Beginners Matched Betting Guide 2020 – Step By Step Tutorial

Matched Betting (or “Match Betting”) is a proven technique used to earn tax-free profits from the free bets & promotions offered by online Bookmakers. It’s based on a simple risk-free strategy rather than chance — so it’s not gambling at all. Anyone can learn it, no matter how little they know about sports betting.

Don’t be put off because Matched Betting involves “online gambling”.

Make no mistake: thousands of people in the UK, from all kinds of backgrounds, are making a second income from Matched Betting. You won’t regret learning it.

This Matched Betting Guide Has 3 Parts:

  1. Matched Betting Basics Explained
  2. Meeting Rollover Requirements / Placing Qualifying Bets
  3. Placing Free Bets to Secure a Profit


1. Matched Betting Basics Explained

To help get you started, here’s a basic outline of what’s involved in Matched Betting

What Is Matched Betting? What Is a Matched Bet?

A “matched bet” is where you place two opposing stakes on a sports event to eliminate your risk. It’s pretty simple:

  1. BACK (bet FOR) a sports outcome at a Bookmaker.
  2. LAY (bet AGAINST) the same sports outcome at a Betting Exchange such as Betfair, Smarkets or Matchbook.

For newbies, a “Lay” bet is basically betting against an outcome by “accepting” bets on it — just like a Bookie does. So for example you might Lay £10 on Spurs to win a match; which is effectively betting on them to either draw or lose. If you’re right, you win £10. If you’re wrong (i.e. Spurs win), you have to pay someone out their winnings. More on this later.

Learn more: Lay Bets Fully Explained

Importantly, the two bets you place at the Bookmaker and Betting Exchange cancel one another out, meaning that you break even. No win, no loss. But breaking even doesn’t help you to earn money, right?…


That’s why you have to involve a Free Bet in your two-part matched bet. Then it suddenly becomes profitable. This isn’t gambling as you know it — this is Matched Betting.

What Do You Need to Start Matched Betting?

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

  1. Betting Exchange Account. Open an account with Betfair or a comparable betting exchange.
  2. Free Bet. Find a signup promotion offered by a Bookmaker that you do not already have an account with.
  3. Money. You’ll need some cash to deposit to both the Bookmaker and Betting exchange (e.g. Betfair).

Learn more: Minimum Requirements for Matched Betting.

Recommended Betting Exchanges


Where Do You Find Free Bets?

You can search for free bets yourself. But I highly recommend signing up for a Premium Matched Betting Service instead. These services provide:

  • An up-to-date list of free bets for you to claim. This includes a daily calendar of promotions.
  • Instructions of how to approach each individual free bet (with tricky terms & conditions all accounted for).
  • Tools to manage/track your progress with a promotion.
  • Matched Betting help and advice to hand, should you experience any difficulties.

My favourite Matched Betting Service is OddsMonkey — but there are several others.

Learn more: Best Matched Betting Subscription Services.


How Exactly Do You Turn Free Bets Into Profit?

In order to extract value from a free bet promotion, you’ll need to either:

  1. Meet a “Rollover Requirement”. This is where you’ve deposited funds and ‘Free Money’ was credited before any bets were placed. You must place a total sum of eligible stakes before a withdrawal is allowed.
  2. “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 the bet is called “Stake Not Returned”.

Whatever case you’re dealing with (1 or 2), the objective is exactly the same:

  • Minimise losses on the rollover requirement or qualifying bet(s).
  • Earn a profit using the free money you’re granted by the Bookmaker.

You need to know how to approach the free bet before you can attempt turning it into money. Let’s delve a bit deeper into the structure of a typical free bet promotion.

Further reading: Types Of Free Bets.

An Example Free Bet Promotion

Let’s pretend a 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”. 

This is case (2) above — you have to qualify for a free bet. A standard scenario.

So customers must take an initial risk of £25 to be granted the £25 free bet, where their stake is not returned in any winnings:

  • If the free bet wins, you keep the profit.
  • If it doesn’t win you haven’t lost anything.

Therefore you stand to lose £25 from the initial bet — which you don’t want, right?

Right. So for the remainder of this tutorial we’ll tackle to this typical “Stake Not Returned” promotion using the Back & Lay Matched Betting technique. We’ll turn this promotion into a profitable, risk free money-maker.

