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Matched BettingHow does it work

Matched betting is a way of making money from exploiting free bets and bookmaker promotions.

Back Bets and Lay Bets

A back bet is where you bet on an outcome happening, such as Liverpool to win. A lay bet is where you bet on an outcome NOT happening, such as Liverpool not winning (includes a draw or the other team winning). Back bets are placed with a bookmaker (such as Bet365, PaddyPower, Coral) and lay bets are placed on an exchange (such as Smarkets, Betfair and Matchbook).

Finding Matches

The first step is to find events where the odds of the back bet and lay bet match closely.
Each match is given a rating. The higher the rating the smaller the loss you will make. A 100 percent match will be zero loss.
The highest ratings are listed first. Look for ratings above 97%.
You can limit the results to certain bookmakers and certain exchanges.
Use the 'Min Back Odds' to limit the results to only those that meet the bookmakers criteria. A qualifying bet (one you place in order to get a free bet) is often decimal odds over 1.2 (This differs between bookmakers).

Once you have found an outcome to be on, you need to to decide on how much to stake and then calculate the value of lay bet to balance the risk. Our matcher does this for you.
Click 'More Details' to see the profit/small loss that you will make on this outcome. If you have a free bet then you need to click 'Advanced' and 'Free Bet'. This means that the lay bet is calculated to account for the free bets not being returned to you if you win.

Placing Bets

First you open the bookmaker site and the exchange site in their own tabs and select the same event in each and double check that the odds match.
You may need to switch to display decimal odds rather than fractional odds on the bookmaker and exchange sites.
Check that there is sufficient quantity available on the exchange.
Place the back bet first and then the lay bet.

How to make money

Turn Free Bets into Cash

You cannot withdraw your free bets and you need to place them with minimum odds and the stake is usually not returned. So this is already stacked in the bookies favor. Once you find a match using our odds matcher, you can selected 'advanced' and select 'free bet'. This adjusts the size of your lay bet to account for the fact that your free bet stake will not be returned. You will see the profit you make in either outcome. It will be less than the value of your free bet, but it is a guaranteed profit.

Arbitrage (Arby)

There are certain circumstances where the bookmaker (back bet) odds are higher than the exchange (lay bet) odds. This means that you can make a profit on this regardless of the outcome. Betting on an arby is one way to draw attention to yourself and the bookmaker, who may decide that they don't want you as a customer anymore.

2Up + Full Turnarounds (FTA)

A handful of bookmakers payout early if the team you have backed goes 2 goals up, these are known as 2Ups. On occasions one team will go 2 goals up and the other team comes back to either draw or win. If you have backed the team that goes 2 up then you will be paid out as a winner on both sides of the bet. If you have placed a matched bet on this fixture then you are risking a small amount of money for the chance to make a much larger amount. Your first question will be how often does this happen? We are going to publish lots of info and stats on this.

Join a rewards Scheme

For example Paddy Power has a reward scheme where if you place 5 bets of £5 then you get a free £5 bet the next week. This used to be £10 but has recently been reduced. If these 5 bets are over the required odds (specified in the terms and conditions) and are matched bets, then you will only lose a small amount, in order to qualify for a free bet. Also if any of these bets happen to be a 2Up and FTA then it will be a nice bonus.

When should I place my bets?

Flying Under the Radar

If you place a back bet and a lay bet during times when the market is very quiet then if the bookmaker is monitoring market activity then they could identify you as a matched better and close (or limit/gub) your account. For this reason it is best to place bets when the markets are busy. This tends to be the day of the fixture or a Saturday. You can see within the exchange site the number and sizes of the bets going on. You could also break your lay bets down into smaller sizes and disperse over a period of time (Just like Andy disposed of the dirt in Shawshank Redemption a little at a time). If you are doing the same bets with multiple bookmakers, then you could bundle them into 1 larger laybet.

Is it legal?Yes - but the bookmakers do NOT like it.

It is perfectly legal

Bookmakers make a lot of money because the odds are stacked in their favor. One bookmaker CEO was paid over £200m as a bonus. They are happy to make this money despite the misery that gambling addiction causes many people and their families, so don't feel guilty exploiting any promotional offers they may give you. If a bookmaker suspects you of matched betting then they may close your account or prevent you getting any offers (known as gubbing).

Odds - ExplainedDecimal odds, Fractional and Percentage odds


The odds show how likely a certain outcome is. The higher the odds the less chance of it happening. The lower the odds the higher the chance of it happening. So you get poor returns on something that is likely to happen and good returns on something that is unlikely to happen. Bookmakers make it tricky to compare odds by using fractional odds by default. To compare fractional odds you have to do the division in your head. Decimal odds are more easily compared. You can change your settings within the bookmaker's site to use decimal odds. They do tend to hide this in awkward places and you sometimes need to Google where to find the setting.

Fractional Odds

The numerator (the number above the line) is how much you win and the denominator (the number below the line) is how much you have to stake to get those winnings.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are easier to compare than fractional odds. You simply multiply your stake by the decimal odds to see how much you would get back (including your stake). To convert fractional odds to decimal odds: Take the fractional odds and divide the numerator by the denominator and then add 1. Adding 1 to this represents your stake which is being returned to you if you win.

Percentage Odds

If you convert the odds for each of the 3 outcomes (home win, away win and a draw) into percentage odds and then add them together then they will equal 100% right? Nope - you will see that it comes to about 105%. It is that 5% which is the bookmaker's profit.