Matched Betting Calculator

matched betting calculator guide

Table of Contents

Matched Betting isn’t easy. There are tools out there which can help you out, the main one being the Matched Betting Calculator.

The thing is, there’s multiple options on the Matched Betting Calculator, but there’s no definitive guide for how to use them. This is where this post will help you, as I’m going to explain absolutely everything about it.

This will be ideal for people who are working out how to use the tools, or work out how much profit you should make from your arb bets.

Read our guides below, then use our beginner friendly lay calculator.

What is the Matched Betting Calculator?

If you’ve just stumbled upon this page, we’ve got you covered. 

This matched betting calculator is a tool used by Matched Bettors, to work out how to make profit from bookmaker free bets.

We need to place back and lay bets, but the calculator helps us out as the figures become really hard to understand. 

There’s only a handful of people that would be able to tell you the ideal lay stake for a £25 bet, with 1.75 back odds and 1.77 lay odds!

This matched betting calculator can be use for:

  • Users that are placing Arbitrage bets, looking to find out exactly how much profit they will make.
  • Matched Bettors that are placing qualifying bets, which will then unlock a free bet.
  • Matched Bettors who are using their Free Bets, converting them to profit with our help.
  • Users which are placing mug bets, but want to ensure their losses aren’t too high.

There’s lots of uses for this calculator. Now that you know what it is, it’s time to understand how you use it.

How to Use the Matched Betting Calculator

The Matched Betting Lay Calculator is really easy to use, but on the surface it looks quite difficult.

Initially, we are going to look at how to use the basic method for using this calculator, with the advanced instructions lower down.

When you load the Matched Betting Calculator up for the first time, you’ll be required to input a few bits of information.

  • The Back Stake (e.g £20, £50)
  • The Back Odds (in Decimal)
  • The Lay Odds (Also Decimal)
  • Commission Rate (0%, 2% or 5%)

The Back Stake is the amount that you have bet at the bookmaker, which will be £20 for example.

The back odds are the odds which you accepted. For Example your £20 on Arsenal was at 4.0 odds.

The Lay odds are on the betting exchange. For Example, your lay odds were 4.1. 

The commission rate will vary, depending on whether you use Smarkets or Betfair… but that’s either 2% or 5%.

Put all of this information into the calculator, which will then advise you that you’ll make a loss. 

Not to worry, it’s only £0.79 and you’ll have a £20 free bet on the way soon!

Using the Matched Betting Calculator for a Free Bet

This is always the most fun part, but it’s also the part where you must stay focused. There is one huge difference between using this for a Qualifying bet, as opposed to a free bet. 

Once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll get the hang of it.

You must put the Calculator in ‘Free Bet’ mode, before you enter the figures.

You can actually do it after entering the figures, but that’s poor practice and could lead to a mistake.

I’ll be very honest and state that it’s hard to make this mistake, as a free bet will always generate profit. If you forget to set Free Bet mode, you’ll be reminded to when you notice that the calculator shows another small loss. It’s always profit, from the free bets.

Now that you’ve survived my rant, it’s time to calculate the free bet. 

  • Select Free Bet mode
  • Enter the Back Odds
  • Enter the Lay Odds
  • Enter the Lay Commission

You should now see a shiny profit on the calculator results section. Subtract the amount you lost from your initial bet, a few pence, and that will be your final profit figure.

You’ve done it! Now all we need to do, is wait and see if the bet wins. 

If it does, your money will go into the bookmaker. If it loses, your money will be in the exchange.

I tend to prefer the lay winning, as it keeps the bookmakers happy, but also builds your exchange pot ready for the next matched bet offer.

Underlaying a Matched Betting Offer

Underlaying is where you lay less than the ideal, for example if the calculator advised you to lay £55, you might lay £50.

What’s the plan here? Why would you leave yourself vulnerable to a loss?

That’s the absolute right question you should be asking right now, but let me explain. Note, it’s an advanced technique, but something that’s definitely important to learn. We cover this here, but let’s show you another example.

Coral have an offer, “Free Bet upto £50 if your team doesn’t win”. It’s a classic refund offer, which is very common.

The difference here, is that we are going to underlay this bet, to try and guarantee a profit from the offer.

Remember, we only get a free bet, if our team DOESN’T Win.

If you place a £50 bet at evens (2.0), with the lay odds at 2.1, you would be left with a £2.89 loss, if you attempted this using the standard calculator option.

We aren’t going to do that, as if our team doesn’t win, we’ve lost £2.89.

What we are going to do, is flick the calculator into advanced mode.

Matched Betting calculator Underlay

Note, I’ve blanked out part of the calculator for Overlay, as we are going to discuss this next.

Above, you’ll see the figures for the Underlay, which show that you can lay £45.45, which is less than the £48.08 standard.

This means that you break even if the bookmaker bet wins, but lose a little extra if the exchange lay bet wins.

This is our way to guarantee profit from this offer, or at least minimise losses.

We get a refund if our team doesn’t win… if they do win, we break even, winning £0.00.

However, if they fail to win, we lose £5.46… but will receive a £50 free bet.

It’s the perfect way to play this type of offer, although it costs more than a standard lay bet, you won’t lose anything if the team does win.

Overlaying a Matched Betting Offer

Overlaying is where you commit more than the ideal lay stake. For example, it could state to lay £55, but you go ahead and lay £60.

Why would you do this? It makes no sense!

That’s a perfectly valid response, but Overlay also has a great place in Matched Betting. It’s not a crazy strategy invented to add more gambling into your life.

Let me explain.

It’s a less common strategy than underlaying, but it works really well when bookmakers offer a Free Bet, when your original bet wins. 

There are plenty of bookmakers which offers this sort of bonus, especially on Horse Racing Refunds.

The Bet365 Horse Racing offer is the perfect example, where you get a Free bet for the next race, if you pick a winner on the current one.

Matched Betting Calculator Overlay Example

Again, I’ve blanked out Underlay, to avoid any confusions.

Let’s look at the difference between standard, or overlaying.

The first thing you’ll notice with this, is that you lose a whopping £9.18, if your Horse Wins. Despite this, you will be guaranteed a Free Bet worth £50, so it’s actually pretty great value.

If your Horse doesn’t win, but you overlaid the bet, you break even.

If you fancy your chances, you can opt to lose £1.77 for the chance of winning and earning a few extra pounds from your free bet. 

It’s completely your decision, depending on your risk level.

What I will advise though, is that £2 losses can quickly add up!


Both Underlaying and Overlaying has a place in Matched Betting. It’s also important that you use the Standard mode. 

The technique which you use must always depend on the type of offer. For example, if the offer says Free Bet if you don’t win, it’s always best to Underlay that.

It’s a way of protecting any losses, but at the cost you’d earn a little less from the free bets that you earn.

It’s a really useful strategy and can save you hundreds of pounds per month in qualifying losses. 

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