Note: Bookies have a knack of attaching tricky terms and conditions to their free bets. Usually they insist that your bets are placed at minimum odds of a given amount (e.g. 2.0). This is something you have to look out for. If in doubt, ask the Bookmaker staff on live chat to clarify your uncertainties about their promotions.

Ready To Earn Risk Free Profits?

If you’re confused — don’t worry. I’m going to explain the entire process in this simple 2020 Matched Betting tutorial.

Keep following my step-by-step instructions.


2. Meeting Rollover Requirements / Placing Qualifying Bets

In this section we’re going to place a risk free bet at the Bookmaker — without losing or gaining any money — in order to either:

  • Meet rollover requirements attached to a promotion, or
  • Place a qualifying bet to obtain a free bet.

(Our example £25 promotion requires that we place a qualifying bet).

See this entire step as a hoop jumping phase. You won’t generate a profit until the next, final step.

Firstly, it’s highly important to select the appropriate sports event…

Select the Right Sports Event to Bet On

What’s the best sports event to use for Matched Betting?

Well, it doesn’t matter what sport you choose. Matching your bet only requires that the Bookmaker & exchange (Betfair) odds are of a similar value. This is absolutely crucial for Matched Betting.

European decimal odds Explained

Before we go any further, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of sports betting odds. Decimal odds, specifically.

Decimal odds are very simple: the higher the number, the bigger the odds are, and the more payout you get on a win.

To calculate winnings placed at European (decimal) odds, simply multiply your stake by the odds. For example:

  • £25 @ 10.0 = £10 x 10.0 = £250 return

The return includes the stake. So that’s £225 profit (£250 – £25).

You don’t need to fully understand odds for Matched Betting anyway. You do however need to make sure that your Bookmaker account is set to decimal (European) odds, like ‘2.5’, so that it’s consistent with Betfair’s format.

Learn more: Convert Your Betting Odds To Different Formats

Sports events to avoid In Matched Betting

Let’s suppose that I placed a qualifying bet at the Bookmaker by backing Spurs to beat Chelsea at decimal odds of 2.5, while Laying Spurs at odds of 3.0 on the Betfair exchange. What this effectively does is cancels out the Back bet by betting against Spurs on the exchange.

Football matches are fine. But the problem here is that the difference between 2.5 and 3.0 is big. 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 around a 90% match. The closer to 100% the better.

Why does a “weak match” matter In Matched Betting?

It matters when the Bookmaker ‘Back’ bet wins and Betfair ‘Lay’ bet loses. Here’s the win and lose outcomes:

Bookmaker BACK Wins @ £25 Stake:

  • (£25 x 2.5) – £25 = £37.5 profit

Betfair LAY Loses @ £25 Stake:

  • (£25 x 3.0) – £25 = £50 loss

Due to the fact your loss at Betfair is much higher than the winnings at the Bookmaker, you make a hefty loss of -£50 + £37.5 = -£12.50. That’s not good.

If the odds were identical — i.e. they matched exactly — then you’d break even whatever outcome happens (Betfair commission aside).

The lesson here is that it’s vitally 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”.

Use OddsMonkey To Find a “Strong Match”

You don’t need to manually hunt around for closely matching odds for your qualifying/rollover bets. It’s time consuming and increases your chance of making a mistake. 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 OddsMonkey. They’re the #1 Matched Betting specialists, with an abundance of resources. This includes an automatcher, for finding the perfect sports events to bet on.

I’ll use the free OddsMonkey Oddsmatcher to show you how to choose a sports event for our example £25 qualifying bet.

Tips For Using the OddsMonkey Oddsmatcher:

  1. Stick to popular sports/markets. For example, top flight football matches. These have the most liquidity (people actively betting) on the exchange. Busy fixtures are good.
  2. Avoid using high odds. For qualifying/rollover bets, high odds will increase the balance you need to have in your exchange account to cover your Lay bet*. So aim to keep your bets 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.
*if you were to Lay at odds of 9.0 with a £20 stake, you'd need £200 in your betting exchange just to cover the 'liability'. Learn how to calculate Lay Bet liability.

So let’s get to it.

Open up the Oddsmatcher from your OddsMonkey account and browse the upcoming sports events. What you can see in the following screenshot are the best rated matched betting opportunities in descending % order.

OddsMonkey Oddsmatcher, with the bookmaker selected from the top dropdown.

Matched Betting


I’m instantly 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 conditions 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 very high, at 97.03%.

