Beginners Guide to Matched Betting 2017 (Step By Step Tutorial)

Matched Betting (often written “Match Betting”) is a technique used for generating a profit from the free bets & promotions offered by online Bookmakers.

It’s risk-free, tax-free and based on a simple strategy rather than chance — so it’s not gambling at all! What’s great is that anyone can learn it, no matter how little they know about sports betting.

Don’t be put off by the fact that the process involves online betting. Thousands of people in the UK are making a second income from this. There’s countless success stories, so it’s well worth a read. Here’s my free Matched Betting Guide.

Already know about Matched Betting? Maximise what you earn by subscribing to one of the Best Matched Betting Services.


Matched Betting Basics Explained

► What Is Matched Betting? What Is a Matched Bet?

A Matched Bet is where you place 2 opposing stakes without taking risk. It’s actually pretty simple:

  1. Back (bet FOR a sports outcome) at the Bookmaker
  2. Lay (bet AGAINST a sports outcome) at a betting exchange, like Betfair

For newbies, a “Lay” bet is basically betting against an outcome by accepting bets on it (like a Bookie).

The two bets you place cancel one another out, meaning that you break even. No win, no loss. But breaking even doesn’t help you to earn money…

That’s why you have to combine the ‘Matched Bet’ with a Free Bet offered by the Bookmaker. Then it suddenly becomes profitable. This isn’t gambling as you know it — this is Matched Betting.


► what do you need to Get Started With Matched Betting?

To earn anything from Matched Betting you’ll need the following:

  1. Betfair account (or other betting exchange)
  2. A new, never-before-used Bookmaker account where a Free Bet is offered for signing up. Google “free bets” to find one.
  3. Money to deposit to the Bookmaker and Betfair.



Lost already?

Don’t worry, i’m going to explain all the basics in this simple 2-step tutorial (2017 edition).

If you know little (or nothing) about Free bets then take a look at my post ‘The Different Types Of Free Bets‘ from the Matched Betting section of this blog. This will make the jargon a little clearer.

Apart from that, just follow my step-by-step instructions and start learning how to place Matched Bets!


Step 1 — Meeting Rollover Requirements or Placing Qualifying Bets

See this entire step as a hoop jumping phase. You won’t generate a profit until step 2.

There are one of two cases that apply to your Bookmaker Free Bet/Promotion:

  1. You need to meet a “Rollover Requirement”. This is where you’ve deposited funds and Free Money was credited before any bets were placed, and you must place a total sum of eligible stakes before a withdrawal is allowed (e.g. Bet365).
  2. You need to “qualify” for a Free Bet. This is where the Bookmaker stipulates that players must place a “qualifying bet” using their own money before being credited a Free Bet (usually “Stake Not Returned”).

Whatever your case, the objective for step 1 is exactly the sameto minimise losses incurred by completing your rollover requirement, or placing your qualifying bet. You’ll do this by matching your bets.


Let’s pretend my free bet promotion for signing up to 10bet is advertised as:

“Bet £25 of your own money to receive a £25 Stake Not Returned free bet”. 

In this example customers can claim a free bet where their stake is not returned in any winnings. So if it wins, you keep the profit. If it doesn’t win you haven’t lost anything!

The catch is that you don’t receive your £25 free bet unless you risk £25 of your own money to begin with. Therefore you stand to lose £25… which you don’t want.

In this tutorial we’ll tackle this typical promotion using the Back & Lay Matched Betting technique. We’ll turn this promotion into a profitable, risk free opportunity.

Firstly, it’s important to choose the right sports event to bet on…


► Matching Your Bet Requires The Bookmaker & Exchange Odds to Be Close

This is absolutely crucial. Always look for sports events with similar value odds.

Let’s suppose I placed a qualifying bet at the Bookmaker by backing Spurs to beat Chelsea at decimal odds of 2.5, whilst Laying Spurs with an equal stake at odds of 3.0 on the Betfair exchange. What I’m effectively doing is cancelling out the Back bet by betting against Spurs on the exchange.

