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Matched Betting – A Worked Example of a Using a Free Bet to Make Risk Free Profit

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In a previous post I gave an overview of matched betting and how you can make money risk free by leveraging bookies sign up offers.  I’ve since had a few requests to show how this works in practice.

Grab a large coffee and I’ll take you through a step-by-step guide of your first sign up offer.



In this example we’ll be using Sun Bets who have a bet £5 and get a £10 free bet sign up offer –


There’s two easy steps to making money from this type of offer –

  1. Placing our £5 qualifying bet at the bookie
  2. Use the £10 free bet on a second event to create our profit

The matched betting part of this is where we also LAY the opposing bet at the Exchange. By doing this we guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome.

First, sign up to Sun Bets here. Deposit at least £5 to allow us to place the qualifying bet.

Next, we need to sign up to an Exchange, Betfair is the most popular. Sign up here and deposit £10. This will cover our LAY bets.

As you sign up to more bookies it’s worth using a spreadsheet to keep track of your logins for each site. I’m signed up to 20+ bookies so being organised is key to keeping tracking of your profits and current bets.

Now that we’re all set let’s go through the steps to place the qualifying bet.


Placing the qualifying bet

In order to receive the free bet we first need to place the qualifying bet.  For the SunBets offer this can be on any event at odds of 1.5 or greater.

We’ll make a small loss from the qualifying bet but the important thing is that it will release our free bet.  The trick is to find an event where the qualifying loss is as small as possible. I’m signed up to the OddsMonkey service which has their own odds matcher which does exactly this.

In the odds matcher I set the filter to –

  • Display only football and horse racing events (this doesn’t actually matter too much for the qualifying bet)
  • SunBets as the bookmaker
  • Betfair as the exchange
  • Minimum odds as 1.5 (as per SunBet’s T&C’s)
  • Event time as within the next 3 days (I don’t want to be waiting weeks for bets to settle)

Odds Monkey oddsmatcher

We’ve now got a list of potential qualifying bets that we can choose from.

Often you will see other games in the list that offer a higher % rating (and therefore a slightly lower qualifying loss) these can be non-UK matches.  These are generally fine but repeatedly betting on obscure or unusual leagues and teams may draw a bookie’s attention to you.  As a matched bettor we want to fly under the radar to avoid our accounts being restricted or closed!

In this instance I’m going to select the Barnsley v Blackpool game –

Odds Monkey Odds Matcher

Clicking on the blue info icon Blue Icon brings up the odds calculator –

Odds Monkey Odds Calculator

In the odds calculator we enter £5 as the stake.  The calculator does all the hard maths bit for us and shows us what we need to LAY at the exchange to minimise our losses.

We can see that regardless of which team wins the match we will make a loss of £0.22.

The really nice thing I like about the odds calculator is that when you click on the go to SUNBETS or go to BETFAIR links it’ll take you directly to those websites so you can place your bets.

First we place our BACK bet at Sunbets –

Sunbets slip








Then we place our LAY bet at Betfair –

Betfair Barnsley v BPool

It turns out that Barnsley lost (-£5 at Sunbets) but we won our Betfair bet for Barnsley to lose (+£4.78).  So overall we lost £0.22 as expected.


At Sunbets we are placing a £5 that Barnsley will beat Blackpool.  This is our BACK bet.  We are then placing the opposing LAY bet at Betfair that Barnsley WONT beat Blackpool. Because we’ve got both outcomes covered we will only lose £0.22.

Phew, made it this far!?  Don’t worry once you’ve done a few of these it becomes really straightforward. Now onto using our free bet to make our profit…


Using our free bet

Now that we’ve made our qualifying bet Sunbets will automatically credit our account with a £10 free bet.  The process is exactly the same as for the qualifying bet where we place our BACK bet at Sunbets and the opposing LAY bet at Betfair.

Sunbets free bet

To use our free bet I’m using the Oddsmonkey odds matcher again to find a suitable bet.  Because of the way the maths work for the free bet I’m looking for a bet at odds of 5.0 or greater to maximise our profits –

Odds matcher

Not a great selection of football matches at the moment but I’ll go for Sparta Rotterdam to win against AZ Alkmaar.  Because we’re using a free bet we select the Free Bet (SNR) option and enter £10 as our stake.  The calculator shows that by placing our BACK bet for £10 and LAY bet of £8.16 we make a guaranteed profit of £7.75 from our £10 free bet –

Oddsmonkey odds matcher

Next we place our free £10 BACK bet at Sunbets –

Sunbets free bet

And our LAY bet at Betfair for Sparta not to win-

Betfair Sparta

Now I have to wait for until the next day for the match to finish and find out who wins!

In the end the score was a 1-1 draw which means our LAY bet against Sparta pays out at Betfair.  So in maths terms this means –

  • we lost our £10 free bet at Sunbets
  • but made £8.81 profit from our opposing LAY bet at Betfair

Betfair Sparta Result



Congratulations if you made it this far!

The first few times you’ll want to triple check the bets you’re placing.  The whole point of matched betting is that it’s risk free but it’s still possible to lose money by making mistakes.

Once you’ve done a few sign up offers you’ll get the hang of it and placing bets will become second nature.

Here are a few tips that I found useful when I started matched betting –

  • Read the terms and conditions of bookie’s sign up offers – they’re often straightforward but worth watching our for
  • You’ll often have to deposit your money at the bookies with a debit card to qualify for the free  bet (Paypal, Skrill etc. sometimes won’t count)
  • Typically your free bet will be credited to your balance as soon as you place the qualifying bet. Others will only credit once the bet has settled i.e the match or race has finished.



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