… I’ve found a close match. 

This is an ideal event for placing the qualifying bet at the Bookmaker, to Lay against on the Betting Exchange.

You now need to calculate how much to Lay on the Betfair exchange against your £25 back stake, to complete the Matched Bet. 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.

We’ll work out the optimal Lay stake using another OddsMonkey tool.

Calculate Your Lay Stake to Spread the Risk Equally

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

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 bet type, 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 % Betfair charges on profits. For new accounts it’s 5% (as entered above).

Here’s what the OddsMonkey calculator shows:

  • The perfect Lay stake on Betfair, which is labelled “you could lay £25.13″.
  • The loss you’ll make — labelled “your overall position will be -£1.14” — which is the same regardless of the outcome of the sports event (1p aside…).

It’s calculating a loss. Why?

The net result of £-1.14 is a perfectly reasonable loss to incur on a £25 qualifying stake. It will be dwarfed by the profit made from the Free Bet in Step 3. We’re not aiming to make money at this stage, remember.

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 you’ll (almost always) Lay at odds slightly above the Bookmaker, meaning you’ll incur a very minor loss. You can verify this by playing around with the calculator.

Hopefully I haven’t lost you yet — because you’re now finally ready to place that £25 Back bet, followed by the £25.13 Lay bet. This stage is almost complete!

Just a few more tips…

Place the Two Parts of Your Matched Bet

Here’s some advice for when you’re placing your Back and Lay bet:

  • Ensure you have sufficient balance in your Betfair account before you begin. You need to be able to cover potential losses.
  • Manually check both betting websites to verify the odds shown on the Oddsmatcher e.g. 2.0 (Bookmaker BACK) and 2.04 (Exchange LAY) are still valid. Odds change all the time.
  • Place your bet at the Bookmaker FIRST, then Lay on the Exchange instantly AFTER. Be sure to hit the Pink Lay price and not the Blue Back price on Betfair! That’s a common (and costly) mistake.

Then you’re done with placing your first risk free matched bet.

Well done! You’ve now learnt how to “match” your qualifying or rollover bets without losing (much) money.

This Step Is Complete. What’s Next?

It depends…

  • If you’ve just placed your qualifier for an SNR free bet bet then continue to the next step.
  • If you’re still still meeting a Rollover Requirement then you need to repeat this step 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!


3. Placing Your Free Bets to Earn a Profit

In this section you will secure a risk-free profit from Matched Betting. The process is almost the same as the previous step.

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

Match your Free Bet (With a Couple of Changes)

You need to use the very same Matched Betting technique shown in step 2 of this guide. There are however two subtle differences to take note of this time:

  • You want a HIGH ODDS “strong match”. Follow the same process as the qualifier — except with higher odds. As always, take care to ensure the Bookmaker and Betfair odds are a close match.
  • Set the OddsMonkey Matched Betting calculator’s bet type to “FREE BET (SNR) when calculating your Lay stake. The default is “Normal”. Don’t forget to change it!

Why are high odds better for 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. I find that a good compromise is to use odds of around of 5.0-7.0.

Without being too mathsy, the reason for it being more profitable is that high odds win at Betfair more frequently than 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 £25 SNR free bet.

Place the SNR Free Bet

Let’s cut to the chase and assume you’ve found a suitable high odds sports event using the Oddsmatcher (by following step 2, with the adjustments I’ve suggested) . Let us also assume that the (high) odds you’ve identified are:

  • Back: 6.0 at the Bookie
  • Lay: 6.5 at Betfair.

That’s a 92.3% match at high odds, which is great. So you enter those details into the calculator again:

placing a £25 SNR Free Bet at bookie odds of 6.0, betfair Lay odds of 6.5:

Matched Betting CalculatorSIGN UP TO ODDSMONKEY FOR FREE

As before, you want the OddsMonkey calculator to tell you the Lay stake — which is £19.38 in this case. Failure to obtain that number won’t guarantee an equal profit whatever the outcome of the event.

This particular Matched Bet will make a guaranteed PROFIT of £18.41 from the SNR free bet. So go ahead and place those two (Back & Lay) bets, wait for them to settle, then you’re finally done.

You’ve earned a risk-free profit from Matched Betting. Withdraw those earnings!

Disclaimer: This is all mathematically speaking. In rare cases where the Bookmaker does not pay out, or voids your bets, you are not guaranteed profits.