That’s fine. But in this example, the difference between 2.5 and 3.0 is big in terms of value — the Bookmaker’s price is only 83.3% of the Lay odds on Betfair. It’s a weak match. You want your Lay odds to be more like 2.7 — a 90% match.

In the next section I’ll show you how to select the best event. It’s easy.


Help, I don’t understand the European decimal odds! 

Don’t worry. You don’t need to fully understand odds for Matched Betting. You just need to make sure that your Bookmaker accounts are set to decimal (European) odds, like ‘2.5’, so that it’s consistent with Betfair’s format.

Decimal odds are actually very simple anyway: the higher the value, the bigger the odds are!


So what does a “weak match” mean to your profit? Why does it matter?

Imagine that the Bookmaker bet wins. Due to the fact your liability (what you pay out) on the exchange is comparatively high, it means you’ll lose more from your Lay bet on Betfair than you’ll win from the back bet at the Bookie. This means you’d lose a fair bit of money overall.

If the price was identical i.e. perfectly matched, then it would break even whatever happens (Betfair commission aside). Basically, it’s just important that you match your bet properly by finding odds that are tight between the Bookmaker and the Exchange. I call this a “strong match”.


► How To Find A “Strong Match” for your qualiying/rollover bets

You don’t need to manually hunt around for suitable odds. There are some great tools to help you.

I recommend that you save yourself a lot of effort by signing up for a free account with Odds Monkey. They’re the #1 Matched Betting specialists with an abundance of resources — including an automatcher.


OddsMonkey Matched Betting Tutorial Step By Step



We’ll use the free OddsMonkey Oddsmatcher to choose a sports event. I have a few tips:

  1. Look for odds on popular sports/markets like top flight football matches — these have the most liquidity on the exchange.
  2. Avoid using high odds for qualifying/rollover bets as this will increase the balance you need to have in your exchange account. Imagine Laying at 9.0 on a £20 stake — you’ll need to make a hefty deposit to cover the liability of £200 if a Backer wins the bet. So try to keep just above the minimum odds allowed at the Bookmaker for the promotion.
  3. Always seek a high “Rating %” from the OddsMonkey Oddsmatcher. This means that the odds are tight between the Bookmaker and Betfair.

So we’re looking for an event to place a £25 qualifying bet at 10bet in order to receive a free bet. What you can see in the following screenshot is the best rated matched betting opportunities in descending % order.


OddsMonkey Matched Betting Oddsmatcher, with 10Bet selected from the dropdown.

Matched Betting



Instantly i’m drawn to one particular fixture: the Stoke v Newcastle football game (shown in red) from the Oddsmatcher.

The reason I like this event is because it precisely meets the three tips I gave above:

  1. It’s a very popular market (two Premier League teams, at the time of writing)
  2. The odds are low (and hopefully within the Bookmakers’ minimum odds terms)
  3. The Rating % on the Oddsmatcher is high, at 97.03%.

We’ve found a close match. 

So this is the event you’d place this qualifying bet on. To do that you just need to calculate how much to Lay on the Betfair exchange against your £25 back stake, to complete the Matched Bet. We’ll work this out using another OddsMonkey tool…


► Calculating Your Lay Stake to Spread the Risk Equally

This is a very important step, so take a little care.

Provided you calculate the correct Lay stake, you will ensure an identical (or very close) profit/loss whatever outcome of the Stoke vs Newcastle fixture — win, lose or draw. Failure to do so can result in a costly mistake.

To make this process as easy as possible, open up the Matched Betting Calculator from your OddsMonkey account. Enter the details of the bet like this:


OddsMonkey Matched Betting calculator with the Stake, Back odds, Lay odds and Commission entered.

Matched Betting CalculatorSIGN UP TO ODDSMONKEY FOR FREE


In case you’re wondering, the “Lay Commission” is just the commission % Betfair charges on profits. For new accounts it’s 5%.


