Ultimate Guide to Matched Betting
Matched betting can be an incredibly complex minefield if you don’t know what you’re doing. But it can also be a really, really good way to make a pretty penny if you do. So we thought that we’d make the ultimate guide to matched betting to help you make a decent amount of money in the easiest and safest way possible! You can thank us later, when you’re considerably richer!
What is ‘matched betting’?
First things first, let me explain exactly what ‘matched betting’ actually is.
Matched betting is a totally legal way of making a profit off of bookies by utilising their free bets offers. You basically pitt two bookmakers against each other when their odds are significantly different, and then you are guaranteed a profit.
However, it is a tricky business, so make sure that you read this guide thoroughly before you attempt your first matched bet.
How does it work?
Matched betting utilises the ‘free bet’ offers that bookies offer new gamblers to encourage them to sign up.
For example, ‘sign up and and bet online with us to claim your £20 free bet!’
Here are some crucial things you need to know before we begin!
1. The 2 types of 'bet'
However, before continuing, it is HUGELY IMPORTANT to note the 2 types of ‘bet’ that you use for matched betting. You cannot proceed until you know that they are.
The 2 types of bet needed are:
This is when you bet in favour of a certain outcome: when you bet FOR something to happen. So you’re ‘backing’ something to happen.
For example: I bet that Tottenham will beat Leicester. If Tottenham beat Leicester, then you win the bet and the money, hooray! However, if Tottenham draw or lose, then you lose the bet and your money.
You can place back bets at any bookies.
This is when you oppose an outcome: so when you’re betting AGAINST something happening.
For example: I bet that Tottenham will lose against Leicester. If Tottenham lose or draw, you win the bet and the winnings. If Tottenham win, then you lose the bet and your money.
Lay bets can only be placed at betting exchanges, such as Betfair, Ladbrokes Betting Exchange, and Matchbook Betting Exchange.
2. Where do I place each bet?
You cannot place the back bet and the lay bet at the same betting agency: they must be different.
Back bet: Any online betting agency (bookies), such as William Hill, Ladbrokes and Coral.
Lay bet: Only at specific betting exchanges, such as Betfair or Ladbroke's Betting Exchange.
This is because most betting agencies (bookies) will not allow you to place lay bets, so it can only be done at betting exchanges that do.
So how does matched betting WORK?
In order to start matched betting, you need to make any bet to claim your FREE bet, which is what you will eventually use for your back bet.
Matched betting works by betting against yourself. You place your back bet at the booking agency (bookies) and your lay bet at the betting exchange. By placing your back bet in FAVOUR of an outcome and your lay bet AGAINST an outcome, you cancel out the risk of losing.
By placing your back bet at the online booking agency (bookies), and your lay bet at a betting exchange, you’ve ‘matched’ your bet by betting for and against an outcome, thus cancelling out the risk of the back bet.
Once you’ve made your first bet at the betting agency (bookies), they will give a free bet, which is what you use for your back bet when you begin matched betting.
All you need to do is repeat the above steps using the free bet for your back bet at the online betting agency (bookies), and then placing the lay bet as normal at the betting exchanges.
Is there a risk?
There’s only a risk IF (big if) you make a mistake. As you’re betting for and against the same event, you’re pretty much covered, negating the risk. However, if you do make a mistake, this is where the risk comes in. So make sure that you have really gone through this guide before trying matched betting. (Don’t panic if you’re free bet doesn’t come through right away, they can take some time to come).
Once you’ve nailed the process, you can make a fair bit of money through matched betting, so it’s really worth making sure you fully understand everything before trying your hand at it! However, there is always some degree of risk with gambling, so be responsible.
How much money can I actually make?
When it comes to profit, you get to keep up to 95% of the free bet amount (the other 5% is usually kept as commission by the betting companies).
It’s also worth noting that on your first bet (i.e. the bet you have to do in order to get your free bet), you might make a small loss as the odds on each website for the bet you’re making will be slightly different. This discrepancy might mean you lose a tiny bit of money, but you can make this up when you use the free bet, so it’s all good.
So, when it comes to profit, you can make quite a lot. If you engage in matched betting for a long period of time, you can make a hefty sum. And even better, it’s TAX FREE! So you literally get to keep all of the money.
It’s also important to note that signing up to betting websites and betting exchanges does NOT affect your credit rating, so there’s no need to worry about your future finances!
Step by Step Guide
1. Sign up to a betting exchange website (lay bet)
Start by signing up to a betting exchange site, such as Betfair. This is for your lay bet (where you bet AGAINST something).
2. Sign up to an online betting site (back bet)
Then you sign up for an online betting website (bookies), such as William Hill. This is the bookie where you place your back bet (when you bet in FAVOUR of something happening).
William Hill are currently offering £30 in free bets when you place your first £10 bet. Be sure to check the T&Cs to see if there’s any catch or funny business, some free bets have expiry dates! Sign up here.
Don’t be put off by the sign-up deposit fee, this is usually around £5-10, and is needed to unlock the free bet.
This is the bookie where you place your back bet (when you bet in FAVOUR of something happening).
3. Pick a bet for your first bet
Then you need to place your first bet - the bet that you make in order to get your free bet. You must pick a bet that has similar odds on both your betting exchange website (e.g. BetFair) and your online betting website (bookie) (in this example, William Hill).
William Hill online
Then you place your lay bet (against) at Betfair and your back bet (for) at William Hill.
On Betfair lay odds are red boxes, be sure not to click the blue ones! If you cannot see any red boxes, do Ctrl+F and type ‘Exchange’ and then click ‘Go to Exchange’ or ‘Exchange.’
Make sure that there is the smallest difference between the odds in the two bets you’re making. (Also, switch your odds from fractions to decimals to make this easier to decipher!)
For example: If your lay bet is betting that Tottenham will lose at odds of 2.25 and your back bet is 2.38, this is a difference of 0.13, which will minimise your loss on your first bet (this would likely be less than £1).
There are some Odds Matcher sites out there which can help you find similar odds - it’s worth googling around to find the best free ones.
4. Claim your free bet
Once your bet comes through, you’ll have either won the lay or back bet, either way giving you your free bet with the online betting site, in this example William Hill’s £30 free bet!
The free bet will be credited to your account, which you can then use for your next matched bet!
5. Choose a new bet using the free bet
Find a new bet, check that the odds are as close as possible on both William Hill and Betfair, and repeat the steps!
Place your lay bet, and then your back bet. If you want to make as much money as possible, go for a bet with slightly higher odds than your first bet - this will maximum profit, woohoo!
(Again an Odds Matcher tool can help you choose a good bet and will calculate the profit you can make)
6. Withdraw your profit!
Then all that’s left to do is claim your profit! Whatever the outcome, you’ll have won one of your bets, giving you your winnings. Withdraw this, and it’s all yours!
So that’s it for matched betting, everything you need to know to safely return a profit. Go forth and make your millions!