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Matched Betting

Welcome to a detailed guide to matched betting, a technique that sports bettors can use to profit from free bets and other online bookmaker promotions tax-free. You will learn more about how matched betting works and the legality of using it at online bookies and betting exchanges.

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This guide also talks about a matched betting calculator and provides tips to help punters make the most of the increasingly popular betting strategy. Hopefully, you’ll find the information presented here helpful if you wish to benefit from the free bets offered by various online bookmakers.

What is Matched Betting and How Does it Work?

First things first, how does matched betting work? Well, the idea of matched betting came about as a result of online bookmakers offering free bets and other sports betting bonuses. If you join an online betting site, for instance, the operator might promise to offer a free bet offer worth £30 if you bet £20. The big question is, how do you profit from the free bet without losing it? That’s where the concept of placing multiple bets with matched betting comes in.

Matched betting is a betting technique that allows online sports punters to enjoy guaranteed profits from free bet promotions. This is achieved by covering all the possible outcomes of a sporting event. Here, the punter has to place a back bet at a bookmaker and a lay bet at a betting exchange. The goal is to remove the risk associated with every wager for a specific outcome (back stake) by placing another wager (lay bet) against that particular outcome. That way, you win regardless of the result.

It helps to understand the key elements before you start matched betting. These include free bets, qualifying bets, betting exchanges, lay commission, back bets, back odds, lay bets, and lay odds, among others. We will talk more about these in the rest of this guide.

matched betting google trends

Matched betting in the google trends of united kingdom. More and more players are seeking help for matched betting.

Free BetsA free bet is an amount of money that a sportsbook credits to punters’ betting accounts. In most cases, new customers receive their bookmaker sign-up offers after spending a certain amount of money specified by the online bookie. Also, free bet bonuses are usually not withdrawable unless you place bets with them. The type of free bet and size will depend on the selected betting site.
QualifyingHow do you get a Free Bet Bonus? In the case of free bet promotions, punters are required to place their first bet. This is what is known as a qualifying bet on matched betting. The risk is worth taking when you know that you can make money using the bonus funds awarded by the bookmaker.
Betting ExchangesFor matched betting to work, you must sign up with a betting exchange. When placing bets at an online betting site, you are betting against the bookmaker. On the other hand, an exchange allows you to place bets against other users. So, you can choose to act as the ‘customer’ and bet on something to happen. Or, you can act as the ‘bookmaker’ and bet against a certain outcome.
Lay CommissionBetting exchanges profit from matched bets with a lay commission. This is just a small amount charged on the winning bets. Depending on the exchange, the commission may range between 0 and 5%. The punters are basically paying a fee for using the matchmaking platform. It’s important to look for an exchange with the lowest commission so you can pocket most of your profits.

Types of Bets in Matched Betting

Matched bettors don’t have to know all the different terminologies used in matched betting, but it’s vital to understand the two common types of bets. Even if you don’t know everything else (because you can use a calculator), you need to be aware of what back bets and lay bets are. We are going to look at both types of bets in detail.

Back Bet

A back bet is probably the type of bet you are used to whenever you fill out your bet slip. We can call it a bookmaker bet because it’s the type of wager you’ll be placing at online sportsbooks. Here, you only need to bet on a certain game outcome to be true.

A simple example of a back bet would be betting on Team A to win a football match. The bet wins if your prediction happens to be true at the end of the match. And you lose if the team you are betting on losses or if the match ends as a draw.

Lay Bet

A lay bet is a bet that makes matched betting possible. Because of lay bets, matched betting is also known as lay bet matching or double betting. A lay bet allows you to wager against a certain game outcome to be true. For instance, you could bet on Team A to not win a football match. Your chances of winning a lay bet are significantly high because the bet wins if the team losses or draws.

The idea behind placing a lay bet is to cancel out the risk associated with a bookmaker bet. You basically back a team on the bookmaker’s site and lay that same bet at an exchange. And that’s how you make money using the matched betting strategy. Keep in mind that an exchange is the only place you can place lay bets.

Back and Lay Odds

For both lay and back stakes, you’ll be working with two types of betting odds – back odds and lay odds. Punters can find back betting odds on the bookmaker website and lay odds at the exchange. As we shall see later in this article, the odds need to be as close and low as possible to lower the risks.

