7 Typical Lay The Draw Mistakes

lay the drawEver tried “Lay The Draw”? You are going to love reading some of these typical LTD mistakes and you might even be able to relate to it!

The Lay The Draw strategy is one that often divides sports traders and Betfair punters. I know plenty that make the equivalent of a full time income from it to this very day, yet if you look on forums and blogs you will see many football traders complaining that there is no longer an edge with it.

My view is that your edge is only as good as your match selection process and if you put good effort into research then you will be rewarded. However, there are many common mistakes that traders make when trying LTD which causes them to lose.

1- Overusing The Strategy

Many newbie traders will learn this way of trading and immediately begin trying to use it on every match that goes in-play that fits their criteria. This can usually be at the expense of any sort of pre-match research since it all sounds so easy.

I admit that I did a similar thing once upon a time when I first learned of this method. I remember getting up at 8am on a Saturday many moons ago and trading LTD on every match that had the favourite odds-on. It was quite a day as by 5pm I was in huge profit for the day and feeling like I had found the holy grail. However, by midnight I had lost most of it on the Spanish and South American matches and went to bed exhausted with a loss of about £10 for my days work.

This made me realise, very quickly, that the method is sound however, as with most things, solid match selection was going to be the key to success. Ian Erskine from FTS Income claims to make his main income from LTD and he emails out the matches he is trading. There is no coincidence that he only seems to email out about 6-8 picks a MONTH these days!

2 – Panic When The Underdog Scores

So you have picked a match to use LTD on, it goes in-play, you see the market go suspended after a few minutes and you get ready to fill your boots with profit. However, it is actually a goal to the underdog and the draw price has gone LOWER rather then higher. This causes a huge dilemma and plenty of newbies get really panicked at this point.

Do you exit the trade even though currently you are actually backing a winning outcome? Do you lay the underdog as you expect the favourite to equalise?

This is the time when it really does pay to have a solid plan in place for this scenario and STICK to it. I know some who exit the trade for a small loss and get back in if it goes back to 1-1 and I also know some who hang in there as they know the underdog could easily get a 2nd goal and secure a winning trade.

There is no right or wrong in this instance just as long as you formulate your plan and stick to it every time.

3 – Trying To Use Insurance

A typical newbie mistake when it comes to this way of trading is believing that using insurance will soften the blow when you make a loss. It is true that you will make a smaller loss if you use insurance but then you will also make smaller winnings too which pretty much defeats the object.

I have heard of all sorts of “Insurance” techniques banded about. This could be backing 0-0 or backing 1-1 or even backing the half time draw. These will not get you very far and will just over complicate a very simple trading strategy.

My advice would be to give up on trying to find ways to take insurance since that just eats into your profit margin. You should be entering a trade expecting to win rather then being worried about what might happen if it loses.

4- Only Locking In Small Profits

The big problem with this strategy is that locking in a profit immediately after the first goal can often mean these profits are not very big. Depending on the strength of the favourite you will usually be locking in a profit of 20-40% on your stake. This is just on your stake and actually often just a 5-10% profit on your overall liability. Of course, if you stick to your stop loss you should not be risking your whole liability but it was worth pointing out.

So if you are locking in regular profits between 20-40% on your stake and you lose 100% of your stake when you hit a loser it means you need a strike rate of over 70% in order to begin making long term profits. Not impossible but it does make your job much harder and, again, means your match selection needs to be on point.

The fact is that you are actually much better off by only locking in profits once a team has gone 2 goals ahead as this could produce profits in excess of 70% or at least waiting till the odds go that high in-play later in the match. However, the newbie attitude is usually to lock in profit as soon as it is there which is actually a mistake. You should be racing your winners long and only cutting your losers short.

5 – Picking Matches With Poor Liquidity

You might scour the coupon and spot what looks like a great opportunity in the Bulgarian league or something else just as obscure. You might even do all your usual research and feel that the opportunity looks great. However, many newbies fail to think about the liquidity in the market before the trade.

What can happen is that once the match goes in-play you are forced to take poor odds as there is simply not enough other traders in there to offer fair prices. I have heard about people trading matches from League 1 on a busy Saturday afternoon who complain they could not get out of the trade even when the favourite is leading. Sometimes they get lucky and the favourite romps to a win but sometimes it can get nasty as a late equaliser can put your whole liability at risk.

