The Most Complete Matched Betting Guide on the Web

In recent years the phenomenon of matched betting has risen to dizzying new heights. Yet, is it really that simple? Yes, it is. The great thing about it is that you don’t need to be an expert in order to make money. Once you get the hang of it, it really is a simple way to boost your income. This matched betting guide will take you through step by step on what to do. We will also provide you with handy tips, strategies, and even give you some of our users’ opinions.

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You can click on your desired topic using the navigation box above or simply read through our very simple post to get a better understanding of what all this is about. Our experts speak from experience and will guide you through in an easy to understand way. Read on to find out more.

What is Matched Betting?

The question on everyone’s lips is, what is matched betting? Well, simply put it is a technique that mathematically guarantees a profit for the punter. This is done by negating liability by doing something called ‘laying’ the bet. We will explain in detail later. Basically, you take advantage of a bookie’s free promotion offer. At its absolute simplest, this involves placing a back bet at an online bookmaker where you use your free bet and then placing an opposing lay bet at a betting exchange on the same game. By doing this, you guarantee a profit, even if it is minimal, you will win. That is in essence how no risk matched betting works, as small profits eventually add up to bigger gains.

All of the terms mentioned here can be found in our dedicated glossary. However, we will quickly explain a couple here. A back bet is when you are betting on the outcome of an event, e.g. Liverpool to draw. So, you only win if Liverpool draw. A lay bet is when you are betting on the outcome to lose. For example, if I lay Liverpool to draw, the bet only wins if the outcome is a win or loss. This is how you cover yourself and how you negate the liability. Carry on reading, and we will explain more.

How does Matched Betting Work? Getting Started

We have already explained a little about what matched betting is, now we will go into a guide on how to proceed. The first and most important step is getting started. Here is where you need to pay attention. It’s wise to start with a budget of at least £50, however, more money means you can make profit quicker, as you will be able to place more bets. What’s more, in order to improve the ease of payment we recommend uploading documents that prove your identity and address as soon as you sign up. This will mean your account is verified and you can withdraw funds with your preferred method when you want. There is nothing worse than having money but not having access. So, once you have all these ready, you can move on to the next step. Follow us as we now guide you through.

Sign Up for a Betting Exchange

A betting exchange is an integral part of the matched betting experience, without which you cannot execute the lay bet. This is your first port of call when signing up. The most famous of all is Betfair, shown in the table below. When using a betting exchange, it is essentially acting as a broker between the two punters, and the person who wins gets both stakes. The exchange makes its money from a commission from each bet made. As we explained above, using this type of operator is an essential aspect of making matched betting successful.

The Best Betting Exchanges in the UK
Number One Betfair4.9 out of 5.0 stars
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Fantastic OperatorAround 30 markets available on football, rugby, tennis, cricket, and more.
Additional AdvantagesLive streaming, top platform, high odds, world-famous

As you can see, Betfair is the biggest name out there. Even so, there are other competitors which you can use, who also offer some good welcome deals. Things like 0% commission on your first bets and so on can all add up to increase your profit. As we said, there is a clear front-runner here, but all of the operators listed perform the same service, you just need to choose one in order to be able to perform the lay part of the bet.

Get the Welcome Bonus

The second, and just as an integral part of no risk matched betting is getting a welcome bonus to use, without losing any significant money. As we explained, you need a free bet, or bonus, in order to perform one half of the bet. To gain an extra piece of value from the sign-up process, check out all of our recommended bonuses. When getting these offers and promotions, you must take care to read the terms and conditions and make no mistakes, otherwise, you could end up losing out.

So now that you have signed up and opted in for the bonuses, it is very important you get the free bets, without losing any money. This is known as a ‘qualifying bet’, and we will explain how to do this in the coming paragraphs. In order to get the free bet, you will often first have to place a wager of your own money of say around £10 depending on certain conditions such as specific events or odds levels. This is where you have to be careful and really look out for the T&Cs. Which events should you bet on? That’s where the next step comes in. So read on.

Calculate the Profit Potential

The third step and one of the most important parts of the matched betting guide is calculating profit potential. This means you have to find an event and work out how much you need to back and lay, and how much profit you will make as a result. Sound complicated? Luckily, there are many odds matching software sources out there, that calculate this for you, and only use opportunities within those T&C restrictions. It is important to remember when placing the qualifying bet, you won’t make a profit, as you are using your own money to qualify for the free bets. However, you can generally make sure you don’t lose much money and break even. When calculating for the free bet, this is where you will make money, as the stake you place is free. Thus, you will always be guaranteed a small profit. As long as the odds are favourable, of course. We will show you what we mean in the following sections, so follow closely and don’t make any mistakes, as precision is very important!

