I’ve always been a big sports fan and have partaken in the occasional punt on a horse, but only recently came across Matched Betting.
Like I said in my first article last year I have no interest in gambling but I had seen reports of people earning £1000+ a month from Matched Betting without putting in too much effort, so I was more than tempted to look into this.
The basic principle is that you place a bet at one Bookmakers that an event will happen, then you place a bet at a betting exchange that the event won’t happen.
Whatever happens in the event means that you will make a small loss, however, the trick is that in a lot of cases you will be given a refund by the bookmaker if that event doesn’t happen.
Examples would be:
• If the game ends 0 – 0
• If the horse finishes 2nd
• If there is a red card
On top of this there are over 40 bookmakers who will give you free bets when you open an account with them.
Start Slowly and Learn the Basics
The concept of matched betting may take you a while to get your head around to start with, however, there is plenty of useful information available and as long as you pace yourself then you should be ok.
As I said in my recent article I think there are roughly 5 stages to matched betting:
• Stage 1 – Signing up to the bonus offers
• Stage 2 – Playing the account reloads and daily offers
• Stage 3 – Laying off bets in an accumulator
• Stage 4 – Expanding out into other sports eg Horse Racing
• Stage 5 – Moving into trading / arbitrageTo start with I would recommend having a maximum of 2 offers that you are trying to complete open at the same time, otherwise it gets too complicated for the newbie.
Take on the easy offers first and use a service like Oddsmonkey where they give you step by step guides to the offers.
Spend a couple of months at least, going through these offers and then you can start to try out the reloads, when you have a good understanding of what you’re doing.
Try to Act Like a Regular Punter
The most important thing for a matched bettor is keeping your accounts open so you can continue to take advantage of the reload offers.
As soon as you start to win a lot or exhibit strange betting patterns, then for sure your accounts will be restricted.
Unfortunately, the bookies are clever folks and with the help of their spying software (which is tracking everything you do) they have a pretty clear picture of what kind of customer you are.
The typical pattern that they will look out for is:
• A customer who only ever bets when there is an offer available
• A customer who places a bet at low odds to qualify for an offer and
• A customer who places a bet at high odds when using their free bet
Remember, bookies don’t like to lose money!!!
There is no exact science to it and you are still going to lose accounts at some point but you can help minimise the chance by:
• Not playing every offer
• Adding stakes above the maximum that you’d get back on a free bet for an offer
• Not taking the best match available
• Placing random bets not associated with free offers – Now you can use something like the Eachway matcher to make this profitbale
Never Bet When You’re in a Rush
Most of the mistakes that I have made over the past year have happened when I’ve either been in a rush or in a scenario that was not relaxed or where I couldn’t focus.
Examples would be:
• When a deadline was approaching eg the start of a race or kick off time
• When I was not in front of my PC, so mainly trying to place bets on the move on an Iphone
• When I was with friends of when someone was waiting for me to go out
• When I was on a lunch break at work
In all of these situations you can’t fully focus on what you are doing and try to rush, which will lead to mistakes.
You’ll either back the wrong horse, add the wrong stakes, or completely forget to lay a bet, so whatever you do, make sure you’re in a stress free environment to place your bets.
After a year I would now class myself as a fairly experienced matched bettor, who understands most of what they are doing and have played out all the different offer types.
I’ve now tried to refine my time to only partaking in offers that are worth my while with either guaranteed profit, or a good chance of making a return.
Previously I would end up spending hours going through all the different offers and only making a few pounds profit here and there.I’ve managed to make a decent enough profit and still have some of the major accounts left open, although not as many as I would like.
There are few lowlights that come to mind including the multiple gubbings on some nice accounts, which always hurt and missing the Bet365 Grand National offer as I read the rules incorrectly, but the lowlight has got to be a mixup with Smarkets that cost me a few hundred pounds.
For some reason when I tried to lay a horse in the Smarkets exchange it got the lay odds completely wrong.
I’m not sure how this happened; it was either a data entry error or a glitch in the system but instead of laying at odds of 8, it went up to 80 and of course this was snapped up in the exchange.
At one point I stood to lose £1500 but thanks to people in the Matched Betting Forums, I managed to minimise the loss down to about £300, but it was extremely stressful!!!
Getting into horse racing and the racing festivals such as Cheltenham was fun, even though it was really stressful at the time, but the highlight for me has to be the discovery of the Eachway Matcher and playing the Extra Place Races.
The good thing about the Eachway matcher is that you can use this with gubbed accounts and can make a tidy profit.
I used this a couple of times recently to pick up £200 profit on a couple of extra place races where my horse came in fifth which was a real buzz!
So, this is the big thing for me. I think because I kind of enjoyed it and also because you can see immediate gains from your actions, I ended up spending hours and hours sorting through offers and looking for close matches.
In fact, I think because of matched betting, I was able to spend less time on the other activities that I wanted to pursue such as the websites.
However, I’ve learned that you can limit this and you really should do if you want to have any kind of life left!!!
I started making detailed accounts of every transaction that I made to start with, however, in the end this was taking too much time so I just run a spreadsheet, which has details of:
From this I can tell that I’ve probably made about:
£3500 tax free profit
from matched betting during the course of the year, which isn’t too bad.
This one is really difficult to say. Overall I have enjoyed the thrill of matched betting and making money out of nothing, however, at times this can be really stressful and also quite addictive.
There is no gambling involved however, there is something quite addictive about making small wins all the time.
I think I’ve spent too much time doing this over the year to justify continually doing this, so I’m going to limit this to a few hours a week moving forward.
I’ve also lost a lot of my accounts so am getting limited on which offers I can play at the moment.
Also, it seems like matched betting is becoming a lot more popular so the bookies are not putting so many decent offers out there like they used to do.
I think in general the best days of matched betting are over, but there is still some money to be made from it.