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Matched Betting Overview – How You Can Profit

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Matched Betting has risen massively in popularity but for many, including myself until recently, is still relatively unheard of.

As early as 2010 even the Telegraph and Guardian were writing about matched betting and how it was possible to make hundreds of pounds from bookie’s sign up offers and bonuses

It’s becoming increasingly popular as a way of making money, risk free!  Sound too good to be true?  Read on for more information…


What is Matched Betting?

At its simplest level Matched Betting is a risk-free form of sports gambling.  You might have seen Bookie sign-up offers like the following advertised –

Matched Betting - William Hill Sign Up Offer







By using free bets we are able to guarantee ourselves a profit regardless of the outcome of the event we’re betting on.


Betting Exchanges

Matched betting is made possible because of online betting exchanges such as Betfair and Smarkets.

Betting exchanges were created in the early 2000’s and completely transformed the betting industry. Exchanges allow normal punters to both place bets for (BACK) and against (LAY) sports events i.e. football matches or horse races.

Now anyone could be a bookmaker and take bets. Clever punters soon realised that they could cover the bonus bets that bookmakers gave them to lock in profits and there was nothing that the bookmakers could do about it.


So How Does It Work?

There are typically two steps to a matched bet –

  1. Placing the qualifying bet to generate our free bet/s at the bookies
  2. Using our free bet to create the profit

Qualifying Bet

To do this we place a bookmaker bet on Team A to win (a “BACK” bet). We then bet via a betting exchange that Team A won’t win i.e. loses or draws (a “LAY” bet).

Team A’s eventual result is irrelevant as we’ll always have one bet that wins, and one bet that loses. Overall the two bets cancel each other out – but the important thing is that we’re now eligible for the free bet.

Free Bet

This is where we actually make our profits.  We look for an event with favourable odds (typically over 5.0 for maximum profit).  Again we place a winning bet (BACK) at the bookies – but this time using our free bet.

Again we place the opposing losing (LAY) bet at the exchange.  Now because we’re using a free bet we make a profit regardless of the outcome.

Remember to always place the opposing LAY bet at the exchange!  If we don’t we are gambling even if the odds do look in our favour for the BACK bet i.e. Tottenham to win against West Bromwich at odds of 1.4.


Manual vs Assisted Matched Betting

There are two commons types of matched betting, manual and assisted.


Matched betting manually is where the we find the offers, markets and odds ourselves and also makes the relevant calculations on how much to BACK and LAY. Matching the right odds can be time consuming and may require a high level of numeracy and betting knowledge.  This is how matched betting used to be complete in the early days.


Assisted matched betting is where a website provides details of the sign-up offers, tutorials, calculators, odds-matchers etc.  The idea being that this makes it as easy as possible for the matched bettor to quickly find opportunities and place the correct bets.

There’s several popular websites such as OddsMonkey and Profit Accumulator that do just this.

Personally, I’m a big fan of the OddsMonkey service and signed up when I started and continue to use it. For £15 per month it saves me a huge amount of time whilst also ensuring that I’m not missing out on any opportunities.



So, there you have it.  Hopefully you can see how matched betting allows us to use bookies’ free bets to make a risk free profit.

The mathematics of matched betting means that we make a profit, regardless of the result.

One of the biggest benefits of matched betting (apart from that it’s risk-free money obviously!) is that our profits are seen as tax free by HMRC.

I’ll also be sharing my personal matched betting journey, profits and tips and tricks if you’re interested in learning more.

Elsewhere over on the Money Saving Expert forum there’s also a great Beginners Guide with lots of helpful advice.



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