Matched Betting Tools – Learning Help and Guidance to Start Matched Betting

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The Ultimate Guide to Matched Betting 2018

Matched betting became popular with the development of betting exchanges such as Betfair. The concept is based on maths rather than chance so the risk is low even though it exists. However, you must make your betting selections wisely to ensure any profit. This article will guide you through the matched betting process and teach you how to maximise profit using matched betting.

What is Matched Betting?

In a nutshell, matched betting is :

a method that allows you to turn the free bets offered by bookmakers into low risk profit.

Matched betting allows you to make money from free bets. It involves betting on the same event with two different bookmakers, a traditional fixed odds firm and a betting exchange. The process consists of a back and lay bet. A back bet is betting on something to happen and a lay bet is betting on something not to happen

How to Guarantee a Profit from Matched Betting?

You may wonder why bookmakers allow you to make a profit from their margins. In fact if you backed all three outcomes of a football match with different operators you would not but the free bet changes the scenario.

Assuming you don’t have any online accounts you must open one with a bookmaker offering a free bet and open an account with a betting exchange. Typically you could get £50 in free bets but there are related deposit and odds requirements. You identify an appropriate match and place a back bet with the bookmaker and lay bet with the betting exchange. The lay odds are usually bigger then the back odds and the two bets must be placed at odds which are as close as possible.

The initial qualifying bet allows you to take advantage of the promotion. Typically you must stake £50 at odds of 1.50 or bigger. This bet triggers the free bet for the same amount. You place the equivalent lay bet which if the match is carefully selected could be at 1.55. An odds matching calculator can be used to work out the lay bet. In this example the lay stake is £47.90 which requires £26.35 in the betting exchange account to cover the potential losses.

There are two possible outcomes:

  1. The back bet wins so you win £25 from the back bet but lose £26.35 from the lay bet for a net loss of £1.35.
  2. The back bet loses so you lose £50 from the back bet but win £47.90 from the lay bet for a net loss of £2.10.

Exchanges charge commission on winning bets on a sliding scale but for the purposes of this illustration we will apply a rate of 3%. In both cases there is a small loss but the £50 free bet has been earned which can be use to make a profit.

When using free bets higher odds equate to bigger profits. The lay liability will also be bigger so some caution is advised .Typical odds for a draw in a football match are 4/1 or 5.00. Please bear in mind that the free bet amount is not included in the returns from a winning bet. So if you staked the £50 at 2.00 the return is £50 and not £100 because the free bet amount is deducted.

There are some instances of the back price being the same as the lay price but they are rare so patience and careful selection of matches are required. More common is the lay price being marginally bigger than the back price.

If you stake £50 on the draw at 5.00 the matching calculator tells us the lay bet is £38.04 at 5.1 assuming the stake is not returned and a back commission of 3% which equates to a liability of £155.96. Again there are two possible outcomes:

  1. The match ends in a draw so you win £200 from the back bet but lose £155.96 from the lay bet for a net profit of £44.04.
  2. The match does not end in a draw so you lose nothing from the free bet but win £36.90 from the lay bet assuming 3% commission on £38.04.

Therefore this matched betting process guarantees a minimum profit of £36.90 and a maximum profit of £44.04 regardless of the outcome. So significant profits can be made from matched betting with careful selection of the games. You can make these calculations but a matched betting calculator saves time and maximises the profit. The process can be used with all bookmakers that offer free bets.

Is Matched betting Legal?

You might get the impression matched betting is cheating bookmakers and can’t believe it is allowed to happen. Is this illegal? No it’s perfectly legal if you are over 18 and bookmakers are not concerned. You use two bookmakers to take advantage of free bets, losing with one and winning with the other which means profits for both.

What is the key to Matched Betting?

The key to matched betting is maximising the benefits of welcome offers. Most bookmakers offer free bets and bonuses to new customers but please consider the terms and conditions before opening an account. Some welcome offers are country specific and others are too complicated to make risk free profits. You must make sure your calculations are correct as you could lose a significant amount of money if not.

Odds will change so stakes must be adjusted accordingly to maximise the profit. When match prices are fluctuating and are not stable there will be moves in betting exchange profits which can reduce the return. There is usually only one window to use a free bet so you must be selective to ensure the most profit.

What are the best markets for Matched betting?

Matched betting can be applied to many sports but the best is football. It is the most popular betting sport with the biggest range of leagues, matches and markets. All free bets can be used on football markets which offer relatively low margins, stable odds and excellent liquidity. You will always be able to place a bet on the major football markets.

Horse racing is the second best sport for matched betting. Free bets are less common but there are regular races and opportunities to match bets and get the best value. However, you must place your bets well before each race as the odds are most unstable just before the start and during the race. Bets placement is more difficult so errors in calculations will reduce the profit or even result in a loss.

Rugby and cricket are also good sports for matched betting and other sports when bookmakers offer free bets related to the biggest event. You can even apply matched betting to non-sports events such as politics.


Match betting strictly speaking is not betting. It’s a strategy for using promotional offers to make money with no risk. If there are no calculation errors which can be reduced using matched betting calculators profit is guaranteed. You must select the markets carefully so get the most out of new customer welcome offers.