Top online bookmakers usually offer various odds formats to appeal to players from different regions. The three most common options include American odds, decimal odds, and fractional odds. And punters can easily switch from one odds format to another on almost all bookmaker sites and exchanges. Decimal odds are the easiest to use because you only need to multiply your total stake by the odds to know your total return. Thus, you should consider using decimal odds for matched bets.

Matched Betting Liability Explained

When you visit an exchange and place your lay stake, you are actually taking the role of a bookmaker. So, you must pay out winnings. The amount you need to cover your lay bet or pay those placing back bets is what is known as a liability in matched betting.

Let’s say you are placing a lay bet worth £10 and the liability is £40. In this case, you must have at least £40 in your exchange account for the bet to be successful. Once you place your lay bet, you’ll notice that the amount in your exchange account will reduce by the liability amount

So, how are the matched bets settled at the end of the match? Well, you will lose your liability at the exchange if your lay stake loses but get it back at the betting site. On the other hand, you will get your liability and lay stake amount if your lay bet wins.

Liability Example in Matched Betting

Since placing a lay bet makes you the ‘bookmaker’, you can easily calculate your liability by calculating your potential winnings. Let’s say the exchange is offering lay odds of 5.0 (4/1) and your lay stake is £30. You need to calculate your total winnings and then subtract your stake.

  • Total Winnings = £30 x 5 = £150
  • Liability = £150 – £30 = £120

Using the above example, you must have £120 or more in your exchange account in order to place your lay wager successfully.

Qualifying Loss in Matched Betting

When making your first qualifying bet to unlock a free bet bonus at an online betting site, there’s a good chance that you’ll make a small loss. We call it a qualifying loss in lay match betting. This happens because the lay odds for a sporting event may not be exactly the same as the back odds. Moreover, the selected exchange may charge a small fee or commission on lay bets. The good news is, the qualifying loss is normally insignificant compared to the amount you stand to win. So, you don’t have to worry about it provided that you choose your odds carefully.

Is Matched Betting Legal?

Since matched betting makes it possible to generate guaranteed profits from free bets and other betting bonuses tax-free, some people might think it’s an illegitimate or dishonest way to earn free money. Well, the truth of the matter is that matched betting is completely legal. Legal betting exchanges facilitate it, and bookmakers are aware of what’s happening.

However, this does not mean that sports betting site operators are okay with matched betting. They will likely think that bettors are abusing the available free bet bonuses. For that reason, some of them might employ restrictive measures on your account to prevent you from taking advantage of the matched betting strategy. But the bottom line is that there’s nothing wrong with matched betting as far as sports betting laws are concerned.

How to Make profit from Matched Betting

Any punter who understands free bet offers should consider placing matched bets to make profits hassle-free. With only a few steps, you can place a matched bet and get your returns soon. We will now explain the steps you need to follow once you decide that matched betting is the way to go.

Step 1: Find a Bookmaker with a Free Bet Bonus

1 iconThe foremost thing to have is a free bet offer from an online bookmaker. You can find one at online betting sites that have free bets for new customers or existing bettors. Be sure to compare the available promotions and choose the one that looks more profitable.

Step 2: Look for a Sport or Event to Bet on

2 iconNavigate through the sportsbook site to identify the event or sport you want to back and lay. For instance, your preferred outcome could be the selected team to win. Make sure that the odds are as low as possible to lower the possible loss.

Step 3: Place Your Qualifying and Lay Bets

3 iconGo to your bookmaker betting account and place the qualifying bet to get your free bet bonus. Then, visit a betting exchange to place your lay bet on the selected event. If you don’t know how much to bet, you can use a matched betting calculator to calculate the right lay stake.

Step 4: Place the Second Matched Bet

4 iconUse the free bet amount for your back bet to place the second matched bet. At this point, you want to maximize the potential profits, so the lay odds and back odds need to be higher and closer. That’s it!

How Much Profit Can Matched Betting Generate?

