How Matched Betting Works

Following on from my article about what is matched betting, here I’m going to write about how matched betting works.

To start with, you will need a betting exchange account. I use Betfair, there is others, including Betdaq.

The reason why you will need a betting exchange account is to lay off your first (qualifying) bet, and a proportion of your free bets (this is how matched betting makes money).

I have written an article about the best free bets to use for matched betting, and from that article I’m going to use a £50.00 free bet to give you an example of how matched betting works.

Some online bookmakers have a minimum stipulation that your first (qualifying) bet has to be placed at odds of 2.00 (Even money) or greater in order to qualify for the free bet. So for the benefit of this example I’m going to work on that theory.

First (and like with all matched bets I place), I would select a football match or sporting event where the odds with the bookmaker is as close to the odds with the betting exchange, as possible.

Then I would place my qualifying bet like this…..

Back Team A @ 2.00 (Even money) with online bookmaker for £50.00.

Lay Team A @ 2.00 (approximately) or nearest price, ie 2.02 or 2.04, on betting exchange for approximately £50.00, to cover qualifying bet and get as close to £50.00 back as possible.

Once this is all settled and I have received my free bet, I would then use my free bet on a different football match or sporting event like this……..

Back Team A @ 4.0 (3/1) with online bookmaker for £50.00.

Lay Team A @ 4.1 (approximately) or nearest price, ie 4.2 or 4.3, on betting exchange for £37.00 (approximately), this guarantees me a profit of around £35.00.

It breaks down like this…… if the free bet wins I will receive £150.00 from the online bookmaker and lose £114.70 on the betting exchange – a profit of £35.30.

If the free bet loses, I get nothing from the online bookmaker (but don’t lose anything, as it was a free bet) and I get back £35.15 on the betting exchange – a profit of £35.15.

As I already stated, this is just an example of how I would do things. The prices I have quoted in my example can’t be guaranteed. As a rule of thumb, if I find a bet of 2.00 (Even money) with an online bookmakers, the chances are it will be somewhere between 2.02 and 2.08 to lay on Betfair.

Likewise with my free bet example. If I found a price of 4.00 (3/1) to back with the online bookmaker, the price on Betfair to lay the bet would probably be somewhere between 4.1 and 4.4.

This is why I quote ‘approximately’ in my examples. If the qualifying bet is placed at 2.00, and the lay bet is priced at 2.06, the amount needed to lay the bet (after commission) would be slightly more than £50.00.

It is important to be patient and take time when looking for a qualifying or free bet for matched betting, as the closer the odds are between the online bookmaker and the betting exchange the better, as it results in greater profits.

In general though, it is highly likely that when placing any qualifying bets a small percentage will be lost. From my own point of view, if I was placing a £50.00 qualifying bet I would be looking to get a minimum of £47.50 returned on it, meaning a small loss of £2.50 (5%), any higher and I wouldn’t do it.

When it comes to the free bets, I always look to make 60% profit (ie, £30.00 returned on a £50.00 free bet). After I have taken off any possible loss from my qualifying bet, I would want a minimum total return of 55% of my free bet value, although I generally get 60% these days.

This is a typical process I have followed while cashing in my free bets for matched betting. I hope I have explained things clearly, if anyone needs any help with matched betting, feel free to leave a comment and ask – I’ll be very happy to help out in any way I can.

Free Bets for Matched Betting

There are hundreds, even thousands of pounds worth of free bets out there and nearly all of them can be used for matched betting. Free bets can come in different forms, there is the reasonably straight forward free matched bet, the first deposit match up, and the free bet only if your first bet loses.

The difference in all these free bets is fairly simple, but consequently it can be a touch more difficult when it comes to how matched betting works.

In this blog post I’m going to concentrate on the free bets which are matched betting friendly, as they are the best ones to start with (I’ll write about the one’s that are less easy to use in another post).

The free bets I am writing about here are known as free matched bets. This is where the online bookmakers will give you a free bet for the same value of your first (qualifying) bet, whether that first bet wins, loses or draws. It is simply a free bet that mirrors your first bet, up to a maximum amount (ie £50.00).

There is none of this first deposit match up, or we’ll give you a free bet only if your first bet loses, etc….. which some online bookmakers offer (and in my view, these are the less friendly matched betting free bets).

Here are the online bookmakers who offer the easier to use matched betting friendly, free bets that you should start with……

Totesport – £10.00 Free Bet
Stan James – £10.00 Free Bet
Boylesports – £20.00 Free Bet
William Hill – £25.00 Free Bet
BetVictor – £25.00 Free Bet
Blue Sq – £25.00 Free Bet
Corbett Sports – £30.00 Free Bet
Coral – £50.00 Free Bet
Paddy Power – £50.00 Free Bet
Ladbrokes – £50.00 Free Bet
Betfred – £50.00 Free Bet

With these free bets you simply place your first/qualifying bet and then lay it on a betting exchange to ensure you don’t lose (I use Betfair). You then use your free bet and lay a percentage of it on a betting exchange to ensure a guaranteed profit – no matter what happens (here, you can find more details of how matched betting works).

In my view these are by far the easiest free bets to cash in, and are the best free bets to start with if you are new to matched betting, or starting with a small to moderate sized betting bank.

I would suggest starting with Totesport, basically starting with the smallest free bet first, and then working your way down the list.

That way if you are new to matched betting, you are not risking a large amount of money while you are getting familiarised with what you are doing. (If you are new to matched betting, I would suggest you first read my article what is matched betting?)

While if you have a smallish betting bank, you will only be able to cash in the smaller free bets to start with, but while you are doing this you are building up your bank, which will enable you to cash in the larger the free bets further down the line.