football matched betting

If you’re serious about making money online and want to do it in your own time and with minimal risk, Matched Betting is the place to start.

What is Matched Betting?

Matched Betting is a system where we accept bonus money from a bookmaker (usually sign up bonuses) and then place a series of bets to cover all outcomes of an event in order to turn the bonus money into profit.

How much can I make?

This is probably the most commonly asked question, but does not have an easy answer as it depends on a lot of factors. Matched Betting has a different learning curve for everyone. People with a natural affinity for Maths and figures, or those that have experience of placing bets online will definitely have an advantage although it’s important to know that anyone can do this as long as you are over 18, have a bank account and internet access.

Where you live is also an important factor. England (thanks mainly due to a couple of pioneering companies that I will mention later) is very much the spiritual home of Matched Betting and the main sites offering the required tools and tutorials have well over 100,000 subscribers.

Although the biggest market for Matched Betting is in the UK/Ireland, as long as online gambling is legal in your country and you have a licensed betting exchange then you can make money from it.

Matched Betting won’t make you a millionaire overnight but once you’ve taken a few hours to master the concepts behind it, you’ll soon be bringing in a regular income at a high hourly rate. Combine this with more advanced betting systems such as Value Betting and you can join the thousands of people who make a full-time living from bookmakers.

How Does it Work

Matched Betting allows you to extract profit from bookmaker bonuses by betting on all outcomes of an event.

Bookmakers offer generous sign-up bonuses in order to attract customers. They are willing to lose money from these in the hope that you’ll spend a lot more money on standard bets which they will then make money from. This gives the sign-up offers significant potential value. Although you can only do a bookmaker signup bonus once they consistently offer free bets, boosted odds and other bonuses which can all be used to make a profit.

With Matched Betting, we place a standard (BACK) bet with the bookmaker but also bet an opposite (LAY) bet on the same event. These bets effectively cancel each other out, allowing us to take the majority of the sign-up bonus as profit.

You can use Matched Betting to make money in any country where betting is legal.

Back and Lay Bets

These are probably the 2 most crucial concepts when it comes to Matched Betting. If you’re new to betting it may take you a little time to fully comprehend them but taking the time to do so is the key to achieving sustainable long-term profits.

A bet is when you attempt to predict the outcome of an event. The first thing to understand is that every bet has two sides. Whether it’s with a friend or a bookmaker, when you place a bet it is always matched on the other side. If you place a €50 bet at a bookmaker for England to win with odds of 3.0 you are initially giving them €50 but with the chance to win €150. The bookmaker takes the €50 but also has to make sure that they have sufficient funds if England win because then they have to give back the €50 plus the €100 winnings on top. It is important to note that if the game is a draw, the bookmaker keeps the €50. As the bookmaker bets against England winning, every possible outcome except and England win is covered.

Bookmakers only allow you to place BACK Bets but with betting exchanges, you can also place LAY Bets. Matching the BACK and LAY bet enables us to take the bonus money offered by the bookmaker as profit.

Betting that something will happen is called a BACK bet.
Betting that something will NOT happen is called a LAY bet.

Placing a BACK bet with a corresponding LAY bet is the basis of Matched Betting.

Betting Exchanges

There are 2 main betting exchanges – Smarkets and Betfair. The main difference between betting exchanges and bookmakers is that betting exchanges don’t set their own odds. All odds are offered by other players on the platform and you can choose to accept their odds or set your own odds. Bookmakers make their profits by including their profit margin in the odds that they offer. Betting exchanges make their money through a commission on winning bets (5% for Betfair, 2% for Smarkets).

They look quite different but the important factor with these is that whichever exchange you use you will always be placing LAY bets rather than BACK bets.


The numbers in green are the BACK bets but we’re only interested in the blue lay bets on the right (with apologies for my woeful MS Paint skills). We will always place the BACK bet with the bookmaker but then use the exchange for the LAY bet. These will cancel each other out (usually with a small 2% to 5% loss)



Just as on Smarkets, the LAY bet is on the right-hand side, except this time it is highlighted with the pink colour:


It is important to understand the difference between a BACK bet and a LAY bet. With a Back Bet, you can only lose your stake but the odds will tell you how much you can potentially win (e.g €50 at 2.0 will give you €100).

As the LAY bet is the opposite to a BACK the most you can win is your stake. When you place a LAY bet it will give you a “liability” figure. This is how much you can potentially lose. The higher the odds, the higher the “liability”. This is because the liability is required to pay the winner of the BACK bet.

This is the single most crucial element to understand to become a successful Matched Bettor but it’s important to note that as long as you have correctly placed a Back Bet and corresponding LAY bet then you won’t lose money.

Odds and Liability

If you’re new to betting odds can be very confusing. You may have heard odds being expressed as fractions such as 4/1 or 11/4. This makes it harder than it should be so for Matched Betting we never use fractions and instead use decimal odds.

The most important thing you need to know about decimal odds is that they are a measure of how likely something is to happen. The bigger the number, the less likely.

If you bet €50r on England at odds of 3.0 and they win, you will get a RETURN of €150.


At the same time, the bookmaker will lose €100. This is the liability which is the amount the LAYER stands to lose. Liability is important to understand as you will be placing a lay bet against every BACK bet. It is also very easy to calculate:


The liability section of the exchange can often cause confusion. It can be quite scary at the start when we see high liability at the betting exchange but remember, as you will always have a corresponding BACK bet, any liability that you lose at the betting exchange will be won at the bookmaker.

