Make money from matched betting (step by step guide)
Make Easy Money From Matched Betting
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Now, I’m not a gambler by any means. But I have made enough money from
bookmakers in just six months to pay for an £860 flight (return) to Australia. And I’ve got
some company too after walking a good friend through this risk-free technique.
The result is this guide, where I’ll share the exact steps with you too, including screenshots
and a free tool.
Why should I trust this guide?
What I’m teaching you here is a completely legal, tried-and-tested method called ‘matched
betting’. It basically allows you to turn the tables on the bookmakers to extract their free
Matched betting is legal and a spokesperson for William Hill has indicated that the betting
industry does not have a problem with this use of free bets – Wikipedia
I’ve used it myself for several years and have never lost any money doing it, but I have taken
my time and been very careful to avoid making mistakes. Do not rush this guide – make sure
you understand it 100% before depositing any money, and please ask any questions in the
comments if unsure of anything.
I’ll be taking you through the ‘need-to-knows’ then showing you how I made £15 in 30
minutes in a full-blown example.
There are websites out there that charge you handsomely for this information, but you
don’t need to pay here. Put half an hour aside, read this guide carefully, and you’ll have
made your first matched bet and up to £20 profit.
Piece by The Guardian (24/7/2010) on making money from free bets
I make no apologies for the length of this guide! You’ll need some patience and about 30
minutes to spare. Bookmark it if you want to come back later.
What is Matched Betting?
Matched betting is a way of squeezing out the many free bets offered by bookmakers. All
the bookies promote these offers (especially during big sporting events) to entice new
gamblers to place bets with them.
For example, “bet £25 with us and we’ll give you a £25 free bet!”
How does it work?
Firstly, you don’t need to know all the betting terminology if you follow the steps below, but
it’s important that you know two types of bet which allow matched betting to work:
A ‘back’ bet
Betting for a certain outcome to come true. E.g. “I bet England will win” is a backing bet. If it
comes true, you win the bet and the winnings. If England lose or draw, you lose your stake.
You can place a back bet at any bookmaker, such as Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes
A ‘lay’ bet
Betting against a certain outcome to come true. Eg. “I bet England will not win” is a lay bet.
If they lose or draw, you win the bet. You can only place a lay bet at a betting exchange such
Matched betting works by cancelling out the risk on the ‘back’ bet at the online bookies by
betting against yourself at the same odds (known as ‘laying’ a bet) which you can do at a
betting exchange. In other words, you are ‘matching’ your bet.
Following your first or ‘qualifying’ bet, you will then be awarded the free bet by
the bookmaker. This is where the profit is made. Quite simply, you repeat the process: bet
using the free bet and then lay the bet. Whatever the result you are guaranteed to make a
profit (which I’ll be demonstrating below).
How much profit can I make?
For each matched bet, you will be left with up to 95% of the free bet amount as profit. This
is because betting exchanges usually charge a commission of 5% on winnings. You may also
make a very small loss on the qualifying bet due to the minor difference in odds on each
website. This is normal, and you will recoup this when you use the free bet.
In the steps below I’ll show you how to profit from a £20 free bet using a real life
example. Replicate the same steps across the hundreds of free bet offers each year and you
can quickly be looking at £1,000s. Personally I have made just over £1,200 in 18 months
from matched betting alone.
And it’s worth pointing out; earnings from the gambling industry are currently tax-free.
What’s the risk?
Anyone can learn how to do matched betting and, in theory, there is no risk
involved because you are covering yourself by betting for and against the same event.
However the risk comes when mistakes are made so, once again, you need to double-check
everything and follow the steps exactly. On rare occasions free bets do not always come
through right away, so just be patient.
Once you’ve understood the process and been successful by following the steps below, you
can then continue matched betting at many other online bookies with free bet offers which
can quite quickly land you a lot of money without risk.
It’s also worth pointing out that depositing at gambling websites does not affect your credit
Your First Profit in 14 steps
Note: This is literally a step-by-step, hold-your-hand kind of guide. There’s lots of fragmented
information out there on forums etc. which can often result in costly mistakes for novices.
