Matched Betting Guide


Difficulty: Medium Read time: 7 mins

Matched betting is the process of matching back bets with lay bets.

By covering all outcomes of an event, we are able to claim free bets and bonuses for next to nothing. We can then use the same strategy to extract a cash profit.

I’m now going to show you how to make £15.00 guaranteed profit from the Coral welcome offer.

Step 1: Open an exchange account

Before we can match any bets, we’re going to need a betting exchange account.

My advice is to register an account with both Betfair and Smarkets. You can find a detailed comparison of the two exchanges in my Betfair v Smarkets guide.

Betfair are currently offering 0% commission up to £500.00 to get us started…

Betfair Exchange Welcome Offer - 0% Commission up to £500

…While Smarkets are currently offering new customers £50.00 risk-free on the Premier League 2018/19…

Smarkets Welcome Offer - £50 Risk-Free on the Premier League 2018-19

Just to let you know, betting exchanges make their money by charging us a small fee on our winning bets. Think of it as their reward for providing us with the platform to bet against other users!

Step 2: Open a Coral account

My advice for all matched betting newbies is to start with the smaller welcome offers.

Coral have the perfect welcome offer to get us started. If we bet just £5.00, they’ll give us £20.00 in free bets!

Banner showing the Coral sign up offer

The beauty of starting with an offer like this is that we only need a bankroll of around £50.00. Once we’ve completed our first couple of offers, our confidence will build and so too will our bankroll!

Step 3: Change to decimal odds

Traditionally, bookmakers display their odds as fractions, but we need to work with decimals.

That’s because decimals are much easier to compare at a glance, which is essential when looking for close back and lay odds.

Betting exchanges already display their odds as decimals, so we just need to change our odds preference to decimals at the bookmaker, which is pretty straightforward.

Changing to Decimal Odds

We can usually find the option at the top of the homepage or in the sidebar. Failing that, this can usually be changed in our account settings.

Step 4: Place our qualifying bet

It’s important to check the terms of an offer for any specific requirements before placing any bets. The terms for the Coral welcome offer state that our qualifying bet can be placed on any sport, but must be placed at odds of 1.50 (1/2) or greater.

It’s always best to place our bets on popular events that regular punters would be betting on. Football matches are usually the best option.

Qualifying bets should always be placed at low odds in order to minimise our qualifying losses. It’s also important, as with any matched bet, that we look for close back and lay odds.

At the time of writing this guide, the following odds were available for a Premier League match between Swansea and Man Utd…

Coral Back Odds
The back odds at Coral for Swansea v Man Utd.

Betfair Lay Odds
The lay odds at Betfair for Swansea v Man Utd.

Placing our qualifying bet on Man Utd at back odds of ‘1.50‘, satisfies the minimum odds requirement and the lay odds of 1.53 are nice and close.

In order to qualify for the £20.00 in free bets, we need to bet £5.00 on Man Utd at Coral. So we simply click on the green ‘1.50‘ button, enter our stake of £5.00 and then click ‘Place Bet.’

All we need to do now is work out our Betfair lay stake using the ‘Qualifying Bet‘ setting on my matched betting calculator

Select bet type

Back Bet (Bookie)

%

Lay Bet (Betting Exchange)

%
Lay stake required: £
Bookie
Exchange
Cashback
Total
If back (bookie) bet wins
£
£
£
= £
If lay (exchange) bet wins
£
£
£
= £

Total profit: £

As you can see, after entering the figures, the calculator tells us that our lay stake should be £5.07…

Man Utd Lay Betslip

…So, we simply click on the 1.53 lay button at Betfair and enter our stake of £5.07.

It tells us that our liability on this bet is £2.69 and it’s good practice to check this figure against the expected liability on the calculator. As you can see, they’re both the same but for a penny (due to rounding), so we know we have entered the correct lay stake.

We’ll need to deposit enough funds into our Betfair account to cover our £2.69 liability as this is the amount we stand to lose at Betfair if Man Utd win. Don’t worry though, our winnings at Coral will cover it, but for a small loss.

Man Utd Lay Bet

As you can see, our potential profit or loss at Betfair for the possible outcomes are shown on the left hand side.

Let’s have a look at our overall potential profit/loss for the possible outcomes…

Outcome Coral Betfair Profit/Loss
Man Utd win + £2.50 – £2.69 £0.19 loss
Man Utd lose or draw – £5.00 + £4.81 (£5.07 minus 5% commission) £0.19 loss

 

So, regardless of whether Man Utd win, lose or draw, we’ll incur a small loss of £0.19. The small loss is worth it though, as we’ve now qualified for £20.00 in free bets!

