Sequential Laying

Level: Next steps
Updated: March 8, 2022

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

It’s a little more involved than a straight 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 you should do it.

What is sequential laying?

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

It’s a strategy you can use on any sport, though you’ll most likely use it on football or horse racing.

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 3:00 p.m. on a Saturday. You wouldn’t be able to lay the matches sequentially as the games overlap one another. However, suppose you place a treble on three games played on different days. In that case, there’s no overlapping, so you can lay each leg sequentially.

The idea is that you place a lay bet on the first leg, and if it 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

When it comes to laying multiples, more often than not, you’ll lay them using the ‘Multiples’ feature at Smarkets. You’re able 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.

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

You can use sequential laying to do the following types of offers.

  • 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.

How to lay sequentially

Let’s say one of the bookies are offering the following enhanced acca with a maximum stake of £10.

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

To work out the expected value, you can divide the boosted odds of 9.00 (8/1) by the combined lay odds of 7.50.

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 opposite way.

I’ve created a Sequential Lay Calculator that takes care of the numbers for you. 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 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 straightforward; you need to lay enough to cover your £10 bookmaker stake.

So, factoring in Betfair’s 5% standard commission, you need to lay £10.53 against Man Utd. The calculator above confirms this.

Betfair

Let’s take a look at your position, following each possible outcome.

OutcomeBookieBetfair
(Leg 1)
Profit/Loss
Man Utd win– £15.80£15.80 loss
Man Utd lose or draw– £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 lose or draw, you’ve lost your £10 stake at the bookie, but you win £10 at Betfair. You’ve broken even, and you don’t need to place any more lay 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 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. The calculator above confirms this.

Betfair

Let’s take a look at your position, following each possible outcome.

OutcomeBookieBetfair
(Leg 1)
Betfair
(Leg 2)
Profit/Loss
Arsenal win– £15.80– £27.15£42.95 loss
Arsenal lose or draw– £10.00– £15.80+ £25.80£0.00

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

If Arsenal lose or draw, you’ve lost your £10 stake at the bookie plus the £15.80 you lost on laying Man Utd. You win £25.80 on this Arsenal lay bet, meaning you’ve broken even overall, and you don’t need to place any more lay 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 continue as you have been for a standard shot at the maximum potential profit, or you can lock in a smaller fixed profit.

Standard method

Suppose you decide to go for the standard method. In that case, you need to select the ‘Standard‘ 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
£
£ + £ + £
= £

You need to lay enough to cover your £10 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. The calculator above confirms this.

Betfair

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

OutcomeBookieBetfair
(Leg 1)
Betfair
(Leg 2)
Betfair
(Leg 3)
Profit/Loss
Chelsea win+ £80.00– £15.80– £27.15– £27.87£9.18 profit
Chelsea lose or draw– £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 win £80 on your enhanced acca at the bookie, giving you an overall profit of £9.18.

If Chelsea lose or draw, you’ve lost your £10 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, meaning you’ve broken even overall, and there’s no harm done.

Lock in method

If you decide to lock in a fixed profit, you need to select the ‘Lock In‘ 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

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

OutcomeBookieBetfair
(Leg 1)
Betfair
(Leg 2)
Betfair
(Leg 3)
Profit/Loss
Chelsea win+ £80.00– £15.80– £27.15– £31.04£6.01 profit
Chelsea lose or draw– £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 win £80 on your enhanced acca at the bookie, giving you an overall profit of £6.01.

If Chelsea lose or draw, you’ve lost your £10 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, giving you an overall profit of £6.02.

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

It’s entirely up to you which method you adopt for any final legs. If you’re working with a decent boost, it’s nice being able to lock in a fixed profit. If the boost isn’t significant or the odds have moved against you, you might have to settle for the standard 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. Try and avoid anything too obscure, though. Where possible, stick to high profile football matches or horse races.

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

You decide to place a qualifying double on Red Rum to win the 13:50 Aintree and Tiger Roll to win the 15:00 Cheltenham at combined 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 ‘Lock In‘ 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
£
£ + £
= £

You follow the same steps for this horse racing double as the football treble above.

You would lay £10.53 on Red Rum at odds of 1.60.

If Red Rum loses, you lose your £10 qualifying double at the bookmaker. You win £10 on your lay bet, resulting in break-even, and you’ve qualified for a £10 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 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 free bet.

Final words

Sequential laying may seem a little complicated at first glance, but it’s relatively 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 added to your matched betting bow that should bag you some extra profits!

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Matt Kirman - Matched Betting Blogger

Matt KirmanMatched Betting Blogger

Since 2014, I’ve blogged over £60,000 worth of profit, and made it my mission to make matched betting accessible to everyone.