham at odds of 2.00.

As you can see from the outcomes at the bottom of the calculator above, no matter what happens in the final race, you’ll lose a maximum of £1.70 in qualifying for your £10.00 free bet.

Final words

Sequential laying may seem a little complicated at first glance, but it’s actually quite straightforward.

The calculator does all of the hard work for you. You just need to keep an eye on your selections and be ready to place your next bet if they keep winning.

It’s another string to your matched betting bow, that will hopefully bag you some extra profits!