What Is a Lay Bet in Craps and How Does It Work?

by S. Ateljevic  ·  April 29, 2021

Lay bets are not all that popular among craps players because, with a lay bet, you are betting against a shooter. Since most craps players enjoy the camaraderie and bet on the shooter, the majority of players at the table have to lose for you to win a lay bet.

Even though this may sound off-putting for some casino players, a lay bet is, in fact, one of the best bets you can place in craps. If you want to answer the question “What is a lay bet in craps?” and learn more about it, you’ve come to the right place.

In our guide, we will cover everything you need to know about a lay bet in craps. Furthermore, we will cover several different strategies that beginners and advanced craps players alike can use.

Eight Quick Facts About How to Bet at Craps

  • Players generally avoid dark Sider strategies because they are betting against the shooter.
  • The best numbers to lay are a 4 and 10 because the house edge is only 2.44%.
  • Lay bets offer true odds.
  • Most bookmakers charge a 5% potential win on winning bets with true odds, while others charge it whenever you lay or buy a bet.
  • Laying and buying odds is one of the best craps betting strategies there is.
  • You can only add Free Odds bet if you have an active Pass, Don’t Pass, Come, and Don’t Come bet.
  • When adding Odds, you can only bet in multiples of the flat bet you placed.
  • To use the most out of the Free Odds strategy, place the table-minimum flat bet and the maximum Free Odds bet you can afford.

How to Bet at Craps

Before we get to the fun part, we will quickly show you how betting on craps works in general. However, if you have already bet on craps before, you can skip this section.

First things first — you will need to register with an online casino. Today, there are hundreds of online casinos in the UK. To make the process of finding the best one painless, we’ve already made a list of some of the best mobile casinos around.

Picking the right casino is just as important as learning how to bet at craps. After all, chances are you will invest a lot of your time and money to play craps, so naturally, you should have the best conditions available. For that reason, we made sure that the casinos on our list have great welcome offers, many games, a great variety of payment methods, and much more.

Therefore, rather than rushing to learn how to bet at craps, make sure to take your time and pick a casino that suits your needs the most. After you register and deposit funds into your account, simply navigate to a craps game and join a table. Beyond that, all you will have to do is decide how much you are willing to stake and place your bet.

Craps Betting Guide

The first thing you should learn about lay betting is that a lay bet doesn’t exist only in craps. In fact, lay bets are extremely popular among punters as well, and you can lay a bet when betting on horses, a football match, and much more. If you are wondering “What does lay mean in betting?”, then you should know it is simply a type of bet where you bet against an outcome.

As far bets go in craps, all bets can be divided into single-roll bets, known as prop bets, and multi-roll bets that take several rolls to resolve. Even though prop bets have a higher potential, they are a lot riskier, and you should generally avoid them.

Many new players often ask what the best bet in craps is simply because they wish to avoid learning about dozen types of bets you can place in craps. However, while playing craps might be slightly overwhelming for new players, you shouldn’t worry too much about it since there are only several bets that you should consider.

With that said, rather than telling you about all the types of bets there are in craps and which one you should use or avoid, our guide will focus on lay bets in particular. However, we will also briefly cover Place and Buy bets, which can help new craps players better understand lay bets in craps.

Place Bets

You can place a Place bet at any time by putting the chips on the layout and telling the dealer which numbers you want to cover. However, a Place bet becomes active only after a point is determined.

Like a lay bet in craps, you can put a Place bet on the numbers 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10. To win a Place bet, the shooter must roll the number you bet on before they roll a 7. If you win, the dealer will pay out the winnings, and your Place bet will remain active for as long as you’d like.

Payouts for placing a Place bet on a 4 or 10 are 9:5, 7:5 on a 5 and 9, and 7:6 on a 6 or 8.

Buy Bets

A Buy bet is the exact opposite of a Lay bet, which is why it has found its place in our lay betting guide. It is quite similar to a Place bet. However, in this case, you are betting that a shooter will land a specific point before rolling a 7. You would place a Buy bet just like you would place a Place bet, except you would notify the dealer you wish to place a Buy bet.

A Buy bet offers true odds, which is why casinos charge a 5% vig on the amount you may win by placing a Buy bet. Some casinos charge a vig only on winning Buy bets, while others charge it whenever you place a Buy bet.

