What is matched betting?

match betting

Matched Betting is a strategy of converting free bets granted by online bookmakers (e.g bet365, 1xBet, Betsson, etc.) into real money. You achieve this by covering all the potential outcomes of a sporting event by placing multiple bets. By doing so, you will surely make a profit every time!

Matched betting has been present since the bookies started offering free bets as promotions, and Betting Exchange platforms like Betfair, Matchbook, Orbit or Betdaq became available.

It is also often referred to as ‘back or lay bet matching’ or ‘double betting’ and it represents the betting method used by individuals to profit from the free bet. In general, it is considered as a risk-free (not low risk, but the completely without risk) bet as it is based on the applying of the mathematical equation rather than chance and luck of each person. Usual profit margin for this type of betting is more than 85% of the free bet offer amount, and more than 70% where the stake is not returned. For instance, if you see a bookie giving out a €10 free bet – using this technique, on average, you will be able to ‘unlock’ €7 as a profit. That’s real cash that you can pull out.

Matched betting technique allows you to generate entirely risk-free income in a short period of time. The list of money-making opportunities really is endless and potential earnings are huge.

This guide will walk you through the Matched Betting fundamentals so that you will be able to do it easily and expand your current income with minimal effort. You will also find useful resources here that will allow you to generate profit.

How does Matched Betting work?

Primarily, it is not obligatory to know all the betting terminology if you follow the steps, but it’s important that you know two types of bets which allow this specific sort of betting to work:

A ‘back’ bet

Betting for a certain outcome to come true. Here is the example of a backing bet: “I bet Manchester United will beat Liverpool”. If that’s the outcome of the game, you win the bet. But if Manchester United loses or it’s a draw, you lose your stake. You can put your back bet at any bookmaker (Bet365, William Hill, Pinnacle, SBO, etc.).

A ‘lay’ bet

Betting against a certain outcome to happen. Here is the example of laying bet: “I am betting that Manchester United won’t win’’. If Liverpool defeats Manchester United or it ends in a draw, you will win the bet. You can only place a lay bet at a betting exchange platform (Orbit, Matchbook, Smarkets, etc.).

The system works by annulling the risk on the ‘back’ bet by betting against yourself at the same odds (named ‘laying’ bet) which you can perform at a betting exchange.

Following your initial real deposit bet, you will be awarded with the free bet by your bookie. This is where the profit is created. This is simply done by repeating the process (the more you replicate the steps, the more you will earn). No longer a matter of result, you reached your goal.

What’s the risk?

Anyone can learn how to perform Matched Betting in theory. However, the risk strikes if you make a mistake. Double-check everything before placing the bets.

-Open a Sportsbook betting account-

Reminder: Always check the full Terms and Conditions of receiving free bet offers. There may be some restrictions on what events you can bet on or even an expiry date.

  • During the registration, you will be prompted to make a deposit. Choose one of the many payment types. 
  • Find the sporting bet (football is usually the best choice) which has the closest odds offered on both the bookie (the back bet) and Betfair.com (the lay bet).
  • Check the Lay odds on your betting exchange account (if you are using Betfair, lay odds are the pink boxes, not the blue).
  • For some free bets the terms are allowing you only to pick odds of 1,5 or greater. The recommendation is that you choose only up to 2,50. 

Look at our example below and try to see if you are comfortable with the process.


Suggested football matches are Manchester United and Liverpool. Find it on the sportsbook of your choice and the Match Odds on the betting exchange. Next step is to check if the odds are in the proper ratio (use a software like Oddshero or Oddsmonkey to assist you). 

Back the bet Manchester United to win on the sportsbook account at 2,25 and lay bet on Betfair at 2,36.

Whatever the outcome, you will have a profit, by unlocking that sportsbook bonus.


The next step is practically repeating the same process, with the use of matched betting software.

For example, the suggested football match is Southampton vs Arsenal. The odds are above 3.0 and have only a 0,2 difference between the websites. Bet the draw selection on the sportsbook at 3,10 odds and then lay that bet (for a draw not to happen) on the betting exchange at 3,30 odds.

How much can you earn with match betting?

Earnings can vary depending on how much time and money you put in.

How long does it take?

One of the best things about matched betting is that you can do it on your own schedule. The more time you put in, the more bets you can do and the more money you will collect. On average, with a €200 per month budget, you will need to invest about 4 hours a week of matched betting. That works out at €12,5 per hour.

Do You need to know about sports or betting?

You don’t need any particular sports knowledge to start with matched betting. Just slowly follow step-by-step instructions on all the bets and you will make money. The outcome of the event will be irrelevant, so any prior knowledge of sports is not needed. Basic betting knowledge would be helpful but it is not essential.


How can you make money with Matched Betting strategy?

Bookies give money away in the form of bonuses and free bets. Once the back bet is placed on the sportsbook offering the bonus (for Team A to win) and a lay bet is placed at a betting exchange, but for the opposite result (Team A not to win), regardless of the outcome, the value of the free bet is unlocked.


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


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 exchange platforms.

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