If you are looking for a fully explained for complete beginners Matched Betting guide you are in the right place.
Matched Betting is a way to make money from bookie free bets. It can be done from home and could be ideal for you if you need some extra income in a short amount of time.
First and foremost, Matched Betting is not gambling. It is not placing bets that you might lose in entirety.
Matched Betting is explained in more depth below, but in its most basic form is a way of utilising bookies offers to offset bets against each other in order to make a tax free profit.
If you are totally new to matched betting, possibly never having placed a single be at any time in your life, you are in the right place. I will explain and illustrate in the most simple terms possible how matched betting works. Basically a Matched Betting guide for Dummies or total newbies to the subject.
Read the whole page. Have a look at the recommended Matched Betting sites. Watch the free training videos and read the instructions. You don’t need to do anything until you feel comfortable taking the first step.
I am here as back up if you need help.
Feel free to send me a message me via my main social media channels if you need any support. Remember, no question is to simple or silly. If you are unsure of something please ask.
What is Matched Betting?
The very phrase “Matched Betting” can be immediately misleading and possibly off-putting for many people right from the start.
So, let me make clear from the very beginning. Matched Betting is NOT GAMBLING.
Matched Betting is a way of making a profit, typically from bookmakers free bet offers.
I repeat, it is NOT GAMBLING. The intention is to make a profit regardless of the sporting event result.
A Brief History of Matched Betting
Matched betting has been around for many years. However, only recently, the last couple of years has its popularity really taken off. Prior to this, anyone interested in trying out Matched Betting for themselves had to manually find the offers and work out how to do each one. It was all very time-consuming.
However, the recent boom in popularity is all down to new Matched Betting sites making the whole process so much easier for complete beginners to follow.
The market leader and by far my favourite matched betting site is Profit Accumulator. They make the whole process so simple. Taking you through your first offers step by step with training videos and very clear instructions.
As well as walking you through the first offers step by step when first starting out, they also provide much more. Educational training videos, spreadsheets, various software, matched betting calculators, Odds Matchers software and much more.
How Does Matched Betting Work?
In its simplest form, Matched Betting takes advantage of the free bets offered by online bookmakers.
For those that don’t know, an online Bookmaker is a sports betting website. Think of the betting shops you see on the streets. Coral, Ladbrokes, William Hill, and Paddy Power are the most well-known bookmakers or betting shops as some people call them.
However, there are many more bookies which are only available online. They are all vying for new customers and typically do this with varying introductory free bet offers. Some bookies then continue to offer free bets to keep you as a customer or tempt you to bet on different sports.
The most common free bet offer is the Sign-Up offer. Now the exact offer will vary from bookmaker to bookmaker. However, as a pure example, it might be something like this:
- Bookmaker Offer: Bet £20, get £10 free bet.
To get the £10 free bet, the Matched Bettor has to first bet £20. This first bet is called the qualifying bet. It’s the £20 bet that qualifies you for the £10 free bet.
However, the qualifying bet will, in fact, involve Matched Bettors placing 2 separate bets (a back and a lay bet). They do this so there is no risk of losing that £20. The Matched Bettor will have all outcomes covered whatever the result. In doing so, they will make a very small loss, in this case, a loss of about a £1.00.
This will then qualify you for the £10 free bet. It’s with the free bet that we make our profit.
To profit from the free bet, again, 2 bets in total will need to be placed, so all outcomes are covered and we make ourselves a profit.
From this type of offer, “Bet £20, get a £10 Free Bet”, you can expect to make an overall profit of £7+.
£7 might not sound much, but it really doesn’t take very long. Plus this is just an example. Some sign up offers alone offer the potential to earn £30-£70+. Plus consider there are approximately 70 sign up offers, you can see there is money to be made. That is just the start.
Let’s just cover some more of the basics first.
What is a Back Bet?
A back bet, is your typical bet. You’re backing the winner by placing money on it. Whether it’s a £10 bet on Chelsea to win, £5 on a horse to win a particular race or £1 bet with a friend on the toss of a coin being heads or tails.
If you are betting on it, you’re backing it to win. It’s a back bet.
When you go to a bookmaker, you place back bets. You bet on the outcome you expect to win.
