Matched Betting for Dummies

What Is Matched Betting & how does it work?

Matched Betting For Dummies

Table of Contents

Welcome to this Matched Betting Guide. I plan to cover absolutely everything about matched betting, so it might be beneficial if you grab a drink before you start this one.

You will start reading this as a beginner, but by the time you have completed the final paragraph, you will be able to place a matched bet manually, following my guides. 

I’m not using a new strategy, it’s the same old matched betting technique which has earnt me over £50,000 profit in two years.

You might be wondering what I get from helping members out completely free? I helped my friends and family until it got to the point where it felt easier for me to just write a guide for them. I published that online & here we are now! I do receive incentives from Matched Betting Services, but I will never partner with bookmakers.

If you’re new to matched betting, I encourage you to give this post ten minutes of your time, it’s time you need to invest to make the most out of Matched Betting.

There are no hidden charges when using our website, there isn’t any software etc but the guides are setup to help you manually find bets.

Unfortunately, Matched Betting won’t be as profitable as this forever. That’s not an issue for you though, as you can take action today!

What Is Matched Betting?

For anybody New to Matched betting, it can seem very complicated & risky.
To conquer your fears, we have created a Matched Betting for Dummies guide.
The simple profits that you can make sound too good to be true, but we promise there are no catches to this, risk free profit!

Introduction to Matched Betting

Bookmakers run special promotions and offer free bets, to try and get more punters betting with them. We Exploit these free bets and use simple tools provided, to guarantee profit

It’s widely known that you can earn around £1000 from the sign up promotions.
There is no need to worry about the profits drying up after completing the sign ups, as bookmakers also offer promotions to existing customers, to make sure they continue betting.
These types of offers are known as Reload Offers, which will be your main-stay for matched betting

Back & Lay Bets

The most important thing you need to understand at the start, is the difference between a back bet & a lay bet.

What is a Back Bet?

A back bet is the most typical type of bet. When you want a team to win, you would ‘back’ that team. 

If your chosen team then wins, your bet would win & you would make money.

When you choose for Liverpool to win the Premier League, you’ve backed that team.

What is a Lay Bet?

This one is less known with punters, as it’s something which has been created by Betting Exchanges such as Betfair. This is the opposite of backing a bet, where you are betting for that outcome to lose.

If your selection then loses, you make money. For example, if you Lay Liverpool to win the Premier League & they don’t, your Lay bet wins.

Hopefully now you are able to see the difference between a Back bet & a Lay bet. In the above example we have Backed Liverpool to win the league, but also placed a Lay bet on them to win the league.

We are covered here for both eventualities, they can only win the league or not win the league, there is no middle ground.

How Matched Betting Works

When Matched Betting, you must place your Lay Bet to cancel out any Back bet that you’ve placed. 

If you were to back Liverpool to win the League, but then you Lay Man City to win the league… you’re not Matched Betting.

If Man City win the League, both of the above bets would then be settled as losers. If you’re going to write anything into a notebook, ensure that you back and lay the same bet.

Backing and Laying the same outcome gives us absolutely zero risk, we’ve covered every single outcome and cannot lose. This is the way that you unlock free bets, but we will explain this later to avoid confusion.

When you register with a bookmaker, you need to place what’s known as a qualifying bet. This is the very first bet that you place, which qualifies you to earn a Free Bet. 

This isn’t the stage where you make a profit. Actually, after placing your qualifying bets, you usually lose around twenty pence. Don’t worry, big things are coming!

Once your qualifying bet has settled, you’ll receive a Free Bet. You can follow the exact same method once more, locking in profits using the same backing and laying method. You’re laying against the free bet, to guarantee winnings. 

This stage is also 100% risk free, regardless of whether the bet wins or not. It’s such an easy way to make money, writing this guide makes me wish that I had sign up offers once more!

It doesn’t actually stop after Sign Up offers, but the offers don’t come quite so easy. I’m currently making good money from the Bookmaker Bet Clubs, but that’s a few lessons down the line yet!

The next part of this lesson may require extra attention, as I will be explaining the maths behind the betting.

