Matched Betting

by Sports betting explained
Updated: 21/12/2021 14:48

Matched Betting in the UK Explained

Many people who like to gamble online on sports such as football and horse racing probably wish that there was a way to guarantee they would make money out of all their bets. But with a strategy called matched betting – which is getting a lot more popular in the UK – it is now possible to carve out a regular reliable income from using online sports betting sites.

Done properly, matched betting is a way for people to make a substantial amount of cash from their spare time – and the best thing is there should be no risk of losing money at all.

Matched betting does not even require any real specialist knowledge or expertise of either sport or betting. It can be useful to have some experience with betting on sport, but it is possible to be new to sport and gambling and still be able to make some regular income from matched betting.

It sounds as if matched betting is just too good to be true but believe us – that is not the case.

Our complete guide to matched betting from the UK has all the full details, so read on for more.

What is Matched Betting?

So what is matched betting? Put simply, matched betting is a method that means people use free bets and other betting site promotions to cover all of the possible outcomes in an event.

For example, in a football match, this would mean both betting on a team to win the game, as well as betting against them winning the match. This means, whatever happens, the bet wins.

Of course, the way that their odds are calculated by UK online sports betting sites means it is not as easy as just betting on all the potential results and then watching the money roll in.

Online betting sites have what is known as a margin, which is typically around five per cent, which helps to ensure they should make a profit regardless of the end outcome of the event.

So matched betting involves using free bets and various other special promotions to ensure that all of the different outcomes can be covered without spending real money on each part of a bet.

With so many types of offers and free bets now available at UK sports betting sites – both for new users and existing customers – there has never been a better time to start matched betting.

Careful calculations are made in order to lock in as much guaranteed profit as possible, with some people able to make a four-figure income every month as a result of matched betting.

But how does matched betting work in practice? Let’s take a look at it all in a bit more detail.

How Does Matched Betting Work?

Matched betting typically involves the use of online betting exchanges, as well as betting sites.

For those who have never used a betting exchange before, these sites offer their users the chance to both bet ON an event happening, as well as AGAINST that same event happening.

For example, users who have accounts on a betting exchange in the UK can bet on Arsenal to beat Chelsea in a Premier League game. This is known as backing a bet. They can also bet against Arsenal to win the game, which would be laying them in betting exchange terms.

This bet would then cover the other two outcomes: the draw and the Chelsea win. What this means is a person who uses matched betting can bet on Arsenal to win using a traditional sports betting site, then lay Arsenal on an exchange – with Betfair the main site out there.

This means all three outcomes are covered, but of course, they will need to be using free bets in order to be able to guarantee they will make a profit, due to how odds are calculated.

Backing and laying can work on other markets too, such as correct score and both teams to score. It is not just for football where matched betting can be profitable, with horse racing one of the other major sports where matched betting can be useful to help people to make money.

Step by Step Guide for How to Start Matched Betting in the UK

Simply following the below advice can get people on the road to making huge profits – and fast.

  1. Make a plan: Is the ultimate aim to make large short-term profits or a long-term income?
  2. Sort out the admin: Many find a separate matched betting account to be useful. It can also be beneficial to create a spreadsheet that tracks accounts and bets being placed.
  3. Create an account: Pick an online betting site to use and sign up, using any promo code or bonus code that is available to get whatever welcome bonus they have up for grabs.
  4. Join Betfair exchange: Betfair is the leading online betting exchange and an account on this site for anyone who is serious about trying to make a lot of money from matched betting.
  5. Place the qualifying bet: Usually, to get a welcome bonus people must deposit funds and place a qualifying bet at certain minimum odds to get the free bet that is offered.
  6. Lay this bet: Use a lay calculator to see how much to lay the qualifying bet on the exchange. This will also show the total loss sustained from placing the qualifying bet.
  7. Repeat the process: With the free bet earned from the welcome bonus, follow all the same steps. Matched betting sites often give their users a breakdown of the best options for matched bets and these can be very useful for those embarking on matched betting.
  8. Pick the next site: After that bet settles, users should have recorded a decent profit. This money can be used to deposit into another new betting site account, claiming whatever new customer welcome bonus they also have up for grabs to tempt new players to join.
  9. Follow the same steps: The way matched betting works, the process for each bet stays the same. Qualify for a bonus or promotion, then use the free bet to lay and lock in profit.
  10. Target reload offers: It is not just welcome bonuses that are used for matched betting. While dozens of online bookmakers have welcome bonuses that give people beginning to use matched betting a flying start, reload bonuses are where big money starts flowing. These reload betting offers are widely available and they can be very profitable indeed.
  11. Plan for big events: In matched betting, certain sporting events are known for being very profitable and these are considered to be boom times by the community. Cheltenham Festival is one of them due to how many top horse racing offers are up for grabs, while football tournaments like the World Cup tend to be very good for matched betting too.
  12. Join a matched betting site: While these cost a low fee, they make it a lot easier to profit from matched betting and the relatively small investment can be paid off very quickly.

