Introducing matched betting. It’s betting, but not as you know it. That’s because, unlike standard sports betting, matched betting allows you to make positive returns regardless of the outcome of your wagers. Intrigued? Then you are in exactly the right place.
This exclusive guide will walk you through the entire process of matched betting. We will explain the key concepts and outline an example of matched betting in action, plus you can get some expert tips for making your matched betting journey a successful one.
Let’s start with the essential information. What exactly is matched betting and how does it work? The simplest way to explain matched betting is to say that it is a strategy for taking advantage of betting promotions in a way that guarantees you a profit.
In practical terms, you place bets that cover all potential outcomes in a betting market. This means that regardless of the outcome, you are guaranteed to have a winning bet somewhere, and a losing bet elsewhere. If done correctly, your overall profit/loss will be around zero.
By doing this at certain betting sites, you can qualify for free bets and other promotions. You can then use the same backing/laying strategy for your free bets in order to guarantee positive returns. Confused? Let’s look at a specific example of how matched betting works in reality:
Bookmaker X is offering new customers a free bet of $50 if they sign up and place a $50 bet. The same offer is being advertised at two other betting sites. By using a matched betting strategy you can ensure an overall profit of around $40. Here’s how:
A soccer match between Arsenal and Chelsea has Arsenal at +296 with one bookmaker. Chelsea are priced at +125 with another bookmaker, and the third operator has the draw priced at +260.
If you place $50 stakes at each of the three betting sites you can ensure that your overall profit/loss is around zero. In reality, you are likely to have made a tiny loss – typically around 4-5% of your outlay. However, you will have met the terms of the promotions and the free bets should be added to your accounts.
To maximise your returns from the free bets, you need to follow a similar process when using them. But instead of incurring a small loss, you will be making a much larger profit. Typically, matched betting allows you to retain 80-85% of the value of free bets. So $50 in free bets can make you around $40-42 profit.
Whilst the above example should make sense and you should have a basic understanding of the concept of matched betting, you are probably wondering how on Earth to find the best markets to use for your bets. Fortunately, there are dedicated matched betting operators out there who use highly advanced software to identify the betting markets with the closest matches and tell you exactly how much to place on each option. All you need to do is use their calculator to find out exactly how much to wager and what to wager it on.
In the above example, we used a free bet offer to illustrate how matched betting works. These offers are known as ‘bet and get’ promotions. You place a bet and you then get a bonus. There are actually a wide variety of bookmaker offers you can take advantage of via matched betting, both as a new and existing customer. Here are five of the most popular:
A risk free bet rewards you with a refund in the event of a loss. Sometimes this refund will be in the form of cash, whilst sometimes it will be awarded as free bet credit. By using a slight variation on the betting technique outlined in the previous section you can guarantee returns of 70-80% on your bet value.
Bookmakers often provide enhanced odds for certain markets. For example, the odds of a horse winning a race may be increased from +500 to +800 in the build up to the event. By using a matched betting calculator you can ensure a small profit from these markets.
You make a deposit, and the betting site gives a bonus based on that deposit amount. For instance, if the offer is a 50% matched deposit bonus and you deposit $20, you will receive an additional $10 from the operator. Usually, this bonus will need to be wagered before it can be withdrawn. So once again you need to use a matched betting calculator to maximise your return from the bonus funds.
Some betting sites pay out your bet as a win as soon as a certain parameter is reached. For instance, some operators pay out on NFL moneylines if one side goes 20+ points ahead. You receive your winnings at this point and the ultimate outcome of the game is irrelevant. This is a more advanced matched betting offer, but if you minimise your loss from the initial bet, you can potentially receive excellent returns if the parameter is reached.
These offers reward you if a certain event happens. For instance, you place a $10 bet on a soccer game and if one side scores in the last five minutes you receive a $10 free bet. This is entirely separate from the outcome of your initial wager. These types of offers are very common for existing customers.
You may now be weighing up whether matched betting is right for you. To help you make your mind up, here are a few pros and cons to consider.
When matched betting, you are wagering on every outcome in a market. This means the actual result of the event does not matter. So there’s no need to research the event, and you do not even need to have any knowledge of the sport or market you are betting on.
All sports betting fans know that landing a winning bet is an exciting experience. However, with matched betting you are wagering on every outcome, meaning that there is no result to root for. This can diminish the excitement of watching the event and your bet play out.
Matched betting is commonly known as a risk free version of betting. Ok, you might lose a tiny amount placing your initial, qualifying bets, but this will pale into insignificance when you place your free bets. Unless you make any mistakes when placing your bets, you are pretty much guaranteed to be in profit with matched betting.
Matched betting isn’t for everyone. There are a lot of concepts you need to get to grips with and the matched betting calculator can appear complicated. Of course, with a bit of time and research (and by reading our guides!) you should be able to get a good understanding of what to do, but ultimately some people may find that the strategy is not for them.
