Make money from Matched Betting (full guide)
Now, I’m not a gambler by any means. But I have made enough money from bookmakers in just six months to pay for an £860 flight (return) to Australia. And I’ve got some company too after walking a good friend through this risk-free technique.
The result is this guide, where I’ll share the exact steps with you too, including screenshots and a free tool.
Why should I trust this guide?
What I’m teaching you here is a completely legal, tried-and-tested method called ‘matched betting’. It basically allows you to turn the tables on the bookmakers to extract their free bet offers.
Matched betting is legal and a spokesperson for William Hill has indicated that the betting industry does not have a problem with this use of free bets – Wikipedia
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 £15 in 30 minutes in a full-blown example.
There are websites out there that charge you handsomely for this information, but you don’t need to pay here. Put half an hour aside, read this guide carefully, and you’ll have made your first matched bet and up to £20 profit.
What is Matched Betting?
Matched betting is a way of squeezing out the many free bets offered by bookmakers. All the bookies promote these offers (especially during big sporting events) to entice new gamblers to place bets with them.
For example, “bet £25 with us and we’ll give you a £25 free bet!”.
How does it 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.com.
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. 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. Personally I have made just over £1,200 in 18 months from matched betting alone.
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 which can quite quickly land you a lot of money without risk.
It’s also worth pointing out that depositing at gambling websites does not affect your credit rating.
Your First Profit in 14 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 can often result in costly mistakes for novices. Below I outline exactly the steps I follow, using the practical example of one PaddyPower free bet. 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.
Sign up for Betfair.com
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).
Sign up for PaddyPower.com
The best offer by far right now is with PaddyPower.com who are offering £20 free bets on new sign ups when you bet just £10 (don’t worry we’ll be matching this too). So we’ll be using this ‘bookie’ in this practical example.
Always check the T&Cs of receiving free bet offers. There may be some restrictions on what you can bet on or an expiry date.
They will also tell you whether or not the free bet is returned with winnings. In this example and generally speaking, it is not but we’ll still be making a nice profit.
During registration, you will be prompted to make a deposit. Choose one of the many payment types and deposit just £10 (needed to unlock the free bet).
Use decimal odds
Once you’ve logged into PaddyPower.com, change your odds display from fractions to decimal for easy comparison with Betfair.com and to use in the spreadsheet below. You can do this from the selection in the sidebar across the site. This is essential!
Download our free spreadsheet
This does all the maths to give you the exact amounts you need to bet or lay to guarantee a profit.
I’ll be showing you how to use it, but feel free to play around with it, and hover over any of the cells in the spreadsheet for tips if you’re unsure.
Apple users: If you only have Numbers, then you need to download this spreadsheet version, otherwise you’ll get an error!
Find a bet
Stick to popular markets, such as Win-Draw-Win or Half-time Result, and choose an event that’s going to happen within the next 48 hours to save you waiting around later. But be careful about picking an event which is starting within 4 hours because odds will be fluctuating more making things a bit trickier.
For this free bet offer, PaddyPower’s terms state you must pick odds of 1.5 or greater. It’s better to choose a bet with low odds, between 1.5 and 2.0 if possible.
So look on PaddyPower first then find the equivalent lay bet on Betfair.com (the red box, 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“.
In the example below, I have picked a football match between Everton and West Brom. I will back Everton at PaddyPower.com with odds of 1.61 and lay that same bet on Betfair.com with odds of 1.6.
Enter the odds in the spreadsheet
Leave the ‘Stake’ as £10, as this is the amount for your qualifying bet, and the ‘Lay Commission’ as 5%, as this is what Betfair will deduct from any winnings. Don’t change anything else.
Row 19 shows you an estimate of how much you will lose on the qualifying bet (sometimes you can make a small profit, but a loss here is expected). As we mentioned in the previous step, the closer the odds are on both sites, the lower this will be (aim below 25p).
In my example bet, the difference is 0.1 which according to the spreadsheet’s estimate will give me a small loss of 13p on this qualifying bet.
Note: Check that the ‘Lay Stake’ amount is less than the amount of money available for the selected lay odds in Betfair. Otherwise your bet won’t be placed. You may need to click on ‘View full market’ to see this.
If your ‘Lay Stake’ is more, then you’ll need to click on the next odds (to the right) and update the ‘Lay Odds’ in the spreadsheet.
Make your deposits
If you haven’t already, you first need to deposit £10 at PaddyPower.com (I made mine during registration).
Then you need to deposit at least the “Lay Risk” amount as shown in the spreadsheet (row 18) into your Betfair account (minimum is £10, but you don’t have to bet all of it). This is the amount needed to cover the ‘Lay’ bet we’ll be making.
Place your qualifying bet
Now it’s time to match your first (or qualifying) bet which is needed to unlock the free £20 bet. Be careful with this step, and take your time. Make sure you have both websites open with the same event so you can place both bets at the same time.
First check that the odds haven’t changed at PaddyPower.com and that they match what’s in your spreadsheet (if they have you need to adjust the ‘Back Odds’).
Then go ahead and place a £10 bet backing the outcome of your chosen event (eg. Everton to win as in my example) at PaddyPower.com. Simply click on the decimal odds to bring up the betting slip.
Matching the bet
Without any delay, head over to the Betfair.com page you have open, click on the lay odds (a red button) and enter the ‘Lay Stake’ (row 17) amount from the spreadsheet into the box.
You should see that the ‘Lay risk’ is the same as in the spreadsheet (row 18). It may be a penny or two out but don’t worry as it’s an estimate. Once you confirm, you have matched the bet you made on PaddyPower.
Here are my betting slips on both websites for my qualifying bet:
Now just sit back and wait for the outcome of the event to be decided!
