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A Beginners Guide To Matched Betting

Matched betting is a system that can be used to guarantee a profit from the free bets offered to a new customer by bookmakers. A number of bookmakers offer new customers free bets in the hope that a customer will sign up and gamble their own money with the incentive of a free bet. Matched betting allows individuals to make a guaranteed profit from this free bet. The concept of matched betting has been around for a number of years and is 100% legal – it is based on simple mathematics.

Getting Started

The majority of bookmakers require that you deposit and place a bet with your own money, plus use any free bet, before you can request a withdrawal from your account. Betting your own money is not risk free but matched betting eliminates this risk by placing a lay bet on the selection that you decided to back with your own money. You will firstly need to select a bookmaker to claim your free bet from, there are over £500’s worth in our free bet section.

To be able to lay the bet you will need to have a betting exchange account that allows customers to place lay bets. The largest and most popular betting exchange is Betfair. Betfair allows customers to back and lay selections against other customers, charging a small commission (typically 5%) on winning bets to facilitate the process. To be able to lay bets you will also need to deposit cash into Betfair to cover the potential liability of the lay bet.

The Qualifying Bet

To explain the concept of matched betting we will take the scenario that a bookmaker is offering you a £20.00 free bet once you have deposited £20.00 and placed a real money qualifying bet with this £20.00.

  • Find a selection where the price offered by the bookmaker is as close as possible to the lay price available on a betting exchange such as Betfair. For example you find a football match where you can back Team A at 2.00 at the bookmaker and lay them at 2.02 on Betfair.
  • Place the £20.00 back bet at the bookmaker at odds of 2.00.
  • Use an online back/lay calculator to establish the lay amount needed on Betfair. There are a number of online calculators but one of the best and easiest to use is Tricky Bet the following image is the ‘Back/Lay Bet’screen from Tricky Bet and shows that for the back and lay of a £20.00 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 and 2.02 respectively, with 5% Betfair commission, you should lay a total stake of £20.30 at Betfair. No matter the result of the match you will lose only £0.71.

Using the Free Bet

After the successful back and lay your qualifying bet at the bookmaker and Betfair you have now qualified for the £20.00 free bet from the bookmaker and matched betting allows you to make a guaranteed profit on this free bet. You now have to repeat the process of backing and laying a selection but with a few minor changes – these changes are because most bookmakers do not return the stake of a free bet with any winnings.

  • Find a suitable selection – to extract the maximum amount of profit from the free bet you ideally want to back and lay a selection at odds of 7.00 or above. Remember you need the funds in Betfair to cover the lay. For example you find a horse that you can back at 7.00 at the bookmaker and lay at 7.00 on Betfair.
  • Place the £20.00 back bet at the bookmaker at odds of 7.00 ensuring that you use the free bet and not your own money.
  • Using Trickybet, establish the lay amount needed on Betfair. The following image is the ‘Back/Lay Bet’screen from Trickybet and shows that for the back and lay of a £20.00 free bet at odds of 7.00 and 7.00 respectively, with 5% Betfair commission, you should lay a total stake of £17.27 at Betfair. It is important to ensure that the ‘Free Bet SNR (Stake Not Returned)’icon is highlighted in the top left when doing the calculation for backing and laying your free bet so Trickybet takes into account that the bookmaker will not return the stake of any free bet. Doing this, wins or lose you are guaranteed a profit of either £16.38 or £16.41 from the £20.00 free bet – a return of roughly 80% of its value.

The only risk attached to matched betting is making an error when backing and laying either the qualifying bet or the free bet. It is very important that you understand the basic calculations required before you undertake matched betting for real. Once you have a good grasp of the principles of matched betting and with time and patience, matched betting is an easy way to make a guaranteed profit from free bets.

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