Step 5: Extract our profit from the free bets

Our £20.00 in free bets (4 x £5.00) should be credited upon placement of our qualifying bet. It’s now time to extract our profit!

Again, it’s important to check the free bet terms for any specific requirements. As with the vast majority of free bets, our Coral free bets are ‘stake not returned‘. This means that each £5.00 free bet will not be returned with any winnings. Our Coral free bets will be valid for 4 days.

The process of extracting profit from a free bet is pretty much the same as the qualifying bet we have just done.

The only real difference is that free bets should be placed at high odds in order to maximise our profit. As always, the closer the back and lay odds, the better.

At the time of writing this guide, the following odds were available for a Premier League match between Tottenham and West Ham…

Coral Back Odds
Back odds at Coral for Tottenham v West Ham.

Betfair Lay Odds
Lay odds at Betfair for Tottenham v West Ham.

Placing a free bet on West Ham at back odds of ‘7.00‘, satisfies our requirement for high odds and the lay odds of 7.6 are nice and close.

To place a £5.00 free bet on West Ham at Coral, we simply click on the green ‘7.00‘ button, select one of our free bets from the drop-down menu on the betslip and then click ‘Place Bet.’

All we need to do now is work out our Betfair lay stake using the ‘Free Bet‘ setting on my matched betting calculator. We can leave the ‘Stake returned’ box unchecked as our free bet stake is not returned…

Select bet type

Back Bet (Bookie)

%

Lay Bet (Betting Exchange)

%
Lay stake required: £
Bookie
Exchange
Cashback
Total
If back (bookie) bet wins
£
£
£
= £
If lay (exchange) bet wins
£
£
£
= £

Total profit: £

As you can see, after entering the figures, the calculator tells us that our lay stake should be £3.97…

West Ham Lay Betslip

…So, we simply click on the 7.6 lay button at Betfair and enter our stake of £3.97.

It tells us that our liability on this bet is £26.20 and again it’s good practice to check this figure against the expected liability on the calculator. As you can see, they’re both the same, so we know we have entered the correct lay stake.

We’ll need to deposit enough funds into our Betfair account to cover our £26.20 liability as this is the amount we stand to lose at Betfair if West Ham win. Don’t worry though, our winnings at Coral will more than cover it.

West Ham Lay Bet

Again, we can see our potential profit or loss at Betfair for the possible outcomes on the left hand side.

Let’s have a look at our overall potential profit/loss for the possible outcomes…

Outcome Coral Betfair Profit/Loss
West Ham win + £30.00 – £26.20 £3.80 profit
West Ham lose or draw – £5.00 free bet + £3.77 (£3.97 minus 5% commission) £3.77 profit

 

So, regardless of whether West Ham win, lose or draw, we’ll extract a minimum of £3.77 cash from our £5.00 free bet. Taking into account our qualifying loss of £0.19, that’s an overall profit of £3.58. Once we’ve repeated the process for our remaining 3 x £5.00 free bets, we should be looking at an overall profit of around £15.00 on this Coral welcome offer.

There’s no rush whatsoever with this, just take your time. Feel free to read through these guides again if need be and be sure to work through each step at your own pace.

Matched betting really is pretty straightforward once you get the hang of things.

There’s over £1,000.00 profit to be made from bookmaker’s welcome offers. You’ll find them listed on my Free Bets page whenever you’re ready!

Next Step
Welcome Offers for New Customers

Continue

Comments


  1. Craig

    Can i ask am I missing some logic here. Does the betting always have to be on gains from free bets… Let’s say theoretically. I bet 1000 on arsenal to beat man utd at 2.30 with Ladbrokes. That’s returns of 2300. Profit of 1300 minus the liability. Which is… odds of 2.42 against which is a lay stake of 541.67. And a liability of 769.24. A return of 1310.91. So if Ladbrokes bet comes in. 1300 minus 769.24 is still a profit of 530.76. And if Ladbrokes loses 1310.91 minus 1000 is a profit of 310.91. This all being your own money. Is that correct?

    On smarkets. Betting say against arsenal.. does that mean if arsenal lose or draw your bet wins?

    1. Matt

      You’re misunderstanding the lay bet Craig. When placing a lay bet, you are effectively the bookmaker. If you lay £541.67 at odds of 2.42, your liability will be £769.24. This means someone will place £541.67 on Arsenal and you are offering odds of 2.42. If Arsenal fail to win, you get to keep the backer’s stake of £541.67. If Arsenal win, you need to pay them their winnings of £769.24. So, to summarise, the lay stake is the amount you stand to win and your liability is the amount you stand to lose.

      Yes, if you lay Arsenal, you need them draw or lose to win your bet.