Claim your free bet
In the Everton v. West Brom game, Everton won 2-1. So my return of £16.16 ended up on my PaddyPower account. Meanwhile I lost the £6.23 (my Lay Risk) on my Betfair account. The total amount between the accounts is therefore £9.93, which is a loss of 7p (marginally less than the 13p estimate in my spreadsheet, due to some tiny differences we don’t have to worry about).
Now I have placed and seen through the £10 qualifying bet, I now have a £20 free bet!
This gives me a total credit of £36.16 in PaddyPower, but I’m only going to use the £20 free bet and will withdraw the rest later. My Betfair account is down to £3.77 (my initial deposit of £10 – £6.23) and will need topping up (see below).
So whatever your outcome, because you matched the bets, you will have close to your £10 back between the 2 sites (minus the small loss we expected).
The free bet of £20 will be credited to your PaddyPower account (if not after 24 hours, contact customer services 08000 565 275).
Find a new bet
We’re basically going to repeat the process, but using the £20 free bet instead of the £10.
Find another bet on both websites following the same advice as in Step 5. However this time it’s worth picking odds greater than 4.0 to maximise your profit, but just bear in mind that the higher they are the more you’ll need to have in your Betfair account to lay it (see the ‘Lay Risk’ box in the spreadsheet). If you don’t have the funds available, just reduce the odds back down to 2.0 or so.
I tend to play around with different events/bets in the spreadsheet anyway to get an idea for the numbers (specifically ‘Back Profit’ and ‘Lay Risk’).
In my example, I’ve picked out another football match, this time between Algeria and Ivory Coast. The odds are above 4.0 and have only a 0.1 difference between the sites. You’ll see below that I am backing Algeria to win on PaddyPower (5.0 odds) and then I’m laying that bet (for Algeria not to win) at Betfair (4.9 odds).
Back to the spreadsheet
Head back to the spreadsheet and click the ‘Continue to Bet 2: Free Bet’ button. First we need to change the ‘Stake’ amount to £20 (row 11), and also put £20 as ‘Stake Not Returned’ (row 12) since this is in the terms of the PaddyPower free bet.
‘Your Profit’ (row 20) shows you the profit you can expect to make from this bet, regardless of the outcome! In this instance, you’re unlikely to get the full £20 free bet as profit since the free bet is not returned.
Again using my example to illustrate, the spreadsheet has calculated that I’ll make a clear profit of £15.67, whatever happens. Nice
Add funds to your Betfair account
You’ll probably need to make another deposit to Betfair so that your account has at least the “Lay Risk” amount as shown in the spreadsheet (row 19). Don’t worry we’ll be getting it back.
In my case, I had £3.77 remaining from the first bet, so I deposited £61 to more than cover the Lay Risk (total £64.77).
Place the free bet
Ok, so we’re ready to match our second bet to cash out with our profit we’ve now calculated. Again, have both websites open with the same event to place both bets at the same time. This reduces the risk of odds changing and messing up your figures (if they do change update your spreadsheet).
Check the odds at PaddyPower.com still match what’s in your spreadsheet (if they have you need to adjust the ‘Back Odds’).
Now place your £20 bet, backing the outcome of your chosen event. Make sure you select your free bet!
Matching the bet
Quickly head over to the Betfair.com page you have open, click on the lay odds (a red button) and enter the ‘Lay Stake’ (row 18) amount from the spreadsheet into the box.
Confirm the bet and you’ve now matched the bet on PaddyPower.
Here are my bet slips on both websites for my free bet:
Cash out the profit
Whatever the outcome, you will now be in profit to the amount calculated in the spreadsheet (‘Your profit’). Now it’s time to cash out!
In my example of the Algeria v. Ivory Coast game, the score ended in a draw at 2-2. This means that I lost my £20 free bet on PaddyPower (because I backed Algeria to win) and the winnings of the matched bet totaling £16.49 ended up in Betfair. Once you deduct Betfair’s 5% commission on winnings I’m left with £15.67 profit, which you’ll notice matches the profit calculated in my spreadsheet.
I now have £16.16 in my PaddyPower account and £80.44 in Betfair. PaddyPower will only let you withdraw a minimum of £10, even though I didn’t have to, so you may need to top it up first. I then withdrew the full Betfair balance back onto my debit card.
My total profit from both matched bets, accounting for all factors such as the 7p loss on my £10 qualifying bet, totals £15.60. I spent just under 30 minutes on the whole process, giving me an hourly rate of £31.20 if I move onto the next of many free bets out there (best listed below). Beats stacking shelves…
Please share with your friends!
If you enjoyed and profited from this guide, sharing it is the best thanks you could give. And I’m sure they’ll appreciate it too
If you are confident enough with the process of matched betting and eager to make much more profit, then work through the free bet offers in the table below.
The same steps above still apply unless stated, just change the values of the free bet amount. As always, check the terms of each offer! All of the free bets below are ‘stake not returned’ (SNR).
Subscribe for new free bets
As you can imagine, free bet offers come and go. Most weeks I scout around for any news ones, and if I think they’re worthwhile I’ll add them to the table below.
But subscribe to my free bet offers list and I’ll share the best ones with you before anyone else, as well as the odd extra tip.
Current free bet total: £558
Note: Although the greatest care is taken and these free bets are researched regularly it’s important that you check the full terms and conditions of each free bet offer after clicking through to the bookmaker’s site.
Need help? Got a question?
Please use the comments below and I’ll get back to you.
Disclaimer: Please note that neither the author nor this website accept any liability for how you use the advice given on this page. So read it carefully, and if you decide to follow the steps then you use it at your own risk! Gamble Aware.