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What is Matched Betting?

Matched betting is a betting technique used to turn free bets and incentives offered by online bookmakers into pure profit. You cover all of the potential outcomes of an event by placing two bets. That way, you can unlock value and look to make a profit every time because the result of the bet becomes irrelevant.

This guide will show you the matched betting process from start to finish, including easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions. Find out if matched betting is for you, thanks to this complete overview.

How does matched betting work?

Matched betting still works in 2020 because the maths means that you win no matter what the outcome of the event you’re betting on.When you place a bet at a bookmaker, the bookmaker is effectively betting against your outcome coming true. They balance the odds offered to ensure that they make a profit no matter what the outcome.In matched betting, you act as the better and the bookmaker, ensuring that you win no matter what. It involves making two kinds of bets:


As the name suggests, a back bet means that you’re backing a certain outcome to come true — you’re betting that something will happen. You place back bets at regular online bookmakers like Paddy Power or William Hill


With a lay bet, you’re betting against a certain outcome — you’re betting that it won’t come true so that it cancels out your back bet. You can only place lay bets through betting exchanges like Betfair, which allow you to act as the bookmaker. The idea is to match your lay bet odds to your back bet odds, so that you cancel out the risk — hence the term ‘matched betting’. You also place your bets on sites offering ‘free bet’ deals so that you can repeat the process without spending any of your own money and therefore increase your profits.

Here’s an example of how matched betting works, step by step:

Find a free bet

You can find a free bet sign offer on our site under ‘welcome offers’

Example of a bookmaker offer ‘Bet £10 get £30 in free bets’.

Qualifying bet

Open up an account with the bookmaker and deposit £10.

You place a £10 back bet at the bookmaker on England to win their next game.

Place a lay bet

You place a lay bet on a betting exchange.

This means that you bet against England winning their next game, balancing the odds and stake to match your back bet.

Use the free bet

England play their game, and either your back bet or lay bet wins.

You have unlocked £30 of free bets with the bookmaker. Use the free bets on a selection.

Place a lay bet

Place another lay bet on the exchange to cover your free bets.

So for example you can bet on your team not to win.

Make profit

Once your game have settled you should of converted your free bets into cash.

You should end up with around 80% of the free bet amount, so a £30 free bet turns into around £24 profit.

You can do matched betting yourself, but the maths can be complicated and it’s easy to go wrong. That’s why most people use software like OddsMatcher, which will keep you on the right track. It finds, sorts and ranks the best odds for you, and its built-in calculator works out how much you’ll need to bet in order to make money.

Have you created your free account yet? Get started now!

Is matched betting worth it?

Our customers certainly think that matched betting is worth it! Our tools and resources make matched betting quick and easy, and all the money you earn is tax-free.

You can certainly earn an impressive hourly rate with matched betting, but whether it’s worth the time investment depends entirely on your circumstances. Read our matched betting success stories.

Over the last few years we have helped thousands of people earn a second income with matched betting.

Is matched betting legal?

Matched betting is completely legal in the UK but you do have to be aged 18 or over, just as with any other gambling activity. It is not a scam and it is not a con — it may seem too good to be true, but it’s totally legit!

Bookmakers aren’t huge fans of matched betting, because they’re not making money off you — they sometimes refer to the practice as ‘bonus abuse’. However, it’s by no means illegal and the worst they can do as ‘punishment’ is put restrictions on your account, in a process known as gubbing. Learn more about gubbing and how to avoid it.

Is matched betting gambling?

There’s a lot of overlap with matched betting and gambling – you’ll be placing bets and using bookmaker sites.

However, gambling involves “taking a punt” on the outcome ending up in your favour. If you don’t get lucky, you won’t make any money. On the other hand, the outcome doesn’t matter in matched betting. You don’t guess what will happen and risk your money on it coming true: you back both options so that it’s impossible to lose. So, matched betting is not really gambling in that sense.

Matched betting outside the United Kingdom.

Because we’re located in the UK, most of the offers we find and post on are UK-based. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that if you live outside the UK you can’t matched bet, it just means that you’ll need to check the terms and conditions of individual bookmakers and offers to see if you’re still eligible.

The availability of offers depends on the bookie. Some of the larger bookmakers operate in countries across the world and may have similar offers available in your country. It’s a slightly more manual process, finding these offers. But there’s still money to be made.

You should also check bookmakers’ terms if you’re a UK resident on holiday, as betting restrictions may still apply while you’re temporarily abroad.

How to get started with matched betting?

Depending on your budget, experience and level of matched betting activity, your setup could vary greatly. It could be anything from a smartphone and a notebook to a multi-screen arrangement.

However, at this point, all you need is a computer with a good internet connection. The most important thing is that you need to able to move between tabs and windows quickly without worrying about your connection dropping out. Odds can change quickly and your internet needs to keep up as much as it can.

We also recommend setting up an email address specifically for matched betting. That way, you can avoid ‘spam’ in your personal account and all of the offers that are sent to you will be in one place (easy to find). There are loads of free email services out there (Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail, Get a separate account and sync it up to your smartphone so you never miss an offer!

Do I need a separate bank account for matched betting?

The main argument for having a bank account especially for matched betting is so everyday spending doesn’t get in the way. It’s as simple as that. With a separate bank account, you can keep track of your incomings and outgoings more easily. Without having to trawl through all those Just Eat orders and bills…

Joking aside though, most of us have direct debits set up for things, so we need money in the bank on a certain date. Withdrawal times differ between bookmakers and sometimes there’ll be extra delays that are out of your control.

It can be a bit of a waiting game. And this all means that you won’t always be able to guarantee when you have the amount of money you were expecting.

Does matched betting affect your credit rating?

Matched betting does not affect your credit score. Credit rating agency Experian told the Guardian: “It won’t appear on the credit reference radar. You can have as many gaming accounts as you want.”

Betting websites may make a “soft search” on your credit report to make sure you are who you say you are, but they do not perform a proper credit check — after all, you are not applying for credit. Lenders will not be able to see these searches, and there will be no impact on your credit rating.

Will matched betting affect my mortgage application?

If you are concerned that a potential lender will look unfavourably on your mortgage application due to frequent betting activity on your bank statements, it’s a good idea to set up a separate bank account for matched betting or use an e-wallet like Skrill.

Bear in mind that matched betting earnings will not count as an official form of monthly income when applying for your mortgage. In other words, you can’t use matched betting to prove that you’ll be able to afford your future mortgage repayments.

How much money do I need to start matched betting?

The amount of your own money you need to start matched betting (known as your “float” or “bankroll”) depends on your circumstances and how much money you can afford to set aside for matched betting.

We’d recommend a minimum bankroll of at least £50, but the more you start with, the more you can earn. A larger bank roll means you can do more offers at once, without having to wait for your money to transfer between bank, bookmaker and betting exchange accounts.