Welcome to my Matched Betting Guide where I explain in simple terms exactly how it works and how you can start making money from it as soon as possible.
I’ve personally used the many elements of Matched Betting to make well over £30,000 in side income over 3 years. It works!
Here I explain the basics of Matched Betting, how best to get started and set yourself up as well as answering some of the most commonly asked questions.
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 in it’s most basic form is a way of exploiting bookmakers free bet offers and other promotions for profit. It quite often involves placing 2 bets which offset each other in order to make a tax free profit.
The intention is to make a profit regardless of the sporting event result.
The market leader and by far my favorite Matched Betting site is Profit Accumulator. They make the whole process really simple. Taking you through your first offers step by step with training videos and very clear instructions.
Profit Accumulator finds every offer available that is worth doing. Provide instructions and forum thread support for each individual offer. You can read my Profit Accumulator Review here which includes tips on maximise profits further.
A Brief History of Matched Betting
Matched betting has been around for many years. However, only recently during the last couple of years has its popularity really taken off.
However, since around 2015 sites like Profit Accumulator have simplified the whole process and it’s popularity as a valid side income has exploded.
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 confusing and time-consuming.
As mentioned in the references on the Matched Betting Wikipedia page it has been hitting the headlines since 2010.
How Does Matched Betting Work?
Here’s a 1 minute 34 second video by Profit Accumulator that explains in a nutshell how Matched Betting works.
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. Hopefully, you can see there is money to be made and this 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 be placing.
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.
Some people struggle to understand what a lay bet is, so I explain it in 2 ways.
A lay bet is
- The bet that bookmaker receives when you place a bet is them actually laying a bet.
- A bet on an outcome not to win
So firstly, when a bookmaker accepts a bet, they are in fact laying a bet.
We as punters and Matched Bettors can also lay bets via betting exchanges. effectively acting as a bookmaker.
Alternatively, if it helps in the understanding, you can think of a Lay Bet as betting on the outcome not to win. (Or if you prefer, it’s a bet on the outcome to lose or against it happening).
You can’t place lay bets at bookmakers. This is probably why people generally haven’t heard of them or understand them. We are backing a bet at a bookmakers and they are laying the bet to us.
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.
More On Lay Betting: 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 the 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.
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 recognize. 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.
Profiting from the Free Bets
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
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 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
- Football Refunds
- Accumulator Refunds
- Sharbing Refunds
- NFL, NBA and other American Sports Refunds
- Golf, Tennis, Rugby, Darts Refunds
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.
Check my Bet365 Free Bets post to see a guide to how much you can make from the sign-up reloads from just this one online bookmaker.
Although we usually start out with sports there’s also a whole range of casino and bingo offers both in the form of sign-ups and reloads.
Many of the offers are risk-free such as 10 free spins keep winnings. Risk-free is a great starting point to get into them. Once you feel more confident and have built your bank a little, low risk can also be extremely worthwhile doing.
Over time, casino offers have typically become a much bigger % of my monthly profits. Some months I have made hundreds and even thousands, see my October 2018 £4905 Income Report.
Check out my casino guide How To Make Money From Risk-Free Casino Offers and Bonuses.
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, the 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.
You can read my full Profit Accumulator Review including tips on how to maximize profits.
Matched Betting Tips To Boost Profits From The Start
There’s a couple of things you can do from the start that will actively boost your profits and make it easier for you to keep making money long term.
Profit Boosting Tip 1: Combine Sign Ups With Cashback
Potentially make £100’s extra with this cashback tip!
Right from start as well as profiting directly from the bookmaker, casino or online bingo sign up offer, you may also be able to combine sign ups with Topcashback and Quidco cashback offers. They are both among the best cashback sites and if you don’t already use are well worth signing up to for free and make savings on potentially all your online expenditures.
Check out my TopCashback Review for more info.
Be Aware: Make sure you read the T&C’s on the cashback site to check you qualify for each offer, occasionally they may not combine with other offers. However, in my experience most of the time they do.
Sign up offers on Matched betting sites will be profitable anyway, so I consider the cashback an extra bonus.
Examples of my best cashback’s from Topcashback
- Betway £31.50
- Boylesports £23.65
- Betfair £70
- SkyBet £26.25
Cashback Examples I’ve been paid from Quidco
- 888Casino £80.00
- 188Bet £10
- Buzz Bingo £10
- Virgin Games £10
Just visit TopCashback and Quidco for yourself, type “casino” or “bingo” or just “gambling into the search box and you should see a long list of cashback options. Some of them won’t even be on a Matched betting site, so view those as extra opportunities to make more money.
Profit Boosting Tip 2: Build Your Bank – For Long Term Profits
Building your bankroll is one of the most important tips I can give to anyone who wants to make money from Matched Betting over the medium to long term.
Reasons why a bigger bank will help you make more profit:
- Attempt multiple offers at a time
- Able to do bigger stake offers
- Less need for continually depositing and withdrawing from bookies
- Split money at different exchanges to take advantage of the lowest available lay odds
- The option of large stake Arbing and Dutching for profit
By all means, siphon off as much profit as you want, but if you can keep saving a portion to continually build your bank it will certainly help.
How Much Can You Realistically Earn From Matched Betting?
The amount of money you can earn from Matched Betting depends on a range of factors.
