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Matched Betting: Definitive Guide

The majority of people which are new to matched betting or any form of betting, 9 out of 10 times are going to be confused, sceptical, nervous and unaware of the mechanics of this sports betting technique.

My purpose is to bring light and knowledge into everyday individuals life. If you are willing to try and have an hour to spare, we can go together through this matched betting beginner’s guide to learn what matched betting is, how it works and if is profitable or not.

Again, keep in mind this is through the perspective of my own experience and before you go ahead please, ensure you’ve read the disclaimer.

[Disclaimer: Gamble Aware 18+]

a) What is Matched Betting?

Matched betting is a low risk form of gambling, typically on sporting events; known also as ‘no-risk betting’. The principal is to use free bets and other promotions in your advantage so you can make a profit. The catch is that you need to have all the outcomes of a match covered.

Wikipedia is defining matched betting as:

“Matched betting (also known as back bet matching, lay bet matching or double betting) is a betting technique used by individuals to profit from the free bets and incentives offered by bookmakers. It is generally considered risk-free as it is based on the application of a mathematical equation rather than chance.[1] Moreover, matched betting is considered risk-free as it negates the liability of the bet by laying the same outcome. ”

A simpler explanation, it is a betting strategy that maximises your potential profits from bookmakers free bets and welcome bonuses by backing & laying the outcomes of your chosen sport event.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Accessible to anyone interestedAccounts can be gubbed
Unrestricted potential earningsMistakes can be costly
Tax-free cashAttention to details & reading T&Cs
Completely LegalYou have to be organised
No experience is requiredSome techniques are hard to understand

Jargon you need to know

As you familiarise yourself with a new topic, you also learn its terminology. So, to make things a little bit easier, I’ve deciphered the most important matched betting jargon & acronyms and explained what they actually mean.

FB – Free Bet
QB – Qualifying Bet
SNR – Stake Not Returned
SR – Stake Returned / Stake Restricted
QL – Qualifying Loss
RF – Risk-Free
MB MBing – Matched Betting
RTP – Return To Player
2UP – Two Goals Up – Some bookies run promotions in which your bet will be paid out as a winning wager if your chosen side scores two goals at any point in the game, regardless of the final score.
WR – Wagering Requirement – The minimum amount you must bet before you can withdraw your funds.
Extra Place – Additional paid places in horse racing offered by bookies.

b) How Matched Betting works?

Matched betting works by using lay bets to cancel out any risk that a back bet poses. Basically, you back and lay against the same result in order to remove all risk by covering all the outcomes. However, the part where you make a profit is from a bookmaker’s free bet.

c) What are the Basics of Backing & Laying?

The most simple explanation you need to know to do matched betting is the difference between back bets and lay bets.

The ‘Back’ Bet – is the most traditional form of bet, essentially you’re supporting your team, horse, or whatever else, to win. If that happens, your bet is valid and you win a profit.

The ‘Lay’ Bet – is the exact opposite to a back bet, where you are now saying “I don’t think my team will win”. If the team that you bet on doesn’t win the match, you win your lay bet. What if was a draw? You win because your team didn’t won. In other words your lay bet is a win.

d) How to Do Matched Betting?

Matched betting seems complicated and difficult at first, but once you understand the basics becomes quite easy to make a profit.

This is one of the reasons why is the first go-to choice of stay-at-home mums, students or for everyday worker to earn an extra income online. With just one or two days of getting into the swing of things you will be prepared to scale up your risk-free betting strategy.

For example purposes, we are going to use, which is promising you a £25 free bet if you deposit and place a bet of the same £25 stake with their site. You sign up, deposit the £25, and bet on Chelsea to win at odds of 2.0 (as matched bettors always use decimal odds).

Next, you then go onto a betting exchange software such as Betfair or Smarkets, and LAY Chelsea (that’s betting on Chelsea to NOT WIN) whose lay odds are 2.02. Using a lay betting calculator (we have one on Everyday Betting), we simply input the information we already have to calculate what our lay stake should be.

All we need to add into calculator is information we already know: our stake of £25, our back odds of 2.0 and our lay odds of 2.02. And of course the commission for the Betting Ex Software, which in this case, we used 5%.

As we can see from the calculation, ‘you could lay £25.38’ – meaning: your lay stake is £25.38. It also says that your liability will be £25.89 – liability represents the money you risk if the result goes against you.

But, in case you lose at the exchange then you win at the bookmaker. We therefore need at least £25.38 in our Exchange Software to lay the qualifying bet. In conclusion, we are going to lose £0.89 (even if we win on Lay Bet or Back Bet).

This loss is called a calculated loss (qualifying loss) , which will be recovered when our free bet is placed.

As before, using the same principal of laying and back betting, we are going to use our promotion: £25 free bet.

You decide to place this bet on Leeds to win at odds of 5.0. The lay odds happen to be 5.2.

Again using the matched betting calculator, we change the calculator mode, from ‘Normal’ (which is used for qualifying bets) to ‘Free Bet (SNR)’. You’ll put in your free bet stake of £25 as well as your odds, and calculate the stake you need to LAY against Leeds.

If Leeds WIN, you’ll win £100 on and lose £81.56 on Betting Exchange. Resuming, £100 – £81.57= £18.44 profit. If Leeds draw or lose, you’ll fail to win your free bet, but you’ll win your lay of £19.42 on Exchange. Even after you deduct the commission from bookmaker or exchange software you’ll have won approx. £18 in a single bet.

Scale this up to 3 ,4 bets per day and you are going to have a nice profit each week, respectively each month.

e) How Time Consuming is Matched Betting?

