Nothing in life is supposed to be certain. The same rule applied to sports betting, until matched betting was invented, to prove that winning a bet can indeed be a ‘sure thing.’ Matched betting aims to remove the risk element from betting entirely, thus ensuring that the gambler always makes a profit. It’s no surprise, therefore, to see that the popularity of matched betting has grown exponentially in recent years.
This article will answer all your questions about matched betting. We’ll tell you exactly what it is, how it works, and – most importantly of all – how you can start to place matched bets for yourself.
If you want to ensure a guaranteed profit in your online betting, matched betting is a great way to go. At a basic level, this strategy involves taking both sides of a bet, and using the free bet offers provided by various online bookmakers.
In matched betting, you bet on an event with two possible outcomes. You must bet on both possible outcomes, placing one bet at a regular online sportsbook (such as Bet365), and the other at a betting exchange (like Betfair). If done correctly, ‘matched betting will give you a guaranteed profit, rather than relying on simple chance, as you do with regular sports betting. Matched betting also involves mathematical calculations, however, to ensure that you make a profit regardless of the outcome.
Before you begin matched betting, you must understand a couple of basic concepts: ‘back bets’ and ‘lay bets.’ Briefly, a wager betting that something will happen is a ‘back bet’. A wager against an outcome is a ‘lay bet.’ Typically, you must place a back bet with a conventional online betting site, while you must place a lay bet with a betting exchange.
As a quick example, let’s say you had bet £10 on Joe Biden to beat Donald Trump in the US presidential election. In this case, you would have placed a back bet of £10, ‘backing’ Biden to win the contest. If you had decided to bet £10 on Biden not winning the election, you would have placed a ‘lay bet’ of £10.
The easiest way to explain exactly how matched betting works is by using an example. Let’s say Manchester City are hosting Burnley, and you are certain City will score many goals during a big-time win. If so, these are the steps you would take for the back and lay bets.
So, you can calculate your total winnings from your lay bet as follows: £25 – (£10 + £0.50) = £14.50
You don’t need to reduce anything from your lost bet at the sportsbook, as you used £10 from the free bet amount. As you can see from these two outcomes, therefore, your matched bet has guaranteed you a profit of at least £14.50, regardless of the result.
Matched betting requires the use of both a betting exchange and sportsbook. While you should be able to use any exchange you like, this does not apply to bookies. These are the very best bookmakers who are indeed suitable for matched betting.
888sport began operations in 2008, and is run by a publicly-traded company. Licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and Gambling Authority of Gibraltar, 888sport has established a reputation for fair play and transparency. This operator offers thousands of betting options daily in 35 sports, with highly competitive odds. If you are looking for free matched bets, you will be pleased to learn that 888sport has an excellent welcome offer in place, which dishes out £30 in free bet tokens in return for a £10 qualifying wager.
In the business of online betting since 2000, Bet365 is a publicly traded company licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority. Bet365 has won several awards, and has been considered one of the very best online sports betting sites around for many years now. Bet365 offers very competitive odds indeed, and – for those seeking matched bets – newcomers to the site can net a total of £100 of bet credits, before progressing onto further ongoing free bet offers.
Betway is registered in London, and licensed by the UKGC. This top-notch betting site allows you to bet on almost anything, from football, to politics, to cultural events. Betway offers high winning limits and particularly great odds on football and basketball, though the odds it offers on other markets aren’t quite so impressive. If you are seeking a free matched bet, you will be glad to know that for a minimum bet of £5, you can get tokens totalling £20.
Thanks to the bookmaker’s presence in the UK for more than 100 years, Ladbrokes has become synonymous with gambling in the country. The company finally ventured into the online betting industry in 2000, and is now publicly traded on the LSE. Licensed in both the UK and Gibraltar, Ladbrokes merged with Coral in 2015, and has particularly excelled in the speed of its bet placement for in-play wagers. For those interested in matched betting, Ladbrokes is an extremely convenient solution, as it provides both free bet offers and a betting exchange.
Coral has spent over 90 years as a prominent sportsbook, but has truly excelled as an online presence in the modern-day. This was further strengthened in 2015, after a huge merger with fellow industry titan Ladbrokes.
Coral offers free bets totalling £20 for new customers, in return for a qualifying wager of £5. The offer comes with a few stipulations, however, including a restriction on football markets. Another promotion which is offered year-round gives out £10 in free bets for every £25 wagered, and matched betting enthusiasts will be further delighted to learn about regular enhanced odds deals.
Betfred has been headquartered in Gibraltar since 2004, and is licensed by the UKGC. A particularly wide range of sports and markets are offered here, but Betfred is especially good for betting on football. You can also wager on eSports, politics, showbiz, and more. The odds offered for tennis and basketball at Betfred are especially competitive, and those for football and racing are also solid. Elsewhere, for those seeking a matched free bet, you will be able to get £40 worth of free bets here, for a minimum spend of £10.
10Bet has had a presence in the online betting industry since 2003, and is licensed in the UK, Malta, and Sweden. This sportsbook operator is lesser known in Britain, but is rapidly rising in popularity. 10bet offers great sports coverage with above average overall odds, and – importantly – the odds are posted early, allowing you to place your bet before the market moves. If you’re seeking matched betting offers, you will be happy to learn that 10bet offers a 50% bonus up to a maximum of £50, against a minimum deposit of £15.
