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Matched betting is the process of creating a guaranteed, risk-free profit from the bookmakers! This guaranteed profit becomes even more irresistible when you realise matched betting can be done from anywhere with only an internet connection and a PC (or smartphone) and is 100% tax free!

If you’re still reading at this point then you’re probably curious as to how all of this works? Basically, by utilising the free bets and bonuses given out by bookies in conjunction with a betting exchange (a service which operates similar to a bookies except it allows you to bet against a selection) we can guarantee ourselves a profit!

The free bets on offer usually fall into two categories, new customer offers which are designed to get you signed up with the bookie and reload offers designed to keep you gambling once you’re already a customer. Below is an example of a new customer sign-up offer from SkyBet:

What is matched betting - signup offer example

If you have already used a bookie in recent times you might have seen examples of these special offers thrown your way such as:

  • Place a £10 bet then get a free £10 bet
  • Get your money back as a free bet if your horse finishes second
  • Sign up today and get a £20 free bet
  • And so on…..

Without knowing about matched betting you might have just ignored these potentially profitable offers or if lucky enough to have been given a free bet just punted it on any old horse (and probably lost!). This is where matched betting comes in and with the help of a special matched betting calculator we can use these free bets as normal and then “lay off” (bet against) the same selection on a betting exchange. Assuming we lay the correct amount found in the calculator we will generate a guaranteed profit regardless of the outcome!

There is a little more to it than this and to ensure a guaranteed profit we must use a special matched betting calculator as is mentioned above. There are a few places on the internet which provide this special matched betting calculator however for this article I will be using my favorite service, OddsMonkey (Click Here to get a free trial of OddsMonkey).

OddsMonkey also provide another fantastic tool called OddsMatcher (see above) which helps us quickly find the closest odds between the bookies and the betting exchanges (for example Tottenham might be 2.1 to back at the bookies and 2.2 to lay at the exchange). This is important because, generally speaking the wider the differences in the odds between the bookies and the exchange the less profitable our bet will be. We could of course look up multiple events between the bookies and the exchange ourselves and find the closest matches however this would be very time consuming! Our time would be much better spent getting more offers done!

A Worked Through Example

This example below will show the basics of how matched betting works using a real sign-up offer from one of the UK’s biggest bookmakers, Coral. It will also assume you understand how decimal odds work – if you don’t please read my guide on how decimal odds work and then come back to this point afterwards: Decimal Odds Explained

coral-new-customer-sign-up-offer

Step 1 – Sign-up and deposit £5

When we sign up for a new account with Coral we can see they tempt us in with a free bet, at the time of writing this offer is deposit and bet £5 and then get £20 in free bets. The £5 bet is known as a “qualifying bet” and we would expect to make a small loss on this bet (don’t worry, for a £5 bet this should easily be under 50p and we will make this back many times over with the free bets).

Step 2 – Check the terms of the offer

Each offer you come across will usually have its own set of terms and conditions and these usually vary slightly between different bookmakers (even when the underlying offer appears to be the same, so be careful). Usually bookies will stipulate our bet must meet a minimum odds criteria and sometimes even be placed on specific sports. It is also very important to be aware that the free bet will only be valid for a few days after been credited so we must make sure we use it (or we will lose it!).

In the Coral new customer offer we can see the main terms are:

  • Our qualifying bet must be at minimum odds of 1.5
  • Our qualifying bet must be made within 14 days of account opening.
  • We can NOT use the cash out feature with our qualifying bet.
  • Our free bet tokens will expire 4 days after they have been credited!

So long as we abide by these rules we will make a guaranteed £15+ profit from this offer!

Step 3 – Place our qualifying bet

Now we have our account open, funded and we know the T&C’s we are ready to place our qualifying bet. As is mentioned above we will use the OddsMonkey service to find a good match within the specified terms of the offer (remember we need to use minimum odds of 1.5).

In the image above we can see that the horse called “A Touch Of Sparkle” has a good rating (the higher the rating the better and generally we look for 90+ ratings) and the race (the 16:50 at Southwell) is a popular mainstream horse racing event (generally we would avoid betting on obscure events so as not to draw attention to our account and help avoid getting it restricted). Having decided on “A Touch Of Sparkle” we can open the matched betting calculator by clicking on the “i” icon and work out how much to lay the selection at the exchange to complete our qualifying bet.

As we can see in the screenshot above we should place a £5 bet for “A Touch Of Sparkle” to win at Coral and a £5.16 lay bet against him winning at the betting exchange (we are using Betfair). Our qualifying loss in this example will be 10p.

Once we are happy with the calculation we can place our two bets, click on the logos of both the Bookie and the exchange at the bottom left of the calculator to open up each site in a new tab (and on the correct market).

When placing our bet at the exchange remember we are laying the selection (betting against it winning) so we must select it by clicking the pink button (blue is for backing).

Once it is selected we will see the bet slip has also turned pink to remind us we are laying the selection. At this point we enter the lay amount from the calculator and then confirm the bet.

