A little over a year ago, if you had asked me to bet on the horses or the football, I would have run a mile. Gambling has just never been my thing. Yes I know it can be fun to have a punt on your favourite team and as long as you stay sensible and within your means, there’s a chance of having a decent win without risking too much. For me though, I’ve always preferred more solid and reliable ways to create an income.
Well in February 2017 I was having a little web surf when I came across a list of extra cash-making ideas. Right at the top of the list at No.1 was something called Matched Betting. The writer of the article was saying something similar to what I have just said, that he had never been into betting, that prior to coming across Matched Betting, he had barely been into a bookies, let alone knew much about what he was doing.
As I continued to read the article, what I found was that this thing called Matched Betting is not actually gambling at all. You do need to place bets on sports, but the reason it is not gambling is that it is all about taking advantage of the free bets regularly given out by bookmakers. (All completely above board and legal). You place a bet, which is immediately cancelled out with an opposing bet that you place. You then repeat the process but with a free bet you have qualified for (the bookie’s money), guaranteeing a profit.
How Matched Betting Works
What makes Matched Betting so appealing is that you turn the regular free bets offered by bookmakers into real money. As it is about mathematics (and the maths is done for you) and not chance, the risk of losing anything is very low. In fact, if you do everything as instructed you can’t lose, but you still do have to watch out for a few simple “human errors”. (Example: making sure you key in the right numbers or choose the right sport).
Here is a quick summary:
There’s an offer to ‘Bet £10, Get £30’. To get the £30 bet from the bookmaker, you have to stake £10 of your own money. This is known as the ‘qualifying bet’.
QUALIFYING BET: The first bet you have to place at the bookmaker in order to qualify for and unlock the advertised free bet amount. In matched betting, you’re not aiming to make any money from this bet. That comes from the free bet itself.
Place a £10 ‘back bet’ at the bookmaker on England to win a game.
BACK BET: A type of bet placed at the bookmaker. When you ‘back’ something, you are betting ‘for’ the team (or horse, or player, etc) to win. Another way to think of it is that you believe it will happen.
With matched betting, you match this at the betting exchange by placing a ‘lay bet’. In this example, a £10 bet that says that England won’t win. This covers both a loss and a draw:
LAY BET: Just a complicated way of saying you’re ‘betting against’ something. Lay bets are placed at the betting exchange and are the opposite of back bets. If you ‘lay’ England to win, then you’re saying that you don’t think they will. Again, this covers both a loss and draw outcome.
Now, because you’ve placed two bets which cover all possible outcomes, you won’t win any money. The important thing is: you won’t lose any either – the two bets cancel each other out. So where does the money come from, then? It comes from the £30 free bet, which you’ve unlocked by doing the qualifying bet.
FREE BET: The type of bet often ‘given away’ by bookmakers. In gambling, you’ll have to risk some of your own money in order to unlock the free bet, but with matched betting, you can unlock it and protect your own money at the same time.
5 steps to making a profit from matched betting
In this section, we’ll go through the bare bones of how matched betting works.
#1. Sign up with a bookmaker
Find one offering a welcome bonus and deposit some money into the new account. Check the T&Cs of the offer to make sure you’re meeting the criteria.
#2. Open an account with a betting exchange
…and deposit some money. You’ll need to put in more than you did in the bookmaker account to cover something called ‘liability’.
LIABILITY: This is probably one of the most confusing things you’ll come across when you’re starting out matched betting. But stick with us. In traditional betting, liability is the amount of money that the person you’re betting against on one of the exchanges (such as Betfair) stands to win from you. However, it’s different with matched betting. Don’t worry if they win it from you because you’ll win the same amount from the bookmaker. You won’t lose the liability amount.
The liability of a lay bet depends on the odds taken when you placed the bet. If you’re into the maths side of things, this formula shows how to calculate your liability: Liability = (Decimal Odds -1) x Stake.
Here’s a quick example: if you were to place a lay bet using £10 stake with decimal odds 6.5 your liability would be:
Liability = (6.5-1) x £10
= 5.5 x £10
#3. Use OddsMatcher to find an event to bet on
The original odds matching software sources and sorts the best odds for you. Use the filters to find matched betting opportunities which fall within the T&Cs of the offer you’re doing and use the built-in calculator to work out how much you’ll need to back and lay, as well as how much money you’ll make.
#4. Complete your qualifying bet
Find and place your back bet at the bookmaker and do the same for your lay bet at the betting exchange. Don’t worry – we’ll show you exactly how to do this. Sign up for Free now and get the guides for two sign up offers! Once the event you’ve bet on has taken place, the bookmaker will credit your account with the free bet. Depending on the bookmaker, this could take up to 48 hours.
#5. Complete your free bet
In matched betting, you’re looking to keep around 75% and 80% of the free bet amount. For a £20 free bet, this is around £15 to £16. Using almost exactly the same method you’ve just completed the qualifying bet with, find and place the back and lay parts of your free bet. Again, we’ll show you exactly how to do this with written and video guides.
How much money can you make from matched betting?
The answer to this question is a bit ‘how long is a piece of string?’. But that just means that matched betting’s a flexible way to make money and can fit around your lifestyle.
Based on the expected value of each of the initial signup offers, you can probably make between £1000 – £1500. Obviously this is reliant on a few things, such as odds taken and float, but it’s a pretty nice chunk of money.
Then once you’ve opened all of your bookie accounts, there are many ongoing and daily offers you can take advantage of. OddsMonkey has guides and tips for these offers, as well as the support available in our thriving Community.
Matched betting isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme but with a little time and effort, you can earn tax-free money each month.