Is up to you how much time you want to put in every day. In the industry, most people are saying that they spend between 15-60 minutes on matched betting per day. So, the outcome is direct proportional with the income. The more time you put in, more you can earn.

As thumb rule, you probably need around 10 minutes to get one bet on. Let’s say the average profit from offers you complete is £10. This means you have a potential earning of £60 an-hour. And all is tax free.

To be more accurate and to have a real feel on how much you can earn per hour, we recommend keeping track of your time in and profit you make. The more practice you have, the more efficient you’ll become; therefore higher hourly rate.

f) How Bookmakers are Responding to Matched Betting?

Due to the rise in competition between bookmakers, such as William Hill, Bet365, Paddy Power and many more run promotions in order to try to attract new and repeat customers. Their promotions prove to be very profitable for them, so they’re constantly adding more and more to their sites each week, respectively month.

The more promotions there are, the more profitable matched betting becomes. However, bookmakers don’t really ‘allow’ it. So, at the beginning, they can’t stop you doing it, but one day they will have enough information about your behaviour to decide they’ll no longer take your bets. Most of matched betting “connoisseurs” have been banned at least once from most of bookmakers sites.

Matched betting has been quite a unknown thing for an everyday user. Most of them, think is a scam or are to sceptical to look into it.

It is is entirely legal as per Graham Sharpe, from William Hill, says the industry does not have a problem with matched betting. “There’s no illegal element,” he says. “It’s a free bet and you can do what you like.” [see full article here]

Matched bettors make a profit regardless of the outcome of any sporting event; you can say is a free risk gambling form. However, are some risks involved. We are talking about human error, so ensure you follow instructions and double check your stakes at all times.

h) Are Profits Tax Free?

Matched betting falls under the category of ‘gambling’, which in UK is classed as 100% tax free.

i) How Much Money you Need to Start Matched Betting?

Most of people don’t have a lot of money set aside for such investments, especially when we are talking about betting. Therefore the starting budget is most of the time relatively a small budget of £100-£250. The smallest figure you can probably start with is £80-£90, but we would recommend £100-£120.

At this level of budget, you’ll have the flexibility of completing one or two offers at a time, and you can easily turn this into a healthy bankroll down the line. Personally, I’ve started off with about £200, before reinvesting the profit.

j) Does Matched Betting still Works today?

Matched betting is not going away too soon, as long as the bookies & casinos are still offering free bets, welcome sign up offers or any kind of bonuses.

However, you would expect to be much harder or to be stopped completely giving that the bookmakers are aware of matched betting for years. But, as we know, each year they bring new offers on to capture the new customer and to keep the old ones on their platforms.

So, matched betting still works in 2023, 2024 or so on and we doubt that will die too soon.

k) Will Matched Betting affect your Credit Score?

Matched betting doesn’t affect your credit rating in any way, because a betting sites will do the most a “soft search”.

The Guardian article explains how “the bookmakers are not sharing any account data with any of the credit reference agency, such as Experian and the credit score and ratings are results of whether your account is kept in good order or not and the transaction type is not bearing a weight”

l) How Easy is Matched Betting?

Matched Betting can be done relatively easy with the right attention and using the correct tools & resources. We are dedicated to help you gaining the right confidence and the right guidance.

We do that by offering you our free matched betting guides and easy to follow step-by-step tutorials into how to apply more advanced matched betting techniques.

m) Do You Need a Separate Bank Account for Matched Betting?

You don’t need a separate bank account for matched betting or any kind of sports betting. However, looking at it as a separate entity, maybe even as a business, will be much helpful to open a different bank account.

This way you can track your profits and performance easier. Having it separately from your daily account it can make it easier for future loan or mortgage applications.

n) For How Long Can You Do Matched Betting?

You can do matched betting for long as you are willing to put the time into it because is quite sustainable in long run.

After you depleted all the bookies welcome offers, you should take advantage of the casino ones also. After that you can use the reload offers – daily offers send by bookmakers into your account.

Is common for matched betting experts to turned matched betting into a full time job.


Is quite simple to start. You just need to follow these 3 easy steps in order to familiarise enough with the matched betting jargon and to be able to start your journey for gaining a free tax income.

  • Step 1. Select A Bookmaker Offer – With over 50 UK bookmakers, there are stacks of offers every week. Depending on your budget and time spent, you can claim £100’s of pounds in just 7 days.
  • Step 2. Cover All Outcomes – To be an easy-to-follow example, let’s say that we want to bet on a coin toss. If we place a £10 bet on heads, and another £10 bet on tails, our two bets will cancel out. We wouldn’t win any money, but we will meet the requirements to claim our free bet, without risking our money.
  • Step 3. Use Your Free Bet – We can use our free bet however we want, but to guarantee a profit, we simply need to repeat the same process again and again. Basically, we need to cover all outcomes for our qualifying bet, but also for our free bookmaker bet.

All you need to is to have an internet connected device, an email address, an online bank account, a starting fund (around £50), access to a sports betting exchange market and an odds matcher tool. For the last two you just need to sign up.

Smarkets – One of the most used sports betting exchange markets available today. Probably are the most used by matched betting beginners due to their lowest commission. They have only 2% commission on any winnings compared to Betfair Exchange’s 5% commission. Also, by signing with Odds Monkey you get 0% commission.

Odds Monkey – is one of the most recommended tools providers – such as odds matcher tool – by matched bettors out there. I highly recommend to try it out. They, also, offer the option to sign up for a free trial and have been used by more than 40,000 people so far.

Start your Matched Betting venture

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