You’d normally just call it a bet, but being a Matched Bettor, it’s important to understand the differences between the 2 types of bets you’ll need to understand.
What is a Lay Bet?
The Lay Bet is the key ingredient to Matched Betting. This is what makes Matched Betting so easy and possible.
Take your time understanding this type of bet. Even regular sports gamblers may not have heard or understand what a lay bet is, even though it’s relatively simple. So don’t worry this would be new territory for many people.
A Lay Bet is a bet on the outcome not to win. (Or if you prefer, it’s a bet on the outcome to lose).
You can’t place lay bets at bookmakers. This is probably why people generally haven’t heard of them or understand them.
You can, however, place Lay bets at online Betting Exchanges. Unlike with bookmakers, of which there are well over 100, there are just a handful of betting exchanges. The three most often used are Betfair, Smarkets and to a lesser extent Matchbook.
Example of a Lay Bet
The best way to explain a lay bet is with examples:
Premier League Football Match: Chelsea V Manchester United.
There are 3 possible result outcomes:
- Chelsea Win
- Manchester United Win
At an exchange, you could lay bet any one of those 3 possible outcomes. Remember, when you lay bet you are betting on the OUTCOME NOT HAPPENING.
So, if you lay bet Chelsea, you are betting on CHELSEA NOT WINNING.
You would win your lay bet if the end result of the match is a draw or Manchester win the game. If Chelsea wins the game, you would lose your lay bet.
So, in this instance, your lay bet covers 2 match results, the draw or the Manchester United win.
Another lay bet example, this time a Horse Race:
Example Horse Race.
6 Runners – Named Below:
- Shut the front door
- Cue Card
- Arctic Fire
- Native River
- Presenting Percy
- Let’s Dance
You could lay bet any of these horses in this race. Let’s say you choose to Lay bet the horse “Cue Card”. You would be betting on Cue Card not to win. So in this instance, if any other horse wins the race, you win your lay bet.
A lay bet is a bet on the outcome not to win. So, you’re effectively betting on any of the other possible outcomes to win, just with one bet. In this case, by lay betting one horse, you are betting on one of all the other horses to win. All under one bet.
I hope that makes sense. Once you understand “lay bets” you will soon understand how Matched Betting works.
For a more detailed explanation of the lay bet including an infographic see my post on lay betting. I call the lay bet the key to Matched Betting, because once you understand it you’ll see how it all works together and you can use for profit.
What is a Bookmaker?
A bookmaker is where you typically place your back bets. You might have seen them on high streets and they all have online websites. In fact, there are lots more bookmakers online that don’t have high street shops. Don’t worry, you don’t have to go to any betting shops. All Matched Betting can be done from the comfort of your home.
The most common examples of well-known bookmakers you might already know of are William Hill, Coral, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power.
What is A Betting Exchange?
A betting exchange is exactly as it sounds, an exchange of bets. You only find betting exchanges online.
On a betting exchange, people are placing back bets at an odds price they want. Other people are placing lay bets at a price they want. If there are people willing to back and lay at the same price, the bet is matched and your bet is placed.
The betting exchange is basically matching bets with people who want to back an outcome of winning, with people who are lay betting that the outcome won’t win at that odds price.
The betting exchange is effectively a marketplace of bettors. The exchange is between individual people’s money pooled together in a market for specific outcomes on sports events. You are not betting against a bookie.
When you are on the betting exchange you will see how much money is currently available to be matched for each specific bet.
Qualifying Bets Explained
So, now you know what a back and lay bet is and a bookmaker and a betting exchange, we can get back to the mechanics of Matched Betting, starting with the Qualifying Bet.
When we place our qualifying bets, we will make a very small loss. This is fine as we make more than enough profit from the forthcoming free bet.
In order to keep the loss as low as possible, we need to find the ideal sporting event and end result to bet on, that have really close back and lay odds. To do this we use what is known as an Odds Matcher.
We take the odds info given in the Odds Matching software and put into a Matched Betting Calculator. This will tell us how much our lay stake at the exchange should be and also the qualifying loss.
Profiting from the Free Bets Explained
We then use the Odds Matching software and Matched Betting Calculator again, this time to calculate the lay stake for the free bet, using a different mode on the matched betting calculator.