Look for at least £100k matched BEFORE kick off if you want good liquidity, otherwise you could end up in a sticky situation.

6 – Abandoning The Stop Loss

A common newbie mistake is to feel that a goal “is coming” and to leave their whole liability in the market only to get stung by a 0-0 and have a huge loss relative to their bank. This is the type of loss that can cause many to give up.

There is a reason that traders have a stop loss point and that is to protect your risk-reward ratio and, eventually, your trading bank. There is actually nothing wrong with laying the draw and letting it run till the end of the match but if you are going to do that then you should also let your profits run to the very end without greening up as this will give you a good risk reward ratio. Locking in a profit of £40 when you are risking £450 per trade means you will need one hell of a strike rate to remain in profit.

The best advice is to simply have your stop loss point in place and stick to it every time without fail. If you do not feel that you have the mental strength to always trade out of a losing position then perhaps this is not the right industry for you.

7 – Giving Up Too Easily

This is the same mistake that can be applied to many different things in life. Very often, the biggest mistake is giving up before you get chance to realise success.

There are many who give this strategy a go but believe that it is much easier then it is in reality. They end up making some of the above mistakes and simply just give up. The key to this strategy, as with most strategies, is in your match selection process. Trying to do anything blindly is the quick route to the poorhouse.

If you work at this type of method then you will eventually begin to get somewhere and this really is one of the most simple methods around.


Hopefully, this article will prove very useful for some. You might have just discovered the method and are in the process of experimenting or you might have previously made some of the above mistakes and now you might want to give it another go.

If you are interested in learning more about profiting from this type of trading, then you could check out my “How To Master Lay The Draw” playlist on youtube, check that out here!

Or check out my full FREE guide to laying the draw by clicking here!


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  1. Hi very intersting i like the information on Liquidaty of 100k that was an intersting point.

    i personly Trade out once i am happy with a profit showing that i have set in mind, i do understand the point of leaving the Trade to run until the end of the match. But isnt it better to Trade out. say a game is going 80th minuite @2-1by leaving it open the Trade becomes an open bet?

    One option im looking into is looking for matches 0-0 @ half time then doing reserch on the goal stats, by LTD @ half time the Lay liabilaty is a lot less and stats show more goals are scored in the second half . Id like your views on that method.

    Cheers Chris

    1. Sports Trading Life says:

      Hi Chris,

      In some ways it is always an “open bet” regardless of the time in the match. As with the answer to most trading questions is “it depends”, do you feel you can profit in the long run by exiting at 2-1 and 80 mins or is it better to ride it out for a bigger profit?

      If the right profit is not available at 80 minutes then it is probably better to wait for the profit you want but it will be nerve-wracking.

  2. cayenne turbo says:

    excellent article as always.i love LTD and with good match selection and good entry and exit points,the profits by far and away out weigh the losses.keep up the good work guys.

    1. Sports Trading Life says:

      Thanks for the comment and glad you enjoyed!

  3. Blind Beggar says:

    Very good acticle, once more. I’d be interested to know the level of Stop-Loss to apply, assuming I wish to follow the recommendation to ‘Green-up’ when I can take approx 70% of my potential profit? Just how long to I wait for a goal and what percentage of my stake should I be willing to risk on a strategy like this?