Here’s what the OddsMonkey calculator shows:

  • The Lay stake on Betfair, which is £25.13.
  • The loss you’ll make — labelled “overall position” — which is the same regardless of the outcome of the sports event (Ok, 1p aside…)
NOTE: The net result of £-1.13 is a perfectly reasonable loss to incur on a £25 stake. It will be dwarfed by the profit made from the Free Bet in Step 2.


Can this process ever make money?

We’re not aiming to make money at this stage. We’ll get there in step 2.

But if you’re lucky and you’re able to Lay at lower odds than you backed at the Bookmaker then what you’ve found is an arbitrage opportunity and you’ll profit regardless of the outcome. However, this is a rare case. When you’re Matched Betting, in almost every case you’ll Lay slightly above the Bookmaker odds meaning you’ll incur a very minor loss.

Hopefully I haven’t lost you yet.

You’re now finally ready to place that £25 Back bet, instantly followed by the £25.13 Lay bet. Step 1 is almost complete! Just a few final tips…


► Placing The Matched Bet

Here’s some advice when placing your Back & Lay bets. This applies to any type of matched bet. Take note:

  • Ensure you have sufficient balance in your Betfair account
  • Check manually on the betting websites that the odds shown on the Oddsmatcher e.g. 2.0 (Bookmaker) and 2.04 (Exchange) are still valid. Odds change rapidly.
  • Place your bet at the Bookmaker first, then Lay on the Exchange instantly after. Be sure to hit the Pink Lay and not the Blue Back price on Betfair!

You simply place the 2 bets. And you’re done with placing your first risk free matched bet!

You’ve now learnt how to “match” your qualifying & rollover bets without losing money.


► What’s next?
  • If you’ve just placed your qualifier for an SNR free bet bet then continue to Step 2.
  • If you’re still still meeting a Rollover Requirement then you need to repeat Step 1 until you’re eligible to withdraw. Take care with finding a close match between the Bookmaker and Betfair otherwise it’ll drastically reduce your overall profit.
  • If you’ve successfully placed enough matched bets to meet your rollover requirement then next section is redundant — just withdraw your money!


Step 2 — Placing Free Bets

What follows are the simple steps for placing any Stake Not Returned (SNR) free bet. In this section you will secure a risk-free profit from Matched Betting.

Once your SNR free bet (sometimes called a “bet token”) is activated in your Bookmaker account you’re ready to begin.

You need to “match” your free bet using the same method shown in step 1. Simply select your event from the Oddsmatcher. I do have one different suggestion this time: use high odds


Why are high odds better for matching up SNR Free Bets?

By matching an SNR bet at high odds you retain more of your free bet. It’s more profitable.

The downside is that you also require more money in your exchange account to place the Lay part, which is sometimes inconvenient. I find that a good compromise is to use odds of around of 5.0-7.0.

Without being too mathsy, the reason for this is that by betting at high odds you naturally win at Betfair more frequently than you do at low odds. The benefit to this is that you reduce the frequency of winning free bets at the Bookmaker where your stake is not returned.

Let’s work through the example SNR bet…


► matching & Placing the SNR Bet

Whilst the process is similar to step 1, there are some subtle differences to take note of:

  1. Find a suitable high odds “strong match” using the OddsMonkey Oddsmatcher (see subheading “How to find a strong match…”). Follow the same process as with the qualifier. As always, take care to ensure the Bookmaker and Betfair odds are a close match.
  2. Use the OddsMonkey Matched Betting calculator to calculate your Lay stake. You MUST select “Free Bet (SNR)” as the Bet Type this time. Don’t forget!
  3. Place your 2 bets. Start with the Back (free bet) at the Bookmaker, then follow up with Lay bet on the Exchange, exactly as before.

Let’s assume that you’ve found a suitable football fixture, with 6.0 Back odds at the Bookie and 6.5 Lay odds at Betfair. That’s a 92.3% match, which is great. Enter those details into the calculator…


you’re aiming to place your £25 Free Bet at bookie odds of 6.0 and betfair Lay of 6.5.