We should expect to aim for 75-80% profit from the value of the free bet. So, if it’s a £10, free bet, expect to profit £7.50 to £8.00
What’s An OddsMatcher?
The Odds matching software is what you use to find the best matches for your qualifying bets to keep losses low and then to maximise profits from your free bets.
The Odds Matcher pulls odds data from hundreds and thousands of sporting events. It combines the back bet odds and exchange odds giving each match a rating.
The higher the rating the better the match between the bookie back bet and exchange lay odds for your qualifying bet or higher odds free bet (higher odds gives more profit for free bets). The better the match, the lower your qualifying loss will be.
The Oddsmatching software is really simple and easy to use. You’ll soon get the hang of it.
In the screenshot above you can see events for Bet365 bets that are close odds with what’s available at the betting exchanges. This was taken outside the football season, so there are not many bets you would recognise. Don’t worry about all the data columns for now. You will learn all that easily in time.
What is a Matched Betting Calculator?
As you can see the Matched Betting Calculator is very simple and easy to use. It’s just a matter of selecting bet type, inputting odds, stake and commission rate. The training guide and accompanying videos explain all you need to know as you go along.
How Many Matched Betting Offers Are There?
There are two types of Matched Betting offers.
Sign Up Offers
At any one time, there’s approximately 70 sign up offers to take advantage of and make a profit from. These offers involve you signing up to each individual bookie or casino and taking advantage of the initial, and usually quite lucrative sign-up offer. However, that is just the start.
When most of the “Sign Up Offers” have been completed, you move on to what are known as “Reload Offers”. At any one time, there might be 40-50+ individual reload offers available. All with full instructions on how to complete them. A typical reload offer might be something like “Bet £20 get £10 free bet”. However, there are a wide variety of
A typical reload offer might be something simple like “Bet £20 get £10 free bet”. However, there are a wide variety of possible reload bets.
In addition to the individual reload offers there are also groups of offer types all of which you can take advantage of. For example “Horse Refunds” or “Accumulators”. Attempting these will open up the opportunity to take advantage of many more reload offers. All using the easy to use software provided. Match Catcher for horse refunds and Acca Catcher for accumulators.
The type of offers you end up concentrating on will most likely be down to your individual preference or circumstances.
Profit Accumulator: The Best Matched Betting Site For Beginners
Profit Accumulator is the matched betting service of choice for me and the majority of people who undertake Matched Betting.
There is a monthly or annual fee. However, you get to do 2 trial offers for free first. These will give you a feel for how easy it all works. You will make a profit from these 2 offers simply following the instructions. You can then put this profit towards a monthly or annual membership and begin your Matched Betting journey. Or alternatively, decide it’s not for you and just pocket the money and move on.
Monthly or Annual Membership?
For me, annual membership of Profit Accumulator was a no-brainer. I paid it, then worked on just making that money back as soon as possible. Obviously, I’d already made some money from the first 2 sign up offers. However for others, the initial smaller monthly payment might feel more comfortable to start with, and you can easily get that back from just completing 1 or 2 offers, with plenty more offers left to choose from.
The membership is, in fact, cheaper now than when I joined and they have added new matched betting software, such as Acca Catcher and Match Catcher all for the same fee. Both of those software types will be of use further down the line and add greatly to your profits.
Extra Matched Betting Tips and Beginners Questions Answered
When you first get started with Matched Betting, take your time. Get your head around how each aspect works. There is no rush to complete the offers. They are not going anywhere. There will always be sign-up offers. There will always be new reload offers, literally new offers every day. Just take your time and go at your own pace.
Matched betting is new to the vast majority of people who undertake it. From students who have never even been able to bet before, yet are using the extra funds to get through university. To mums at home, or working part-time, or even on maternity leave, who have previously never thought of betting before. It’s all new and they all get the hang of it. I know as I have helped in a group answering their questions. Same for you, if you have any questions along the way, feel free to ask me and I’ll be happy to guide you.
How Much Do I Need to Get Started with Matched Betting?
You can start with as little as £60-£100. I’ve seen many times people say they started with £60 and built a good pot from which they regularly made a good profit.
