This definitive guide to matched betting will take you from “WTF is matched betting?!” right through to learning the whole no-risk betting process.
Don’t panic if you’ve never placed a bet before, or even if you don’t like sport, as it’s quite easy to learn.
It shouldn’t take you long to grasp the concept of matched betting, thanks to this simple but detailed matched betting guide.
Once you’ve learnt the basics, you’ll have the opportunity to earn regular, risk-free profits.
What is matched betting?
Matched betting is a technique bettors use to make guaranteed, risk-free profit from bookmakers free bets and other offers.
Bookmakers are always trying to attract new customers.
The main way they do this is by offering large bonuses to try and tempt you into depositing for the first time, in the hope that you will continue to bet with them in the future.
A way to exploit these offers is to use a betting exchange or a different bookmaker to bet against the bet you’ve originally placed, and this is the process we call matched betting.
Trust me, it’s a lot more simple than it sounds!
I’ve explained the full (and simple) process later in this guide.
Is matched betting legal?
Of course, this is going to be a question many ask, I even asked it myself before I started matched betting…
It sounds too good to be true, making tax-free profits with no questions asked.
Matched betting is 100% legal.
Providing you are of legal gambling age, and betting in your own name, of course.
Bookmakers combat this by restricting those that are obviously matched bettors.
I will be providing tips later in this post to ensure your account doesn’t show suspicious betting patterns to bookmakers.
How does matched betting work?
Matched betting works by eliminating all risk.
By ensuring all outcomes are covered in a sporting event, we guarantee receiving a free bet without having to risk the money that the initial bet should cost, this is known as the qualifying bet.
The qualifying bet will not make us our profit directly, but it will enable us to make our profit on the next step.
It doesn’t actually matter what the outcome of the race or match is – unless it’s the team you support of course!
Let’s discuss this further…
The ‘back’ bet
This is the term used for any bet placed at the bookmaker.
Many of you reading this would have placed a ‘back’ bet before.
Backing a bet means you are betting on something particular to win, for example betting £10 on Arsenal or £2 on a horse in the Grand National.
In the scenario of your football bet above, if Arsenal were to lose or draw, you would traditionally lose your stake…
But not with matched betting.
This is where a ‘lay’ bet comes into play:
The ‘lay’ bet
‘Laying’ a bet means betting against a particular outcome.
Betting exchanges, like Betfair, make this possible.
So, using the example above, we would ‘lay’ Arsenal which means if they do lose or draw, you’ve covered those outcomes too.
Basically, you’re saying Arsenal will not win this match.
By placing both a back and a lay bet, you now have all three possible outcomes for Arsenal’s result covered.
To ensure we’re placing the right amount of money on our lay bet, we use a matched betting calculator.
These calculators are extremely straightforward to use and make things incredibly easy for us to make money.
Matched betting works by ‘backing’ a bet as well as ‘laying’ a bet.
This will be true for 99%+ of the bets you place in your matched betting career.
This cancels out any risk that would usually be there in typical sports betting and gambling.
In simple terms, you are ‘matching’ your bet.
Because these two bets cancel each other out, it means that you won’t make any profit from these qualifying bets, but instead, you’d be breaking even.
To be even more accurate, you’ll typically lose a very small amount; a few pence due to the commission from the betting exchanges.
The reasons behind it are simple.
You are not aiming to make a profit from your qualifying bets.
The whole point of the qualifying bet is to ensure you qualify for a free bet. Hence the name.
Many bookmakers have sign-up offers in which they will give you a free bet.
For example, if you sign-up, deposit and bet £10 they will give you a free bet worth £10 (and quite often more).
The free bet is where you earn your profit.
So whilst you may incur a very small loss on the qualifying bet, you will make a substantial profit from the free bet – typically up to 80% of the free bet’s value.
The free bet
Once you have qualified for your free bet, it’s time to start making profit.
To ensure you make a profit from this free bet you will still have to ‘lay’ your bet, just like we did in the previous step.
By using a matched betting calculator – but this time changing the calculator’s setting from a ‘qualifying bet’ to a ‘free bet’ – you can easily see how much you need to lay and how much profit you will earn.
You will usually make around 80% of the value of your free bet in risk-free profit (so £8 from a £10 free bet, £40 from a £50 free bet).
So if we were using a £10 free bet, our overall profit would be around £8 – not forgetting the very small loss we incurred on the qualifying bet, so our total profit would likely be somewhere around £7.90.
Obviously the values of free bets differ but generally for new customers they will be worth more than £10 – usually at least £20 or £30 typically.
Considering each bet would have taken approximately 10-15 minutes when you’re learning, it’s not a bad profit.
When you are placing multiple bets daily, your profit soon adds up and it becomes much quicker for you to place your bets – typically just 1-2 minutes.