We will discuss; Liability, Commission & Matched Betting Calculators.


Liability is the amount of money you stand to lose when laying a bet. Think of yourself as becoming the bookmaker when you lay a bet, as you would have to payout on any Lay bets that you lose. 

However, you must remember that you haven’t lost money, as you will have backed the result with a bookmaker. In the simplest terms possible, your money will move from bookmaker to exchange, unlocking free bets along the way.

Lay Commission

We have to use Betting Exchanges to lay our bets. Whilst these don’t charge a monthly fee, they need to make money from us to survive.To make money, they charge us a very small percentage of our winnings. This works out to 2% with Smarkets.Nobody likes paying commission, but Betting Exchanges provide far more value than bookmakers. 

Completing an Example Offer

 At this stage, you may well have a good idea of the basics, which is good! Now it’s time to complete an example offer with me.  I’ve just spent 15 minutes designing a logo for a pretend bookmaker, which now doesn’t feel like the best use of time!The bookmaker we are going to use will be:Example Matched Betting Offer Let’s pretend they exist for a moment. For this example, we are going to invent a sign up offer. Bumblee Bet are promising new users a £50 Free Bet, when they register and place a £50 bet. The first step is to register & deposit the £50. The next step would be to open up your oddsmatcher, which will help you find something to bet on and automatically calculate your next steps. We have filtered for BumbleBee Bet on the Oddsmatcher, which has shown us the best current matches.In this example, it’s shown that backing Real Madrid gives us a 98 rated bet, which isn’t too bad at all. They are 1.4 to back, with a 1.42 lay price.  

The next step is to place the £25 bet on Real Madrid to Win, on the Bumble Bee site. Next, we will be looking at laying the bet. We need to cover the instance that Real Madrid do not win.

Head over to the betting exchange and find the Real Madrid game

As you can see above, the only column we are interested in when laying is the right box. The lay odds will always be on the right & always be larger than the back odds (unless it’s an arb bet).

However, there’s another few ways to ensure that you are placing a lay bet.

If you see the wording on the above bet, which I have highlighted, it physically says against Real Madrid. It also includes the keyword which I mention earlier in the post, Liability. When you see these words, you can guarantee that you’re placing the right bet.


Don’t place a back bet on the Bet Exchange

It’s also possible to place a back bet on the betting exchanges. Very easy to do so. I have done this myself in the past, when rushing a little too much.

The wording is a dead giveaway, for Real Madrid. You have no need to back them on the exchange, so if ever you hit the green column, that’s not correct. But I needed to show you this.

How much do I lay?

Just because we’ve placed a £50 bet for Real Madrid to win, doesn’t mean that we need to place a £50 bet against them to win. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that easy. 

However, with the Matched Betting Lay Calculator, you can input the back and lay odds & be told exactly how much to lay. 

Just to keep you up to speed, I have filled in the calculator with the same information we discussed above; £50 Back Stake, 1.4 back odds & 1.42 lay odds.

Oddsmonkey members also pay 0% lay commission on their bets, meaning that you can save even more money and time!

Matched Betting Example

The part which you’ll want to look at now is the centre of the calculator, the results area.

It advises you that at odds of 1.42 you should lay £49.30. This means that the amount you should lay, aka your lay stake, is £49.30. 

I’ve attached the smarkets screen below, so you can see exactly how to place this lay bet. It’s almost a case of monkey see, monkey do. As long as you match the liability up with what the calculator suggests, you can’t make a mistake.

The calculator also advises you that your liability will be £20.71, meaning that to place this bet you will need a minimum of £20.71 in your exchange account balance.

The profit breakdown is also a neat addition, explaining exactly what happens if either the bookmaker or exhange bet wins.

  • If the Bookmaker wins, you’ll win £20 in, but lose £20.71 from the betting exchange.
  • If the exchange lay wins, you’ll lose £50 from the bookmaker, but £49.30 will go into your exchange account.
  • £0.70 loss. That’s not right?! Hold your horses! We still have a £50 free bet to complete. It’s normal to lose money on a Qualifier, remember.

