Matched Betting

Matched Betting

Be warned: Mistakes can cost you £100’s on this page, it’s risk free but only if you fully understand how it works. If you’re not confident by the end of this page please just walk away.

Many online bookmakers offer a free bet when you join their website, this sound like a OK deal but it becomes even better when you’ve got a system to guarantee that the free bet eventually gets into your bank account, to do this you actually bet against yourself, sounds confusing? Yes it kind of is, keep reading.

This is done using a technique called matched betting, by backing (betting that it will happen) an event at a bookmaker and laying (betting against) the same event at a betting exchange it is possible to extract free bets to guarantee a profit.

Is it risk free?

Yes, but human error can cause you to lose money.

Realistically how much money can I make from this?

The more work you put in the larger the profits but expect to make between £500 to £1000, top ‘players’ will aim for £5000 to £10,000 per year & we’ve also heard of several people earning over £45,000 over a couple of years. However in the past 5 years this has been reduced down due to bookmakers putting in restrictions on the free bets etc.

One ball with so many possibilities - Celebrate just like the stars, with our system your always going to win!

One ball with so many possibilities – Celebrate just like the stars, with our system your always going to win!

Is it legal?

Yes 100% as long as you are over 18. The betting exchanges LOVE these systems, mainly because they take a commission on every win, so they want you to win!
In the UK the money you make is 100% tax free.

Second warning:

Please ensure that you fully understand how this works before placing any money into it, reading the page a couple of times might help.

OK – Tell me how it works!

When you make a bet with a bookmaker, you place a stake (the amount of money you’re willing to bet) on an event at particular odds. For example if you were to put a £10 bet on Team A winning at 2/1 (decimal odds of 3.0) & Team A won you would receive a total of £30 back, i.e. your stake of £10 plus the bookmaker’s £20. However if you lost, the bookmaker would gain your £10 and you would receive nothing back.

No need to even get off your computer chair and visit a bookmaker – Image source

Now imagine you’re the bookmaker from above offering the same odds to someone for the same outcome, if the bet loses you gain their £10, however if the bet wins you have to pay out £30 (i.e. £10 of their money back, plus £20 of your money). This is known as ‘laying’ a bet and is only possible on betting exchanges.

So lets say you place the above bet with the bookmaker & then go to your betting exchange account and lay the same bet at the same odds. You’re effectively cancelling yourself out, lets look at the possible outcomes of the bets:

Outcome 1 (bet won – Team A wins):

You win £30, i.e. your stake of £10 plus £20 profit.
Bookmaker loses £20

If you are both the punter and the bookmaker, your total profit is:
(£30-£10) – £20 = £0

Outcome 2 (bet lost – Team A does not win (draws or loses)

You lose £10, i.e. your stake.
Bookmaker gains £10,

If you are both the punter and the bookmaker, your total profit is:

£10 – £10 = £0

So either way you lose money with one and gain with the other, bringing you back to the same position either way.

Obviously this is pointless for making a profit as you can’t make a profit with £0 wins, but this is where bookmakers bonuses/freebies become your profit as it allows you to place a completely risk free qualifying bet (i.e. a free bet) on any event, match this is up with a lay bet from a betting exchange and you’ve got a profit machine.

Now because most sites require you to deposit actual money & use it to get the free bet, it may only be on the 2nd bet that you will actually generate any profit but this profit will equal roughly the initial free bet – to ensure you understand it, it’s important that you work out the profit & loss on both sides of a free bet.

Taking the same odds as an example and assuming a £10 free bet.

Outcome 1 (Team A wins):

You bet the free bet of £10 at 3.0. Return is £30 with no outlay to you. On the lay side, your loss is £20, as before. Thus overall profit = £30 – £20 = £10.

Outcome 2 (bet lost – Team A loses or draws)

Your loss on the bet side is zero (as the bet was free). You gain the punter’s stake of £10 on the lay side.

So regardless of the outcome, you have made £10.

Now in practice this is rarely quite as neat as the example. To lay bets, you use betting exchanges, and these generally never offer lay odds which are the same as those at bookmakers. Also there is a commission of between 1% to 5% payable on winnings at the bet exchange. Even so, it’s easy to use the technique to qualify for a free bet with a very small loss, and then to match out most of the free stake money without any risk at all.

The other slight complication is that sometimes free bet offers do not return the stake with winnings. This alters the calculations a little, but you can still make guaranteed money by looking for events with relatively high odds (above 7.0) and a close match for a lay. You should be able to clear about 75% of the free bet amount.

Lets get down to business!

Once you understand the above examples its time to follow the below step by step guide and place your first matched bet.