How Long Does Matched Betting Take and How Much Money Can You Make?

One of the common myths around matched betting is that it takes a lot of time. Many people have been put off from matched betting as a result of thinking they do not have time to do it. But matched betting can be done in just a few minutes or half an hour each day. It does not have to take a lot of time and once people get into the swing of it, matched betting is a lot faster.

If there is a time commitment to be made, it is worth noting that the most profitable occasions for matched betting tend to be on the weekends. This is purely due to the sheer amount of sport that is played on Saturdays and Sundays, with lots of promotions available to be used.

Midweek evenings can also be good for matched betting, especially when football competitions such as the Champions League are being played. And while summers can be more of a lean time, the amount of offers around major competitions like the World Cup or the Euros means that there can be a lot of money to be made from matched betting strategies at this time of the year too.

Naturally, the more time that people want to spend on matched betting, the more potential profit they will be able to rack up as a result of this increasingly popular strategy. It is not unheard of for people to claim they are able to bring in at least four figures a month through matched betting, with over £1,000 per month, not a figure that is to be sniffed at.

Most people who start matched betting find it is particularly profitable when they start, as this is when welcome bonuses can be used to pile up free bets that can then be used to lock in profit through backing and laying. Generally speaking, an hour a day of matched betting can lead to profits of £1,000+ each month.

Is Matched Betting Legal and What Are the Risks?

Yes, matched betting is fully legal in the UK. There are no laws against matched betting and while bookmakers obviously do not approve of the practice, it is likely to remain legal.

It is fair to say that there are some risks involved with matched betting, though. Newcomers will find it can be a little difficult to understand exactly which bets that they need to be placing.

Using a matched betting calculator can make this a lot easier and there are various sites out there that provide everything that people might need to get up and running with the strategy.

Odds can move very fast at online betting sites and placing wagers at the wrong prices, or putting on an incorrect stake, is one of the main big risks that is involved with matched betting.

As the idea behind matched betting is to guarantee some profit from bets, it is clear that getting the bet or stake wrong could see this fail to happen, with the user instead recording a loss.

Among the other risks of matched betting is that bookmakers can close down accounts. In the terms and conditions that people must read whenever they sign up to a new sports betting site, it is likely there will be something included about what the bookies term to be “bonus abuse”.

Matched betting would be classed as bonus abuse by bookmakers. If they believe a customer is using matched betting to guarantee winning wagers, they can either shut down an account or prevent the user from being able to claim any more offers, bonuses or free bets in the future.

This would obviously be a blow, as users need to have access to a lot of betting accounts and free bets bonuses if they are going to make as much money as they can from matched betting. Some might think it is cheeky for online sports betting sites to make so many free bets available and then complain about how customers use them, but they are well within their rights to do so. Another tactic betting sites use when suspecting a user of matched betting is restricting stakes.

Most people who do match betting, therefore, try as hard as possible to make their accounts look ‘normal’. To do this, they will not just place wagers associated with matched betting. This does not mean sustaining big losses though, as even these bets can be covered through laying, which might record a small loss but is one that can be made up with other matched bets later.