The key to continuing to make easier profits over time is to build your pot. The more money you have available for Matched betting the more offers you can do at a time. You can also take advantage of higher stake offers and do higher more profitable odds on the free bets.
Why is Matched Betting So Good?
One of the best things about Matched Betting is you can literally start making money today and earn while you learn. As you work through the first free trial offers you actually make a profit.
It’s a way to make a tax-free profit. No need for record keeping.
Any money you make is yours to keep. Which if you’re a taxpayer, every extra £10 is really like earning £12, or £14 if you pay a higher rate of tax.
It doesn’t affect benefits or any means-tested entitlements. It really is as good as it seems.
Who Is Matched Betting Suited For?
Matched Betting is suitable for anyone in the UK wanting to earn extra money.
Whether you are working already and want to boost your overall income. A university student or mum on maternity leave. Possibly retired and looking for a little extra income. Whoever you are, Matched betting is a viable income option.
You don’t need any knowledge of specific sports. You don’t need to watch the games. All you need to do is focus on effectively matching up the bets and making a profit.
Is Matched Betting Legal?
As long as you are over 18 and therefore of the legal age to place a bet, Matched Betting is totally legal for you in the UK.
Not only is it legal, but any profits you make are tax-free because profits from gambling aren’t taxed in the UK. If they were, people could offset their gambling losses!
How Long Does It Take To Learn How To Do Matched Betting?
Thanks to the Profit Accumulator free trial it is so much easier to learn and understand how Matched Betting works.
They have clear beginner videos and written instructions. The videos show you exactly how the offers are completed step by step.
Remember, Matched Betting is totally new to most people so it’s not assumed you have any prior betting knowledge.
It will, however, be new information to most people and we all learn and take in information at different rates.
I would say it takes approximately an hour to watch the videos and read the instructions through a couple of times. Even if you spend 20 minutes at a time and come back to it fresh a bit later, read and watch them again.
For some, it takes longer. There is no rush. You don’t have to actively do anything yourself until you are comfortable doing so.
So take your time, ask questions from people like myself, either in the comments or via one of my social media channels, Twitter, etc. I’ll be happy to answer.
How Much Does It Cost To Start Matched Betting?
It’s free to sign up and get started, you can find out what’s involved and see if it’s for you.
Anyone over 18 can join the UK’s leading Matched betting site Profit Accumulator on a free trial.
If you sign up for the monthly membership you can cancel anytime, you are not tied in for any particular length of time.
This free trial is to give you access to the first 2 money-making offers. All you have to do is read and follow the accompanying video instructions. The instructions are designed for absolute complete beginners. They walk you completing both the offers step by step.
You should actually make a profit of £30-£35 from the 2 free trial offers.
You do need to use your own money to complete both offers. Remember, you don’t risk losing on a particular outcome. If one bet loses its covered by another bet placed on the opposite outcome. So if the bookmaker bet loses the other bet wins in the exchange and vice versa.
Once you have completed the first 2 offers, in your own time you can decide if you wish to do more of the same at another 60-70+ more bookmakers and keep making more profits in a similar way.
That’s just the start, there are new reload offers and opportunities for making money every day.
At this point, you will have to pay to sign up, either monthly or annually, however, you will have a clear idea of what you are doing. You will have already made more profit than the cost of the first monthly payment and as soon as you join just one or 2 others will cover the next monthly payment.
In fact, you could cover the whole year’s membership in just a few offers.
How Much Can You Realistically Earn From Matched Betting?
How much you can earn from Matched Betting depends on a range of factors.
- How much time you put in
- How much money you start with
- How big your Matched Betting pot is
- Which type of offers you decide to do
- What times of day you are available
I personally made an average of over £500+ a month for the first 24 months of Matched Betting. That also included at least one whole month off and other weeks off for holidays etc. However note, over time I built up my Matched Betting pot and this really helps with higher stakes price boosts etc which help me to make more profit.
I still generally make £300-£500 a month even though I have been gubbed at many bookmaker accounts. These days I stick to making the quickest and easiest profit. I also do risk-free and low-risk casino offers because I find I can set them up and do other tasks at the same time.
