Matched Betting

As well as being a football betting website, we also like to bring you helpful information about other aspects of betting, and one such aspect we feel is very important, is matched betting.

Beginners Guide To Matched Betting

Beginners Guide To Matched Betting

If you’re new to matched betting and the thought of it looks daunting, then don’t be worried. It really is quite easy, and literally anybody with a wi-fi connection, an e-mail address, and a bank account can do it.

If you hear or read words like decimal odds, betting exchanges, qualifying bets, lay bets, etc, don’t be put off. Yes, you will need to learn all of these things, but they really are simple.

The easiest and most basic way I believe you can learn matched betting (or teach it from my perspective), is to break it down in to simple to understand segments. And that is what I aim to do in this blog post.

Best Matched Betting Subscription Services

Before we go on, there are matched betting experts who will walk you through the process and effectively hold your hand the whole way. These subscription services do cost you money, but the time and effort they can save you is immeasurable. Here they are:-

These are a great help if you don’t want to have to learn the ins and outs of matched betting. The cost is nominal, on average they work out between £10 and £15 a month, based on a years membership.

It’s not much money when you consider you have the chance to make hundreds every month with matched betting. If you prefer to do it yourself, that’s fine. Why pay for something you can do yourself.

Whether you use the any of the matched betting subscription services or not, I’d still say it’s advisable to read this post, as it will help you to better understand matched betting in the long run.

Beginners Guide To Matched Betting


1. Open A Betting Exchange Account
2. Open A Bookmakers Account
3. Convert Bookmakers Odds To Decimal Odds
4. Place Qualifying Bet With Bookmakers
5. Place Lay Bet On Betting Exchange To Neutralise Qualifying Bet
6. Place Free Bet With Bookmakers
7. Place Lay Bet With Betting Exchange To Ensure Profit From Free Bet

………. of these seven segments, you only have to open a betting exchange once. So once you are up and running, you will only have to keep on repeating stages 2 to 7. Stage 3 is simple as well, so it means only really needing to get learn stages 2, 4, 5, 6, and 7.

So first up, we are going to look at Stage 1, opening a Betting Exchange account.

Open A Betting Exchange Account

In order to make money from matched betting, you need to have a betting exchange account. There are no two ways about it, without one, you can’t do this.

There are three main betting exchanges, Betfair, Betdaq, and Smarkets. All have a new customers offer, so I recommend opening all three. I have done.

You also have three options for trying to find the best odds, and you have plan b options if the betting exchange you are planning on using isn’t working, or offering odds on that particular event.

Essentially all do the same, they allow you to lay bets. A lay bet is basically a bet on something not happening, ie, Arsenal not winning a football match.

So say for example, Tottenham are at home to Arsenal in the football on Saturday. You don’t think Arsenal will win, but you’re not confident they will lose either. You are just certain they won’t win. In this instance you would place a lay bet on Arsenal.

This way if Arsenal don’t win, you win. So if Tottenham win, or it’s a draw, your lay bet would win. If Arsenal pull off the win, your lay bet loses.

If it sounds complicated now, don’t worry, you will understand it more when you put it into action later in the process.

For now though, if you want to be successful at matched betting, you need to open a Betting Exchange account. Here are the links to the main three…..

Smarkets – Use Referral Code VUFU96

Open A Bookmakers Account

Now you have your betting exchange accounts up and running, you will need to open a bookmakers account. You will find a list of bookmakers accounts here.

It’s a pretty simple process. You just need to fill in your personal details, and you will also need an active email address, and a bank card. Now you are almost ready to get started.

Convert Bookmakers Odds To Decimal Odds

This is a fairly simple process, and as you read on you will see why it’s handy to do this (you don’t have too, it just makes matched betting easier).

Betting exchanges operate in decimal odds format. So for example, if the odds on a football team to win a match are 2/1, the betting exchange would show that simply as 3. Broken down, this means if you put £1 on at 2/1, you get £3 back. £2 in winnings plus your £1 original bet money.

So basically, the 3 represents the amount you get back for a £1 bet. Put £10 on the bet, and you multiply your £10 by 3, for the amount you get back. Yes, it’s £30, you’ve got it.

Bookmakers tend to operate in fractional odds, which would be your 2/1. This means when you come to try and match a back bet with a lay bet (you will come across this in Steps 4 and 5), one will be in fractional format, and one will be in decimal format.

The simple answer to this is too simply change the bookmakers odds to decimal.