  2. Andy

    Hi Matt
    I really should know this already but I’m just checking! I’m about to take the Unibet risk free first bet up to £30. Am I right in saying to work out my lay stake and liability I calculate this as stake returned? i.e if the bet wins that’s it done, if it loses I’m onto a SNR free bet?

    Thanks
    Andy

    1. Matt

      Have a read of my Risk-Free Bet Strategy page Andy. We can just use the ‘Risk-Free Bet’ setting on the calculator and enter the amount of ‘cashback’ we expect to extract from the free bet refund should our initial bet lose.

  3. Andy R

    Hi Matt just want to say your blog and new roll over bonus guide is the dogs just wondered if you could explain the red 32 100 % profit boost not sure how to extract the profit if you only get boost if your selection wins cheers in advance keep up the great work £££££££

  4. KATARZYNA GEARON

    Thanks Andy.

  5. Neb_Stark

    Hi Matt, love the blog – very clear! I’m new to this, and had a conceptual question. bet365 have a new customer offer where they match your first deposit in ‘bet credits’ up to £100, as long as you place bets up to the value of that deposit.

    Would the best way to extract profit from this offer be to place £100 in bets laid at low odds on the exchange, and then use the £100 credits to place at high odds?

    Cheers.

    1. Matt

      Yes that would be my preference, qualifying bets placed at low odds and then just treat the bet credits the same way as you would free bets.

  6. BoJacobs

    Hey Matt,

    Awesome blog, so useful. I am currently waiting for qualifying bet with coral to come in. After this I go onto making profit from the 4 x £5 free bets given by coral. Betfair which will be the lay bet offer £20 refund if your bet loses so is there a way to combine the two? Would the best idea be to lay on something that is unlikely as if it loses I get the £20 back and if I win on coral it’s free profit as I have used the £5 free bets. Or do I do both separately and if so can I avoid using the betfair £20 refund on a lost bet so i can profit later?

    1. Matt

      It’s great to have you on board! Have you not already placed your first lay bet for the qualifying bet?

      1. BoJacobs

        Yes i’m waiting for it to come in , the lay bet is on Man city today and the back bet on Coral on the same with a loss of about 12p. Once the qualifying bet comes in what do you think my next course of action should be? I have the 4 x £5 free bets on Coral and also have the signup deal on Betfair where if I bet £20 on the exchange and doesn’t come in I get the £20 back (I assume in bets but i’m not sure). Thanks a lot for quick reply it is much appreciated.

        1. Matt

          What I mean is, haven’t you already placed you first lay bet on Man City, so any potential refund will depend on that outcome rather than your free bets? Or have you placed the Man City lay bet with another exchange?

        2. BoJacobs

          Hey Matt,

          All went well just got my first £15, thanks for the awesome blog!

        3. Matt

          You’re welcome!

  7. Dave

    Hi Matt, I don’t understand the risk – free cashback bit – I am looking at the SkyBet £10 on World Cup winner money back as a free bet if they don’t win.

  8. Tanis

    Hi Matt, great stuff. I have one question. I have earned a £100 free bet on betfair. How can I used them as I have seen that the free bets are use on the other ones (eg. Coral) not on betfair. Could I match bet within the sportbook of betfair and it´s exchange?
    Thanks

    1. Matt

      Hi Tanis. No that wouldn’t be advisable. Is the free bet for use on their Sportsbook or Exchange? Either way, you can place a back bet with them and lay it off at Smarkets.

  9. Marie

    Hi Matt, thanks for the great step-by-step guide. I’m completely new to this and have yet to understand how all of this works, so your guide is mega helpful!

    So when I sign up on Betfair and on Coral is it necessary to add money on both websites? Or is it just necessary for one? I know I can’t lose money really, but still feel a bit cautious where my money is going.

    Would appreciate your help, thank you!

    1. Matt

      You’re welcome Marie! Yes you need to deposit £5.00 into your Coral account which you’ll need to place your £5.00 qualifying bet. You’ll then need some funds in your Betfair account to cover the liability of your lay bets. You shouldn’t need much in Betfair at all for the qualifying bet, but you’ll need a little more for the free bets as we place those at higher odds in order to extract as much profit as we can. I hope that helps.

  10. Chris

    Hi Matt

    As an avid better prior to this I may have wasted my opportunity as I have accounts with near all bookmakers.

    Is it possible I can do this solely with a Betfair And Coral account and just repeatedly use those two exclusively, backing on coral and laying on betfair

    Chris

    1. Matt

      Hi Chris,

      The welcome offers are just a starting point really. The big earning potential comes from the reload offers for existing customers. You’ll find them on the homepage or under the ‘Offers’ tab on the main menu.