Step 1 – Get two betting exchange accounts

Betting exchanges like all websites can suddenly stop working due to server errors, faults, storms etc etc, so to avoid any problems we highly recommend you have multiple betting exchange accounts, failing to do so may leave you at a loss on a bet that can’t be laid. Here are the top three betting exchanges in the world:

Top Betting ExchangesDescriptionBonusRatingCommission
Betting exchange 1Hands down the best in the industry, perfect customer service, faultless system & great bonuses. Founded in 2000. Largest betting exchange in the world.Free £20 bet and then up to a huge £1000 cashback. You must bet £20 of your own money, then if it loses you get £20 back into your account.Starts at 5% and drops to as low as 2%, depending on the quantity of betting each week.
Betting exchange 2The second biggest betting exchange in the world, better starting commission rate. Founded in 2001Free £30 bet, you must use code ‘ALLBDQ04’ upon sign up. First bet must be £30 or more to claim free bet3%, this is a promotional rate from Jan 1st 2012 onwards

These do change from time to time, but the offers are always fairly similar.

A betting exchange is where thousands of ‘punters’ bet for and against an outcome in a sport/etc. So when you’re laying a bet you are effectively betting against someone else somewhere in the world but the exchange takes care of it all for you, by holding the money from both sides until a winner is defined.

Step 2 – Finding the free bets

The second step is to find a free bet, below we’ve found all the current free bet offers on the web.

When you’ve found a free bet offer, have a look on the betting website for more references to it (normally under ‘Promotions’, ‘Terms & conditons’ etc.

This is a typical offer: you have to bet £50 of your own money, and if you do you will be given a £50 free bet.

Top free betsDescriptionFree betRating
William Hill SportsOne of the largest and most recognisable brands in the world, on UK stock exchange, 75 years in the business.Free £20 bet and then up to a huge £1000 cashback. Hot!
PaddyPowerIrelands biggest bookmaker, extremely well known. Established in 1988.Free £25 bet and then up to £200 back in commission fees
Tote Sportsbook
One of the most recognisable betting brands in the UK, 1350 shops on the highstreet. Mainly focuses on Horse racing but has all major sports coveredBet £5 get £10 free
188BetBased in the Isle of Wight, established in 2006.Free £50, 100% match bonus, i.e. deposit £50 get £50 free.
You must wager it (5) times at odds of 1.50 or above.
You must use code SPORTS50
BetVictorIn 160 countries, been in the industry for 50 years.Free £25
888 sportOn the London stock exchange, established in 1997, worldwide company.£88 worth of free bets, £10 free bet on your 1st, 4th, 7th, 10th, 13th, 16th, 19th & 22nd.
BetSafeIn 100 countries, launched in 2006, 450,000 members.25 Euro
Party BetsLaunched in 2006/7, one of the largest growing sportbooks on the internet.Up to £25 bet, you must use code ‘BOOM25
GamebookersPart of the Party Gaming company, Based in Gibraltar, 300,000+ members in 150 countries20 Euro, free bet stake not returned.
BetfredFounded in 1967, over 1350 betting shops. Extremely well trusted brand.£50 free bet, you must bet £50 to get a £50 free bet.
Odds of 2.00 or greater only, free bet stake not returned.
CoralOriginally founded in 1926 as Coral, over 1700 betting shops, large online & offline presence.£30 free, deposit £30, bet £30 & get £30 free.
Free bet stake not returned.

These do change from time to time, but the offers are always fairly similar.

Step 3 – Checking Terms and Conditions

Find out whether stakes (i.e. the actual bet) are returned with free bets, and whether there is a wagering requirement (an amount you’ve got to bet) before you can withdraw the bonus (for example you might have to bet your original deposit and bonus 3x through before it can be withdrawn – in this case you could try to arrange the bet so that you were more likely to lose at the bookmaker to avoid having to make 3 matched bets to extract the cash – since you lose a little of the free money each time it’s best to minimise the number of bets you make to withdraw it).

If necessary e-mail customer services to ask, we usually find that the best approach when dealing with customer services is to present three options, i.e. stakes are not returned with winnings; stakes are returned with winnings and may be withdrawn; stakes are returned with winnings but can’t be immediately withdrawn, and have customer services tell you which one is correct.

Do make sure that the rules at each bookmaker are the same, i.e. football matches results tend to apply over 90 minutes plus injury time but not extra time; sometimes rules about tennis if there is an injury are different. Don’t rush yourself into making a bet until you are confident about this.

Step 3.1 – Avoid spam


Don’t fill your normal inbox with betting spam, just setup a secondary email account

Signing up to loads of betting websites can cause havoc in your email inbox, so it’s probably a good idea to setup a separate email account, make this different to your existing account to avoid having to log in and out all the time.

Step 3.2 – Complete sign up & record the offer

Now sign up to the chosen bookmaker. Note down your username and password & the promotion you got, i.e. £25 free bet. This will ensure that you have a record for any future promotions. If possible, set your preferences to decimal odds (sometimes known as European odds, e.g. 3.25 instead of 9/4) as it’s much easier to compare these at different sites. To convert between the 3/1 style odds and decimals, you just divide the first number by the second and add one (for example 5/2 would be decimal 3.5).