Matched Betting CalculatorSIGN UP TO ODDSMONKEY FOR FREE


As before, you bet with the Lay stake provided by the OddsMonkey calculator — which is £19.38 in this case. Failure to do so won’t guarantee an equal profit whatever the outcome of the event.

This Matched Bet makes a guaranteed PROFIT of £18.41 from the Back and Lay bets. That’s great as you’ll retain 73.64% of the £25 promotion. Aim for around the 70-75% mark.

Place those 2 bets, wait for them to settle, then you’re finally done. You’ve earned a risk-free profit from Matched Betting!


► But Hang on, How Come It’s In Profit This Time? What’s Changed from step 1?

We selected “Free Bet (SNR)” on the calculator this time, remember? That’s the difference.

The process is the same to matching qualifying/rollover bets — but it’s profitable this time due to the fact you’re using a free bet at the Bookmaker. Without the free bet you don’t make a profit.

I’ll explain this with the maths, if you’re interested (if not skip this section, and take my word for it).

The following calculations take place for the 2 possible outcomes.


Bookmaker Free Bet Wins:

Bookmaker: (£25 x 6.0) - £25 = +£125
Exchange: -(£19.38 x 6.5) + 19.38 = -£106.59
Overall profit = +£18.41

Bookmaker Free Bet Loses:

Bookmaker: £0
Exchange: £19.38 x (0.95) = +£18.41
Overall profit = +£18.41

The Bookmaker account loses £0 (nothing) when the free bet loses, because it was not placed with your own money. Think about it: to you the Bookie account has not lost anything. It’s like betting with someone else’s money and if you win then you get to keep the winnings for yourself.

You can create an Excel spreadsheet ‘Matched Betting Calculator’, but it’s a whole lot simpler to use the tools provided by services like OddsMonkey. But if you’re still keen, take a look at the formula for “calculating guaranteed profit” in my post on arbitrage. It’s the same principle here.


Key Points To Take Away From This Matched Betting Guide

Here’s a quick recap on the key points you need to remember about Matched Betting.


► Free bets have terms and conditions attached to them.

A Bookmaker typically stipulates that an initial qualifying bet must be placed at odds of “2.00 or over” for a player to be eligible for a free bet. In most cases you need to get it right on the very first bet you place.

Look out for tricky terms like this because it’ll prevent you from being awarded the promotion. Remember: no free bet means no profit.


► always ensure that there’s enough available money (liquidity) on the exchange to place your Lay bets.

If you find that there’s not enough money on Betfair, then you may consider queuing your bet at a higher price. This will increase your liability and thereby reduce your profit. Alternatively you can risk waiting for your bet to get matched — but there’s no guarantee it will be.

Issues like this can be overcome by utilising the educational resources and support provided by Matched Betting Services.


► avoid rookie errors: Take care when you’re placing both bets.

Whether its win, lose, draw or any other outcome it’s always the same process. You simply (1) Back at the Bookmaker, and (2) Lay that same outcome on Betfair with the appropriate stake from the calculator. Don’t Lay any other outcome apart from the one you’ve backed. For example, if you backed the Draw, then you Lay the Draw.

Remember to use low odds for qualifying/rollover bets and high odds for SNR free bets in order to reduce losses and maximise profits respectively.


Matched Betting FAQ

If you’re new to Matched Betting then i’m sure you have some questions. You might be confused, or sceptical. Read on to learn more.


► Is this for real? Does Matched betting really work?

It absolutely works. This isn’t some kind of betting scam.

When done right, Matched Betting is completely risk free. You just have to take care to place the right bets/stakes.


► What type of people get involved in matched betting?

All walks of life participate in Matched Betting. Students, bankers, entrepreneurs and single Mums — to name a few. Notice how I didn’t list gamblers.


► Do Bookmakers mind Matched Betting?

