The Minimum Requirements For Matched Betting (Bare Necessities)

Exactly what money, free bets, software & tools and services are essential for Matched Betting? What’s a luxury?

Strictly speaking you only require the essentials of:

  • Money
  • Free bets, and
  • A Betfair account. 

However, you’ll need more than this if you truly want to maximise your profits from Matched Betting.

So before you dive head first into Matched Betting Guides or begin comparing the best Matched Betting Software, take a look at my list of essentials.


1. Money

Without money you can’t become a Matched Bettor. Thankfully you don’t need to be rich to get started, as you can build up your bankroll slowly using low value offers (Free Bets) to begin with.

The lowest value Free Bets are around £10. In order to profit from one of these promotions you’ll need approximately £30-70 of spare cashThis is used for the ‘Qualifying Bet’ and ‘Free Bet’.

Money For The Qualifying Bet

To obtain a Free Bet of £10 you usually have to place a qualifying bet of the same amount. This means you require a:

  • £10 deposit at the Bookmaker. You won’t need to deposit any more funds here.
  • £20 initial deposit at the Betting Exchange (e.g. Betfair)*. You may need to redeposit more if the Lay bet loses.

*For the qualifying bet I recommend that you transfer 2x the Bookmaker deposit into your Betfair account (e.g. 2x £10 = £20). This means that you’re able to Lay at odds of up to 3.0, since this would create a liability (risk) of £20. If you want to bet at odds above 3.0 then you require a higher deposit at Betfair.

Don’t be too concerned by the above calculations, as Matched Betting software bundles (i.e. “services”) include tools to work everything out for you. In practice there isn’t as much thinking involved.

Money For The Free Bet

Depending on how your qualifying bet went you have one of the following 2 scenarios:

1. The Lay bet lost and the Betfair account has £0 balance.

You need to redeposit into your account for ‘matching’ the Free Bet. This time I recommend depositing an additional £40, which enables you to Lay the Free Bet at odds of up to 5.0.

2. The Lay bet won and the Betfair account has £40 balance.

This is convenient because it means you don’t need to redeposit into Betfair and you can still Lay at odds of up to 5.0. The Bookmaker account doesn’t need any extra deposits because the Free Bet doesn’t require your own funds.

You can learn more about this process from my Step-By-Step Beginners Guide To Matched Betting.


2. Betfair Account

As assumed in #1, you need to have an account at a betting exchange.

I recommend Betfair because it has the most liquidity (available money). This means you’re less likely to ever encounter a scenario where you have to queue your stake in order to get matched on your (opposing) Lay bets.

However, there’s other exchanges — like Smarkets — charging lower commission.

Top Betting Exchanges


Note: Betting exchange commission reduces the profitability of Matched Betting a little. It's incorporated into the calculations made by the Matched Betting tools I recommend in #5.


3. New Bookmaker Accounts

If you’ve signed up to several Bookmakers before then your Matched Betting activity may be strictly limited to the “reload” offers for existing customers. This means you won’t be able to claim juicy new customer “sign-up” promotions.

Signing up to the Bookmaker for a second time in order to claim a new customer’s free bet isn’t a wise move. In doing so the Bookmaker will either: invalidate your winnings, close your account, or leave the account open without the ability to claim any future promotions. They don’t take kindly to customers trying to claim promotions they aren’t entitled to — and their terms & conditions always state this. Don’t try it.


4. Odds Matching Tool (“Oddsmatcher”)

This is the most important piece of Matched Betting Software. An Odds Matching Tool or “Oddsmatcher” scans the Bookmakers and exchanges for the best Matched Betting opportunities currently available. It’s like a for odds.

Is it Necessary to Use an Odds Matching Tool?

No — but I strongly advise it.

Let’s assume you don’t have any Matched Betting Software and aren’t concerned with the odds. Suppose you placed a qualifying bet at the Bookmaker by backing Spurs to win against Chelsea at decimal odds of 2.5, whilst Laying Spurs at odds of 3.0 on the Betfair exchange. What you’re effectively doing is cancelling out your Back bet by betting against Spurs on the exchange, right? That’s ok, but there’s an issue…

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 and it heavily reduces the amount of profit you can earn. With the help of an Odds Matching Tool you’ll find a strong match and drastically increase your profit margins.

What Odds Matching Tools Will Identify a “Strong Match”?