Your First Profit

Well the good news is that through this site I will teach you everything you need to know to start making money from Matched Betting and even supply various tools such as an oddsmatcher and calculator absolutely free. Once you start making money, you may want to sign up with one of sites that give you access to more advanced tools to maximise your profitable opportunities.

The majority of sign-up offers fall within 2 specific categories: Deposit Bonus or Free Bet. We can use Matched Betting to guarantee a profit from both of these, but the approach for each is slightly different.

Deposit Bonus Sign-Up Offers

A deposit bonus is where a bookmaker matches your deposit with a bonus amount. This is usually a 100% deposit bonus such as “Deposit €50, Get €50”.

IMPORTANT: Some bookmakers will try and catch you out so it is important to check the terms and conditions.
Minimum Odds: Almost all offers have minimum odds (usually 1.8 to 2.0). Do not place bets with lower than the minimum odds
Wagering: Check how much wagering is required. We will get into this later but wagering of more than 12xBonus (6xBonus+Deposit) may not have value.
Bonus Validity: Bonuses will usually expire after 30 or 60 days.
Max Bet: Often a bookmaker will restrict the size of your initial bet. Placing a higher bet may invalidate your bonus.

Once you’ve identified a bookmaker with this offer follow these steps:

1. Register with the bookmaker and deposit the required amount of money to receive the bonus. Some bookmakers add the bonus immediately and some you will need to check with their live chat to get the bonus added.

2. Open our free oddsmatcher and select the relevant bookmaker from the drop-down menu (888Sport for this example). Click on “Filter”. Set the Minimum Odds to those stated in the offer (usually 1.8 or 2.0), Limit Sports to Football, Limit Market Type to Match Odds (1X2) and Limit Exchange to “Betfair” or “Smarkets” so that it looks like this:

You can of course select more markets and market types but if you’re starting out Football and Match Odds are the easiest to understand and will provide the best matches. The example filter brings up the following results:

Pick a game with a high rating (at least 95%) and as close to the minimum odds as possible.

Higher odds will increase the possibility of your BACK bet losing and your LAY Bet winning. This is ideal as you will avoid the rollover and your money (including the profit) will be available for withdrawal in your Betfair account as soon as the game is settled. Be warned though, higher odds will also mean higher liability (money you need in the exchange for the lay bet) so if you only have limited capital, stick to odds as close to the minimum as possible but no lower.

3. Open the calculator. Select Bet Type “Normal”. Enter the “Back stake” (normally the entire balance in the bookmaker), the BACK (bookmaker) odds, LAY (exchange) odds, and the lay commission (2% Smarkets, 5% Betfair). Click on calculate and and you will be presented with your LAY stake and liability.

4. Find your chosen match on both the bookmaker and the exchange and check the odds are still the same as the oddsmatcher. If they’ve changed slightly, either find a new match or re-calculate with the new odds. Place and confirm your BACK bet with the bookmaker and place the corresponding lay bet (using the lay stake from the calculator) with the exchange. This is always placed on the PINK right-hand side against the outcome or team you backed with the bookmaker. Double-check that your BACK BET is confirmed and your Betfair LAY BET is matched.

5. If your bet loses with the bookmaker, well done! Your deposit plus profit will now be in the exchange and available for withdrawal. If your bet won with the bookmaker then you’ll need to go back to step 2 and place further bets until you have completed the wagering or all your money is in the exchange.

Free Bet Sign-Up Offers

These are usually in the format, deposit €50 and receive a free bet of €50. With Free Bets, we get to keep any winnings but not the original stake so we have to calculate these differently to guarantee a profit. Although the profit margin is generally less than with deposit bonuses, they generally don’t have wagering requirements so require less capital and fewer bets.

1. Sign up with the bookmaker, deposit the required amount and check that your Free Bet has been added. If you have to place a qualifying bet to receive your Free Bet, follow steps 2 to 5 above.

2. Once you have your Free Bet, open the Oddsmatcher and select the bookmaker. If a Free Bet wins we receive the winnings but not the stake so higher odds will result in more profit. Therefore go to the filter and select minimum odds of 4.0. Limit Sports to Football, Limit Market Type to Match Odds (1X2), and Limit Exchange to “Betfair” or “Smarkets”.

3. Open the calculator. Change the mode from NORMAL to Free Bet (SNR) and enter the BACK stake in the bookmaker stake field. Enter the BACK odds and the LAY odds and lay commission. This will now automatically calculate the correct lay stake and liability and also show how much you will make from the Free Bet whatever the result.

4. Find your chosen match on both the bookmaker and the exchange and check the odds are still the same. If they’ve changed slightly, either find a new match or re-calculate with the new odds. Place and confirm your free bet with the bookmaker. Place the corresponding lay bet (using the lay stake from the calculator) with the exchange. This is always placed on right-hand side against the outcome or team you backed with the bookmaker. Double check that your BACK bet is confirmed and your exchange bet is matched.

5. Whatever the result of the Free Bet, you are now free to withdraw your initial deposit and profit.

Is it Really Risk Free?

Well yes and no. In theory, if you follow the instructions carefully then yes, it is risk-free. In reality, you will almost definitely make occasional mistakes which may cost you (or if you`re lucky, make you more) money. Additionally, although bookmakers are not able to prevent Matched Betting, many are unscrupulous and can with-hold your money for often petty reasons. As long as you stay with licensed bookmakers, this shouldn`t be an issue but it is worth knowing about the potential pitfalls before you start.

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