The last thing you should know before you learn how to profit from lay betting is the payouts for the Buy bet. They are 2–1 on a 4 or 10, 6–5 on a 6 or 8, and 3–2 on a 5 or 9. Mathematically speaking, placing a Buy bet on 6 and 8 is not advisable since you will have a higher house edge because of the commission.

Craps Lay Bet

As we mentioned earlier, a Lay bet is the opposite of the Buy bet. With a Lay bet, you are betting that a shooter will seven out. In other words, the shooter needs to roll a 7 for you to win, and you’ll lose if they roll the number you layed first.

A lay bet is the basis for virtually all lay betting strategies. To place a Lay bet in a casino, you would generally put your chips in the Come area and notify the dealer you wish to lay against a specific number.

You can lay against a 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, or 10. The dealer will then move your chips on the number you are laying against and place a lay button on top of your chips to indicate a lay bet.

A Lay bet in craps offers true odds, which means that there is virtually no house edge on the wager. However, the casinos also charge vig for placing a Lay bet, so make sure you are playing at a casino that charges vig only on winning Lay bets.

The payouts for lay bets are 6–5 for laying a 6 or an 8, 3–2 for laying a 5 or 9, or 2–1 for a 4 or 10.

If you ever need a hand in calculating payouts, remember that you can always convert them to decimal odds. While it won’t necessarily help you learn how to profit from lay betting, it will help you indirectly by significantly speeding up the process of calculating the payouts and how much you should stake.

Once you convert fractional payouts to decimal odds, simply multiply the result with the number you wish to stake. Make sure to remember you can always check another guide of ours that will help you learn how to understand betting odds and show you how to calculate your winnings.

Betting Strategies for Craps

As is the case with every other casino game or betting at bookies, a strategy can significantly improve your odds of placing a winning bet. Of course, these strategies will not help you win the bet every single time but will instead show you how to profit from lay betting in the long run.

Naturally, you are not limited to using a single strategy. Quite often, you should even mix things up a little and change between different strategies. In the end, you may even slightly modify some of the strategies to fit your playstyle.

Pass Line Bet Strategy

A Pass Line bet strategy is the best craps betting strategy for beginners simply because of how easy it is. All you have to do with this strategy is to place a bet on the pass line after the come-out roll and just rinse and repeat after that. If the shooter rolls a 7 or an 11, you win.

Not only is the Pass Line bet strategy easy, but it also has a low house edge of 1.41%. As far as payout goes, the pass line offers a payout of 1–1, so you will make even money using this strategy.

Don’t Pass / Don’t Come Craps Strategy

The Don’t Pass / Don’t Come strategy is one of the most basic Dark Side lay betting strategies, which means that you are betting against a shooter and, in most cases, against a table. It is also one of the simpler Dark Sider strategies, and as the name suggests, you will be betting on the Don’t Come and Don’t Pass.

To use this lay betting strategy, you will first place the Don’t Pass bet. If the shooter rolls a 2 or 3, you will win, and you will lose if they roll a 7 or an 11. Simultaneously, if the shooter rolls a 12, the Don’t Pass bet becomes a push, which means you will receive your wager back.

If the shooter already established the point, you will simply put the Don’t Come bet. The Don’t Come bet pays if the shooter rolls a 2 or 3 on the next roll and is a push if a 12 comes.

Before you learn the answer to the question “What is a lay bet in craps?”, we advise that you stick to simpler strategies like the Don’t Pass and Don’t Come craps strategy. However, once you have mastered the fundamentals, you can move on to more advanced strategies we will cover next.

Betting and Laying Free Odds

While the Pass Line and Don’t Pass / Don’t Come strategies are great for new players, they are also the basis for betting on the Free Odds that is considered the best craps betting strategy. In fact, if you asked a craps veteran to recommend to you a crème de la crème craps strategy, it would probably be this one.

Free Odds, also known as the Odds bet, is an extra wager added to a Pass, Don’t Pass, Come, or Don’t Come bets, which is the reason we covered them earlier in our lay betting guide. When you add extra odds to the Pass or Come bets, this is known as taking odds, whereas adding odds to the Don’t Pass or Don’t Come bets is known as laying odds.

To place the Odds bet, you need to have one of these four flat bets already active so that you can add extra odds to your bet. To do so, you would generally place chips directly behind the Pass Line bet on an unmarked area known as the apron.