I recommend that you save yourself a lot of time and effort by signing up for an account with Odds Monkey. They’re specialists in this field and provide packages of Matched Betting software & other helpful resources.

With OddsMonkey Premium you’ll be able to find tight odds between the Bookmaker and Exchange.

Odds-finder-oddsmonkey-arbing-software matched betting software


Profit Accumulator also offers a very similar, and equally capable Odds Matching Tool as part of it’s acclaimed “Matched Betting Service“.


5. Matched Betting Calculator

The second important piece of Matched Betting Software you’ll need is a Matched Betting Calculator (in one format or another).

In the previous example I Backed and Layed Spurs. Imagine I backed with a £20 stake at the Bookmaker and Layed an equal £20 on Betfair. Well, this is a naive, over-simplified (lazy?) approach to Matched Betting. In reality it’s a bit more complex than that. The Lay stake needs to be optimised; hence the need for calculations.

By tapping in just a few numbers into a Matched Betting Calculator like this one at it’ll save you the headache of working out the optimal Lay stake, as well as the profit from your chosen ‘match’ (found from the Odds Matching Tool in #4). You can also buy/download (or otherwise create) an Excel spreadsheet to make these calculations for you.

If you’re keen on taking Matched Betting seriously, then OddsMonkey’s Matched Betting Calculator is free when you sign up for an account and you have the option to upgrade to Premium.

The OddsMonkey Calculator is easy to use. It tells Matched Bettors precisely what their Lay stake should be.

oddsmonkey-arbing-software-matched betting software calculator


I’m not the only one that rates OddsMonkey Premium. Check out this review by Smart Sports Trader.


Why Not Invest A Matched Betting Service?

Matched Betting Services incorporate the Odds Matching Tool (#4), Calculator (#5), and provide all the guidance you’ll need to get started. Seasoned Matched Bettors also benefit from the reloads listed on specialist Matched Betting subscription sites, and use that information to sustain regular profits.

The Need for Matched Betting Services

It’s not absolutely essential that you subscribe to a Matched Betting website. There are some good, free resources available online that you can use to avoid paying any monthly fees. Problem is, there’s limitations to this approach — such as the quality of information, the tools available, and (importantly) the circulation of information on new promotions.

Specialist services are designed for sharing information on valuable offers and integrating Matched Betting Software and Tools into one package. The leading websites of OddsMonkey and Profit Accumulator provide a “daily offers calendar” showing reloads and new promotions. These community-based services provide everything needed to not only start — but to also sustain — regular tax free income from Matched Betting.

For full details and pricing read my review of the Best Matched Betting Services.


Oh! One last thing you’ll need…

A spreadsheet. Try to maintain neat records of all your Matched Betting activity. If you don’t know how to use Excel, then at the very least take notes!

Be sure that you know where your money is at all times, when you need to place a free bet, and where to make a withdrawal. Only mark off an offer as ‘complete’ when you’ve received your money in (or when it’s settled in Betfair).


Further Reading:

Best Matched Betting Services

Step-By-Step Beginners Guide To Matched Betting

Does Arbitrage Betting Work? Is It Worth The Effort?

What’s The Best Sports Arbing Software?

Toby @ Punter2Pro
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David G. Phillips
David G. Phillips
4 years ago

thanks,, i like the idea of matched betting. can i do this outside the UK?

Reply to  David G. Phillips
4 years ago

You can if you’re able to sign up to Bookmakers and claim free bets. Bookmakers don’t have to be UK-based ones – the theory works across all Bookies offering bonuses.

Philip Roy Ilani
Philip Roy Ilani
Reply to  Toby
4 years ago

When you’re Matched Betting always ensure that there’s enough available money (liquidity) on the exchange to place your Lay bets….

This particular sentence above was mentioned in the post, is it referring to money in my betfair account or money on betfair lay odds generally???

Reply to  Philip Roy Ilani
4 years ago

I was referring to Betfair in general. Sometimes there won’t be enough money on the exchange to place the lay bet. You can see the amount available underneath the current lay price.

Reply to  David G. Phillips
4 years ago

You’ll find that a LOT of the offers state in their T&Cs that the offers are open to UK/Ireland residents only.

2 years ago

does this basically mean youll be registering a new bookmaker each time you want to gain profits using matched betting?? or after gaining the profit from the first bookmaker its still useful?