Why Is It in Profit this Time? What’s Changed?

The Matched Betting process is indeed the same for qualifying/rollover bets as it is for free bets. But it’s profitable this time because of the inclusion of a free bet at the Bookmaker. We selected “Free Bet (SNR)” on the calculator this time, remember? That’s the difference.

Without free bets you don’t make a profit, and Matched Betting ceases to exist. I’ll explain this with the maths, if you’re interested. If not skip the rest of this section, and just take my word for it.

The following calculations take place for the two possible outcomes of a Matched Bet.

Case 1: 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

Case 2: Bookmaker Free Bet Loses

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

In case 2, 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 profit for yourself.

You can create an Excel spreadsheet ‘Matched Betting Calculator’ using these calculations. But it’s a whole lot simpler to use the tools provided by services like OddsMonkey. However, 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.

Is the Profit Earned In this Example Good? Can it be Improved?

£18.41 is a great profit, as it retains 73.64% of the £25 promotion. After subtracting the £1.14 loss from the qualifier it leaves it at +£17.27 overall. Not bad for betting without risk.

Always aim to retain around the 70-75% mark of your SNR bet. Don’t strive for perfection, or you’ll waste your life chasing coppers.


Key Points From This Matched Betting Guide

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

1. Free Bets Have Strict Terms & Conditions. Look out.

A Bookmaker typically stipulates that an initial qualifying bet must be placed for a player to be eligible for a free bet. In most cases only your very first bet counts.

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

Also be aware that my example only shows you how to deal with one scenario. To learn how to approach each and every free bet, subscribe to OddsMonkey.

2. Always Ensure that there’s Enough Available Money (Liquidity) on the Exchange to Place your Lay Bets.

I have suggested seeking popular sports events in order to avoid liquidity problems on the Betting Exchange. But if you find that there’s not enough money on Betfair, then you may need to wait to get matched. And there’re no guarantee you will be.

In this scenario, consider queuing your Lay bet at a higher price. This will increase your liability and thereby reduce your profit (but it’s more likely to be matched).

Issues like these can be dealt with by utilising the educational resources and support provided by Matched Betting Services such as OddsMonkey. I highly recommend signing up.

3. Take Care When You’re Placing Both Bets.

Whether its win, lose, or draw 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 provided from the calculator. If you Back the Draw, then you Lay the Draw. Simple.

Furthermore, remember to use:

  • Low odds for qualifying/rollover bets.
  • High odds for SNR free bets in order to reduce losses and maximise profits.


Matched Betting — Additional Reading

Do You Have More Questions About Matched Betting?

This tutorial doesn’t cover everything. So I’ve also written another post: Everything You’ve Ever Wondered About Matched Betting.

If you’re still struggling to grasp things after reading that, I’ve also written a Simplified Matched Betting Guide on my other, non-betting relating website, NicheCarve.

Want to Take Matched Betting Further?

Want to Learn More Ways of Making Money Online?

Check out out my post: How To Make Money Online — Earn At Home

Originally posted 6th July 2016, and updated for 2020.


Further Reading:

The Best Matched Betting Services

Does Arbitrage Betting Work? Is It Worth The Effort?

What’s The Best Sports Arbing Software?

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ed pierce
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
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
Daniel Greaves

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


They both offer similar functionality and are pretty much neck-and-neck. You can read more about them here:

Takis apple
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… Read more »


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… Read more »

Takis apple
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
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
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… Read more »


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.


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?!


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… Read more »


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… Read more »


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.


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?


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).


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


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… Read more »


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… Read more »


Thanks! 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… Read more »


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.


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


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… Read more »


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
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
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.
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,… Read more »


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… Read more »

Dennis S.
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.


Hi, im from Australia and would like to know if matched betting is applicable here as well. And if yes, then what is the ideal good amount to put down to maximise the profits. Thanks


Great matched betting guide. So many things I still don’t understand but thank you for trying to explain this for beginners. Why are there so many bookies that try to trick people with difficult terms & conditions? Can a generous and transparent bookie still win in this market? It’s so disappointing to see bookies that try to hide things in the fine print.


My head is spinning! I had to take a lot of notes and review them to understand some of these things. Not complaining here. I’m grateful I can learn this for free so thank you for putting in the time to create this matched betting guide. Much appreciated. Will have to re-read this a few more times to get a better idea of things.