Place the Qualifying Bet

What is a qualifying bet? Basically, it is the bet you have to place before you receive the free bets from the operator. There are always some conditions, usually such as placing an amount like £10 to get £30 in free bets. Now, how can you be sure not to lose money? As what if the bet loses? Well, this is where forward planning and placing a counter ‘lay’ bet comes into play. If you see the picture below you can see, we have chosen to back outright the teams to draw the game. This is the first bet and is a 1 X 2 that nearly all of us have placed before.

A close-up of odds on offer for various games, with the draw highlighted

So, what’s next? First, you need to calculate the odds relating to the qualifying bet and cover any loss potential. Say you have an account at Betway, and to get the free bet you need to stake £10. You put the £10 on Manchester United to draw at 3.60 (like above). To cover your potential loss (liability), you head over to an exchange like Betfair, and then lay against the draw at around 3.70 (or similar), exact odds match aren’t always a sure fire thing, but in essence whatever the outcome you should break even or in this case, you would have a small deficit. This is ok, you will make this money back through the free bets.

It should go as follows:

A close-up of a lay bet at a betting exchanged, with against the draw selected

As you see from the picture above, this is what it looks like when you are ‘laying’ on a betting exchange and is the most integral part of making sure you don’t lose money when qualifying for the free bet. It is important to remember the idea at this stage is not to make money, just to qualify, so it is ok to lose a small amount as we’ll make it back later.

Place the Second Bet – Using the Free Bet

Now, this is where the money making begins. It is important to remember, the steps are the same as above, but when you place the back bet, it will be using the free bet! Make sure you don’t forget this; otherwise you won’t make any money. So, using the example above, we should have our £30 free bet to use. It is worth noting here, the higher the odds, the higher the profit. Although, you will also need more money in your exchange account to cover any liability. Say we found Crystal Palace v Fulham had ‘back’ odds to draw at 3.50 we then can put £30 on that to happen, on our sportsbook.

It should go as follows:

Note, you will never win the free bet stake as a profit, simply the profit of that bet. Just repeat these steps over and over, and you will find yourself accumulating a very tidy profit.

Withdraw the Winnings

The most rewarding aspect of the process is collecting your payout. It sounds simple, but don’t be caught off guard. There are a number of rules you have to follow before you can get what is owed. Basically, you need to withdraw to the same account you deposited with, and you have to make sure you have proved your identity to the bookie. Sounds easy, and it is. But if you haven’t done this, it could significantly impact the length of time it takes to see your cash.

An image showing how to withrdaw your winnings in three steps in text form

If you follow the simple steps above, you should have your money within 1-2 days, depending on the operator’s terms and conditions. It’s important to keep track of all your accounts open, and we recommend keeping a watchful eye. This is where organisational skills come to the fore and is where those not so good at it fall down.

All You Need to Know about Matched Betting UK

Here, we have some questions that everyone asks. In simple terms, we can say it is matched betting explained. Everyone thinks there must be a catch, but there really isn’t. All it takes is dedication and hard work, and you will be laughing. Check out our comprehensive answers below, and they are sure to allay any fear you could possibly have.

A pound sign standing infront of a calendar

How Much Can You Earn and How Quickly?

The first question that everyone wants to know the answer to, is how much is it possible to earn with matched betting? And how long does it take? At this point, it is necessary to make some clarifications. In the first phase, if you avoid any mistakes, you can accumulate up to 1500-2000 pounds in the first month alone, thanks to the exploitation of welcome bonuses. Later, using only periodic promotions, you can get up to 500 pounds a month.

A close up of judge's gavel

Is Matched Betting Legal?

Answering this question is very simple, matched betting is 100% legal in every single way. Using this method nothing is done illicitly, one is merely exploiting a flaw in the system, but always remaining within the limits of the law and terms and conditions of the bookies. Always use the bonuses and promotions of online bookmakers authorized by the UK Gambling Commission and you will not go wrong.

A risk counter with its gauage pointing high

How Risky is it? Is it Gambling?

Here comes the big news. Matched betting is NOT gambling. There is no risk percentage of any kind. Everything is in fact calculated mathematically. How could a bet go wrong if you bet on all possible outcomes? The winnings are guaranteed, but to get them you need to work and invest some time. In fact, it is very important not to make calculation errors and stay focused when you are betting on a match, to avoid mistakes that may cost you dearly.

A group of men with money bags and holding footballs

Why do Bookies Allow it?

