This is the exact process I followed to turn £250 into over £20,000.
This is an extensive guide and we highly recommend reading it multiple times to make sure you understand it, at the end we’ll walk you through how to make your first £20 matched betting so it’s well worth taking the time to understand it. We’ll assume that you have no knowledge on gambling and have never placed a bet before. If you have bet before you’re at an advantage but make sure you still read it all, especially if you’re used to betting with Fractions.
How do Odds work?
Odds can be presented in one of 3 ways:
Fractions (I..e 3/2)
Decimals (i.e. 2.5)
American / US Style (i.e. -100 or +100)
For the purposes of matched betting decimals are the easiest to use as they allow the simplest comparison between different sites.
In order to calculate your return should a bet made in decimals win all you need to do is multiply your stake by the decimal odds.
£10 bet at odds of 3.5 gives a return of £35 (a profit of £25), this is different to fractions and US style.
What are Betting exchanges?
Most people picture the stock exchange when exchanges are mentioned and betting exchanges are not all that different. They enable you to ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ a bet with other individuals, By enabling you to sell (lay) a bet you can act as the bookmaker and actually set the odds for other punters. As well as having the option to lay bets you can also buy / bet / back bets on exchanges.
Betfair is by far the most popular betting exchange and has been around for over 10 years. Betfair makes money through commission. When you join Betfair you pay 5% commission on any winnings, if you have a losing bet you don’t pay anything to Betfair. This commission rate can reduces the more you gamble with Betfair and can get as low as 3%
Betfair can be confusing at first so here’s an example:
Here we can see the odds available to back and lay a Man UTD v Liverpool match.
If we want to bet on Liverpool to win we can do that at odds of 4.4.
Here’s an example placing a £10 bet on Liverpool to win at 4.4.
At a typical bookmaker we’d expect to get a return of £44 (£10 x 4.4) however due to commission this is slightly more complicated at Betfair especially as commission is only paid on winnings (not the initial stake). It’s important to note commission is not included in the calculation on the bet slip
The Winnings are £34 (excluding the initial stake), meaning the commission paid to Betfair is £1.70 (34 x 5%)
This means if Liverpool win we would get a return of £10 (Stake) + £34 (Winnings) – £1.70 (Commission) = £42.30
Although commission does impact the return Betfair’s odds are typically very competitive and can often be more than 5% higher than the other bookmakers.
See next page for Laying a bet
Laying a bet
Laying a bet is slightly more complicated, when you ‘Lay’ a bet you’re betting against the event happening.
If we use the example of Laying Liverpool to win.
If Man UTD win – the lay bet WINS
If Liverpool win – Lay bet LOSES
If Draw – Lay bet WINS
When placing a lay bet it’s important to understand how your stake is calculated, generally you bet the amount you want to WIN which can be significantly less than the amount you’re willing to risk.
If we look to Lay Liverpool for £10 at odds of 4.6 we can see that our liability (amount we are risking) is £36
This is easiest to understand if we consider the opponent we’re betting against, when placing this bet we’re betting against someone else who is betting £10 at 4.6 on Liverpool to win. If Liverpool win they will get £46 back (minus commission).
This £46 is made up of their stake (£10) and our liability (£36), this means that if Liverpool do win we lose £36.
If on the other hand Liverpool don’t win (i.e Man UTD win or it’s a draw) we stand to win £10 minus commission.
£10 – 5% = £9.50.
This ability to bet against a result happening is key to understanding matched betting. Make sure this makes sense before moving on.
See next page for Matched betting introduction
Covering all the outcomes
One of core principles of matched betting is that risk is removed by ensuring that whatever the outcome of the match you get the same return. This removes the ‘gambling’ from the betting.
We’ll use the same Man UTD v Liverpool match for an example. Here we’ve got the odds from William Hill:
Let’s imagine that we place a £10 bet at William Hill on Liverpool to Win:
If Man UTD Win – Lose £10
If Draw – Lose £10
If Liverpool Win – £42 return (£32 profit)
This is clearly gambling.
The Betfair results would be as follows:
If Draw – Win £9.23 (Stake) – £0.46 (commission) = £8.77
If Liverpool Win – Lose 33.23
If we then look at the combined results across William Hill & Betfair we can see:
If Man UTD Win – Win £8.77 at Betfair Lose £10 at William Hill = £1.23 loss overall
If Draw – Win £8.77 at Betfair Lose £10 at William Hill = £1.23 loss overall
If Liverpool Win – Lose £33.23 at Betfair, Win £32 at William Hill = £1.23 loss overall
We can see in this example that by covering all the outcomes of the match, whatever the result we end up in the same financial position and the only difference is which Bookmaker our money is in.
Bookmakers regularly offer sign up bonuses to entice customers to gamble with them, here’s an example from William Hill one of the best known UK Bookmakers
William Hill are offering a free £50 bet once you place a £50 bet. It’s very simple to get the Freebet:
Sign up using the Promo code
Place a £50 bet
Receive a freebet
Place the freebet
It’s important to understand the terms and conditions when placing a freebet, some are Stake Not Returned, others have a wagering requirement. Click here for more information on the different types of bonus.
Matched Betting combines the Freebets the bookmakers offer with the concept of covering all the outcomes to guarantee a profit.