The ultimate goal of lay match betting is to make more profit using free bets and other promotions offered by online betting sites. So, how much money can you make through this betting technique? One of the things you need to consider when doing the math is that betting exchanges charge a commission ranging from 0 to 5%. This means that, for each matched stake placed, punters can get 95% of their free bets or more depending on the commission percentage. Of course, we are assuming that you won’t make potentially costly mistakes when placing your matched bets.

Matched Betting: Tips

So far, you have learned the basics of matched betting. With what you know, you can easily place matched bets at a betting exchange. The process will be much easier if you use the matched betting calculator we will explain later in this article. But there are still other important things to consider for the best experience when placing matched bets. We’ve presented some useful tips below.

Research if You Are New to Matched Betting

If you’ve never engaged in matched betting before, you should take a step to understand how it works. The easiest way is to read matched betting guides online. Thankfully, this article has everything you need to know about the art of matched betting. Take full advantage of it by reading every section to learn how matched betting works. With some knowledge of the basic elements, you will be able to continue matched betting without encountering avoidable hurdles.

Place Qualifying Bets at Low Odds

As mentioned earlier, punters need to place qualifying bets to qualify for free bets and other sportsbook bonuses. But qualifying bets need to be placed in such a way that the possible losses are abated. To minimize the bettor’s qualifying losses and liability, it’s therefore advisable to place the qualifying bet at low odds. If you choose to place your first qualifying bet at high odds, then you must have a lot of money in your betting exchange account.

Keep the Lay and Back Odds Close

Closing your back odds and exchange lay odds is another crucial step if you want to benefit from matched betting. This simply means ensuring that the betting odds at the exchange and those on the bookmaker site are almost the same or as close as possible. Similar to placing the qualifying bet at low odds, the goal here is to reduce the potential loss.

Don’t Forget the Free Bet Rollover Requirements

If you’ve claimed free bet bonuses and other betting offers, you must be aware that they often come with terms and conditions. A rollover or wagering requirement specifies the number of times you have to bet your deposit or deposit and bonus before you can withdraw your winnings. If you deposit £200 and the bookmaker has set a 10x rollover requirement, then you must place bets worth £2,000 to qualify for withdrawals.

Thus, don’t be excited just because you’ve found a mouth-watering free bet offer. Make sure you know how you are required to use the bonus so you can be allowed to withdraw your winnings. You want the rollover to be pretty low to have better chances of winning a withdrawable amount. Also, remember that the bookmaker may state that you must choose odds of ‘X’ or greater. Once the requirements are met, you can cash out some cash to your bank account, e-wallet, or crypto wallet.

Make Use of Bookmaker and Exchange Search Features

Every good bookmaker or betting exchange will have a search feature to help punters perform quick searches. To use the feature, sports bettors only need to enter a search word or phrase. If you are looking for a specific football match on the bookmaker or exchange website, you can find it in an instant by simply entering the name of one of the teams.

The best thing about search functions is that they will save you a lot of time. You don’t always have to waste time navigating through the various pages to find teams to back or lay.

Use the Same Odds Format for Easy Comparison

As we said before, online bookmakers use different odds formats, and the same applies to betting exchanges. If the default format on a betting site is decimal and the chosen exchange uses fractional odds, you will have a hard time comparing betting odds on both websites. Therefore, you must change to the odds format you are most familiar with. For matched betting purposes, decimal odds are the easiest to use, as we’ve learned.

Consider Using a Separate Bank Account for Matched Betting

First of all, we would like to say that you don’t have to create a separate bank account to engage in matched betting. But having one can be helpful if you want to separate your everyday transactions from your betting transactions. With a different bank account, you can easily know how much money is coming from your lay bet matching dealings. You could also use a new e-wallet account rather than a bank account to keep tabs on your betting activity.

Have Enough Money in Your Exchange Account

You won’t be able to place lay bets at an exchange if you don’t have sufficient funds in your account. The recommended amount is at least equal to your liability. Check the liability section of this article for more details and see some examples.

Avoid Gubbing by Acting Normally

Gubbing is a practice in the online betting industry whereby punter’s bookmaker accounts are restricted or deactivated. If your bookmaker operator notices that you are there to earn free profits from free bets, they might use this method to keep you away from the site. The truth is that online sportsbooks existing to make profits, so they don’t like it when you make too much money for free.

