Matched betting guide
This matched betting guide will show how matched betting works. Bookmakers always offer free bets and promotions.
We can back and lay a selection to cover all outcomes in a sporting event, converting these offers in to cash. Let’s run through a typical free bet offer.
How to do matched betting
BET £10 ⇒ GET £10 FREE BET
The bookie offers a £10 free bet if you bet £10 with your own cash first. Here is a step-by-step guide.
(The following example assumes 0% exchange commission).
Step 1: Register at the exchange
Register at Smarkets exchange and deposit £100. You need an exchange account to place lay bets.
Step 2: Register at the bookmaker
Sign-up at the bookmaker and deposit £10.
Step 3: Change to decimal odds
At the bookmakers, change the Settings from fractional odds to decimal odds. This makes it easier to compare bookie and exchange odds.
Step 4: Place your qualifying bet
The first bet you need to place is called a ‘qualifying bet’. This qualifies you for a free bet.
- a). Check the minimum odds requirement for your bookie back bet.
- b). Navigate to the correct betting market at the bookie and the exchange – in this case the Match Odds market.
- c). Place a £10 bet on England to beat Germany at odds of 6/4 (2.50) at the bookmaker. This is your back bet.
Step 5: Calculate qualifying bet lay stake
Your back bet needs to be matched with an opposing lay bet.
How do we know how much to lay? Using Beatingbonuses calculator enter the following information:
- Bet Type: Select “Qual”. This is a qualifying bet with your own money
- Bet Size: Enter 10 for a £10 qualifying bet
- Back and Lay Odds: Enter back odds of 2.50 and lay odds of 2.50
- Lay Commission: Enter 0% exchange commission (this is usually at least 2%).
- Finally, click “calculate”. The calculator suggests a lay stake of £10.
Step 6: Lay your qualifying bet
Navigate to the “Winner” (Match Odds) market at Smarkets. Then place a lay bet of £10 on England at odds of 2.50. Your lay liability is £15.00.
By backing and laying England, regardless of the outcome of England vs. Germany, the money goes in to either your bookie or exchange account.
The possible outcomes are:
- If England win the match: Your bookie account balance gains £25 (£10 stake plus £15 bet returns), but your exchange account balance reduces by £15.00 as the lay bet loses.
- If England do not win (the game ends in a draw or Germany win): You lose the bookie back bet stake of £10, but your lay bet wins and your exchange balance increases by £10 to counteract the losing back bet.
Step 7: Place your free bet
After your £10 qualifying bet settles, the bookie will credit your £10 free bet.
What do I use my free bet on?
The free bet is Stake Not Returned (SNR), i.e. The free bet stake is not included if your bet wins. So use a high odds selection at odds of at least 4/1. For example, imagine a Scotland versus Germany football match.
Go to the Match Odds market at the bookmaker. Place the £10 free bet on Scotland to beat Germany at odds of 4/1 (5.00).
Now follow steps 8 and 9 to lock-in a profit from the £10 free bet.
Step 8: Calculate your free bet lay stake
Using the Beatingbonuses calculator enter the following information:
- Bet Type: Select “SNR” for a Stake Not Returned (SNR) free bet
- Bet Type: Enter 10 for a £10 free bet
- Back and Lay Odds: Enter the back odds of 5.00 and lay odds of 5.00
- Lay Commission: Enter 0% exchange commission.
- Finally, click “calculate”. The calculator suggests a lay stake of £8.00.
Step 9: Lay your free bet
Go to Scotland versus Germany on Smarkets exchange. Select the “Winner” (Match Odds) market.
Place a £8.00 lay bet on Scotland at odds of 5.00. Your liability is £32.
- If Scotland win: Your bookie account will be credited with £40, your lay bet loses and £32 is deducted from your exchange account.
- If Scotland do not win: Your bookie account does not gain anything, but your exchange balance increases by £8.00.
Therefore, your profit is £8 from the £10 free bet (80% profit) regardless of the result of Scotland versus Germany.
This guide has explained the basics of matched betting. For further techniques, have a read of the advanced guides.
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