Let’s use the example of the William Hill offer and the Man UTD v Liverpool match, this time placing a bet on Man UTD:
At William Hill we sign up using the Promo code and make a £50 deposit. We then bet the £50 deposit on Man UTD to Win
To ensure we’re covering all the outcomes we also bet £49.46 against Man UTD to win on Betfair (Lay):
If Man UTD Win – Win £41.50 at William Hill lose £44.51 at Betfair – A Loss of £3.01
If Liverpool Win – Lose £50 at William Hill, Win £46.99 at Betfair (£49.46 – £2.47 Commission) – A Loss of £3.01
Whatever the result of the Liverpool v Man UTD match we lose £3.01 but we can now use the Freebet.
Lets find another football match to place the Freebet on, this time Everton v QPR.
Here we’ve got the odds at William Hill:
And at Betfair:
Let’s imagine that we’re now placing £50 using the Freebet on Everton to win:
And Laying Everton to Win on Betfair for £49.66
If Everton Win: Win £72 at William Hill, lose £24.83 at Betfair – Winnings £47.17 overall
If QPR Win: Lose £0 (freebet) at William Hill and win £47.17 at Betfair £49.66 – £2.49 commission) – Winning £47.17 overall
So over the 2 sets of bets, Man UTD v Liverpool and Everton v QPR we guarantee to:
Man UTD v Liverpool – LOSE £3.01
Everton v QPR – Win £47.17
Overall GUARANTEED winnings of £44.16
It’s important to understand the Terms and Conditions of any free bet that you use, click here to understand more about the different types of freebets.
The different types of bonuses
Generally bonus take one of three different forms, it will either be “Stake Returned’ or “Stake not returned” or “Refund on lose”.
Stake returned means that when you place your freebet the returns are calculated in the same way as if you’d placed the bet with your own money. Generally when a bonus is stake returned you will also have a wagering requirement (WR) meaning that a certain amount must be bet before you can withdraw the winnings from the freebet.
The wagering requirement will typically be shown as a multiple of deposit (x D) or multiple of deposit plus bonus ( x D+B) and will have minimum odds associated with it. For example an offer might be deposit £50 get a free £50 bet but have a 4 x Deposit plus Bonus wagering requirement at odds of evens (2.0)or higher.
Normally bonuses like this are available as soon as you’ve made a deposit. In this example as soon as you’d made the £50deposit your bonus is added boosting your balance to £100. You can use the £100 balance to place bets however you wish, it can be broken down into smaller bets or the whole balance can be bet in one go. The key to understand is that until you’ve bet £400 on events that have odds over 2.0 you can’t make a withdrawal.
As long as you can find good matches at Betfair these offers can be profitable but to really make the most of them you should familiarise yourself with the concept of underlaying . It’s especially important to read the terms and conditions for SR offers both to understand the wager requirements and to understand any additional terms that may be imposed, at some bookies for instance you can withdraw winnings without sacrificing the bonus (this is unusual) where as at others you have to bet with your deposit before getting the bonus and at some the bet placed with the deposit has to settle before the receive the bonus. This sounds complicated but actually these offers are fairy simple as long as you have the bankroll, don’t assume all bets will lose and that you can move money into Betfair, long shots do come in. As a general rule of thumb you should expect to lose 5% of the bonus each time you have to bet with it, so if you have a 4 x Bonus WR you would expect to lose 20% of the bonus meeting the WR. There are exceptions to this but it’s a good general rule to work with.
Stake not returned
There are a number of key differences between Stake Returned (SR) and Stake not Returned (SNR) bonuses:
- They typically have no additional WR meaning that whatever you win you can withdraw immediately
- The stake is not returned with any winnings. – This is key
When you place a normal bet your return is your stake and any winnings but with a stake not returned free bet the stake part is not returned. As an example, let’s say you place a bet of £10 at odds of 3.5 and it wins: If it’s was placed with cash you get: £10 stake and £25 winnings back, £35 in total If it was placed with a SR bet you get: £10 stake and £25 winnings back, £35 in total If it was placed with a Stake Not Returned (SNR) Bet you get: £0 stake and £25 winnings, £25 in total. Many bookies offer stake not returned bets when you sign up and these are often the easier and quicker ones to do however because the stake is not returned you want to bet at high odds, the higher the odds the smaller the proportion of the return is made up of the stake and thus lost when the stake is not returned. You can see the effect of this in the graph below. You can see from this that the higher the odds the better the return (assuming you can get similar odds at the exchange) however the higher the odds the more cash is required at the exchange to lay the selection, for this reason most people aim for a 75-80% return using odds of 7+, this is of course flexible depending on your personal preference but any return much less than 70% should definitely be taken with caution. High odds can sometimes be hard to find, if you’re struggling check out the Correct score and HT-FT Markets as these generally have high odds available.
Calculating Lay stake
The main principle of Matched Betting is to cover all the outcomes so that whatever the result you get the same amount back. This is straight forward to do when using examples but can be slightly more complicated when trying to factor in commission and odds that run to 2 (or even 3) decimal places. To help combat this we’ve created a calculator that calculates the required lay stake based on the amount you’re betting at the Bookie, the odds at both the Bookie and the Exchange as well as any freebets that you might be using. Try inputting the examples we’ve already talked about to see it
You can either read our walkthrough of your first Matched Bet which details exactly how to make your first Matched Betting Profit If you feel confident with Matched Betting you can click the links below, sign up to William Hill and Betfair and make your first Matched Betting Profits.
For our list of over 100 sign up offers that are all profitable via Matched Betting, check this out.