      When you talk about using just one bookmaker account and one exchange account, it’s possible to do something called arbitrage betting. That’s where you back at high odds and then lay at lower odds, but it’s not really a viable option long-term as the bookmaker would probably restrict your account after a period of time.

      Hope that helps.

  11. John

    Hi Matt,

    I read your very helpful blog and I think I got the hang of it. I want to give it a try but should I wait for the football season or I can claim the free bets now and work with whatever events available?

    1. Matt

      Hi John. There are still a few World Cup matches left so you could always try a few offers using those. Just take things at your own pace and then come the start of the football season, you should be raring to go!

  12. Ellan

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the insightful article, it really helped! Noted that higher odd bets will require higher liability as well. If I currently don’t have enough capital, does repeating the above process allow me to extract the free bet part by part?

    1. Matt

      Hi Ellan. You can’t split a free bet unfortunately. Free bets are usually required to be placed in full. If your bankroll is limited, there is always the option to place your free bets at lower odds, but be aware that this will eat into your profits a lot more than higher odds.

  13. David H

    Hi Matt, am I right in assuming that once in have registered with all the bookies, and taken advantage of their free bet welcome offers, that’s game over, or do they offer existing clients offers to retain their business?

    1. Matt

      Hi David. The new customer offers are just a starting point. As you rightly suspect, bookmakers run reload offers to keep their customers betting. You can find the offers for existing customers on the blog Homepage or under Offers > Existing Customer Offers.

  14. Loopy2

    Hi Matt

    Great blog, so insightful and bless you for sharing your knowledge and allowing others to benefit from these offers! Just a quickie I was looking at my account settings on smarkets and there is an option to alter the backers stake setting to ‘enter your lay stake as liability’ how does this work and how does affect matched betting, can’t get me head around this one…?

    1. Matt

      Thanks for the kind words. That setting allows you to enter the amount you want to risk, rather than the amount you want to win.

      Say, for example, you want to lay £5.00 on Chelsea at lay odds of 3.00. That would give you a liability of £10.00.

      Settings:

      Enter Lay Stake – You would enter £5.00, which is the amount you stand to win if Chelsea don’t win.
      Enter Liability – You would enter £10.00, which is the amount you’re willing to lose if Chelsea do win.

  15. Loopy2

    Yes that makes sense now I get it! Thanks again you’re a star!!

    1. Matt

      No problem at all, happy to help!

  16. Kevin.L

    Is matched betting applicable for other countries? I’m from the Philippines and I’m interested in doing this. Thanks for your help.

    1. Matt

      Matched betting is available outside the UK, but it depends on your country of residence. You would need to check the terms of each offer to see if they accept customers from the Philippines.

  17. Brian T

    My Son on a visit (who lives some way away from me) tried to introduce me to matched betting via Smarkets, but whilst he knew what he was doing on the pc, I really do not understand what I’m actually up to? Even your tutorial leaves me bewildered, and I really need the most elementary advice on what to do step by step on a daily basis, like 1. Go to Smarkets page and view options. 2. Search for favourable free-bet offer. 3. Use Smarkets calculator for matched betting odds etc., 4, 5, 6, 7, etc., etc.

    Please tell me if there exists a step by step daily procedure to follow, to help me learn what to do.

    1. Matt

      Hi Brian. I’ve tried to walk people through the process as best I can in the tutorials. Matched betting isn’t for everyone, but it might be worth asking your son if he’ll walk you through things again. There’s no substitute for a one-to-one session, so hopefully running through things again might just help the penny drop. Once you’ve grasped the basics, the posts on the homepage include a detailed walk-through of each offer. Good luck.

  18. Matt

    Hi Matt.

    How many bookmakers do you need to have accounts with to make matched betting work?

    Living in the UK which bookmaker?

    Thanks

    1. Matt

      You can sign up with as many bookmakers as you like Matt. Obviously, the more you sign up with, the greater the earning potential.

      You can find a list of the current sign up offers on my Free Bets page.

  19. Stuart

    Hi Matt,
    I’ve followed the process and having placed my initial back and lay bets (back on Coral and lay on Betfair) Coral then told me I had a ‘Bet 5 for 20’ offer which seemed to be the £20 free bet offer but I couldn’t activate any of the 4 X £5 in it without placing another £5 in my account.

    Is this something different?
    I didn’t see a totally free £20 free bet come up anywhere.

    Thanks,
    Stu.

    1. Matt

      I’m not sure what’s happened there Stuart. The 4 x £5.00 free bets should be credited instantly upon placement of your first qualifying bet of £5.00+, provided it’s placed at odds of 1.50 (1/2) or greater.

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