Let’s face it, betting can be slightly stressful if you are risking real money. Sporting events are often closely contested affairs with very unpredictable outcomes. This does make it an especially relaxing experience. But with matched betting, you don’t need to worry about the outcome of the event or worry about losing any money. Just sit back, enjoy watching the game and look forward to your free bet returns.
Gubbings are an unfortunate consequence of matched betting. If an operator identifies you as a matched bettor, they may decide to stop you from claiming bonus offers or restrict the amount you can wager. These restrictions are known as ‘gubbings’. There are a few tricks you can use to cut down on the number of gubbings you receive, but they are impossible to avoid entirely. The good news is that Being gubbed is inevitable if you regularly use a matched betting service, you are likely to have accounts on over 50 betting sites, so a few gubbings here and there will not make too much difference to your experience.
Matched betting is very straightforward, as long as you stick to the rules and do not make any silly mistakes. Our matched betting experts have put together their essential tips for making your matched betting journey an enjoyable and successful one:
In theory, matched betting can be done manually. All you need is highly advanced mathematical skills, a huge amount of spare time and limitless patience. If (like 99.99% of the population) that sounds beyond you, then you need to sign up for a matched betting service. These services do cost a small amount of money, but they pay for themselves many times over. Plus they will save you an incredible amount of time and effort.
Whilst you can use your normal bank account and email address for matched betting, we highly recommend setting up separate accounts. This will make it far easier for you to track where your money is and to stay on top of the numerous email messages you will undoubtedly receive. Talking of which…
Bookmaker promotions can usually be found on operator websites. But, with the greatest will in the world, you are not going to check every single betting website every single day. The easiest way to ensure you do not miss out on any great offers is by opting in to receive email communications. Most operators allow you to choose between email, post or text message, so simply select the method that is most suitable for you.
Mug betting is how matched bettors attempt to look like ‘normal’ sport betting fans. All it requires you to do is occasionally place a small bet outside of your matched betting activity. The odd $1 bet on a horse race or soccer game helps to keep your matched betting activity ‘under the radar’ and means you are less likely to be gubbed.
If you begin to regularly place matched bets, there is going to be a lot of money going in and out of your accounts. It can be tricky to keep track of all your bets and transactions. Therefore, it is advisable to keep a record of all your bets. You can do this manually via a spreadsheet, but if you join a matched betting service, you can use their own software to keep track of your wagers. It makes the whole process extremely easy and saves you a lot of time.
When you start matched betting, you will encounter a range of new words and phrases. It can be slightly confusing, so to give you a head start we have rounded up some of the most common matched betting terms you will encounter:
Quite simply, this is backing a betting selection to win. The back bet is the first part of your matched bet.
The second part of placing a matched bet is the lay. This is betting against that selection winning. Laying a bet is usually done via a betting exchange.
This is when the back odds are higher than the lay odds. By placing the correct stake sizes, you can guarantee a small profit from arbitrage bets, regardless of whether they are attached to promotions.
This is a term used by matched betting sites to tell you how much profit you can expect to make from an offer. For instance, the expected value of a $20 free bet offer will be around $16.
The amount you stand to lose at the betting exchange if your selection wins. Before placing a lay bet, you need to have enough money in your account to cover the liability of the bet. Please note, this does not mean you are making a lose on the bet, as your winnings at the betting site will negate your lose at the exchange.
This is the small loss you make when placing a qualifying matched bet. The lower the QL, the better the matched bet. Matched bettors have to accept small qualifying losses, but in return they can make profits from their free bets.
A generic term for all offers aimed at existing customers. Reload offers are the opposite of new player offers.
There are a number of other matched betting terms to learn, (after all, we have covered the likes of gubbings and mug bets elsewhere in our article) but the above list will help you get started.
If you enjoy betting on sports, but are relatively risk averse, then matched betting could be right for you. As long as you complete your bets correctly, you are virtually guaranteed to make positive returns. Just make sure you take your time to ensure that all your bets have been backed and laid correctly.
If you are considering matched betting, we highly recommend joining a specialist matched betting site. This will enable you to keep a full record of your transactions, plus it will tell you exactly which stake sizes to use. Of course, you still need to make the bets yourself, but a matched betting service will make the whole process incredibly easy, meaning you can sit back, relax and watch your bets play out.
Yes, although you still need to be located in a region that allows online sports betting and you need to meet the minimum age requirements for that area. But whilst matched betting is legal, it is not encouraged by bookmakers and they often stop matched bettors from taking advantage of promotions. Make sure you check our matched betting guides for key information on the best way of using the strategy.
That depends on your betting preferences and your location. But if you are risk averse and located somewhere that has betting exchanges, then it is a very attractive option. Alternatively, there are several other betting strategies you may wish to try out, so don’t forget to read our exclusive guides for the lowdown on those options.
Whilst there is always an element of potential human error when placing bets, if you match bets correctly you are effectively eliminating the element of risk from sports wagering. You can find out more about this betting strategy by reading our guides.
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