- How much time you put in
- How much money you start with
- The size of your Matched Betting pot
- Which type of offers you decide to do
- What days of week or time of day you’re available
For my first 24 months, I typically made around £500+ a month extra income from Matched Betting. That also included at least one whole month off and other weeks off for holidays etc.
Over time I kept building up my Matched Betting pot and this really helps with higher stakes price boosts etc which help me to make more profit.
Matched Betting Income Reports
Below I’ve highlighted other key areas of profit. The income reports feature full breakdowns and some show tips and specific forum threads I follow in order to find more offers and make more profit.
- November 2017 Extra Income of £523.07
- December 2017 Income Report of £352.26
- January 2018 Side Income of £347.6
- February 2018 Extra Cash of £606.51
- March 2018 Income Report £717.44 (includes 20 Cogs and Cheltenham Festival)
- April 2018 – Aimed to Quickly Earn £100 a Week £469.79
- May Income and Savings Report £369.87 + Savvy Savings of £41.20
- June Income and Savvy Savings £1464.30 (inc. Price Boosts £800+ & 780+ free spins)
- July Income & Savings Report £406.05 (Including Finding 670+ Risk-free spins)
- August 2018 (Holiday Month £83.33)
- September 2018 £1783.53 (Taking advantage of 0% commission, Extra Arbing, Dutching)
- October 2018 £4905 (Inc £3901 from risk-free casino offers)
- November & Dec 2018 £2910.49 & £2258.95 (Making most of 0% and bigger bankroll and full-on effort)
Disclaimer: Profits 100% from my own single accounts.
Some months how much you earn will depend on what sporting events are going on.
March is the month of the Cheltenham Festival Free Bets and Boosts galore. June 2018 was a great month because the Football World Cup was in full flow.
June 2018 £1464.30 I discovered the potential of risk-free spins and started doing as many offers as I could find many of which were posted almost daily in the Profit Accumulator forum. I then went on to find 780+ risk-free spins in July. I’ve continued to make the most of forum posted risk-free offers ever since.
October 2018 £4905 was my best ever month. An amazing month mostly due to one ongoing risk-free casino offer which I was able to take full advantage of for a couple of weeks because I’d built my bank previously and could do deposits of a few hundred pounds at a time and not have to wait for the withdrawal to repeat the offer again.
November and December 2018 £2910.49 & £2258.95 With my bankroll built from October and my appetite to explore even more options for profit I put full-on effort into making as much profit as possible in these 2 months.
I wanted to make the most of the 0% betting exchange commission deals while they lasted (subsequently extended much longer).
During these 2 months, I also explored making even more money from risk-free and low-risk casino offers via Profit Maximiser.
Since 2019 started I have ceased doing new income reports. I realized I was becoming further and further away from the beginner’s stage of Matched betting and many of the tips and breakdowns of profits in my income reports were not of use to people with less experience and smaller bankrolls.
Plus all my strategies and tips are within the above reports and future reports would just be repeating them.
However, as a whole, they show what can be achieved if you consistently keep learning and doing various offers types and above all build your bankroll.
Commonly Asked Matched Betting Questions Answered
Hopefully, the above guide is enough to inform most people as to whether Matched Betting is form of extra income they want to pursue.
However, some people may have some extra questions based on things they’ve seen or heard about it from others. Here are a few of the most common questions answered.
How Much Do I Need To Get Started?
Ideally, start with at least £60+. You don’t spend this money, you use it to make more.
Personally, I’d recommend starting with £100. It just makes it a little easier to find bets and maximize profits with slightly higher odds free bets. However, I’ve seen mention numerous times of people building decent pots of £500+ from starting with £60.
Although Profit Accumulator First 2 Offers Are Free you need the money, £60+ to cover both plaing the bookie bet and the liability for laying a bet in the exchange.
Can I Do Matched Betting If I Have Previously Opened Bookie Accounts?
Even if you have an account already with a bookmaker, although you won’t be able to do the signup, you will later be able to do Reload offers and that’s the bulk of where the long term profit comes from.
There are usually over 70+ bookmakers to sign up to and new offers for others come and go, so even if you have a few bookie accounts there are plenty more to profit from.
What If I’m Gubbed?
Gubbed is matched betting jargon for when a bookie informs you that you’re no longer entitled to free bet offers or other promotions. For a beginner, this can be heart-wrenching as they think it’s the beginning of the end of their side hustle.
This is by no means the end, in fact, I’ve made some of my best profits from gubbed accounts.
I’ve written a post here that details a least 7 ways to make money from gubbed accounts.
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!
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.
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.
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 gub, restrict or close the accounts.
If you do both use the same bookmaker, make sure you both know which offers you are completing as some reload 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.
Apprehensive? Matched Betting Sounds Confusing and Complicated?
Matched betting is totally new to the vast majority of people who are looking to make an extra side income from it.
Quite often these are students too young to have bet previously, or commonly women, often stay at home or part-time working mums who’ve never bet before (the vast majority of real punters are men).
My advice is to get started with the Profit Accumulator free trial. You will learn as you complete the beginner-friendly step by step offers, even if it seems confusing at first. Anything you are not sure of you can directly ask the support.
Once your first bets have completed and seeing how much you started with and where it ends up in the bookie or the exchange and realize you’ve made a profit it will all start to sink in and make more sense.
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.
Feel free to send me a message me via my main social media channels if you need any support. Remember, no question is too simple or silly. If you are unsure of something please ask.