Here are some recent Income reports highlighting how much I’ve earnt a month and a breakdown of how:
- April Aim to Quickly Earn £100+ A Week £469.79 from Matched Betting
- March 2018 Earn Cash Now £717.44 (includes 20 Cogs)
- February 2018 Extra Cash of £606.51
- January 2018 Side Income of £347.6
- December 2017 Extra Money From Home of £352.26
- November 2017 Extra Income of £523.07
Also, check my Bet365 Free Bets post to see a guide to how much you can make from sign-ups and other regular free bet and promotional money-making offers just from this one online bookmaker.
Some weeks how much you earn will depend on what sporting events are going on.
For example, the biggest event of the year for Matched Bettors is the Cheltenham Festival. It’s 4 days of horse racing with all the main bookies competing for punters with free bets and similar offers. Check my post for full details on how I made £750+ from free bets and other Cheltenham Festival offers. I also detail where the easiest money is made and how you can do the same in as little time as possible. It really is an event worth preparing for.
Boost Matched Betting Earnings With Cashback For Sign Ups
For some bookie and casino sign-up offers you can combine them with cashback offers to boost profits further.
I have found the 3 best cashback sites for Matched Betting, one even pays monthly cashback if you make any losses.
My Topcashback review highlights some of the cashback amounts I made in addition to profiting from the offer alone.
I personally consider the cashback an added bonus. Most of the time you’ll receive it, but don’t bank on it as guaranteed.
Can I Do Matched Betting For a Living?
In my opinion, Matched Betting is best as an extra source of income, not to be considered something you do full time living.
You can certainly make good money from Matched Betting. However, if you did Matched Betting full-time for any length of time it would put a lot of pressure on your bookie accounts. It is then more likely you will be gubbed and therefore not eligible for all free bet offers and other promotions.
You can still make money from gubbed bookie accounts. However, over time, it will become more difficult.
Matched Betting is, however, a great way to add extra tax-free income if you already hold a full or part-time job or want to diversify sole trader income. It’s also a popular source of extra money for some university students and mums on maternity as well as many others.
Where Do I Find Matched Betting Offers?
The easiest way to find Matched Betting Offers is to join a site like Profit Accumulator. All the work is done for you. They find the offers and provide instructions on how to do them. Easy.
When you start signing up to bookies you will also get emailed offers. Most of these will already be on Profit Accumulator. However, most Match bettors concentrate on the sign up offers first and do what is known as “Reload” offers further down the line.
What is Mug Betting?
Mug betting is betting with the intention to look like a normal betting punter to the bookmaker. You mug bet so you don’t stand out as a bonus hunting Matched Bettor and hope the bookie won’t gub your account.
You still back and lay the bets and make the equivalent of a small qualifying loss, but you are not placing the bet to take advantage of an offer.
Whether and how you mug bet will be up to you. Read up a little on it in the Profit Accumulator forum if you join.
Best Tips To Keep Bookmaker Accounts Open For Offers
The bookmaker accounts with which I stuck to high profile football matches I kept ungubbed the longest. Even if I was doing offers with them on a regular basis.
High profile games from the Premier League and other top European leagues, Champions League, International football etc. You can get an idea if a game is a high profile as there will be at least hundreds and usually thousands of pounds of availability in the exchange for that bet. You then know lots of other people are betting on the event.
My gubbings often coincided with me betting on other sports, typically ones with a lot less availability in the market.
Is Matched Betting Some Form Of Gambling?
Matched betting is Not Gambling.
Matched betting does not involve profiting from winning or losing outcomes so is therefore not considered to be a form of gambling.
It does involve utilising the betting services of both online bookmakers and betting exchanges in order to exploit the free bets and other offers offered by the bookmakers.
Is Matched Betting Only For Sign Up Offers?
A common misconception by those who have previously heard of Matched Betting, and indeed one I had myself from long ago, was that it was only exploiting bookie sign up offers.
However, bookies constantly have what known in Matched Betting terms as “Reload Offers”. There are so many variations of reloads. In fact, every day there are typically more reload offers to do than sign-ups.
Many are easy and just like sign-ups, e.g Bet £20 get £10 free bet.
Is Matched Betting A Scam or Legit?
I can see why people ask this as for many people making an income from Matched Betting seems too good to be true.