Decimal Odds Matched Betting

The two red highlighted sections show you where to click to change the odds format, and one to choose for Decimal Odds

Place Qualifying Bet With Bookmakers

Right, now that you have converted your odds to decimal point odds, you are ready to place your qualifying bet.

In order to receive a free bet, you will need to place a qualifying bet first. You need to use the betting exchange, to make sure you don’t lose money on the qualifying bet. But don’t worry about that yet, as we come to that on the next stage.

The first thing to do is find an event to place your qualifying bet on. In this example, I’m going to use Liverpool V Man City in the Premier League. And I am going to base it on a qualifying bet of £10.

In matched betting, it’s important to try and find an event where the back odds with the bookmaker are similar to the lay bet odds on the betting exchange. It is very rare they will ever be identical, so don’t spend too much time looking.

We are going to place our qualifying bet on Man City to win. With the bookmakers City are 2.55 to win. While on the betting exchange, City are 2.58 to lay. That’s close enough odds.

So you would need to click on the 2.55 on the bookmakers website to place your £10 qualifying bet on. As you can see you stand to get £25.50 back, this is including your £10 bet. A profit of £15.50.

Matched Betting Qualifying Bet

Place £10 on Man City to beat Liverpool for your qualifying bet

Once you’ve clicked ‘Place Bet’ that’s your qualifying bet taken care off, and it’s now time to place your lay bet on the betting exchange to neutralise your £10 risk.

Place Lay Bet On Betting Exchange To Neutralise Qualifying Bet

Don’t be put off by the word neutralise, in this process it just means to break even.

In order to claim a free bet, you always have to first place a qualifying bet. But, we don’t want to lose £10 placing a qualifying bet, in order to get a £ 5 or 10 free bet. Otherwise what would be the point to it all!! This is why we need to break even.

You have already placed your qualifying bet with the bookmaker, so now this is what you have to do in order to break even.

Matched Betting Lay Bet

In this screenshot, the Green figure is what you stand to win, and the Red figure is the amount you stand to lose

It works like this – you place a £10 lay on Manchester City with the betting exchange. As you can see in the screenshot above, you stand to lose £16 should Man City win.

It’s not a problem though, as you stand to win £15.50 with the bookmaker. Okay, so there is a small loss of 50p, but you are getting a free bet of £5, or £10, etc. For every £5.00 free bet, you will make around £3.00 to £3.70, so the 50p loss is a small price to pay.

If Manchester City don’t win, ie, the match ends in a draw, or Liverpool win, then you would lose £10 with the bookmaker, and win £10 on the betting exchange (the Green figure).

So no matter what the outcome of the match, you will win either with the betting exchange, or the bookmaker.

This means that after placing your qualifying bet, you have both got your money back (give or take 50p), and you have also got yourself a free bet. And it’s the free bet you make your profits from.

Place Free Bet With Bookmakers

Right, onto Stage 6, placing our free bet. I’m going to try and keep this short, simple and easy to understand. Don’t forget, you have a £5 free bet to use.

First up, you need to be trying to find a bet with minimum odds of 4/1, or 5 as we know it in decimal odds. This maximises your profits, and the higher the odds the better (7/1 or 8/1, etc).

Ideas for markets to use your free bet on to get odds like this, could be horse races, or a correct score in a football match. In this example, I am going to use a recent Premier League match between Tottenham and Sheffield United.

For the free bet, we are placing it on Sheffield United at 5/1 (6 in Decimal Odds) .

As you can see from the above example, Sheffield United are 5/1. Using your £5 free bet, you place it on Sheffield United to win. This means if Sheffield United win, you get £25 back. While if they don’t win (lose or draw), you lose nothing, as it is a free bet.

Place Lay Bet With Betting Exchange To Ensure Profit From Free Bet

So onto the final stage, which is to place your lay bet and ensure your risk free profits. With a £5.00 free bet, you want to be looking to make something around the £3.50 mark (roughly 70% return on your free bet). The screenshot below shows this is basically where we are at.

Profit it is in Green, Loss is in Red

I use 65% as my general guide for return on investment (£6.50 profit for every £10 free bet). I try not to go below 60%. The only time I do, is if a free bet is about to expire, and I have to use it or lose it. At that point, just get what you can from your free bet.

As you can see from the screenshot, I stand to make £3.68 (Green) if Tottenham win, or the match is a draw. If Sheffield United win, I would lose £21.34 (Red).