Founded in Dublin in 1988, Paddy Power is headquartered to this day in Ireland. The bookmaker has a huge presence in the UK and is licensed by the UKGC as well as the Malta Gaming Authority. Paddy Power further enhanced its already-excellent reputation as an online sportsbook thanks to a massive merger with Betfair in 2016. Paddy Power offers especially good odds in football and racing, and matched betting enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Paddy Power has a risk-free free bet offer of £10 for new customers.
To evaluate how much money you would need to start matched betting, you must first decide how much you are willing to stake on your wagers. The more you wager, the more you can earn, but you should never, ever bet what you can’t afford to lose.
As we’ll see later, you must also be willing to invest some money on subscribing to a reliable matched betting site, such as Profit Squad, Profit Accumulator, or OddsMonkey. This investment might sound like an annoying expense, but it should result in much better returns.
Ultimately, how much you spend depends on your level of commitment. The safest course of action is probably to start slow, then – once you realise that you can get recurring, guaranteed profits from matched betting over a long period – begin to ramp up your investment accordingly.
In this section, we will teach you how to place a matched bet. Let’s use the previous example of the match between Manchester City and Burnley, wherein you intend to place the Over 3.5 Goals back bet with a sportsbook, and the lay bet with an exchange. You can place your matched bets using the following steps:
Matched betting hasn’t become so popular in recent years by chance alone. Rather, it possesses a whole range of appealing characteristics which continue to attract newcomers. Below, you can see a few of the biggest advantages of this strategy.
We want to provide a thoroughly balanced view of matched betting, so – having already looked at the pros of this strategy – we must look at the cons too. These are some of the main disadvantages to matched betting.
You should be aware that your match bets can cause bookmakers to suspend your account, which is known as being ‘gubbed’. They cannot actually hang onto your money, but there is a real risk that – at some sites – you will be forbidden from placing wagers or using special offers. Naturally, this reduces your options when it comes to placing back bets in the future.
Let’s say that – in a cricket test match between England and India, played in England – you have placed a matched bet backing the home side to win, at a betting site. You’ve also laid the hosts to win, at a betting exchange.
If you placed the bets carefully, you would make a profit regardless of the result. However, there’s always a chance you could make a careless mistake. Perhaps you placed a back bet on England to win and a lay bet on India. In this case, you would make a profit if England won, or the match was drawn. If India won though, you would lose your entire stake, all because of a pretty basic mistake.
Matched betting and arbitrage betting are terms which are often used interchangeably. In reality though, there are some key differences between the two, with these being a couple of the most notable.
As touched upon earlier, one of the biggest risks in matched betting is simple human error. These are some of the most common mistakes you should avoid when venturing into matched betting.
Matched betting should guarantee you a profit, but it still isn’t ‘easy’. There are certain steps you can take to boost your chances of success though, with these being some of the most useful.
Having read this article, you now know what match betting is and how it guarantees a profit, by taking away the risk element from a bet. Using our information on the pros and cons of matched betting, you should also have understood what to do to reduce the risks of matched betting, while still enjoying the benefits.
If this sounds like the kind of betting strategy you’d be interested in, all that remains is for you to sign up with a sportsbook and betting exchange, try out your first matched bet, and take things from there.
The UK does not have any laws against matched betting. Even if you’re caught engaging in matched betting, therefore, you will not receive any fines or get yourself into any other trouble with the law.
However, as matched betting leads to guaranteed profits, it will not endear you to the sports betting sites you use. These brands will restrict your account if they see a clear betting pattern – such as constant profits – over a sustained period. This is known as ‘gubbing’, and immediately ends your involvement with that site in your matched betting plans.
For most bettors, the answer is ‘yes’. Matched betting guarantees profits from gambling, while essentially removing risk entirely. However, matched betting also calls for a lot of time and effort, and patience too. You can cut down on this, however, by signing up to a matched betting website, and allowing their software to do the hard work for you.
Matched betting is a strategy devised to take the risk out of betting by placing bets on both outcomes of a two-outcome event. If your prior calculations – before you place your matched bets — are accurate, you will end up earning a profit, regardless of the outcome. If you make any mistakes at all though, you’re as likely to take a loss as in regular gambling.
There are several betting sites in the UK that lend themselves well to matched betting. Some of the best ones are 888sport, Bet365, Betway, Ladbrokes, Coral, Paddy Power, Betfred, and 10Bet. Some of them – most notably Ladbrokes – have also created a betting exchange, which is another requirement of matched betting.
There aren’t as many choices here as with sportsbooks. You still have a few great options though, including Smarkets, Betdaq, and Betfair. While Smarkets is the easiest to use, Betfair gives you the widest variety of markets and highest liquidity, and Betdaq provides exceptionally low commissions.
How much money you can make from matched betting depends, firstly, on the amount you are willing to stake. The more money you invest, the more you can earn. You must also consider the amount you are willing to invest on registering with various betting sites and betting exchanges, on subscribing to matched betting software, and so on.