If you plan on becoming a competent online sportsbook bookie, you need to understand the uses of layoff betting.

Bottom line, it’s not the bookmakers job to take risks. It’s the players job. Bookies are supposed to offer the players odds while maintaining balanced action. That means moving the spread (or the juice AKA the price of the bet), to manipulate players and close with the same amount of action on each side. This leaves the juice in the middle (the extra commission for each bet) for the bookie to collect.

Proper bookies stick to this ideal.

Don’t get greedy, and you’ll watch your profit margins climb. However, no matter how much you try, balanced action is not always possible.

Sometimes, your audience will hammer odds before you can adequately balance action before kickoff. That’s when you’ll need a layoff bet.

What is a Layoff Bet

A layoff bet is when a bookmaker places a wager with another bookmaker to remove any liability on your bottom line.

Let’s say you’ve offered the Tampa Bay Buccanneers -10 (-110) versus the Houston Texans. As you reach the final 10 minutes before kickoff, you’re $10,000 offside despite attempts to shift the juice and even move 1-3 points off the number. Your best bet is to place a wager on the other side to balance action and limit risk.

It’s a tough situation, as the urge to “let it ride” and potentially cash in on a huge bet is always looming. But, again, a bookie’s job is to think big picture, and if you have 10, 15, or even 100 players, you need to realize you’re going to have plenty of opportunities to make tons of money.

Make Sure Your Pay Per Head Site Has Layoff Bets

This is a must, in our opinion. Sure, you can have another sportsbook at the ready to take your bets, but unless you’re a long-time client, you won’t know their reliability, what odds they’ll offer, or if you’ll be able to make enough of a deposit in time.

It would help if you had this built into your pay per head sportsbook software. Sites like BossAction.com and Payperhead.com offer layoff bets, and it’s as easy as clicking a link on the top right of your screen. You’re then brought to a sportsbook that looks similar to the one your clients will see. There you can rest easy and place your layoff bets.

It’s not smart business to use a PPH site that doesn’t offer this at one click away, as these decisions may come at the very last minute before the games start. Any veteran bettor knows you have to strike a wager while the iron is hot.

If your pay per head software does not offer this, we suggest reading our reviews and making the switch.

When Should You Place Layoff Bets

Although no moment is perfect, here are some moments you should keep in mind to take the plunge and place that layoff bet.

  • 10 minutes Before Closing: Sure, you can let things linger a little longer, but if you’re a new bookie, we suggest playing it safe and waiting until about 10 minutes before your game is off the board. This prepares you for any myriad of issues like deposit issues, site slowdown, or even your internet going down. Better to play it safe.
  • When Facing Big Parlays: Keep track of your player parlays as there could be a point where that innocent $5 wager has one leg left to win and $10,000 on the line on Monday Night Football. You don’t want to live in that stress. So if you see the last leg of an enormous parlay, either reach out to your player asking if they’re going to layoff or layoff yourself.
  • Taking Over Limit Wagers: Keeping your players happy is tough, especially when they want to start placing some dimes on games. If you fear alienating your players by refusing big bets, you can accept the wager and layoff instead to keep everyone happy. It’s better, in our opinion, to put strict limits on the amount of money you’ll take on a wager, but this is another option.
  • Offside Futures and Props: This isn’t just for spreads and moneylines. Sometimes you’ll see a massive underdog in futures come through. The Cincinnati Bengals from the 2021-2022 season are a good example. They made the Super Bowl despite long odds in the preseason. If one of your players puts big money on a huge underdog future, you could take a massive hit if it turns out. If that’s the case, you could use the Los Angeles Rams (their opponent) on the moneyline in the big game to balance action. There’s always a way to balance your odds.
  • Bad Vegas Odds: Believe it or not, the opening odds from Vegas are far from perfect. There are times when teams will open at -3 or -7, and they have no business being there. That could leave you in a conundrum. Bookies rarely want to move off key numbers, but you may see your players hammer a line. If that’s the case, it may be time to take the heat and instead place a layoff bet on the other side.
  • Place them For Fun: Sometimes, bookies want to play too. Like we said, sites like payperhead.com offer layoff bets just a click away. You don’t have to wait for your money to be offside to have some fun on a Sunday. You can be a player yourself and use the layoff option like another sportsbook.


If you’re new to the bookie game, layoff bets may sound like something brand-spanking new. But it’s been in betting circles since the days before Las Vegas was born. Use layoff bets to your advantage to sustain a growing business and not have years of effort ride on a team covering in the Super Bowl.