Matched Betting Explained In 7 Steps

Matched betting is a way of making a guaranteed profit from bookmakers. It is a technique anyone can use, regardless of their experience or understanding of the sport or market they are betting on. It’s also commonly called “bonus hunting” or “arbitrage betting.” Matched betting is not gambling. You are always guaranteed to make a profit or break even with matched betting. This is because you are placing two bets on an event happening (a back bet) and a bet that will not occur (a lay bet). By doing this, you effectively cover all possible outcomes of the event.

The key to making money from matched betting is to find bookmakers that offer generous welcome bonuses and free bets. These bookies will often offer good odds on sporting events, which means that you can make a profit by backing and laying various bets. Here is a step-by-step guide to matched betting:

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1. Backing and Lay Bets

The first step is to place a back bet on an event with one bookmaker and a lay bet on the same event with another bookmaker. For example, if you wanted to bet on Manchester United to win their next match, you would back them with one bookmaker and lay them (bet against them) with another. A back bet is the most traditional form of bet where you pick an outcome, and if it happens, you win the bet and get your stake back plus winnings. With a lay bet, you are effectively acting as the bookmaker. So, if you lay Manchester United to win, and they lose or draw, you will win your bet.

2. Finding the Right Odds

To profit from matched betting, you need to find bookmakers offering good odds on the event happening. The Odds Monkey has an OddsMatcher tool that compares the odds of various bookmakers and highlights the ones providing the best value. The best odds for your back bet are the ones that are as close to the lay odds as possible. For example, if the lay odds are 2.0 and the bookmaker’s odds are 2.1, this is a good match.

3. Calculating Your Bets

Once you have placed your bets, it’s time to calculate how much to stake on each one. This is where things can get a little bit complicated, but there are various matched betting calculators online that can do the hard work for you. The amount you need to stake on your back bet will depend on the odds of the event happening, and the amount you need to stake on your lay bet will depend on the odds of the event not happening.

4. Free Bets and Bonuses

Once you have placed your bets and calculated your stakes, you can take advantage of bookmakers’ various free bets and bonuses. The most common type of bonus is a welcome bonus offered to new customers when they sign up. To claim a welcome bonus, you will usually need to place a bet with your own money, and then the bookmaker will match this with a free bet.


Free Bets and Bonuses

5. Withdrawing Your Money

Once you have placed your bets and claimed your bonuses, you can withdraw your money. This is where matched betting comes into its own, as you are guaranteed to make a profit. The best way to withdraw your money is first to use it to place another back bet. Once the event has happened, and you have won the bet, you can withdraw your winnings plus your original stake.

6. Tracking Your Bets

It’s essential to keep track of your bets to know how much money you are making (or losing). There are various ways to do this, but the simplest way is to use a spreadsheet. In your spreadsheet, you should list all of the details of your bet, including the bookmaker, the date, the event, the odds, the back bet stake, the lay bet stake, and the result. This will help you keep track of your progress and ensure that you are making a profit.

7. Tax Implications

Matched betting can be a tax-efficient way of making money, as profits are not taxed. This is because matched betting is classed as gambling, and, as such, any profits are exempt from income tax and capital gains tax. Matched betting can be a great way to make money, but it’s important to remember that some risk is always involved. However, if you follow the steps outlined above, you should be able to make a healthy profit with relatively little risk.

If you’re interested in matched betting, then it’s worth taking the time to learn how it works. It can be a bit complicated to get started, but it’s easy to make a profit once you have reached its hang. Just remember to track your bets and be aware of bookmaker restrictions, and you should be able to make some good money from matched betting.

How Much Profit Can You Make?

You may normally anticipate earning between 50 and 80 percent of the free bet value for each matched wager. This is so because wins are often subject to a commission fee at betting exchanges. Due to the little variation in odds between each website, you can potentially suffer a slight loss on the qualifying bet. This is typical, and you will get your money back when you place the free bet.

