We’ve written this comprehensive matched betting guide to give you step by step instructions and examples to help you place your first matched bet.
Ever heard of the phrase ‘hedging your bets’? The definition, according to the Cambridge Dictionary of this is “to protect yourself against loss by supporting more than one possible result or both sides in a competition”. Well Matched Betting is based on this same basic principle. The good thing about it is there is absolutely no risk involved in Match Betting and if you’re careful you’re guaranteed to make over £1000 tax free. Yes, you heard me right…. £1000 tax free.
You just need to get to grips with a few fairly easy betting concepts and the money will start flowing in.
What Is Matched Betting?
So I explained earlier about hedging your bets and you’re probably thinking that if you bet on both outcomes then you’re surely going to lose money, right? Well, no, that’s wrong, because you’re forgetting about the free bets.
Matched betting is based on taking advantage of the numerous free offers that the online bookmakers are offering to get you to sign up to an account with them. You simply use this money to place a bet on one outcome with the bookmaker giving the free bet and then place a bet with another bookmaker on that outcome not happening.
If you find odds that are fairly similar for the 2 outcomes then whatever happens, you will walk away with a profit just less than the value of the free bet. Simple right?
Understanding Free Bets
For every offer that is out there you really need to read the Terms and Conditions to be sure that you’re not just throwing your money away and gambling, like most of the other punters out there, however, most of the free offers are fairly straightforward and are made up of 2 parts:
1 – A QUALIFYING BET
When you open a new account with an online bookmaker you will need to make an initial deposit and place either one or a series of bets totalling a certain amount before they will release your Free Bet.
2 – A FREE BET
The bookmaker will usually release your free bet after your qualifying bet has been settled, and you’re then free to use this bet on any event.
Understanding Betting Exchanges
The final key to this very simple puzzle is understanding how you bet that something WON’T happen. Sounds a bit weird doesn’t it, but instead of being the punter and betting that Arsenal are going to win a game, you can act as the bookmaker and bet that Arsenal won’t win the game (ie draw or lose). This concept is called Laying the bet or a lay bet, whereas betting on a positive outcome is called backingthe bet (I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase ‘backing a winner’ before).
Most online bookmakers only allow you to back a bet, however, there are a couple of places that have opened Betting Exchanges, where you can lay a bet as well. The 2 best options are either Betfair Exchange or Smarkets. My personal favourite is Smarkets as they only charge a 2% commission on bets whereas Befair charges 5% but have a bigger coverage of events and more betting activity.
In the example below you can see that for the 3 outcomes you can either back that the outcome happens (Back) or bet against that happening (Lay)
TIP : USE DECIMAL ODDS
Most of the online bookmakers have the option to view the odds of different outcomes either as:
- Fractional eg 5/1 will return 5 x the stake, as well as the return of the original stake.
- Decimal eg 5.0 will return £5 for every pound you bet as well as the original stake
It’s a lot easier to work with decimal odds, so you should always choose this option if you get a chance.
A Sample Matched Bet
OK, so enough of the theory for now, lets take a real example and show you how this works. In the example below, I have outlined the steps that you will need to go through to take advantage of one of the free bets out there.
QUALIFYING BET : ECUADOR VS URUGUAY
We’re going to use the William Hill Free £20 offer as an example and for our qualifying bet we’re going to take the Ecuador vs Uruguay International Game.
William Hill Odds:
You can see that the odds Ecuador winning (2.00) and of them not winning (2.04) are quite close to each other so this is a good deal for us as it means you won’t lose much money whatever happens.
You’ll need to:
- place £10 on Ecuador winning with William Hill at odds of 2.00
- place £10.05 on this not happening at Betfair with odds of 2.04
If Ecuador win then you will lose £0.45:
A) William Hill = Winnings of £10 : Made up of your winnings (£10 x 2.00) minus your stake (£10)
B) Betfair = Loss of £10.45: This is your liability amountAggregate (A-B) = -0.45
If Ecuador don’t win then you will lose 0.45
A) William Hill = Loss of £10 : Made up of your losing stake
B) Betfair = Win £9.54: This is made up of the £10.05 you receive from your lay bet minus a 5% commisionAggregate (B-A) = -0.46
FREE BET : WALES VS NETHERLANDS
Now for the free bet, the only real difference is that you want the odds to be as high as possible, without much difference between them so you can make the maximum profit.
William Hill Odds:
You can see that the odds Wales winning (4.20) and of them not winning (4.50) are quite close to each other and are higher odds than our qualifying bet so this looks like a good bet to go with
You’ll need to:
- place £20 on Wales winning with William Hill at odds of 4.20
- place £14.38 on this not happening at Betfair with odds of 4.5
If Wales win then you will walk off to the pub with £13.67 in your pocket:
A) William Hill = Winnings of £64 : Made up of your winnings (£20 x 4.20) minus your stake (£20)
B) Betfair = Loss of £50.33: This is your liability amountAggregate (A-B) = £13.67
If Wales don’t win then you still walk off to the pub with £13.67 in your pocket:
A) William Hill = Loss of £0 : Made up of your losing stake which was your free bet
B) Betfair = Win £13.67: This is made up of the £14.38 you receive from your lay bet minus a 5% commisionAggregate (A-B) = £13.67
Either way, you’re going to have enough for a round of drinks and some pork scratchings, so you can thank me for that later.
HOW DO I CALCULATE THE STAKE FOR MY MATCHED BET?
You will have noticed that at Betfair, we added some obscure stakes of £10.05 and £14.38, so you’re probably wondering how you know how much to stake.
Well, to help you with this I’ve added a simple excel file of the exact workings so you can see how this works out. Whilst you can use lots of different online betting calculators and resources, it’s good to understand the basic principle of this first of all, so this should break it down into easy steps for you: Sample Matched Bet Calculations
Like I say, there are a load of online matched betting calculators that are free to use as well, but we’ll review those at a later date.
What Do I Need to Start Matched Betting?
The beauty of starting with matched betting is that you can start with as little as £10 and slowly work your way through the different bookmakers out there.
However, there are a few things that you will need:
- A credit/debit card to make an initial deposit
- A valid UK Address. You’ll often be asked to provide a proof of address from a recent bank statement or utility bill
- To be 18 years or older and be able to prove this
- An Internet connection
- 1 hour per week to get you up and running
- A basic understanding of betting odds and how to place a bet
- Attention to detail…. you should always remember to read the T’s and C’s