Last Updated on December 11, 2020
What I’m teaching you here is a completely legal, tried-and-tested method called ‘matched betting’. Matched betting basically allows you to turn the tables on the bookmakers to extract their free bet offers.
I’ve used it myself for several years and have never lost any money doing it, but I have taken my time and been very careful to avoid making mistakes.
Do not rush this guide – make sure you understand it 100% before depositing any money, and please ask any questions in the comments if unsure of anything.
I’ll be taking you through the ‘need-to-knows’ then showing you how I made £10 in 20 minutes in a full example.
What is matched betting?
Matched betting is a technique that mathematically guarantees a profit from the many free bet promotions offered by betting companies. Almost all bookmakers advertise these offers (especially during big sporting events) to entice new customers to place bets with them.
For example, “bet £25 with us and we’ll give you a £25 free bet!”.
How does matched betting work?
Firstly, you don’t need to know all the betting terminology if you follow the steps below, but it’s important that you know two types of bet which allow matched betting to work:
A ‘back’ bet
Betting for a certain outcome to come true. Eg. “I bet England will win” is a backing bet. If it comes true, you win the bet and the winnings. If England lose or draw, you lose your stake. You can place a back bet at any bookmaker, such as Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes etc.
A ‘lay’ bet
Betting against a certain outcome to come true. Eg. “I bet England will not win” is a lay bet. If they lose or draw, you win the bet. You can only place a lay bet at a betting exchange such as Betfair.
Matched betting works by cancelling out the risk on the ‘back’ bet at the online bookies by betting against yourself at the same odds (know as ‘laying’ a bet) which you can do at a betting exchange. In other words, you are ‘matching’ your bet.
Following your first or ‘qualifying’ bet, you will then be awarded the free bet by the bookmaker. This is where the profit is made. Quite simply, you repeat the process: bet using the free bet and then lay the bet. Whatever the result you are guaranteed to make a profit (which I’ll be demonstrating below).
How much profit can I make?
For each matched bet, you will be left with up to 95% of the free bet amount as profit. This is because betting exchanges usually charge a commission of 5% on winnings. You may also make a very small loss on the qualifying bet due to the minor difference in odds on each website (unless you do an arbitrage in wich case your profits are increased, but more on that later…). This is normal, and you will recoup this when you use the free bet.
In the steps below I’ll show you how to profit from a £20 free bet using a real life example. Replicate the same steps across the hundreds of free bet offers each year and you can quickly be looking at £1,000s.
And it’s worth pointing out, earnings from the gambling industry are currently tax-free.
What’s the risk?
Anyone can learn how to do matched betting and, in theory, there is no risk involved because you are covering yourself by betting for and against the same event.
However the risk comes when mistakes are made so, once again, you need to double-check everything and follow the steps exactly. On rare occasions free bets do not always come through right away, so just be patient.
Once you’ve understood the process and been successful by following the steps below, you can then continue matched betting at many other online bookies with free bet offers (see my table at end) which can quite quickly land you a lot of money without risk.
It’s also worth knowing that depositing at gambling websites does not affect your credit rating. (at least in the UK). If you’re afraid that gambling can affect your credit rating, use alternative deposit methods such as skrill, neteller or even bitcoin!
Your first profit in 7 steps
Note: This is literally a step-by-step, hold-your-hand kind of guide. There’s lots of fragmented information out there on forums etc, which often results in costly mistakes for novices. Below I outline exactly the steps I follow, using the practical example of one free bet with Coral. So long as you follow word for word, you can’t go wrong. I strongly suggest reading through all the steps first before making any bets. You’ll also find using a desktop computer far easier than on mobile!
1 – Sign up for Betfair
Unlike traditional bookmakers, Betfair is a place where you bet against other people.
They sometimes even offer free bets for new customers too (if you’re lucky).
2 – Sign up for a bookie like 1xBet or William Hill
The best offer by far right now is with 1xBet or William Hill who are offering £100 free cash on new sign ups when you bet just £100 . Depending on your location you may need or want to use a different bookie. For an updated info on free bets see this page.
Always check the full T&Cs of receiving free bet offers. There may be some restrictions on what you can bet on or an expiry date.
During registration, you will be prompted to make a deposit. Choose one of the many payment types and don’t deposit more than necessary to get your free bet or free cash (depending on your bookie)
3 – Use decimal odds
Once you’ve logged into 1xBet, change your odds display from fractions to decimal for easy comparison with Betfair. Non europeans are more accostumed to fractional or american odds but for an easier comparison we recomend using decimal system. (you can also use an odds converter but in our opinion, the simplest, the better).
4 – Find & place your qualifying bet
Ideally you want to find a sporting bet (I recommend football) which has the closest odds on both William Hill (the bet to back) and Betfair (the lay bet).
Lay odds on Betfair are the red boxes, not the blue. If you cannot see any red boxes, you need to go to the exchange by clicking the top left link “Go to Exchange” or “Exchange”.
See my example below then use the OddsFetcher calculator tool which does everything for you!
I used OddsFetcher which suggested a football match between Podbrezova and Nitra, so I went to find this game on William Hill and smarkets (we want the “Match Result” market on William Hill and “Match Odds” on Smarkets). You will notice i used betfair instead of smarkets because i had no balance on smarkets and betfair had the same odd. You can find alternative bookies and compare odds on an odds comparison tool like OddStatus!
I will back Nitra to win at William Hill with odds of 3.80 and lay that same bet on betfair with odds of 3.45.
To know exactly wich ammount to bet on each side, just insert values on the oddsfetcher calculator: (in this case i adjusted the commission to 5% because i’m placing the bet on betfair instead of smarkets, wich leaves me with a profit of 1.23 plus the free bet!)
And then just lay your bet on the exchange:
5 – Use the OddsFetcher tool. This will save you a LOT of time and maximise your overall profit.
It fetches live odds from bookies and finds the equivalent lay odds on exchanges for thousands of upcoming football matches.
The hardest part is also done for you, which is to calculate the best matches for your qualifying bet based on the best odds.
In my Podbrezova v Nitra game, the result was 1-1 so i lost the bet on william hill but won on betfair.
So whatever the outcome, all that is happening is the money flowing from bookie to exchange or vice-versa, depending on the outcome, in each betting increasing the ammount by a few pounds.
6 – Find & place a new bet
Depending on the offer type, you may have the free balance instantly on your account after your deposit or you may need to place a qualifying bet.
In this case, the free bet came only after the first bet was placed, so all you have to do is repeat the process, this time with free balance.
7 – Withdraw the profit
Whatever the outcome, you will now be in profit to the amount calculated in the OddsFetcher. Now it’s time to cash out!