Below I outline exactly the steps I follow, using the practical example of one PaddyPower
free bet. So long as you follow word for word, you can’t go wrong. I strongly suggest reading
through all the steps first before making any bets.
1. Sign up for Betfair.com
Betfair is a betting exchange where you can ‘lay’ bets
to cancel out your risk at the bookmakers.
Unlike traditional bookmakers, Betfair is a place where you bet against other people.
Register on Betfair.com
2. Sign up for PaddyPower.com
The best offer by far right now (at the time of writing this) is
with PaddyPower.com who are offering £20 free bets on new sign ups when you bet
just £5 (don’t worry we’ll be matching this too). So we’ll be using this ‘bookie’ in this
Always check the T&Cs of receiving free bet offers. There may be some restrictions
on what you can bet on or an expiry date.
They will also tell you whether or not the free bet is returned with winnings. In this
example and generally speaking, it is not but we’ll still be making a nice profit.
During registration, you will be prompted to make a deposit. Choose one of the
many payment types and deposit just £5 (needed to unlock the free bet).
Register on PaddyPower.com
3. Use decimal odds
Once you’ve logged into PaddyPower.com, change your odds display from fractions
to decimal for easy comparison with Betfair.com and to use in the spreadsheet
below. You can do this from the selection in the sidebar across the site. This is
Found bottom of left sidebar
4. Download our free spreadsheet
This does all the maths to give you the exact amounts you need to bet or lay to
guarantee a profit.
I’ll be showing you how to use it, but feel free to play around with it, and hover over
any of the cells in the spreadsheet for tips if you’re unsure.
Download the matched betting spreadsheet (.xls)
Apple users: If you only have Numbers, then you need to use the version labelled
‘Apple’ at the end otherwise you’ll get an error!
5. Find a bet
Ideally you want to choose a sporting bet (I recommend football) which has the
closest odds on both PaddyPower.com (the bet to back) and Betfair.com (the lay
Look on PaddyPower first then find the equivalent lay bet on Betfair.com (the red
box, not the blue!). If you cannot see any red boxes, you need to go to the exchange
by clicking the top left link.
For this free bet offer, PaddyPower’s terms state you must pick odds of 1.5 or
greater. It’s better to choose a bet with low odds, between 1.5 and 2.0 if possible.
Stick to popular markets, such as Win-Draw-Win or Half-time Result.
Finally, choose an event that’s going to happen within the next 24 hours to save you
waiting around later. But be careful about picking an event which is starting within 2
hours because odds will be fluctuating more making things a bit trickier.
In the example below, I have picked a football match between Everton and West
Brom. I will back Everton at PaddyPower.com with odds of 1.61 and lay that same
bet on Betfair.com with odds of 1.6.
6. Enter the odds in the spreadsheet
Go back to the spreadsheet and enter the ‘Back odds’ (from PaddyPower.com) and
the ‘Lay odds’ (from Betfair.com). They must be as decimals, not fractions!
Leave the ‘Stake’ as £5, as this is the amount for your qualifying bet, and the ‘Lay
Commission’ as 5%, as this is what Betfair will deduct from any winnings. Don’t
change anything else.
Row 19 shows you an estimate of how much you will lose on the qualifying bet
(sometimes you can make a small profit, but a loss here is expected). As we
mentioned in the previous step, the closer the odds are on both sites, the lower this
will be (aim below 25p).
In my example bet, the difference is 0.1 which according to the spreadsheet’s
estimate will give me a small loss of 7p on this qualifying bet.
7. Make your deposits
If you haven’t already, you first need to deposit £5 at PaddyPower.com (I made mine
Then you need to deposit at least the “Lay Risk” amount as shown in the
spreadsheet (row 18) into your Betfair account (minimum is £10, but you don’t have
to bet all of it). This is the amount needed to cover the ‘Lay’ bet we’ll be making.
Word of Warning!