This is a legitimate question. If it is mathematically possible to profit from bonuses without risking anything, why would online bookies allow it? The answer is simple: offers and promotions are a very important means that betting sites have in attracting new customers. The percentage of those who use them to do matched betting is low and therefore for online bookies, it remains accepted. In addition, operators have no way of knowing if anyone taking advantage of the bonus partakes matched betting or not.

A maze and a straight arrow that crosses through it

If it is so Easy, why doesn’t Everyone do it?

Actually, answering this question is not at all simple. Probably, it’s because it is not known by many people or is not understood completely. At first glance, it may seem complicated and can scare away those who do not know the world of betting. People think that no one gives free money and distrust can, therefore, be an explanation as to why it’s not well-known. But this can not be more wrong in reference to matched betting.

Tools and Software that can be Utilised

As already mentioned, there are many tools to be used to help you along your way. None more so than oddsmatchers that will calculate your profit potential and show you games to bet on without doing the research. Of course, you can do this yourself, but these tools are simply invaluable in saving time. They can be found all over the web. Some are free, and others you can pay for, but it’s your decision at the end of the day. How much time you want to invest should weigh into this decision. Even so, we found the free services worked fine, as long as you are willing to do some leg work.

Another very important thing to do is use Excel or another similar spreadsheet service. Here, you can track all of your bets and accounts. This is integral, as you don’t want to forget where your money is, and if you are not organised things can go a bit awry very quickly. This kind of planning will help you in the long-run, and anyone who is serious about matched betting will definitely do it.

Strategies and Advice

When starting out with matched betting you might think you don’t really have to plan or think too much. Yet, it never hurts to attack it with a clear strategy in mind, in order to make sure you are 100% successful. In the box below we have highlighted some of the most important ones to follow, to maximise your profit-making potential.

Ones to be Adopted

What is matched betting without a good strategy? Which ones are the most important? Well, apart from stating the obvious and saying they all are, we would tell you to focus on planning with a calendar. Many welcome offers, and free bets have expiry dates, so you don’t want to miss out. With it well-planned you can see where you need to focus your resources and then see how much time you have before you move on. This means you can also play multiple matched-bets at the same time, in order to maximise your profit making. You should only do this if you are really well organised, however, as it is easy to get mixed up if you don’t have everything written down and easy to see. I know we have said it time and time again, but it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to plan thoroughly, as in this case it truly pays off.

Some Useful Tips

Below you will find some useful tips in regards to no risk matched betting. They may seem obvious, but in reality, they are easy to forgo. Things like organising bets, hitting a specific schedule, and simple perseverance all seem like no-brainers, but all together they combine to form a solid basis. Another thing we would say, is avoid mug betting. It is pointless, and there is no proof that they are needed.

Advantages and Disadvantages

It’s easy to see that there are many advantages to this form of bet. Yet, it must be noted that there are also some drawbacks. Obviously, the main pro is that the winnings are guaranteed. What’s more anyone can do it, and you only need a little bit to start. Unfortunately, the drawbacks are that it takes a lot of time, and mistakes can be punished. If you misplace a bet, miscalculate, or don’t follow the T&Cs you can lose a fair bit. Even so, the pros clearly outweigh the cons, and we would say, this type of betting is a sure-fire way to make some easy cash.

An image with depicting the pros and cons of matched betting in text form

The Popularity of Matched Betting

There was once a time when matched betting UK-wide wasn’t well known, yet in recent years there has been a growing trend of people doing it. Even so, it still remains under the radar a little bit and isn’t as big as it could be. Of course, this is favourable for the bookies, as they don’t want everyone doing it, but just looking at the graph below you can clearly see the interest has sky rocketed. We’d say it’s time you jumped on the bandwagon and started doing it yourself! Go on give it a go, you probably know someone who has been doing it.

A graph indicating matched betting's popularity is on the rise

Some Opinions on Matched Betting

So far, this matched betting guide has really focussed on technical details. However, don’t let this deter you. This form of betting is not only for the professionals, it really is for anyone. Don’t believe us? Then take a look at some of the testimonies of our users. All those below come from different walks of life, and different experiences, yet they all found that they could success using this system. It really is assuring that people like Steve, and Mary had no trouble finding profit and found the process easy.

The Alternatives

You may be wondering if there are any alternatives out there? Well you won’t be surprised to know there are. It must be stressed, however, that these aren’t necessarily as sure fired as matched betting is. Yet they do provide the punter with something different if needs be. This type of betting could also be especially useful after all the free bets have been used, and you are waiting for something else to come along. We wouldn’t recommend you use them over no risk matched betting, even so they do provide you with an alternative.