Bookmakers probably won’t know that you’re Matched Betting. They know that it goes on and they don’t try to stamp it out. There’s been several public statements that imply that they don’t particularly care about it. After all, free bets attract new customers and not everyone goes on to become a Matched Betting expert. Some percentage of Matched Bettors will continue to bet recreationally.


► Is Matched Betting Legal?

Yes, of course. There’s nothing illegal about placing promotional free bets, or Lay bets on Betfair. Combining the two doesn’t make Matched Betting illegal.

From a Bookie’s perspective, it’s always the same loss they incur on free bets — regardless whether some customers create a no-lose bet from it.

Furthermore, specialist Matched Betting companies wouldn’t exist if it was illegal.


► Is there such thing as matched betting without free bets?

Yes and no. You can’t profit from Matched Betting without free bets. However, the same process can be applied in situations where the Bookie offers better odds than Betfair, to earn a risk free profit. This is known as arbitrage betting.


► Is Matched Betting Only for the UK? What countries can do Matched Betting?

Matched Betting is primarily aimed at the UK because sports betting is legal here. But strictly speaking Matched Betting can be done at any Bookmaker offering +EV promotions, provided you also have an account at a betting exchange.

If you’re unable to sign up to Bookmakers or claim offers because of your country of residence (e.g. the USA) or any other circumstances, then needless to say you won’t be earning from Matched Betting. No offers means no profit.


► Is Matched Betting sustainable? How Can I Maximise What I Earn From Matched Betting?

Matched betting has been around for many years, and it might not last forever. I wouldn’t recommend doing it as a full time job. It’s certainly a great way to make some extra cash from home.

I highly recommend that you subscribe to one of the top Matched Betting Websites. They provide the tools, daily offers (free bets, promotions, etc), dummies guides, and ongoing support to help you sustain a regular income from Matched Betting.


If you require some more step-by-step help, then check out this in-depth guide on Matched Betting here


Further Reading:

The Best Matched Betting Services

Precisely How Valuable Are Free Bets?

Does Arbitrage Betting Work? Is It Worth The Effort?

What’s The Best Sports Arbing Software?

  • ed pierce

    I am new to matched betting and this is the most information I have found in one place! I have probably searched more websites than I care to count trying to find someone who explains it as well as you do. Thank you for taking the time to create this guide and give newbies like myself a good start.

    • Glad to be of help! There’s a million guides, i know. I’ve tried to leave no stone unturned on this one. Luckily I could recall some of the questions I had when I first did it myself. I find that once you actually play around with the Odds Matching calculator it suddenly ‘clicks’.

  • Tom Davies

    I was doing this around 2011… i’m pretty surprised its still got any juice at all. I remember the best thing for me to understand it was by playing around with numbers in the calculators, seeing what maximised the profit, what incurred the most loss. The conclusion i made was that it was pretty much just arbing at a small loss, but with a free bet attached – making it profitable!

    • Agreed. I think that explaining things with the Maths (as I have) is probably unnecessary for most of us. Playing around with the calculator makes it easier to fully appreciate how it all works.

  • Daniel Greaves

    you said to sign up to odds monkey but no mention of profitaccumulator. is there a reason for that? is it better?

  • Takis apple

    Hello,you have very nice site with useful informations,i am new to arbitrage but i like the system with free bets and Matched betting.I have a problem and i want your opinion.I am from Greece,here the exchanges bookmakers like betfair,matchbook and many others are not accept three years now to my country.In past i had a account to betfair.I thinking a trick to trading again,i want to use VPN to hide my IP,you think that trick will be good idea to trading in betfair hiding my IP?This trick is good and for arbitrage to see the book different country IP every time that make log in?

    • Hi there,

      I actually wouldn’t recommend trying to get around the issue with IP addresses. If players from your country are not at all accepted at a bookmaker or exchange then there’s a risk that you’ll have issues depositing/withdrawing there. Additionally they may ask for ID or an addressed bill, in which case there is no hiding your true location.

      If however you have a permanent address abroad, then you may have the right to bet from that location as a citizen of that country. But you’d still need to show evidence that you’re a resident. In this case it’s perhaps not an issue if you logged in remotely from Greece.