Before placing your bets please make sure you check there is enough money in the
‘pot’ in Betfair for your bet to be accepted. When I first started using this system I
was caught out once when placing bets on a football match in Japan. I checked all
the odds and used the spreadsheet and everything looked great but I then placed a
bet with Ladbrokes that Team A would win and placed a bet with Betfair that Team A
wouldn’t win and noticed that my Betfair bet wasn’t fully matched (basically only
some of the bet was accepted as there was not enough money in the betfair pot to
accept my bet). This resulted in me not making as much money as I could have.
MAKE SURE you check if there is enough money in the pot before you place your
bets. All you have to do when in Betfair is "view the full market" for the game or
event that you're betting on. This is done by clicking on the game or event you want
to bet on and then clicking on ‘full market’. See print screen below:
CLICK ON THE
CLICK ON ‘VIEW FULL
CHECK TO SEE IF THE AMOUNT IN
THE POT IS MORE THAN WHAT IS
SHOWN IN ROW 18 OF THE
The max amount that is available for you to bet is below the odds. If the amount in the pot is
above the “Lay Risk” amount as shown in the spreadsheet (row 18) you are good to
go! 99.9% of the time you won’t have to worry about this but I always check just to
make sure even when betting on popular matches and events.
When you place the bet it should also tell you whether or not it's been matched in the
8. Place your qualifying bet
Now it’s time to match your first (or qualifying) bet which is needed to unlock the
free £20 bets. Be careful with this step, and take your time. Make sure you have both
websites open with the same event so you can place both bets at the same time.
First check that the odds haven’t changed at PaddyPower.com and that they match
what’s in your spreadsheet (if they have you need to adjust the ‘Back Odds’).
Then go ahead and place a £5 bet backing the outcome of your chosen event (eg.
Everton to win as in my example) at PaddyPower.com. Simply click on the decimal
odds to bring up the betting slip.
Matching the bet
Without any delay, head over to the Betfair.com page you have open, click on the lay
odds (a red button) and enter the ‘Lay Stake’ (row 17) amount from the spreadsheet
into the box.
You should see that the ‘Lay risk’ is the same as in the spreadsheet (row 18). It may
be a penny or two out but don’t worry as it’s an estimate. Once you confirm, you
have matched the bet you made on PaddyPower.
Here are my betting slips on both websites for my qualifying bet:
Now just sit back and wait for the outcome of the event to be decided!
9. Claim your free bet
In the Everton v. West Brom game, Everton won 2-1. So my return (of £8.08) ended
up on my PaddyPower account. Meanwhile I lost the £3.11 (my Lay Risk) on my
Betfair account. The total amount between the accounts is therefore £4.97, which is
a loss of 3p (marginally less than the 7p estimate in my spreadsheet, due to some
tiny differences we don’t have to worry about).
Now I have placed and seen through the £5 qualifying bet, I now have a £20 free bet!
This gives me a total credit of £28.08 in PaddyPower, but I’m only going to use the
£20 free bet and will withdraw the rest later. My Betfair account is down to £6.89
(my initial deposit of £10 – £3.11) and will need topping up (see below).
So whatever your outcome, because you matched the bets, you will have close to
your £5 back between the 2 sites (minus the small loss we expected).
The free bet of £20 will be credited to your PaddyPower account (if not after 24
hours, contact customer services 08000 565 275).
10. Find a new bet
We’re basically going to repeat the process, but using the £20 free bet instead of the
Find another bet on both websites following the same advice as in Step 5. However
this time it’s worth picking odds greater than 4.0 to maximise your profit, but just
bear in mind that the higher they are the more you’ll need to have in your Betfair
account to lay it (see the ‘Lay Risk’ box in the spreadsheet). If you don’t have the
funds available, just reduce the odds back down to 2.0 or so.
I tend to play around with different events/bets in the spreadsheet anyway to get an
idea for the numbers (specifically ‘Back Profit’ and ‘Lay Risk’).