When I first started matched betting, I was making a couple of hundred pounds a month.
This rose to around £500 per month and then all the way up to my current record of over £2500 profit in a single month.
I probably should have earned more profit at the start but I only started with £70-£80 (I recommend you start with at least £120) and didn’t put much time into it at all, so I was still happy with the profits I was making at that time.
Since then, I have put more time in and the profits increased dramatically as a result.
How much money can I make with matched betting?
This is a very common question asked.
Matched betting for beginners can be extremely profitable from the sign-up offers, earning up to £1200 from these 40-50 bookmakers alone.
As soon as people understand the simple process of matched betting and how much money can be made, it becomes extremely appealing – and rightfully so.
But once the sign-up offers are complete, how much can you continually earn?
Well, the amount of money that can be earned from no-risk match betting is dependant on a few factors…
The amount of money you invest at the start
The amount of money people can invest will differ between each person.
As previously mentioned, I suggest investing £120 minimum to start matched betting.
This is because I started with slightly less and I did find that I was spending a bit too much time waiting around for money to return to my bank.
With your initial ‘bankroll’, you will place a bet on one bookmaker and then lay it off with a betting exchange.
Some people may be able to complete two or more sign-up offers instantly if they can invest more money to start with.
The first offer completed should turn your £120 into £140 or even more.
The bets themselves will only take around ten minutes but you may have to wait a day or two for the match to take place (depending on the day that you’re betting).
After this, you will move onto the next sign-up offer.
Eventually, you will have earned enough money to complete multiple bookmaker sign-up offers at any one time.
The more offers you do, the more profit you make.
“I can invest more, should I?“
Yes, of course!
If you can invest more than we recommend you do so…but be sensible.
If you can begin with around £300-£400, you can easily earn more.
You will probably be looking at earning around £1000 profit for the first month, depending on how many bookmakers you’re already signed up to.
Life after sign-up offers – reload offers
You might be wondering how to do matched betting after sign-up offers.
Is sign-up offers all there is to it?
Let me explain…
Matched bettors move on to ‘reload’ offers.
What are reload offers?
They are the offers that come to any existing customers.
Sign-up offers are generally considered the ‘easiest’ money makers, that’s why it’s good to use them to build a bankroll straight away.
If you are already signed up to a lot of bookmakers, you can still make easy profit thanks to reloads.
Rest assured, you probably are not signed up to all of the bookmakers already, there are some I’ve never even heard of.
People who already bet will probably be signed up to around five or ten bookmakers tops, well there are actually a lot more to take advantage of.
I’m signed up to around 50-60, but there are even more than this.
You can still make up to £1000 just from the sign-up offers, even if you are existing customers of some bookmakers.
But for the bookmakers you are already signed up to, you can still make profit with the use of reload offers.
Actually, it can be a good thing that you already have accounts with numerous bookmakers.
The betting history you’ve already created will work in favour for you.
You will show up as a typical ‘mug’ bettor. This is a good thing, trust me:
Your account will not show any suspicious betting patterns, meaning you can take advantage of the reload offers more freely.
You will still need to be cautious in making sure you don’t get ‘gubbed’, which is when bookmakers remove your account’s ability to receive promotional offers.
How do you find these reload offers?
Well, I use Oddsmonkey, who post all of the daily offers with step-by-step instructions for how to complete each one.
Honestly, you don’t have to put much time and effort into matched betting to make a profit.
But, it goes without saying…
The more time and effort you put in, the better the rewards.
Thirty minutes a day could easily earn you £500 profit per month.
Stretch a little further to one hour or a few hours a day and should be earning big money.
There are even people doing matched betting full time.
It is easily achievable to earn a £1000+ profit every month if you put in an hour a day, once you’ve got a few weeks of experience under your belt.
The best-matched betting site
As I just said, I am a member of Oddsmonkey which is the site I use every day for my matched betting needs.
In fact, there’s probably not a matched bettor out there that isn’t signed up to a matched betting site, because they just make the entire process so easy.
What do matched betting sites do?
Matched betting sites are there to help.
Joining a matched betting service can save you time, effort and make you more efficient in making a profit.
Matched betting services provide a variety of tutorials and videos to guide you through the process of matched betting, showing you exactly how to complete sign-up offers and reload offers.
Whilst some offers appear complicated, the guides tend to make things extremely straightforward.
Thanks to the forum threads for every single offer around, if you ever get confused or stuck, there will always be a member of staff, moderator or another forum member willing to help.
Not only do they provide all of the daily offers, but they actually have the tools and calculators needed to be an effective matched bettor from beginner right through to expert level.
The tools they offer can help you to find specific matches or races in which refunds or free bets are available.
The calculators are perfect for finding the best odds for a specific sporting event, guaranteeing you the best profit for that match or race.