      Be careful with trying to get around these issues as Bookmakers are likely to be aware of the tricks used. Don’t misrepresent any of your details as it could cause you a lot of bother. They also match new accounts up with old ones, so bare that in mind.

      • Takis apple

        Thank you for your advice,i will be very carefully.
        The pinnacle make a new site that accept me to bet there,this hapened because our country dont know this new site so is not in the black list.I have make many bets there,as you know pinnacle have high odds and is very friendly to arbs.The only that want is to bet 3x the ammount that you deposit before withdraw.But i will make a test to withdraw some money to be sure.I have already send the documents that they want.The new site is this:

        2016-12-04 2:44 GMT+02:00 Disqus :

        • That’s good news. I think youll be much better off playing there than trying to get around the restrictions at other bookies.

  • Takis apple

    Yes you have right.I have focus to arbs now.I am looking a good free software or service to see arbs in live option but is difficult to find live,there are some good sites like oddsportal that give surebets but is in delay.The most good program is the relbetting but is expencive for the momment,maybe use it later.If you know or if you have already compare arbs softwares and know something good and cheap just tell me.

    • Yes, I highly recommend using OddsMonkey for free arbs. I’ve written about this on my post:

      Just jump to the heading “Free Arbing Software” to find instructions on how to use it. I think you’ll find it very simple to use.

  • Takis apple

    I have test it,is good for others,but for me is not so good because i have few bookmakers to make arbs,i was test the dutch premium for 1-2 days but nothing send me arbs so cancel the premiun and i have make a filter to show me my bookmakers if see any arbs to send me email.I have test some others arbs services,so far the best is the betonvalue,it have more arbs for my bookmakers but is a little delay the signals,i have ask them to test the premium that is more faster without delay and i will tell you if it is better.When i say good always i mean good for me that have few bookmakers,i dont say that is not good any of the others arbs services for others people.I have test and the arbhunters that is a little more cheaper from betonvalue,its good but same few arbs.

    • Punter2Pro

      Yes, in your case you may need more options. For those in unrestricted locations OddsMonkey should be sufficient.
      I’m intrigued to know if you find any reliable options with lots of bookmakers (apart from BetOnValue, which you’ve mentioned). I try to keep on the lookout but most alternatives tend to either be either expensive… or not really professional enough. Please keep me posted.

  • disqus_w2HOTWQncE

    I really don’t get it… because during the second part you get a free £25 and bet that free £25 so that cancels itself out but then you have to lay another £19 of your own money against that bet. And at the end you only get £18 either way so you’ve just lost another small amount of money either way. So all in all you’re losing money using this method because you place the lay with your own money. Your pot will be going down slightly not up by £18?!

    • Punter2Pro

      For the first part yes, you lose a bit. But for the second part you’re Laying against a free bet. This means that you aren’t betting against your own money anymore – but rather against the Bookmaker’s money. You have 2 cases for the free bet part:

      1) The Free bet loses.
      Your Bookmaker account loses £0 (nothing), because it was not placed with your own money. In this case you win your Lay bet and make an easy profit.

      2) The Free bet wins.
      Your Bookmaker account wins money without you placing any stake yourself, but your Lay bet loses. However, the risk free bet winnings outweigh the losses made from the Lay, and you’re up overall.

      You have to be careful to use the OddsMonkey calculator correctly by selecting the right bet type. Other than that, it works.

      It can be a bit tricky to get your head around it, so I’ve posted up the calculations towards the end in case you wanted proof.

      • disqus_w2HOTWQncE

        Thanks for the really speedy reply! I’ve been sitting here looking at the numbers for a while and got frustrated. I completely understand the small loss in part 1 in order to get the free bet for part 2. And for part 2 I understand number 2) above (the free bet wins) because you lose the liability which is a lot but the free bet winnings outweigh those losses and you make a profit… but I don’t understand number 1) – what happens if the free bet loses. Maybe because I’m not understanding how the lay bet works?

