What is Matched Betting?
You may have heard of the term ‘hedge your bets’. This means to protect yourself from losses. In matched betting, we are betting using free-bets at a bookie and hedging them on a betting exchange. Bookmakers provide us odds of backing an outcome. Backing means you are predicting a win. Exchanges offer us the opposite, and you can bet on a loss. This is laying against an outcome. If you do both using the same stakes, then you neither win nor lose any money, meaning you’ve hedged your bets to protect yourself from losses. If you did this with your own money, you would simply get your money back in either the bookie or on the exchange.
Because you’re doing this with a free-bet, the same happens, but your accounts are credited with the value of that free-bet in real money. The bookie thinks you’ve gambled your free-bet and lost it, but really, you’re getting the money back on the exchange and can withdraw it as profit. If you win at the bookies and lose on the exchange then it’s fair play from the bookie’s side – they think you’ve risked your free-bet and you happened to win, they don’t know that you couldn’t lose because you hedged your bets.
Is Matched Betting Legal?
Yes, it is legal, as long as you are over 18 and can use gambling sites. Bookies are aware of matched betting, but it doesn’t bother them and they can’t do much about it. Most T&Cs will have a clause about ‘bonus abuse’, indicating that the bookies are entitled to close or limit your account if they suspect matched betting, but it isn’t illegal.
How Do You Match Bet?
Bookies give promotional bets for free when you sign-up. They expect you to spend these at the bookmaker, meaning they’re eventually recycled back into their own profits. Matched betters take these free bets, place them on an outcome to win and then bet against them at a second bookmaker. You will either win money in the second bookmaker account or win money at the bookmaker who gave you the free bet. By doing this, you are extracting profit from free-bets.
Does Matched Betting Work?
Yes, it 100% works. There are hundreds of articles on matched betting, as well as products like Profit Accumulator and OddsMonkey, all being used by people who are matched betting right now to make a risk-free profit. Matched betting has been around for a long time, but only recently has it attracted a surge of new betters, many of which have no sports or gambling knowledge, and are being instructed by guides or products which explain the process and its techniques.
How Much Can You Make Matched Betting?
There are two main groups of offers. Sign-up offers are given to you when you sign up and deposit to a bookie. These are high-value one off’s, and if you completed every single one of these for every bookie (and there are about 30+!) then you could make upwards of £2000. Some firms like Bet365 offer massive bonuses, for example, they double your initial deposit in free-bets up to £200. If you deposit £200, you get £200 in free bets that can be extracted as profit!
Once these one-offs are used up, the second type of offers matched betters use to make money is reload offers. These are incentives given by bookies to keep you betting. These vary quite a bit; extra place bonuses for horse racing, money back if your accumulator loses, money back if a game finishes a nil-nil draw, etc. These offers can be extracted as real cash using the same methods. It is a bit more tricky to get your head around reload offers, but by the time most people work through the sign-up offers they’re most of the way there.
How Hard is Matched Betting?
Matched betting isn’t hard per se, but it can turn your mind to mush if you aren’t familiar with sports betting as a whole, so you do need to work through it carefully. It does involve some simple maths, but calculators online can do that work for you. The terminology, odds, figures etc can be off-putting, but with the volume of information published on the subject, you can get as familiar as you need to, work through examples, and visualise the processes with the assistance of videos. It’s a steep but kind learning curve, and after you decide it’s something you want to do, you will learn quickly.
How Long Does Matched Betting Take?
The actual placing of bets doesn’t take long at all, especially when you’re using software or websites to assist you, like Odds Monkey. These programs find you close matches between the back and the lay so you don’t have the find them yourself, and also include calculators which help you work out your stakes. Once you’ve completed the easiest offers, you’ll have a better idea of how quickly you can work through the harder, longer ones. Many people matched bet in their free time as a form of extra income, but some do it full-time and make a great monthly wage. Either way, you can choose the time you dedicate to matched betting.
How Much Money Do You Need to Matched Bet?
If you want to tackle the highest value sign-up offers first then you’re going to need about £500 – £1000. That may seem like a lot, but the only reason for this is so you can cover your bets by laying on the exchange. When you lay, you are betting against an outcome, saying it will lose. If this outcome is likely to lose, say when Newcastle play Chelsea, then you need to cover your liability if Newcastle were to do the improbable, and win.
It’s like this:
Person 1: Cue Card is in with a good chance of winning the next Gold Cup at Cheltenham!
Person 2: Cue Card will never win the Gold Cup next year at Cheltenham.
Person 1: I bet you £10 he will.
Person 2: Ok, I’ll take your £10, give you odds of 2/1, meaning if he wins, I’ll pay you out £20, but if he loses, I’m keeping your £10.
This means person 2’s liability is £20, that’s the amount they need in their account to pay out should the unlikely happen and Cue Card wins the Gold Cup.
You really don’t need to start off with the highest value offers though, and can work your way through, withdrawing and redepositing chronologically as you move through the offers. Sites such as Profit Accumulator plan this for you.
Can You Lose Money Matched Betting?
The short answer is no, only if you make a mistake. The numbers aren’t always even though. Lay odds won’t always match back odds, and you may lose small amounts when backing and laying at slightly different odds. We’re talking tiny percentages of your stake though – maybe a couple of quid for a £200 – £300 match. Additionally, Betfair takes a commission. Most calculators factor this in. It’s a small percentage though and it certainly doesn’t make the difference between winning or losing money. We are still mathematically guaranteed 70% – 90% of our free-bet in real money if we matched bet correctly. So no, you can only gain money when matched betting.