In my example, I’ve picked out another football match, this time between Algeria
and Ivory Coast. The odds are above 4.0 and have only a 0.1 difference between the
sites. You’ll see below that I am backing Algeria to win on PaddyPower (5.0 odds)
and then I’m laying that bet (for Algeria not to win) at Betfair (4.9 odds).
11. Back to the spreadsheet
Head back to the spreadsheet and click the ‘Continue to Bet 2: Free Bet’ button. First
we need to change the ‘Stake’ amount to £20 (row 11), and also put £20 as ‘Stake
Not Returned’ (row 12) since this is in the terms of the PaddyPower free bet.
Enter the new ‘Back odds’ (on PaddyPower.com) and the ‘Lay odds’ (on Betfair.com)
for this second bet.
‘Your Profit’ (row 20) shows you the profit you can expect to make from this bet,
regardless of the outcome! In this instance, you’re unlikely to get the full £20 free
bet as profit since the free bet is not returned.
Again using my example to illustrate, the spreadsheet has calculated that I’ll make a
clear profit of £15.67, whatever happens. Nice
12. Add funds to your Betfair account
You’ll probably need to make another deposit to Betfair so that your account has at
least the “Lay Risk” amount as shown in the spreadsheet (row 19). Don’t worry we’ll
be getting it back.
In my case, I had £6.89 remaining from the first bet, so I deposited £58 to more than
cover the Lay Risk (total £64.89).
13. Place the free bet
Ok, so we’re ready to match our second bet to cash out with our profit we’ve now
calculated. Again, have both websites open with the same event to place both bets
at the same time. This reduces the risk of odds changing and messing up your figures
(if they do change update your spreadsheet).
Check the odds at PaddyPower.com still match what’s in your spreadsheet (if they
have you need to adjust the ‘Back Odds’).
Now place your £20 bet, backing the outcome of your chosen event. Make sure you
select your free bet!
Matching the bet
Quickly head over to the Betfair.com page you have open, click on the lay odds (a
red button) and enter the ‘Lay Stake’ (row 18) amount from the spreadsheet into the
Confirm the bet and you’ve now matched the bet on PaddyPower.
Here are my bet slips on both websites for my free bet:
14. Cash out the profit
Whatever the outcome, you will now be in profit to the amount calculated in the
spreadsheet (‘Your profit’). Now it’s time to cash out!
In my example of the Algeria v. Ivory Coast game, the score ended in a draw at 2-2.
This means that I lost my £20 free bet on PaddyPower (because I backed Algeria to
win) and the winnings of the matched bet totaling £16.49 ended up in Betfair. Once
you deduct Betfair’s 5% commission on winnings I’m left with £15.67 profit, which
you’ll notice matches the profit calculated in my spreadsheet.
I now have £8.08 in my PaddyPower account and £80.56 in Betfair. PaddyPower will
only let you withdraw a minimum of £10 so I just deposited another £5 and then
simply withdrew the £13.08. I then withdrew the full Betfair balance back onto my
My total profit from both matched bets, accounting for the 3p loss on my £5
qualifying bet, totals £15.64. I spent just under 30 minutes on the whole process,
giving me an hourly rate of £31.28 if I move onto the next of many free bets out
there (best listed below). Beats stacking shelves…
Please share with your friends!
If you enjoyed and profited from this guide, sharing it is the best thanks you could give. And
I’m sure they’ll appreciate it too
More Free Bets
If you are confident enough with the process of matched betting and
eager to make much more profit, then work through the free bet offers in the table below.
The same steps above still apply unless stated, just change the values of the free bet
amount. As always, check the terms of each offer! All of the free bets below are ‘stake not
Current free bet total: £235
Claim Now »
Claim Now »
Claim Now »
Claim Now »
Claim Now »
Claim Now »
Claim Now »
Note: Although the greatest care is taken and these free bets are researched regularly it’s
important that you check the full terms and conditions of each free bet offer after clicking
through to the bookmaker’s site.
There are many more free bets available out there some of which we have listed below that
we think are definitely worth using. Just click on any of the logos below to find the latest
free bet offer.