So below I’m going to give you the three possible scenarios that could play out:-

  • Tottenham Win – You make £3.68 on Betfair, and lose nothing with the bookmakers ( your free bet loses). Profit of £3.68
  • Draw – You make £3.68 on Betfair, and again lose nothing with the bookmaker. Again, because it’s the free bet that loses. Profit of £3.68
  • Sheffield United Win – In this instance you will lose £21.34 on Betfair, but you will win £25.00 from the bookmaker. This time you win £3.66 (25.00 – 21.34 = 3.66). Profit of £3.66

So as you can see, no matter what the outcome of the football match, you make a profit of over £3.60. This is from a £5.00 free bet, so it represents a good return on investment (ROI).

60% profit on free bets is a good return on investment

You might be thinking £3.60 isn’t much, but from a £5.00 free bet, it is a decent profit. And as there are hundreds to thousands of pounds of free bets out there, you can begin to see how much money can be made.

Using the return on investment formula of 60% which works out at £3.00 for every £5.00 free bet you find, you will make £600.00 from every £1000.00 worth of free bets you find.

Now that you have seen how matched betting works, it’s time to get started. Use this same process above on all the free bets you can find – check our list of online bookmakers for more free bets.

Use The Smallest Free Bets First To Start Matched Betting

Start with the smallest free bets first, the £5.00 ones. Then work your way up, once you’ve used all the £5.00 free bets, move onto the £10 ones. This enables you to start with a smaller betting bank, £100 will be plenty enough, you could even get away with fifty to sixty pounds if you wish.

Starting with a smaller betting bank and on the £5.00 free bets also makes matched betting less stressful. If you make a mess of a £5.00 free bet, so what, it’s not the end of the world. Keep going, and keep practising.

By the time you’ve worked your way up to the larger free bets, you’ll be an expert. You will also have a far larger betting bank, meaning you can withdraw your initial outlay if you wish too.

What Happens To My Matched Betting When I’ve Used All The Free Bets?

You will then have a choice. You can either quit and walk away, or you can carry on. If you choose to carry on, it does get more complicated though.

As you have already used all of the new customer free bets, you will need to find free bets for existing customers – these are also known as reload offers.

Reload offers are most common in football and horse racing. For example, in horse racing you would get your money back as a free bet if a certain event happens, ie, your horse finishes second, or falls at the last fence.

Reload offers are available on a daily basis and are where the serious matched bettors make their real money.

How Reload Offers Work

One of the most common matched betting reload offers are money back specials on horse racing. And these are available nearly every day.

For example, you find a bookmaker offering money back as a free bet on any horse that finishes second.

So what you do next is find out what the maximum refund is if your horse finishes second. For this example, we will say it’s a tenner.

You then put your tenner on a horse to win, and you then would place a lay bet on the same horse on a betting exchange. You will then have one of the following scenarios:-

  • The horse wins. This means you win from the bookmaker, but lose a similar amount on the betting exchange, you pretty much break even.
  • Your horse comes third, fourth, fifth or any position lower – basically the horse finishes outside the top two. In this scenario, you would lose with the bookmaker, but get your money back on the betting exchange. You break even.
  • The horse comes second. Bingo, we’re in business. In this scenario, you lose with the bookmaker, and win on the betting exchange. So you break even. But it’s actually better than that, because you have broke even, and you have a ten pounds free bet to use.

So you see, that’s an example of how a reload offer works. You are not guaranteed a free bet every time, but if you persist, you will get them.

Some of the bookmakers offer free bets of up to £50.00, so this is why serious matched betters still persist with them. It is harder work, but the rewards can be even bigger and better.

Matched Betting Subscription Services

Don’t forget, if you don’t want all the hassle of doing matched betting yourself, for a small fee of around £10 to £15 a month, you can get one of the many excellent subscription services to do it for you.

They are:-

All of these services will do matched betting for you. They will find you the free bets, and with video, and written instructions, will walk you through the process. There is even support by way of e-mail, phone, and live chat, depending on which service you use.

The subscription services take the hassle out of matched betting. They are cheap enough as well for you to still make a huge profit, and they will save you a heck of of a lot of time. That is the best bit of their service by a mile, saving you time is priceless.

One £20 free bet a month would be enough to pay for their assistance, that’s how cheap they work out at.

And the best bit is, they all have trial offers. Yes, some you can try out for free, while the others have a £1.00 charge for 7 or 14 days. You can basically try them all out for less than a fiver and then choose which one you prefer.

Any questions, just leave a comment in the box below. I hope you success in your matched betting, whether you do it yourself, or use one of the excellent matched betting subscription services. Either way, good luck.

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