Even though I’d heard of it many years ago, when I first saw the claims by a new generation of Matched Betting sites that came onto the scene, I too ignored them with their earn hundreds tax-free claims without seeing exactly what it was.
Usually, these kinds of claims have a catch, you have to pay a fee or it turns out to be some form of trading (gambling) sales pitch etc.
If I’d have realized they were promoting Matched Betting I would have taken more interest. Over the years I had read about it on the MoneySavingExpert (MSE) Matched Betting forums. But because they didn’t use any software, it seemed really complicated.
Let me make clear, Matched Betting is a genuine way of making profits online and from the comfort of your own home or anywhere you can access the internet in the UK.
Do I Need Any Knowledge of Sports To Do Matched Betting?
Prior to starting you don’t need to know anything about any sports. Anything you do need to know will purely relate to you making a profit. You learn all you need to know as you go along.
You don’t need to watch any of the sports you matched bet on either.
I’ve Never Placed A Bet Before, What Do I Do?
That’s perfectly fine. In fact, a good thing as it means you are not a gambler!
As I’ve outlined above, most people won’t have even heard of a lay bet, so once you understand that you will be more knowledgeable than most punters.
Each new bet time is explained as you come across it. You’ll be fine.
Do I Have To Pay Tax On Matched Betting Profits?
No, you don’t have to pay tax on any Matched Betting profits. Bookmaker and casino winnings are not taxed in the UK. Most people lose when gambling anyway. If it were taxed I’m sure that many people would argue that the losses should be offset against taxable earnings too.
Even if you’re considered a professional gambler in the UK, there is no tax to pay. You can “ read HMRC view on betting and gambling – the professional gambler” here.
The added bonus of this is that you don’t need to keep any official records or paperwork as evidence of earnings for taxation like you would for many other forms of income.
What If I Make A Mistake?
Mistakes will happen. Profit Accumulator has a specific “Help With Mistakes” forum thread for posting any mistakes you may have. You could also tag a member of the admin team on an offer post and see if they can help. Other members may also assist you in rectifying your error.
Most errors you will soon learn to fix yourself.
If Matched Betting Is So Good Why Isn’t Everyone Doing It?
Matched Betting has been around for many years. However, only in the last 3-4 years has it really taken off as a popular source of extra income.
The reason for this is due to the arrival of new quality Matched Betting sites (e.g Profit Accumulator) which have made the whole process much easier to understand and actually carry out. There are support and advice for every offer and you don’t have the worries of whether you are making a mistake. If you do make an error, again the forums are ideal for solving your mistake.
Prior to these new Matched Betting sites, anyone interested in making money Matched Betting had to work out the process themselves. Find the offers, work out whether they were worth doing, try to manually find matches etc. It was basically a lot of work.
Even in the time I have been doing Matched Betting, which is almost 2 years, the Matched Betting sites have come on leaps and bounds. New calculators have been created, back and lay odds are matched up for more sports.
For example, when I started Accumulators, which were a big source of profit for some people, they all had to be done on Excel spreadsheets. We had to find our own matches or keep an eye on the forum for people posting matches etc.
However, now it is all done via Acca software, which finds all the matches. Saves your data, adjusts bets stakes based on results. Accumulator software is easily changed depending on the outcome you are aiming for, ie refund or expected profit. They are just so much easier than spreadsheets.
It’s quite likely you’ve seen reference to Matched Betting in the past, just not realised as maybe you subconsciously thought is was something it’s not.
Can My Partner Do Matched Betting?
Yes, 2 people from the same household can both do Matched Betting.
Some bookies won’t allow more than 1 customer per household but most do. However, it is generally not as lucrative for the 2nd person. Bookmakers might be quicker to restrict, gub or close the accounts.
If you do both use the same bookmaker, make sure you both know which offers you are completing as some offers are one per household only.
However, it is possible. My partner has done some offers.
For peace of mind, we checked with each bookie first if it was okay.
Matched betting is new to most people considering it as a new-found form of extra income. So it goes without saying there will be questions and apprehensions.
I hope the above answers have helped.
I would like this Matched Betting Guide to be as clear as possible for anyone totally new to Match Betting. If upon re-reading any parts there is something you’re simply not understanding, please ask.
If you have any further questions please feel free to ask in the comments or contact me via my social channels.