The Sure Bet

One very popular option is the sure bet. It is also known as arbitrage betting or arb. This takes a lot more time to work out, the returns are very low, and you have to stake a lot of money. It is basically a system where you benefit from odds variations at different bookies. The goal is the same as we have already discussed, as you want to be sure the outcome of you bet exceeds the amount staked. An example would be a tennis match, where at bookie 1, player A has odds of 2.15 to win. Whereas at bookie 2, player B has odds of 1.95. With £100 to stake, you place £47.56 on player A to win yielding £102.25, and if you placed £52.44 on player B it would yield £102.26. So, as you see, if you placed both bets at the same time it would guarantee a profit overall of £2.25. You notice this is not very big, and it will take a lot of time and money to get big returns. What’s more, many bookies specifically target those partaking or suspected of partaking, in arb betting. It is really only recommended for high-rollers or those with serious knowledge of the industry.

System Bets

System bets don’t guarantee a profit, nevertheless the risk is a little lower than normal bets, as you can still make significant wins even if all of the legs placed don’t come in. There are many different names for these, however essentially you place multiple bets focusing on possibilities like 2 out of 3, 4 out of 5, 7 out of 10, and so on. An example of a 2 out of 3 system bet would be if you placed wins for Man City (1.9), Fulham, (2.1), and Crystal Palace (2.0). The system would look as follows: Bet 1: Win Palace (2.0) win Fulham (2.1) Bet 2: Win Palace (2.0) and win City (1.9) Bet 3: Win Fulham (2.1) and win City (1.9) Let’s say from these Fulham and Palace won, with City drawing, that would mean only bet 1 came through. Even so, if we had placed £10 on each (so £30 overall), our winnings would be £42 (10 x 2.1 x2.0) and the profit would be £12. Obviously, this is still a luck-based system, but it shows that you have more opportunity to win an outcome, and the more bets you include the higher the stakes. So even though not as risk free, it is still a good option.

A picture showing a chess board and the bwin logo
The top bookie for system bets

Massive schedule and many markets Many periodic promotions

Bonus of up to £10

Dutching on the Betting Exchange

Another advanced betting technique is dutching, something that involves backing of multiple selections in the same event. It doesn’t guarantee a profit and is similar to spread betting. If you have a horse race, and want to place on two horses, there is a method where you can split your stake in order for both to give an equal profit regardless of which one wins. So, at its simplest form, you have horse A at odds of 5.0, and horse B at odds of 5.0. If you place £10 on each to win (£20 stake), it doesn’t matter which one wins, you’ll still get a profit of £30 (50-20). Of course, with this method, you only win if one of the horses does. What’s more when the odds are more complicated it takes time to calculate the stake differential, in order to produce an equal profit. Even so, for those looking to get seriously into betting, this method is quite a popular one. This is just a quick overview and there is a lot more to be learnt.

The Complete List of all Bonuses to be used on Matched Betting Sites

We are coming to the end of our matched betting guide; however, it would not be complete without giving you a list of all the bookies and offers that can be used. So far, on our site we have reviewed many different online bookmakers and found at least 30 offers, and this list will continue to grow. When you are following this step-by-step walkthrough, be sure to use the operators listed below. In doing so you could make up to thousands in easy money. So, give it a go and let us know what you think!

The Complete List of all 30 Welcome Bonuses
Bonus up to £30
Bonus up to £25
Bonus up to £20
Bonus up to £50
Bonus up to £30
Bonus up to £100
Bonus up to £20
Bonus up to £10
Bonus up to £10
Bonus up to £30
Bonus up to £10
Bonus up to £30
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Bonus up to £50
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Bonus up to £10
£30 Free Bet
Bonus up to £30
Bonus up to £1000
Bonus up to £50
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Bonus up to £10
Bonus up to £30
Bonus up to £10
Bonus up to £10
Bonus up to £20
Bonus up to £10
£25 Free Bet
Bonus up to £20
Bonus up to £10

FAQ

Now we have come to the end, hopefully, we have answered the question, ‘what is matched betting’? If not drop us a line at info@bestbettingsites.uk and we’ll get back to you. Below you will find some of the more popular questions and answers on the subject.

Are there any risks involved with matched betting?

In terms of traditional types of betting, there is no risk involved, as you cover all outcomes. However, the real risk is human error, such as entering the wrong amount, which would lead to money being lost.

What is the best sport to play on?

This is largely up to you, obviously it has to be a sport that is easy to calculate the odds, such as football, tennis, cricket, etc. Football tends to have the most markets, thus you can place more frequent bets here.