    Blind Beggar

  4. I need to say a big thank you for this article…..Im one of those traders that have tried alot of systems….Ive tried the correct score, laying the AU first half score, laying the draw and backing 1-1 and 0-0 etc…I was about to give up when I read these article then I realised that these is the best way to follow because ive re-programmed myself and ive changed my orientation putting all those mistakes into consideration and to God be the glory im now winning atleast 15 matches out of 15 matches with a good match selection but I still have a little problem.. Here is how im now doing my LTD now
    1} I select my matches for tommorrow today’s night:- I dont just go for any matches, I have two great football prediction websites im using. I will look for predictions where the favorite team won the match with at least 2 goals difference according to their predictions then i will compare the prediction from the first site with the second site and if they predict the same thing then i will select the match and note them down but if there is a slight difference in the predictions I wont trade the match or I might trade it but I will only risk only a little on the match….Here are the list of the matches i selected on 30th of march 2013 according to my match selection analysis…..
    a} Hertha vs Bochum
    b} Sunderland vs Man utd
    c} Palermo vs Roma
    d} Schalke vs Hoffenhm
    e} Stuttgart vs Dortmud
    f} Arsenal vs Reading
    g} Man city vs Newcastle
    h} Burton vs Chester
    i} Arouca vs freamude
    j} B munich vs harmbug
    k} Academica vs Porto
    l} Benfica vs Rio Ave
    m} Celta vigo vs Barcelona
    n} Zaragoza vs Realmadrid
    o} Everton vs stoke
    ** Out of all the 15 matches, 9 of them, the favorite took the lead first and scored the first goal then i was tempted to close my trade but i read your article again and I closed my trades when ive made 70% of my total stake
    ** The remaining 6, the underdog score first and I didnt even think about it before I close my trade for a tiny profit and some a very tiny loss….the best example is real madrid and barca match…..
    I repeated the same thing today on 8 matches:-
    1} Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool {I close my trade on these match immediately Astonvilla score the first goal and I exited with a little profit but im okay with that because my rule number one is to always exit my trade when the underdog score first and I want to obey the rule
    2} CSKA Sofia 3 – 0 Minyor Pernik {These one was a confident win for me}
    3} Brest 1 – 2 Lille {Lille was the favorite here but Brest took the lead first in 10 mins to the game and I exit my trade then Lille equalize and the odd for draw went down below 2.0 before lille took the lead again in 79th minute
    4} Köln 2 – 1 Regensburg {Koln was the favorite here and the took the lead 28mins then I was waiting for them to score the 2nd goal before I close my trade and disappointingly but the underdog equalized in the 73mins and the odd was dropping and my stop loss point was hit and i closed the trade with a loss then the favorite took the lead again in 87mins but ive closed the trade already}
    5} Krasnodar 4 – 0 Anzhi {These was a very confident win for me}

    6} Levante UD B 2 – 0 Binissalem {These was also a confident for me}
    7} Yeclano 0 – 2 L’Hospitalet {These was also a confident for me}
    8} Hacken 0 – 3 IFK Göteborg {These was also a confident for me}
    5 big wins, 2 tiny wins and 1 loss according stop loss….
    Some of those matches where I won confidently are with high draw odd like 7.1, 6.1 but I cant afford to for go the match so I risk the same amount on all the matches no matter their odd I achieved this by designing and excel calculator that calculate my stake,my profit and my green up profit level so no matter how high the odd, I will risk the same amount..
    I search the internet for LTD stop loss and what most of them recommend was when the odd get to 2.0 or below 2.0 but to me i was thinking the risk here is to much because i dont want to risk that much so i was planning to set my stop loss to minus one of my bet odd i.e if i lay the draw at 3.5 then my stop loss will be on 2.5 thats minus one but something in me is telling me this is not the best so im so confused about this and I need your help….
    My second challenge is when the favorite is leading by just a goal like the Man utd sunderland and its getting to 60mins to 70mins into the second half and my profit has not yet gotten to 70% which is part of my greening up rule…any equaliser from the underdog when the time is getting to 70mins or more might make the odd to go down and the odd might even go down as far beyond my stop loss and i might be in high loss so what is your advise in such situations?
    what is your view about what im doing now?
    Do you think im on the right track?
    Sofar my profit has been far greater than my loss because of my match selection principle but what are the likely problems you think i might still face in future?
    Can I go ahead with these and make money longterm?
    I will be waiting for you reply…
    I will be so glad if I can have your facebook contact or yahoo messenger or your number so that I can contact you easily when I need your help because i see you as a mentor

    1. Sports Trading Life says:

      Hi Michael,

      Wow, that is quite some response and I will do what I can to help but my time is quite restricted.

      My first advice would be to carry on trading small till you have at least 100 samples or to trade with a bank you can afford to lose and try and grow it that way. Do not rush in with big money after a short term bit of success.

      Also, I would feel that if the time reached 70 minutes and a goal to the underdog would put you in a loss worse then your previous stop loss allowance then this is a good time to take the profit that is on offer.

      Most use a stop loss which is half the odds they enter. So entering @ 3.5 means stop loss is 1.75.However, this really is just down to your own preference and risk.


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