In this guide, I’ll walk you through making another £23.50 profit, this time from Sky Bet’s sign up offer. I recommend taking your time and completing this guide at your own pace. So, if you’re ready, let’s get going…
1. Open a Smarkets account
Before placing any bets, you’ll need to open a betting exchange account. If you already have your Smarkets account set up, you can skip ahead to the next step. I’ll use Smarkets in this guide as they’re the best option for newbies. They offer 0% commission as a welcome offer to new users, which lets you maximise your profits.
Matched Betting Blog users can extend their 0% commission beyond the initial 60 days. Sign up via the link below.
Matched Betting Blog receives a small commission when you sign up to Smarkets via the link above. It helps support the site and keeps it free for everyone to learn matched betting.
After your 60 days of 0% commission expires, Matched Betting Blog users can keep extending their 0% commission for 30 days each time they place a bet. Ordinarily, your account would revert to Smarkets default 2%. You can find more details here, but as you’re a new customer, don’t worry about that just yet.
2. Open a Sky Bet account
Sky Bet are offering new customers £30 in free bets when they place a bet of 5p.
There are bigger welcome offers elsewhere, but I always recommend starting small and working your way up. Once you’ve completed your first couple of offers, you’ll feel more confident and have a bigger bankroll for completing the larger offers.
3. Switch to decimal odds
Betting exchanges use decimal odds by default, so it makes sense to switch to decimal odds at Sky Bet, too. You’ll be able to compare odds a lot easier that way. You can learn more about decimal odds in my ‘Betting Odds Explained‘ guide.
You can usually switch to decimal odds at the top of the page, in the sidebar, or in your account settings.
4. Qualifying bet
Now you have your accounts set up, you can claim your offer! The bet you’ll place to qualify for your free bets is commonly known as your ‘qualifying bet’.
The key terms of your Sky Bet welcome offer state that you can place your qualifying bet on any sport, and no minimum odds are required. It’s important to check the terms of each offer, as there may be specific requirements you need to meet.
You should place your bets on popular events that regular people will be betting on. This will make it easier for you to match your bets. Football matches are usually the best option.
Qualifying bets should always be placed at low odds. You should also look for close odds between your back bet at the bookmaker (Sky Bet) and your lay bet at the betting exchange (Smarkets).
Doing both means you can claim your free bets by losing just a few pence overall. If you need to go in-depth on qualifying bets, please see my ‘Qualifying Bets Guide‘.
Place your back bet
At the time of writing, I’ve found odds of 2.20 for Everton to beat Southampton at Sky Bet, which is your back bet. On Smarkets (your betting exchange), you can lay Everton at odds of 2.30. (Remember, laying means you’re taking the role of bookmaker and therefore betting on Everton NOT to win).
So, you will cover the outcomes as below.
You can now place your qualifying bet at Sky Bet. Although the minimum stake required is just 5p, you should stake £5 to appear like a regular customer.
Simply click the ‘Win 2.20‘ button for ‘Everton‘, enter your stake of £5 and click ‘Place £5.00 Bet‘.
Place your lay bet
You don’t know yet how much to stake at Smarkets to even out your bets. This is where my Matched Betting Calculator comes in!
You simply select the ‘Qualifying Bet’ setting and input the stake and odds from your back bet, plus the odds of your lay bet. The calculator will then tell you how much you need to stake at Smarkets to be as close to breaking even as possible. Based on my Everton example, that is a stake of £4.78, resulting in a slight overall loss of no more than 22 pence. You can see the calculator populated with my numbers below.
Now, you can place your lay bet. Click on the ‘2.3‘ lay button at Smarkets and enter your stake of £4.78.
It tells you that your liability is £6.21, and it’s good practice to check this figure against the expected betting exchange loss on the calculator. As you can see, they’re both the same, so you know you have entered the correct lay stake.
You’ll need to deposit enough funds into your Smarkets account to cover your £6.21 liability. That’s the amount you stand to lose if Everton win. Don’t worry; your winnings at Sky Bet will cover this, but for a few pence.
Your Smarkets screen should now update to display your potential profit or loss for each possible outcome.
Let’s look at your profit/loss for the potential outcomes.
As you can see, regardless of whether Everton win, lose or draw, you’ll incur a slight loss of no more than £0.22. However, this loss is worth it, as you’ve just qualified for £30 in free bets!
5. Using your free bets
Nice work! You’ve just completed your second qualifying bet!
Now, you could just place your free bets on anything you like and see if they win or lose, but you’d be relying on luck! With matched betting, you want to know that you’ll profit from those free bets. How do you do that? You simply repeat the process you’ve just done.
Sky Bet will credit your account with 3 x £10 free bets. Again, check the free bet terms for any specific requirements.
As with most free bets, your Sky Bet free bets are ‘stake not returned‘. Your £10 stakes will not be returned to you with any winnings. You only get back what would have been your profit on a regular bet. It’s also worth noting that the free bets do not have an expiry period.
The only real difference in the process this time is that your free bets should be placed at high odds to maximise your profit. As always, the closer the back and lay odds, the better. If you need to go in-depth on free bets, please see my ‘Free Bets Guide‘.
Place your back bet
When writing this guide, the following odds are available for a football match between Newcastle and Leicester.
The odds for Leicester to win are pretty high, and back odds of 7.00 and lay odds of 7.40 are nice and close.
You can go ahead and place your 3 x £10 free bets at Sky Bet. You can select them by tapping the ‘present’ icon on your bet slip.
Place your lay bet
Again, you need to calculate your lay stake at Smarkets. This time on my Matched Betting Calculator, you simply select the ‘Free Bet’ setting and input your odds and total free bet stake. You can leave the ‘Stake returned’ box unchecked as your free bet stakes are not returned for this offer.
As you can see, the calculator tells you that your lay stake should be £24.32. So, just as before, you click on the ‘7.4‘ lay button at Smarkets and enter your stake of £24.32.
It tells you that your liability on this bet is £155.69. It’s good practice to check this figure against the expected betting exchange loss on the calculator. As you can see, they’re both the same but for a few pence (due to rounding), so you know you have entered the correct lay stake.
If you feel the liability is too high or you’re starting with limited funds, you can simply place the three free bets separately, waiting for each one to settle before placing the next. It’ll take a little longer to work through them, but it should reduce your liability to around £50 per bet.
If you’re happy to place all three free bets at once, you’ll need to deposit enough funds into your Smarkets account to cover your £155.69 liability, as this is the amount you stand to lose at Smarkets if Leicester win. Don’t worry; your winnings at Sky Bet will more than cover it. Once done, just as before, you’ll see your potential profit or loss at Smarkets for each possible outcome.
The higher your lay odds, the more funds you’ll need in your Smarkets account to cover your liability. You can reduce your liability by opting for lower odds. It will just mean a slightly smaller profit.
Let’s look at your overall profit/loss for the potential outcomes.
So, regardless of whether Leicester win, lose or draw, you’ll make a minimum of £24.32 cash from your £30 in free bets! Given that your qualifying loss was no more than £0.22, you’ve made at least £24.10 profit overall from Sky Bet’s welcome offer.
Learn matched betting the free, easy way.
The Matched Betting Academy
- Logically structured to tackle strategies and offers as you’re ready for them.
- Bag profits every step of the way. About £600 from welcome offers, and another £500 monthly.
- Make £15 from your very first offer.
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Matt Kirman – Matched Betting Blogger
Since 2014, I’ve blogged over £70,000 worth of profit, and made it my mission to make matched betting accessible to everyone.