Why Did I lose money? What’s a Qualifying Loss?

We lost money in the first step because we have to use our own money to place a bet. In doing so, we unlock a Free Bet, which we then convert into a large profit.

The loss you make when you place your initial bet is known as a Qualifying Loss. 

Whilst it’s true that you’ve currently lost £0.70, you have a £50 Free Bet waiting to be converted into cash! 

All you have to do, is repeat the same process again. As it’s a slightly different method, we will run through placing the Free Bet with you also. 

Using the Free Bet

Our qualifying bet has settled, which means we have now been given a Free Bet to the value of £50. The next stage is to extract profit from this bet, using a very similar method to the qualifier bet.

However, this time, we need to use the free bet at higher odds. Using low odds doesn’t allow the manouverability, so we won’t extract anywhere near as much profit as we should. 

Look for odds with a minimum of 3/1 or 4.0.

The oddsmatcher has found a good bet, Ross County in the Scottish League. They are 6.5 to back, with a lay of 6.6.

Using a Free Bet matched Betting

I have entered this into the calculator above. When using a Free Bet, you must ensure to select the Bet Type as SNR unless the offer suggests otherwise. 

As you can see above, the liability required is £233.35, so I would class this as an advanced offer. There are plenty of smaller offers around which will help build your bankroll to this type of offer. The profit extracted from the free bet would be £41.65.

£40.95 is the total profit, once the deductions from the qualifying bets are included. In around 5 minutes worth of clicking.

What Matched Bets can I place next?

This is just one single (made up) Sign Up offer, there are currently 60 Sign up offers available with Oddsmonkey.

It can be quite a scary world going out there & placing bets on your own, so many of you will prefer to look towards a Matched Betting Service. 

They do hold your hand throughout, finding the offers for you and telling you how to complete them. Overall, I think they are a must, but it’s entirely down to the individual. 

Some people like to find the offers themselves, but I personally like to use my time completing the offers, instead of reading T&C’s!

I’ll include a few frequently asked questions on Matched Betting below, but feel free to post a comment & I’ll try my best to assist!

Frequently Asked Questions about Matched Betting

Is Matched Betting legal?

Matched Betting is 100% legal. Whilst people who are in the club don’t generally like publicising the information about it, there’s nothing shady going on here. The Telegraph wouldn’t write an article on crime, afterall!

Do Bookmakers Matched Betting?

Matched Betting exists because of bookmakers trying to lure in new & repeat customers. Bonus exploiters still only equates to a tiny percent of the betting population, which means bookmakers are still making money.

The great thing is, whilst they don’t want customers who are taking all of the value from bets, it takes quite a while for them to stop you from exploiting them.

I’ve been matched betting for almost 6 years now, although I have lost most of my accounts now and my days are numbered.

What Happens if I get banned?

I’ll be very surprised to find out that you’ve been completely banned by a bookmaker, unless you’ve been doing arbs for months.

You won’t lose any of your money in the account, or profit that you’ve made. You’re completely safe. 

It will be frustrating for you, as it was for me. It’s not going to be a happy moment, for a profit source to be closed down.

All you will receive is an email, stating that due to a trading decision, they won’t give you promotions. Most emails will also state that you’re free to bet with them, you just won’t receive offers. 

I tend to take this as the licence to Arb the bookmaker, until my stakes are limited to pennies. 

What are the Risks, then?

When you perform Matched Betting as per the guides, there are no risks. 

None at all.

However, if you make a mistake, such as backing a team with bookie and exchange, instead of laying, there would be considerable risk. I must stress though, this is a mistake, not a risk.

The advanced stages of Matched Betting are taking advantage of Casino offers, but that’s a long way down the line until you’ll be doing those offers.

How much do I need to begin?

The beauty of Matched Betting is that there’s no set time limit for completing sign up offers. 

You can take it as slow as you want, so if you only have £100 to invest, you would be completing 1-2 offers per week. 

Alternatively, if you could invest £500+ you can be completing an offer every single night… if not more.

I started off with £650, which enabled me to complete 3-4 offers per week.

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