Use a real-world example to demonstrate how to make money from a £30 free bet in the steps that follow. Repeat these processes with the dozens of free bet offers you receive every year, and you will soon be looking at hundreds of pounds (depending on how much time and effort you put in).

man betting casino chips image

What is the risk?

Anyone can understand the basics of matched betting, and since you are essentially protecting yourself by placing bets on and against the same event, there is theoretically no risk.

However, there is a risk when errors are made. As a result, you must carefully follow the instructions and double-check everything. Free bets can take some time to process, so be patient and always follow the rules of the promotion.

You can continue matched betting with other online bookies with free bet offers once you have grasped the procedure and successfully completed the procedures below. This can help you make more money.

It is also important to note that deposits made to gambling websites have no impact on your credit report.

Steps to Matched Betting Profit

Step 1. Smarkets account creation

In order to eliminate your risk with the bookies, you can “lay” bets on

Smarkets is a platform where you may bet against other individuals, unlike regular bookies.

When using the coupon COMMFREE, they currently have a promotion offering 0% commission.

To activate this promotion, you must invest £10 after enrolling.

Step 2. Open a Betfred account

One of the finest promotions currently available is from Betfred, who is providing a £30 free bet to new customers who make a minimum wage of £10. We will thus use this “bookie” in this real-world scenario.

Always review the whole T&Cs before accepting any free bet offers.

You will need to pay a deposit in order to register. Deposit £10 with a debit card in your name (needed to unlock the free bet).

Step 3. Use Decimal Odds

Change your odds display from fractions to decimals once you have checked in to Betfred for a simple comparison with Smarkets.

To accomplish this, select “Settings,” which may be found in the menu on the left under “Useful links.” This is important!

Step 4. Find and Place Your Qualifying Bet

Finding a sporting wager with competitive odds on Betfred (the bet to back) and Smarkets is ideal.

The blue, not the green, boxes on Smarkets represent the lay odds.

The restrictions of this free bet offer from Betfred stipulate that you must select odds of 2.0 or higher. For this phase, pick a wager with chances that are close to 2.0 (no more than 4.0).

Keep in mind that the game must be played within 7 days of creating your account.

Step 5. Claim Your Free Bet

If Aston Villa fell 2-4 against Leicester City in your game, therefore, You lost the £10 wager on Betfred but won £9.62 on Smarkets.

As a result, the total sum between the accounts is 38p, which is the “acceptable loss” that the odds matcher had forecast.

You now have a £30 free bet since you made and watched through the £10 qualifying wager! My Smarkets account also has my £10.39 liability stake and £9.62 profit.

Your Betfred account will be rewarded with the £30 free bet.

Step 6. Find and Place A New Bet

Essentially, we will repeat step 4 but with a £30 free bet rather than a £10 one.

To maximize your profit this time, choose odds larger than 2.5. Just keep in mind that the more money you will need in your Smarkets account to lay it, the greater they are.

Step 7. Withdraw The Profit

Whatever happens, you will now be in the black by the sum determined by the odds matcher. Time to cash out now!

Wolves defeated Southampton 2-1 in my illustration of the match. It follows that my £30 free bet on Betfred was successful with a profit of £48.75.

Man in printed shirt holding poker chips image

Is arbitrage the same as matched betting? 

No. They both employ similar principles, but matched betting makes use of free bet offers from bookmakers whereas arbitrators just utilize standard odds for their computations. 

Bookmakers often restrict matched betting, whereas arbitrage is discouraged but occasionally allowed. The latter is also more difficult to spot because player and bettor behavior in relation to bonus offers is always being closely examined.

In matched betting, is it possible to lose money?

Matching bets can only result in a loss of money if there is an error in the computations. On the other hand, matching bets typically result in losses for bookies and casino operators; as a result, they expressly forbid it on their platforms. 

Since matched betting is seen as bonus abuse, they increasingly rely on sophisticated iGaming fraud detection tools, which employ technology like machine learning, heuristics, and device fingerprinting to detect and halt efforts at bonus abuse.

So, if you are caught and the operator shuts your account, you might also lose money when matched betting.