Whether you are taking odds or adding odds to your craps lay bet, an important thing to know is that you can only make the Odds bet in multiples. In other words, you can only bet 3x, 4x, or 5x more than the flat bet you placed. Generally speaking, most casinos allow you to place a 3x Odds bet for the point numbers 4 and 10, 4x for a 5 and 9, and 5x for a 6 and an 8.

However, this represents only the maximum you can bet in Free Odds, and you can also bet 1x or 2x more than the flat bet you placed. Additionally, some casinos allow you to bet 10x, 20x, or even 100x more.

While our lay betting guide is tailored for everyone, high-rollers can profit the most from adding the Odds bet. Namely, the more you bet, the more you will reduce the house edge. For example, if you add a 1x Odds bet, you reduce the house edge to 0.8%, 0.3% for 5x, and 0.02% if you place a 100x Odds bet.

If you have an active Pass bet and place an Odds bet, you will win both bets if a Pass bet is active. However, if the shooter sevens out, you will lose both bets. Similarly, assuming that you already answered — What is a lay bet in craps?, you can also lay odds if you have an active Don’t Pass bet.

If you decide to place the Pass Line bet and win, the Pass Line bet will be paid 1–1, and the Free Odds will be added to your payout. As far as the Free Odds bet is concerned, it is paid in true odds, depending on the point number you buy or lay against.

To make the most out of this lay betting strategy, you should make a minimum flat bet allowed at the table and combine it with the highest Free Odds bet you can afford or the one that the casino allows.

An important thing to know is that if you are buying odds, you should make sure that your Pass bet is a multiple of £5. At the same time, ensure that the initial Don’t Pass bet is a multiple of $6. Similarly, if you wish to learn how to profit from lay betting and maximise your wins, you should always wager even amounts for Odds bet with 5 and 9 because the payout for these two numbers is 3–2.

Namely, if you bet £5 on a 5 and 9, the payout will be £7.50. However, since dealers don’t work with small change, they will round down your payout to £7. To avoid that, simply bump your bet to £6.

Whether you decide to buy bets or lay them, the principle is the same, so make sure to adjust the strategy according to the playstyle you prefer the most.

Craps Lay Bet Strategy for Laying a 4 and 10

Laying a 4 and 10 is perhaps one of the most efficient lay bets you can place since the house edge equals only 2.44% in this case. As far as this strategy goes, it revolves around laying a 4 and 10 and includes several other bets to minimise your losses and help you land lots of small wins.

This lay betting strategy begins by betting on the Don’t Pass bet. To explain how it works, let’s say that you bet £100 on the Don’t Pass. After that, you will wait for the come-out roll and until the point is established. To be more precise, you will wait until either a 4 or a 10 are a point; otherwise, you will just roll it out.

Once a shooter rolls a 4 as a point, you will lay £500 on a 4 and hedge a hard 4 for £75. Hedging a hard 4 is generally a bad lay bet for experienced craps players but, in this case, it will help us minimise our losses. At the same time, you would place a £50 place bet on a 5 and 9, as well as a £50 buy bet on a 10. Finally, you would also place a £52 bet on a 6 and 8, so it rounds up your payout to £60.

As you can see, this aggressive strategy combines several betting strategies for craps into one by letting you bet on multiple selections. However, most of your profits will come from laying either a 4 or a 10. Once you’re done placing your bets, it’s only a matter of letting the strategy play out.

This strategy aims to let a 7 do all the work, and you will have to hope to avoid an easy 4 or a soft 4. As we mentioned, you can also use this strategy if a 10 is a point, except you would lay a 10 for £500 and buy a 4 for £50, and you would also hedge a hard 10.

Lastly, if you wish to use this craps lay bet strategy, but you don’t have a massive bankroll or you’re not prepared to risk as much, you can always adjust the values of each bet proportionally to a fifth (or other) of the values we mentioned.


It will take seconds to find a craps table in a land-based casino if the dice are hot. In fact, it’s the cheers and camaraderie that make craps one of the most exciting casino games there is, and the same goes when playing at a live online casino. Because of that, many players avoid Dark Sider strategies that rely on betting against a shooter or a table.

However, if you would rather make a profit than make friends at the table, then lay bets are a way to go. Furthermore, now that we’ve answered the question “What is a lay bet in craps?” and showed you how it works, you should be ready to place your first lay bet in craps.

As you can see from the strategies we’ve included, you can either place lay bets exclusively or mix things up a little and include other bets while focusing mostly on lay bets. Once you become more experienced with craps, you may add even more variety to your lay bets and create a strategy of your own.