The best way to avoid suspicion is to act like a normal sports bettor, even though your goal is to make the most of free bet promotions. You can do so by placing bets on various sports at low odds or claiming and using the available bonuses. In case you end up being gubbed, just sign up with another bookmaker or contact support for clarification.

Matched Betting Calculator – An Easy Way to Calculate Your Lay Stake

You are probably wondering if you have to do the calculations by yourself to determine your lay stake for matched betting. We are glad to tell you that you don’t need to waste your precious time doing the math because there’s an easy way to do it. The only thing you require is a free matched betting calculator, which you can use online at any time.

matched betting calculator mobile

Matched-betting calculator on an ipad.

This is a tool that allows punters to provide a few details and get help with matched bets. With the results of the calculator, you can start matched betting with multiple bets and cover all the possible outcomes of a sporting event. And there are no needless delays because the results are instant.

How to Use a Matched Bet Calculator

You should enter the required information when using a matched betting calculator to calculate how much you need to spend on your lay stake.Depending on what you want to achieve, you can use the calculator for a qualifying bet, free bets where the stake is not returned (SNR), free bets where the free bet stake is returned (SR), as well as risk-free bets. The following are the general steps you should follow to make the most of the calculator.

Step 1: Choose Bet Type and Enter Your Back StakeOnce you launch the free online matched bet calculator, the first step is to choose the bet type and input your back bet. We have explained this type of bet in detail in previous sections of this article, so feel free to check if you haven’t. It’s simply the bet you want to place on a sporting event at an online betting site.
Step 2: Input the Back Odds and Back CommissionThe second step is to provide the calculator with the back odds on the bookmaker website. In case the operator is charging a commission on back bets, you need to provide the percentage, too. Remember to enter every detail as it is to get error-free results.
Step 3: Enter the Lay odds and Lay CommissionAt this point, you now need to input the lay odds followed by the lay commission. This information can be obtained from the betting exchange you’ve chosen to work with. Lay commissions usually don’t exceed 5% of your winnings.
Step 4: Check Your ResultsThe final step is to check the results generated by the matched bet calculator. The calculator will display the recommended lay stake you need to place at the exchange. On top of that, it will show your liability and overall profit.

As you can see, a matched betting calculator is just a simple tool that will make it much easier for you to place matched bets. The calculator will generate results based on the parameters you’ve provided, so it’s important to double-check the details. As they say, garbage in, garbage out. You don’t want to get misleading results just because you entered the wrong details.

Without the calculator, you’d lose time trying to compute your lay bet, liability, and overall profit using your phone calculator or head. That’s not the right way to do it as a punter trying to make money quickly from free bet offers. You must grab the offers while they last, so make the most of the free matched betting machine to do quick calculations.


conclusion iconMatched betting is the way to go for sports bettors who wish to turn the free bet amount offered by online bookmakers into guaranteed profits. This betting strategy makes it possible to cover all the potential outcomes of a match by cancelling out the risks of placing a regular back bet.

In simple terms, matched bets allow punters to place a back bet at an online bookmaker and another bet (the lay bet) at an exchange. That way, bettors can make money online with free bet promotions or other betting bonuses. The best part is that the profits are guaranteed despite the risk of liability and qualifying losses.

We hope that this guide has helped you understand how matched betting works. If you think this is the right strategy for you, what are you waiting for? Choose a reputable bookmaker and join a betting exchange with the best odds to start matched betting now. For quick and more accurate lay stake recommendations, don’t forget to use a matched betting calculator. And remember to gamble responsibly at all times. All the best!


Matched betting is a betting technique that sports bettors use to cover all the potential outcomes of an event to profit from the free bet bonuses and other offers awarded by bookmakers. It involves placing a normal bet (back bet) at a sportsbook and another opposing bet (lay bet) against the same outcome at a betting exchange.
Matched betting is a pretty amazing strategy because users are unlikely to lose money. The best thing to do is to avoid making mistakes when using this method.
If things work well for you, you should be able to get as much as 95% of your free bets or more since the lay commission at an exchange can vary from 0 to 5%.
Even though some people from the betting world find it a dishonest way to make money, matched betting is completely legal. Nonetheless, bear in mind that the bookmakers have the right to confiscate your winnings, in case they think you are abusing the bonuses.

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