At this point it’s probably a good idea to take a photo or scan of your ID (driving licence/passport etc), lots of betting websites require you to prove your age before you can withdraw any money & having an image file on your computer ready is the best plan when signing up to multiple accounts. Some will also ask for scans/photos of your bank card IMPORTANT – Never send a photo of your full card to anyone, cover up all the digits except the last four digits of the main number. Double check what the website needs before sending them any photos/scans.

Step 4 – Calculate your bets & place them


So using a free £10 bet at a bookmaker at 1.83 for Brentford to win & laying at 2.1 at the betting exchange would give you a profit of £8.48 either way, not bad for 5 minutes work!

You are now ready to look for and make the qualifying bet. Your aim is to find a bet that you can match with a ‘lay’ at the betting exchange so that you lose the minimum amount of money, just do some test bets first by looking on the bookmakers site & then adding the figures to our calculator below.

To start with we suggest you use football as the majority of people understand how that works, look for matches that start within 3 or 4 hours, but other sports are just as good just ensure you know how they work – horse racing is best avoided at first, due to odds changing too quickly.

What you need to look for is backing odds (at the bookmakers) and then ‘lay’ odds (at the betting exchange). Lay odds are the ones in pink boxes at Betfair when using the full view. The first time you do this it might take a while, but it’s worthwhile getting a good one. For example let’s assume you can back Liverpool to draw at Chelsea at 3.25, and can lay the same outcome at 3.45 at the betting exchange.

It’s important to realise that you don’t choose opposing outcomes. For example if you were to back Liverpool to beat Chelsea, you lay Liverpool to beat Chelsea too NOT Chelsea to beat Liverpool. This is because when laying bets, you are effectively acting as the bookmaker, so you are in effect gambling on that outcome NOT happening, this also ensures that if a draw happens you will still win the money. This takes a bit of getting your head around at first, but the important thing to remember is to back and lay the same thing precisely.

Also worth knowing is that if you can find lay odds at the exchange that are less than the odds at the bookmaker, you may make a guaranteed small profit rather than a small loss – for some reason these are more common in the lower divisions.

Step 4.1 – The calculator itself

Use the stake calculator below to work out what your lay stake should be at the betting exchange.

Free Bet
Bet Amount
Stake Forfeited
Bookmaker (Back)
Commission %
Betting Exchange (Lay)
Commission %
Back Profit
Lay Profit
Lay Stake
Overall Profit

1) Make sure you’re backing and laying the same event.
2) Your lay bet (i.e. at the exchange) should be £
3) You must have £ in your betting exchange account to cover this bet.
4) If this is a free bet, double check that the initial stake will be returned (i.e. the free bet is returned along with your winnings). Getting this wrong will make a big difference to your profit, if it’s not returned, add the free bet amount to ‘Stake Forfeited’.

If the free bet isn’t returned then don’t worry, you should still be able to clear a profit of about 75% of the free stake with a decent match.

Step 5 – Double check everything and place those bets

You now need to place your bets. Be extremely careful here, as mistakes can be costly. First place the bet at bookmaker, but do not confirm it – leave the window open at the final stage. Then click on the relevant lay odds at the exchange, and enter the value from #2 (above), the betting exchange should then you the same value as #3 (above). Now return to the bookmaker and confirm your bet, then back to the exchange and confirm the lay. Now double check that:

  • the right bet has been placed,
  • the amounts are right, and
  • you have backed and laid the same outcome. If everything is correct you can now sit back and relax. Once the event has ended you will be able to see your winnings and losing in your two accounts, some time later (can be several hours) your free bet will be credited.

Helpful tips on applying the system successfully

To extract the free bet money repeat the betting & laying of a new match/event – if there is a limit on your withdrawal then you may need to repeat the process several times but ensure on your next bets that you bet on something at fairly high odds in an attempt to lose (therefore transferring your winnings to your exchange account).

Remember repeating the process is almost like printing free money

Remember repeating the process is almost like printing free money

Remember mistakes cost money and on bookmakers websites you can’t cancel bets, if you’ve made a crazy mistake like £1000 instead of £10 then an immediate call/email/chat message to the website may allow you to cancel the bet, but this is very unlikely. So just remember to double check everything before ‘betting’.

One thing that you must watch is your available funds within your exchange account, having enough funds to lay several bets is crucial to the system, you don’t want to be running short or worst still run out completely.

If you fail to match a lay bet (i.e. the system can’t match it with another user) before the game starts, you will be able to cancel the un-matched bet from within your ‘my bets’ area of your account page, then go back to the betting page and recalculate with the different odds.

Once you fully understand the system you will be able to see how easy & quite frankly amazing the system is.

If you’ve found this page useful we would really appreciate a beer from the bar.

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