Next we place our bet at the bookmakers, simply add our selection to the bet slip and ensure we have entered £5 (NB – we can only place back bets at the bookies!).

NB – REMEMBER TO DOUBLE CHECK WE HAVE PLACED THE CORRECT BETS!

Now our bets are placed we can see what will happen, there are of course only two outcomes which are relevant for us – our horse wins, or it doesn’t win, below we can see what happens for each of these outcomes:

If the horse wins:

  • We will win our bet at the bookies, this means we will make £11.25 profit in our Coral account.
  • We will lose our bet at the betting exchange, so we are essentially playing the bookie here and just like a bookie we will have to pay out to whoever accepted our bet. In this case we pay out £11.35.
  • the result is our profits (£11.25) minus our losses (£11.35) giving us a qualifying loss of 10p

If the horse loses:

  • We will lose our £5 at the bookies, so we will be £5 down in our Coral account.
  • We will win our lay bet at the betting exchange, so we will be £5.16 up however, we will need to pay a small commission of 26p to the exchange meaning our net return here is a win of £4.90.

  • So the result here is our profits of £4.90 minus our losses of £5 giving us a qualifying loss of 10p again.

Step 4 – place our free bet

Once our qualifying bet has been settled we will be credited 4x £5 free bets (for the cost of only 10p). Next we can begin the fun part – the process of turning these into cash!

Firstly we must find a selection to bet on, generally this should be at odds of 5.0+ in order to maximise our profit and we would typically aim to turn 80% of the free bet value into cash.

In the image below we have used the OddsMatcher tool from OddsMonkey again and found “Wefait” running in the 17:20 at Newbury. Clicking on the calculator icon again we can open the matched betting calculator to find out the optimal amount to lay our bet off with.

oddsmonkey-oddsmatcher-Wefait-free-bet

Once in the calculator screen we must change the stake amount to £5 (our free bet amount) and select the Free Bet (SNR) mode for the calculator to work in (at the top of the screen). The Free Bet SNR mode makes sure we get approximately the same profit from our free bet regardless of whether our selection wins or loses.

oddsmonkey-matched-betting-calculator-wefait-850

Once we are happy with the calculation we can place our two bets, click on the logos of both the Bookie and the exchange at the bottom left of the calculator to open up each site in a new tab (and on the correct market).

When placing our bet at the exchange remember we are laying the selection (betting against it winning) so we must select it by clicking the pink button:

betfair-exchange-example-wefait-lay-850

Once it is selected we will see the bet slip has also turned pink to remind us we are laying the selection. At this point we enter the lay amount from the calculator and then confirm the bet.

betfair-exchange-betslip-wefait-lay-850

Next we place our free bet at the bookmakers, simply add our selection to the bet slip and ensure the free bet token is selected in the bet slip:

Once both bets are placed we must await the running of the race, if the horse wins then our money (and profit) will be in our Coral account and in our Betfair account should it lose.

Step 5 – Calculate our profits

Once our free bet has settled we can check our profit and log it in our matched betting spreadsheet (click here to download a basic example of a matched betting spreadsheet).

In the example above here is the profit we made:

  • Our horse didn’t win the race meaning we won nothing at Coral (nor did we loose anything as this was done using a free bet!)
  • Since the horse didn’t win our lay bet at the exchange won, giving us a profit of £3.77 (£3.58 after paying the exchange commission of £0.19)

So, £3.58 profit at the exchange minus £0 loss at the bookie gives us a total profit of £3.58!

Step 6 – Repeat these steps

The Coral offer gives us 4 x £5 free bets so we can repeat these steps an additional three times to complete the offer. Once we have done these three additional bets we can find many more offers by looking at the OddsMonkey daily offer calendar which lists all bookies offers conveniently in one place! To sign up for a free trial of OddsMonkey please click here

Overview

Whilst the above example covers the mechanics of matched betting there are some additional points to take note of. Matched betting takes time and practice to get good at and to help reduce any mistakes or having your bookmakers account restricted here are some general guidelines for beginners:

  • Always double check you have placed the correct bets when doing an offer.
  • Only do one offer at a time to save confusion (at least whilst you are still learning).
  • Only bet on mainstream events – If betting on a big football match just before it starts you will be lost in the crowd and not arise any suspicion however, betting on lower league Greek soccer in the middle of the night might get your account flagged up and restricted!
  • Don’t use very high odds with free bets – You should normally aim to get 80% of the free bet value as cash and taking higher odds can help achieve this. Taking too long odds might get you flagged up as a matched bettor (and potentially gubbed!). High odds will also use up a lot of your betting bank to cover liability in the process so I would usually advise using odds of between 5 and 10 for a free bet.
  • Give yourself plenty of time – when you are starting out try and stick to events which have at least 10mins before starting. This will give you plenty of time to place your bets and double check them!

I hope you have found this guide useful.

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