        I thought you put on the lay of £19 i.e. you are betting £19 but then if you win the lay you only get your £19 back (or 95% of it after the commission which means you’re making a loss)?

        • Punter2Pro

          You’ve understood the tricky part. The easy part is when the Lay bet wins. When it wins you simply earn a profit of whatever stake you “Layed”. If you Lay with £18, and that outcome doesn’t win, then you earn £18. Simple as that.

          So if you have a free bet and you Lay against it, then if the free bet loses then your Bookmaker account doesn’t lose anything (it wasn’t your money), but your Lay bet makes a profit of whatever stake you Layed. For a £25 bet its usually around the £18 mark.

          • disqus_w2HOTWQncE

            So when you lay an amount, that amount doesn’t leave your betfair account? You haven’t betted that money but stand to earn it if that outcome doesn’t win like you thought. Is that it? However, if it does win then you lose the big amount?

          • Punter2Pro

            If you Lay £10 on Betfair, then this means that you bet £10 against an outcome. Someone who Backs your £10 pays you £10 if they lose their bet. If they win that bet, then you have to pay them their winnings.

            Winning your Lay bet means you get your £10 stake back + £10 profit.
            Losing your Lay bet means you’ll have to pay out a lot (depending on the odds, of course).

          • Punter2Pro

            e.g. Lay Spurs for £10 @ 3.0

            If Spurs WIN then you have to pay (3.0 x -£10) + (your £10 stake back) = -£20 loss
            If Spurs LOSE then you get £10 + (your £10 stake back) = £10 profit

          • disqus_w2HOTWQncE

            Well I joined Oddsmonkey with the free trial today and did my first offer. I need to wait until the bets settle before doing the second introductory offer because I didn’t want to deposit too much of my own money but rather use profits I make to build up the pot. I definitely won’t make the £45 they say you can make, which I think personally is a bit of a stretch when you can only win 80-90% of your 2x £20 free bets!

            I also didn’t want to deposit the amount of money needed to cover bigger lays when you place your free bet at higher odds (I was recommended to do one at 5-6 odds) so I did one I could manage at 4.5 and still made about £14 🙂 My first qualifying bet was good as I won +2p lol.

            I am one for being very organised so I think I’m going to track my betting in a spreadsheet and make small bets here and there to make it look genuine. I’m planning to lay some bets on my local football team and my boyfriend’s team from time to time to do this.

          • Punter2Pro

            Sounds like you’re approaching it the right way 🙂
            For the free bet you’re definitely better backing at higher odds. Around 5.0 is a sweet spot where it’s not too much liability.
            As for placing small bets here and there, it’s actually pretty unlikely to make much of a difference either way. With Matched Betting the Bookies are more likely to spot you if you bet on very obscure sports events. If you stick to Premier League football games then you won’t get that problem, as you’ll be such a tiny fraction of the volume bet on that fixture.
            On Betfair Matched Betting is encouraged – so don’t ever feel that you need to do anything there! They love professional gamblers.

          • disqus_w2HOTWQncE


            When you hear stories of people earning say £500/month I assume that’s by doing lots of little offers and they add up? (Especially if you do free £20 or £50 bets.) But these people out there who talk about maybe £1000… are they doing the same size bets and just doing a lot more of it, or are they placing these huge £200 free bets with even bigger liabilities in order to earn £160ish profit from it?

            I guess if they’re professional gamblers then they’re doing all sorts of other bettings or have a lot more money so that those big liabilities don’t seem so big! Even though the system proves you’d make a profit I don’t think I’ll ever be rich enough that seeing that much liability to get that much profit wouldn’t make my eyes water! lol

          • I think they are probably mopping up every free bet they find, or all the ones provided by services like OddsMonkey.

            There are some bigger offers too, as you say. Once your comfortable it could be worth doing those as well.

