Matched Betting Explained – The Complete Guide

Rather than calling this as a term for betting, we prefer to categorize this as a method of betting. Before we continue, we must express that Matched betting is extremely difficult to understand and has taken experienced betters an extremely long time to master, however, once mastered this is extremely worthwhile and profitable.


Best Bookmakers

  • Nigeria's favorite bookmaker
  • Competitive odds
  • Great in-play statistics on live games
  • Live betting also included
  • Huge range of bonuses, and promotions
  • Fast and reliable in match updates
  • Fantastic Live Streaming options
  • Amazing cash out feature
  • Previous statistics, goals, form available

Step by step on how to match bet

  • Let’s say there is an offer from a bookmaker which is “bet £10 get £30 in free bets”. In order to complete the qualifying bet, you deposit £10 of your own money and stake it
  • You then place the £10 on Liverpool to win their game.
  • Then you go to the exchange and place your lay bet, meaning you bet against Liverpool winning that game. This way your odds are balanced as is the stake to match your back bet.
  • The result doesn’t really matter, but regardless of whether Liverpool win or lose, either you back bet or lay bet wins. Now, you should have won a similar amount of money as your stake amount, but you have also unlocked the £30 of free bets which was promised to you by the bookies at the beginning.
  • Now, you just keep repeating the same method with the free bets you unlocked. This will eventually turn your free bets into real cash. If done correctly, you will gain approximately 70-80 percent of the £30 you had (This is due to bookmakers cuts and slight changes in odds).

What is Matched Betting

Be aware that this is also called ‘Arbitrage’ betting in some parts of the world too, just in case the terminology sounds familiar.

The idea of Matched Betting is that it’s a safe free bet, so you can’t lose. At the beginning the idea is to break even in order to unlock free cash bonuses, however, after this the aim is to back your bets on two different sites in order to gain profit. This works regardless of the results.

Later on, we will discuss the steps that you need to make in order to get you started with Matched Betting. For now, we will discuss what you can gain out of it. At first, you will be aiming to just get your hands on free cash bonuses which the bookie will offer to you. Majority of the time you will need to spend a certain amount of your own money first however in order to unlock this. With matched betting, you will spend £5 of your own money, however it will be risk free and you will gain the free cash bonus. The reason it’s risk free is because you will be backing a team to win on one bookie, and then you will back that team not to win on another bookie that has an exchange, such as Betfair. The aim is for the odds to be similar so regardless of the score you will only lose pennies, but the point is that you unlock the free cash bonuses.

Terminology that is used in these scenarios is the back bet and the lay bet. The back bet is the wager on the team to win on the bookie that is offering you the free cash bonus if you bet a certain amount of your own money. The Lay is the wager on the exchange, whereby you back the same team to lose. The reason we ask you to use an exchange is because you can’t back a team to lose on a normal sportsbook site, you can only back the team they are playing against to win instead, which is not what we want here. On an exchange not only can you play around with the odds a little, but you can bet against others.


How to qualify for matched betting offers

When you sign up to an account, you will most of the time be offered a deposit bonus. Let’s say for the sake of this conversation that offer is deposit £10 and get £20 cash bonus. So, in this case if you deposit that 10 you will get 20. What’s important to note first is that even though your account will show £30 altogether, when you place a bet now, then £10 of your own money will be used first. Not only will it be used first, but if you win, you need to keep using your own money until it’s at a zero balance before the bonus money is then used, and you have a time limit as bonuses usually expire. This is where Matched betting comes into play.
What needs to be done, is to find a football match (If that’s what you bet on) whereby the two teams have similar odds. Let’s say the match is Arsenal vs Chelsea and the odds are (In decimal because it’s easier) Arsenal to win is 1.75 and Chelsea to win is 1.95. You will place the £10 on Chelsea to win on the site which is offering the cash bonus, then you need to go to another bookie which offers an exchange market, such as Betfair. You find the same match on the exchange and this time you bet on Chelsea to lose rather than Arsenal to win. This way regardless of the result you will lose approximately £0.17 altogether. This might sound like bad news, but it’s not, because you have now unlocked your £20 free bet and it’s now completely risk free. The table below makes a simpler read:.


  • This, regardless of the score will make you lose, but this is the point, so you can then unlock that lovely free cash bonus.

What to do next?

Pretty much all you need to do is to repeat the same steps over and over again, however this time you will be using the £20 free cash bonus that you just unlocked. At times, this can be given to you as 4 x x£5, but if this is the case, then place them on the same match/event but make sure this is as separate bets. Then simply keep an eye on your bets and make sure to withdraw your profits at the right time.

The procedure is very repetitive and can take a while to find the right results and matches, but patience is the best advice that can be given. Later on, in the article you will see a list of tools that be helpful for starting off with.


Frequently asked questions

  • Do I need a strong knowledge in sports? It’s not necessarily a must, however it will definitely help and benefit if you know a little about the sport or teams going into placing the bet. Being successful in matched betting is predominantly down to understanding the formula and being patient. Obviously, this can be very repetitive and if you’re a sports fan, this can be more enjoyable, and if you’re not, then maybe not so much
  • Is experience in betting a must in order to do matched betting? Absolutely note, however, similar to the sports question above, it would definitely help. Matched betting is simple maths and there are tools out there (Which are mentioned in this article) which can help you with the process until you get the hang of it
  • Can I do matched betting full time and make a living out of it? You can, for sure, but unfortunately if it was that straight forward then everyone would be doing it. We see that there are 3 levels to matched betting. There is level one for the beginners who do it on the side or for fun, level two for those taking it a bit more seriously and giving more time and effort into it, but not quite making a living yet. Then there is level 3, those who do it religiously and full time. You really need to be hitting level 3 in order to be making a living out of it. This takes a lot of time and sacrifices, but definitely worth it in the long run.
  • Do I need to be really good at maths to do matched betting? Not really, it obviously would help, but as mentioned previously, there are plenty of tools and calculators out there which can help you.
  • Is there a risk with matched betting? Technically, it is risk free, because you are covering all outcomes of the event and therefore making profit regardless of the outcome. There is, however, the possibility of a ‘human error’. Now this isn’t anyone else’s fault other than the punter placing the bet, but we advise to be careful and double check. If you match bet correctly, then there will be no risk.


Matched betting in a nutshell.

We usually give a list of the best bookmakers to do matched betting with, the only issue is that there is only a handful of bookmakers who provide an exchange (The main one being Betfair) and there are loads of bookies who provide deposit bonuses. It’s entirely up to you which bonus you select, but if you follow the steps and procedures careful and put enough time into it, you will profit like a season pro punter.



Tip of the Month
100% up to ₦100,000
  • Excellent Football Statistics available
  • Virtual Jackpots up for grabs
  • Yakata Bonus with 200% winnings boost
Best Bookie
200% up to ₦100,000
  • Fantastic Betting App
  • HUGE Selection of Betting Markets
  • The Most Competitive Odds
50% up to ₦20,000
  • Huge array of betting markets and sports to choose from
  • Virtual Sports & Esports available
  • Mobile app available on iOS and Android

Other relevant Betting Terms


Spin the wheel of fortune!

Canvas not supported, use another browser.
I don't feel lucky