Matched Betting Guide

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Here I want to look at just what matched betting is and how it can be used to your advantage.

When you sign up to a new online bookmaker, there will nearly always be an offer of some kind to tempt you in.

The most common one and the simplist one is the free bet. It might be you have to lodge and bet say £25 with them, but then they will match this with a £25 free bet.

They might only give a free bet if your initial bet loses. Sometimes if you just sign up, they will put a credit into your account to use free of charge!

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You may be thinking, but surely I can use this free bet money and still lose the bet and I am no better off?

Matched Betting Calculator

Yes, it is true that could happen, but this is where matched betting comes in.

There are all kinds of matched betting calculators on the internet that will help you with this, but again I come back to the OddsMonkey website, which, in my opinion, has the best calculators around.


The basic calculators are free to use and you should play around with them, but the more sophisticated matched betting calculators can only be accessed when you join and pay the monthly fee to them.

Matched Betting Guide

I found that one of the hardest things to learn was understanding “Lay” betting.

I would stress that it is very important to know about “Back” and “Lay” bets.

If you do not fully understand these two functions, you are going to lose money! It’s as simple as that.

A "Back" bet is when you want something to happen and a "Lay" bet is when you don't want something to happen.

A simple explanation, but keep this always in your head for confirmation.

Find out more in this guide to Matched Betting.

Lay Betting and Back Betting Explained

Just thinking of yourself as a bookmaker in each of these examples of Back and Lay betting will help you understand the concept.

You want to place a “Back” bet on a horse with odds of 3.0. You walk into the betting shop and go to the bookmaker sitting behind the desk. You are going to bet £10 on the horse winning (that is a “Back” bet). So far so good.

The race starts, you watch it nervously to see what your horse does. If your horse wins, then you will make a profit of £20 and get your £10 stake back as well. You walk up to the bookmaker and claim your prize money. Happy days!

If, on the other hand, your horse loses the race, you will lose the £10 you bet and there will be no need to walk up to the bookmaker this time!

They are the pros and cons of a “Back” bet winning or losing.

Now, let’s do the same thing with a “Lay” bet.

You want to place a “Lay” bet on a horse with odds of 3.0. You don’t walk into the betting shop and go to the bookmaker sitting behind the desk this time as you are the bookmaker now!

This time (just like a bookmaker), you are going to lay £10 on the horse losing.

You do not actually put any money in at this stage, you are in essence saying that you are going to cover the winnings of the £10 as a bet by someone else.

I told you it wasn’t easy to pick up initially!

Let’s clarify by looking at the two possible outcomes.

If the horse wins, then you are responsible for paying out the winnings part of the bet, which in this case is £20.

If the horse loses (this is the good bit), you get the original bet, in this case £10, even though you haven’t put any money in.

I know I am harping on about OddsMonkey, but they have some great learning videos that are free to use and will probably explain them better visually for you.

You Must Be Clear About How Back and Lay Bets Work!

Lay Betting Calculator

Okay, so you understand Back and Lay betting (?), but you might be asking what benefit is it to you?

Let’s say you join a new online betting company and they say that if you deposit £25, they will give you £25. Nice!

Firstly, you will want to protect your £25 deposit and then exploit their free £25 bonus. How?

If you use a matched betting calculator to work out the back and lay bets, so as you can bet your £25 say at back odds of 2.5 and lay odds of 2.55, then whether your horse bet wins or loses, you are only going to be out a couple of pounds (the difference in the two rates and any lay fees there might be).

Your £25 x 2.5 (or 2.55 if it loses) will either be sitting in the bookmaker you backed with if it won or in the account of the bookmaker you layed the bet with. (By the way, you would use what is called an Exchange to lay the bet, which would be companies like Betfair, Smarkets, Matchbook, Betdaq, etc.)

No profit made, but very little loss made either.

The next step would be to use the £25 free bet and place it as a back bet and lay bet at the highest odds possible, in order to maximise the profit. This time, win or lose, you make a profit on the free bet.

There are hundreds of new signup offers available, plus there are ongoing daily offers from these same companies.

You can make hundreds or even thousands of pounds using this method.

Matched Betting

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