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 a Betfair Account

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

If we sign up using the link below, Betfair will give us a £20.00 risk-free bet to get us started.

Betfair Exchange Welcome Offer

Just to let you know, Betfair make their money by charging us a small fee on our winning bets, which is why they absolutely love matched bettors!

As you read through this guide, don’t worry too much about the betting exchange side of things. I’ll be explaining it all in much more detail in the next guide.

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 sign up using the link below and bet just £5.00, they’ll give us £20.00 in free bets!

Banner showing the Coral welcome 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 for matched betting we need to work with decimals.

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

Changing our odds preference at the bookmaker is pretty straightforward.

Changing to Decimal Odds

There is usually an option at the top of the homepage or in the sidebar to change our odds preference to decimals. Failing that, this can usually be changed in our account settings.

We don’t need to worry about the betting exchanges as they automatically display their odds as decimals.

Step 4: Place our qualifying bet

Once we’ve signed up to Betfair and Coral, we’re ready to place our first matched bet!

We just need to check the terms and conditions of the Coral offer for any specific requirements. The terms state that our qualifying bet can be placed on any sport but must be placed at odds of 1.50 (1/2) or greater.

Football matches are usually the best option for placing qualifying bets. It’s best to stick to English footbal
l or the top European leagues as these are the markets that normal punters will be betting on.

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 Swansea v Man Utd in the Premier League…

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 bet on Man Utd at back odds of 1.50 satisifies the minimum odds requirement and the lay odds of 1.53 are nice and close.

We know we need to bet £5.00 on Man Utd at Coral in order to qualify for the £20.00 in free bets. We simply click on the 1.50 back 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 cancel it out, 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…

OutcomeCoralBetfairProfit/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 well worth it though, as we’ve now qualified for £20.00 in free bets!

Step 5: Extract our profit from the free bets

We’ll receive our 4 x £5.00 free bets upon placement of our qualifying bet. Now it’s 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 Tottenham v West Ham in the Premier League…

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 satisifies our high odds requirement 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 7.00 back 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…

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

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

Matched betting is pretty straightforward once you get the hang of things. Give it a go, you’ll be glad you did!

In my final newbie guide, we’ll take a closer look at betting exchanges. It’s important that you understand how they work, as they are the key to the whole matched betting process.

Next Step
Betting Exchange Guide

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!

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