There are many matched betting sites to choose from…
OddsMonkey are my personal choice because, for me, they provide the best tools at the best price.
Have a read of my full OddsMonkey review here.
They also offer a free trial which I suggest you take advantage of, especially as you don’t have to put your credit card details in.
You can sign up for a free account via this link.
By using a good service, it can help to maximise your profits – even up to £2000+ a month.
Obviously, you need to put the time in too.
Matched betting tips for beginners
For beginners, matched betting can be a bit daunting.
I know it all seemed a bit complicated and scary when I started!
That’s why I’m going to give you all of the beginner matched betting tips that I picked up along the way.
When I first started I was unsure on the best way to track all of my bets…
I recommend you track all bets through a spreadsheet, preferably on Google Sheets so you can access your documents anywhere through the cloud – and it’s free.
Spreadsheets are the best way to track your bets as they can calculate your total profits, monitor where your money is and also can remind you of what free bets you are waiting for…
Meaning you will not forget about anything you have bet on or lose a free bet due to it expiring.
Can you use pen and paper?
You can, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
It is more time consuming – you will have to work out your own calculations etc. – I learned this the hard way.
The most efficient way would be to use a spreadsheet, giving you more time to focus on placing bets and making more money.
Build a bankroll
The bigger the bankroll you have, the more profit you can earn.
This is because you can complete multiple offers at the same time and increase your stakes for certain promotions.
It is important to keep re-investing your money, to keep earning decent profits.
Try not to spend any of your bankroll on anything but matched betting until you have built it to a significant level.
I know how tempting it is to spend it, but you will thank me later when you realise how important it is to keep building and reinvesting your profits!
Some sites recommend you build a bankroll of around £5000.
I would recommend getting to at least £2500 before you start dipping into it – but never let it get below that level!
Use a separate bank account
This is something I wish I was told sooner…
Using a separate bank account makes life a lot easier.
However, you do not need to set up a new bank account, you can use your current account if you wish.
The reason behind setting up a new account is that you won’t have to worry about everyday spending and direct debits going out of your matched betting bank account.
Meaning you will only be depositing on to bookmakers sites and withdrawing into this account, enabling you to build a bankroll without the fear of bills going out.
It also allows for you to see in figures how much you are earning, seeing the actual figures make it a reality to how successful you are at matched betting.
Also, should you apply for a mortgage or loan in the future, having a separate bank account specifically for matched betting may prove to be beneficial.
Matched betting in itself won’t affect you, but having many deposits to gambling sites may do – if on your main account.
You will have no issue in completing the first few offers using your normal account until you get used to it.
Use Skrill or PayPal
Skrill is a business that allows payments and money transfers to be made via the internet.
It is about making quick, simple and secure global payments.
In matched betting terms, if you withdraw from a bookmaker into a Skrill account it proves to be much faster.
Rather than waiting 3-5 working days when you withdraw into a bank account, it only takes around a few hours when withdrawing into Skrill.
PayPal is another alternative to this that you can consider.
Creating a new email address
Another tip for beginner matched bettors is to create a new email address.
Again, this is not a ‘must’.
Receiving emails to one specific email address can help to identify offers exclusive to you.
If you use your normal email address, it might get bombarded with offers and promotions – which whilst profitable, it can get annoying!
I prefer receiving them to a separate email address so I know they are all in one place without having to filter through my usual emails.
It can also prove to be time effective, especially when you just want to get on with completing offers.
Always place your bookmaker bet first
To avoid risk, it is important to place your ‘back’ bet first.
Placing the bet with the bookmaker first ensures you have secured the odds on offer.
For example, if you were to place your ‘lay’ bet first and the bookmaker slash their odds it could become a sticky situation where you would lose more money than initially anticipated.
Avoid horse racing
As a beginner to matched betting, it might be best to avoid mid-week horse racing.
The odds in horse racing can move fast when close to the start time, and if you’re not an experienced matched bettor you may get flustered.
However, the main reason to avoid midweek horse racing is that you are more likely to be ‘gubbed’.
The reason being is that bookmakers seem to be more ‘hot’ on people betting on the horses.
This is because it’s highly likely for people to beat the sport of horse racing, and they don’t like winners.
Using free bets on horses is also a massive telltale sign that you’re a matched bettor.
The most profitable bets
You may be wondering what the most effective money making bets are.
Accumulator and each-way bets can be the most consistently profitable, but these bets are for the more experienced matched bettors.
Also, they’re for those who have a decent bankroll.
You can learn exactly how to complete an matched accumulator or each-way bet on Oddsmonkey (free trial here), whilst making a decent profit and building a bankroll.
You can easily bring in £1000-a-month in profit via accumulators alone if you average 3 or 4 a day.
But as a newbie, these are things to look forward to!