          • disqus_w2HOTWQncE

            Thanks Toby. I guess if they’re doing that much they must know their sports and betting systems very well and be mug betting too to keep their accounts open. Maybe that’ll be me in the future as I figure it all out! lol

          • disqus_w2HOTWQncE

            Thank you for your patience and detailed explanations. I feel like I get it more but not completely *sigh*. I’m going to sleep on it and maybe it will click later. This is my first day trying to understand betting at all though so I don’t feel too useless haha even though you say this is the easiest bit to understand!

            Maybe I will try the trial on Profitaculumator and see if it gets clearer with the videos and giving it a go though I am worried I will lose money. I don’t have much to start off with and knowing I have to have enough to cover the liability is worrying. But I will look for low liability ones I guess and use the tools to try and get the best matches. Everyone keeps saying the more you can have in the pot the more profit you can make.

            I think i’ll try with a bit and see how it goes.. after all you should never bet with what you can’t afford to lose!

          • Punter2Pro

            Glad it’s helped. I think you’ll be fine.

            Probably the biggest mistake you could make is double-backing. That’s when you Back at the Bookmaker and then Back AGAIN at Betfair by accident! Avoid doing that at all costs.

            You need to (1) Back at Bookmaker, (2) Lay at Betfair using the stake from the calculator.

  • Pn Riddle

    Thanks for this guide! A lot of helpful tips.
    Does the same process work with other services like profit accumulator? Is this unique for Oddsmonkey users?

    • Yes, it also works with Profit Accumulator. It’s exactly the same process – they’re just 2 different companies which both provide information of the latest offers, in-depth tutorials, live chat services, etc. They both save you an awful lot of time, basically.

  • Wally Hudson

    If you just cancel out bets by backing it and then betting against it then why do you even need the free bets? Cant it be done without them?

    • Matched Betting only makes a profit because of the free bets. That’s your ‘advantage’ over the bookie. Without free bets you wouldn’t make any money – unless you find arbitrage bets.

      Arbitrage bets are basically the same as matched bets – except that they profit from the difference in the odds as opposed to the inclusion of a free bet.

  • Dennis S.

    Honestly I don’t understand it.
    Aren’t these lay bets the same as placing normal bets?
    Just that some commision of 5% is put on top of the bet?

    So why would i need tons of money for it?

    I have for example 2 bets:
    1 that the squad will win
    another bet that it will not win

    According to arbitrage betting theory we should already be in profit if
    1/quota1+1/quota2 <1

    So why is it said in the text that a quota of like 9.0 would be bad in lay betting?
    Doesn't it mean that when using 100$ as stake, you would get 9*100$=900$ (minus the small comission)
    back if it wins.

    or do laying bets work fundamentally different and the odds work extremely different? O_o

    Can someone please explain me?

    By the way, the european quotas are no problem as I happen to be from europe.
    So rather american quota confuses me.

    • Lay bets aren’t the same as regular Back bets.

      When you Lay, you’re becoming the Bookmaker.

      If you Lay £10 on Spurs at 5.0 then you can either:
      – Make +£10 profit (it they drew or lost)
      – Pay someone out -(£10 x 5.0) + 10 = -£40 (if they won)

      Therefore your Betfair account must always have enough money to pay someone that £40 if your Lay bet was unsuccessful. It ‘locks’ that money until the event is decided.

      If you use even higher odds, like 15.0, then the amount you may potentially have to pay someone is even higher! In this case it’s (£10 x 15.0) +10 = -£140. Hence why I suggest you keep your odds low.

      • Dennis S.

        I think I get it.
        So for a matched bet or possibly arbitrage bet,
        you would want the lay bet quota to be as small as possible and/or the “normal” bet quota to be as high as possible, right?

        • Usually for matched betting you’d want the odds to be low when meeting a rollover or qualifying bet. For an SNR free bet, I recommend higher odds, at 5.0+.

          If you play around with numbers in the OddsMonkey calculator you’ll begin to get an idea of what works. You’ll quickly note that with SNR free bets you retain much more of your free bet using higher odds.