Matched Betting For Beginners

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·        The term 'Matched Betting' defines the process when two bettors (backers and layers) agree on a stake and the subsequent liability of a bet. The back bettor, who is betting on an outcome to happen, will be notified when their bet has been matched, with this bet type often linked to an exchange platform, such as the Betfair Exchange.

Due to the competitiveness of the industry, online bookmakers offer generous incentives for new customers who open an account with them. New client acquisition is an important element of the business plan of the leading operators, and as such, bettors can certainly make the most of their offerings. There are a number of  trusted and established brands within the betting industry, most of which have taken an active role in promotions and sponsorships of major sporting events. Other lesser-known operators have to be more proactive in securing potential new customers to register, and thereby offer a package of promotions to entice and retain both new and existing customers. 

Most sports bettors have at least two online accounts so there are always opportunities for bookmakers to acquire new players who are on the lookout for better value. Online gamblers often gravitate to sites that offer the best free bets or odds, which seems obvious, thus giving them the opportunity to reap the most value within their betting activity. To take advantage of these bookmaker incentives, punters may engage in what is known as Matched Betting. Matched Betting is the process by which customers utilise free bets to make money with little risk, as will be explored further.

What Is Matched Betting?

Matched betting has a number of names: back bet matching, lay bet matching, double betting. The titles may vary but the technique is the same. Online bettors use free bets and other incentives from bookmakers to open an account to make money with little or no risk. The processes are not based on chance but the application of mathematical equations.  Matched betting involves placing a back bet with a bookmaker and a counter bet with a betting exchange. When the stake is returned customers can earn 85% of the free bet value regardless of the outcome of the bets. This return drops to 75% when the stake is not included with any winnings.  In order to take part in matched betting, a bettor must open an account with a fixed odds bookmaker and betting exchange.

Fixed Odds Bookmakers

A fixed odds bookmaker offers betting odds or prices on the potential outcome of sporting events. Operators also publish novelty markets, involving Politics, Award and TV and Entertainment Specials. Online sportsbooks feature betting on up to 50 sports. Customers place back bets at agreed odds. The return is the stake unit multiplied by the odds plus the stake. Fixed odds bookmakers offer new customers incentives to register, usually in the form of free bets.

Betting Exchanges

Betting exchanges, such as the Betfair Exchange, allow customers to place back bets and assume the role of a fixed odds bookmaker. The business model is peer-to-peer betting and the operator makes money from charging commission on winning bets.  Customers can accept (lay) bets at a mutually agreeable price. The exchange brings together backers and layers who strive to match bets.  Matched betting involves a back bet with the bookmaker and lay bet on the same outcome with the exchange.



Here is a basic step-by-step guide to matched betting:

• Open a bookmaker account and make a deposit.

• Place a qualifying back bet. 

• Open a betting exchange and make a deposit.

• Place a counter lay bet.

• Claim the free bet. 

• Place a back bet using the free bet.

• Place a counter lay bet. 

• Earn risk-free or little risk profit. 

The matched bets must be staked correctly and calculation tools (see below)  are important parts of this process. The back and lay bets must be placed at the right time.

Types Of Free Bets

There is a relationship between the free bet and the qualifying conditions. Here are the most common types of bookmaker free bets: 

• Deposit

• Bet

• Deposit And Bet

• No Deposit

Free bets have different values as follows: 100% when the free bet is for the same value as the qualifying deposit and/or free bets; 50% when the free bet is for half the value of the qualifying deposit and/or free bet; 200% when the free bets is for twice the value of the qualifying deposit and/or free bet.  The stakes are returned with winnings from some free bets and others do not include the free bet stake with any profit.

Calculation Tools

Calculation tools work out the staking for the lay bets. The calculation shows the required odds and the stake. Overlaying means increasing the potential profits from the lay bet. Underlaying means decreasing the potential profits from the lay bet. The profit can be equalised regardless of the outcome. The profit can be contributed solely from the lay bet. In this case matched bettors break even if the lay bet is not successful. Conversely, the profit can be generated solely from the back bet. In this case matched bettors break even if the back bet is not successful.  Dutching involves spreading the back bets across a number of bookmakers when there are price variances. 

Matched Betting Resources

There are numerous matched betting sites but here is a selection of the online resources suited tio beginners:

Odds Monkey

Profit Accumulator 

Profit Maximiser

Profit Squad

Matched Bets


There are slight variances but each matched betting site has the following common features:

• Free bets matcher.

• Calculation tools. 

• Dutching calculator. 

• Free bets calendar. 

• Profit tracker. 

Most sites offer free trials and it is best to paper trade matched betting before committing any betting funds. Once the concepts are understood, a matched betting beginner can graduate to betting with real money but there is still little risk.

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