It is only allowed to have one account with each online bookmaker. Some people might try to sign up for multiple accounts on the same site to maximise the number of free bets they are able to claim, but this will be against their terms and conditions and can even get a user banned.

Due to the fact it can be a challenge ensuring betting accounts stay active, many people who are involved in the matched betting community do not advise trying to turn the strategy into a full-time income. But people can still bring in a healthy amount of cash with matched betting.

Matched Betting Tips, Tricks and Strategy

The internet is full of matched betting tips, tricks and strategy advice, which is a good and a bad thing. There is so much information it can be difficult to know which to follow and how to start.

Perhaps the best-matched betting tip is to have a plan when getting up and running. Some people might decide to start matched betting on a whim, but keeping track of bets is going to be a challenge. Users need to have a record of all their UK betting site accounts and a simple spreadsheet that records all their profits is also a useful thing for most people to have available.

It is usually beneficial to work through the major sports betting sites one by one. They all have great welcome bonuses available and these are crucial to profiting from matched betting. Often, a deposit match bonus is in place and this helps those starting out with matched betting to get off to a flyer.

It also helps them to build their bankroll, which is so vital in matched betting. The bigger a starting bankroll a person has when beginning to use matched betting, the faster they will be able to start banking their bigger profits. It is possible to start matched betting with quite a small amount of money, but it will take a lot more time and effort to turn this into a lot of cash.

Some people also opt to set up a separate matched betting bank account, which helps to keep funds separate from the money they need to keep to one side for day-to-day spending. Usually, it is recommended to avoid withdrawing profits from matched betting for as long as possible.

This is as the cash made can be ‘invested’ back into matched betting, helping to earn bigger returns. This is one of the reasons why a spreadsheet can be such a handy tool when matched betting. It lets people keep a close eye on which welcome bonuses they have claimed and list the other sports betting sites they are going to sign up for accounts within the near future.

Some people who use matched betting also like to track every single bet they make, which allows them to calculate how much cash they are making, but for some, this might be too time-consuming.

As we mentioned earlier, one of the risks in matched betting is having accounts closed. For this reason, it is recommended to place ‘mug’ bets regularly on betting sites too. These can still be matched to ensure only a small amount of money is lost, but it increases the chances of an account being left open.

When bookmakers close an account they believe to be in use for matched betting, this is a process that is known in the community as ‘gubbing’. When a betting site restricts the stakes a user can place for the same reason, this is part of the same thing too. But even an account that has been ‘gubbed’ can be used to place wagers in matched betting.

While some people treat matched betting as a long-term activity, for others it is simply a way to make a substantial amount of money in a relatively short space of time. Having an idea of which road to go down can be useful when a person is deciding to start matched betting for the first time.

There is no right or wrong approach, but it might be better for some people to try to make a regular, reliable income over a long period from matched betting than targeting short-term gains. Remember that all of the money that users can make from matched betting is also fully tax-free!

Matched Betting FAQs

What is matched betting?

Matched betting is a strategy that can be used to guarantee a profit from placing sports wagers online. It uses free bets and other special promotions, often offered by betting sites in a welcome bonus, to allow people to cover all the outcomes in a sporting event and make guaranteed cash.

Is matched betting legal?
How much can you make from matched betting?

How much money can be made from matched betting depends on a variety of factors, such as the size of the starting bankroll and how much time users have to spend on placing wagers. It is usually recommended to start matched betting with at least £100 as a result, though the bigger the bankroll the faster large profits can be made, with some users claiming in their best months they have made several thousand pounds through matched betting with online bookmakers.

How to find free bets for matched betting?

Various internet resources can be used to find free bets for matched betting, but right here on this site is a fantastic place to get up and running. All the major welcome bonuses that are now available to be claimed from sports betting sites are featured and these are very handy indeed.

Steven is the product manager on BettingLounge and is an experienced iGaming writer who has been working in the industry since 2018.


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