Q. What is matched betting?
A. In a nutshell, it is a system whereby you place a bet on an event with a bookmaker, then lay the bet (back against that event happening) with a betting exchange. You can then take advantage of bookmaker offers to make a profit. The system is explained in more detail in the Get Started section.
Q. What is a back bet?
A. Suppose you are betting on a football game between Liverpool and Manchester United. You place a bet on Liverpool to win at Bet365. This is a ‘back’ bet, as you are backing Liverpool to win.
Q. What is a lay bet?
A. Using the same example, you now place a bet with Smarkets (a betting exchange) that Liverpool will not win (i.e. Manchester United to win, or a drawn match). This is called a ‘lay’ bet.
Q. What is a betting exchange?
A. A betting exhange is where you are betting against other punters, rather than against a bookmaker. You, effectively, are betting on the outcome not to happen, e.g. Liverpool not to win the match. There are a number of betting exchanges on the market, offerring different levels of service and different commission levels. Personally, I prefer to use Smarkets, as their site is easy to use, stable and their commission only 2%. You could use alternatives, though, such as Betfair or Ladbrokes.
Q. How much money can I make?
A. As with most things (unless you win the lottery), this is relative to the time and effort you put in. With little effort (maybe an hour per day), you can make £500 per month. Put in more effort, though, and you could be looking at £1,000, £2,000, maybe even £3,000 per month. It is seasonal, though, and you can make significantly more from bookmaker offers on big events, such as the Grand National, Wimbledon, World Cup, etc.
Q. Is there any risk?
A. There may be times when an event does not pan out the way you want to in order to maximise your profits. However, even in these cases, the loss you make will be very small and will be more than outweighed by your profit from other events and offers. In fact the biggest risk to you is you! Yes, human error can be a risk if you do not fully understand the process.
Q. How much money do I need to start with matched betting?
A. You can actually start with very little. You can take advantage of a bookmakers new customer offer, whereby you deposit as little as £10 and get a free bet. You would, however, need to make a deposit into your betting exchange account as well to lay the bet, but again this could be fairly low. I must admit, though, that this is a very slow route and would take some time to build up your bankroll. Obviously, the more you can spare initially, the better, but with maybe an initial £100-£200, you can soon start to see your balances grow.
Q. Can I use e-wallets, such as Skrill?
A. You can, but always check the terms and conditions of any offer. Many bookmakers will not offer bonuses, particularly for new accounts, if the initial deposit is made using ewallets. They prefer a debit or credit card.
Q. Can I open multiple accounts to increase my profits?
A. Definitely not. Some bookmakers will not even allow two accounts at the same address, e.g. husband and wife. I know of people who have opened multiple accounts with different user names and different email addresses. The bookmakers have very soon figured out that it is the same person, using the address details, IP address, or some other means. They have then promptly closed the additional accounts and, in some cases, closed the main account, as well as confiscating any winnings. So, as you can see, this is a really bad idea.
Q. What if I already have an account with the bookmaker?
A. If you have, and you didn’t take advantage of the new customer offer when you opened the account, it is unlikely that you will now be eligible. There is no harm in asking, though, so get in touch with them and find out. Plead ignorance!
Q. My bookmaker account has been restricted. Why is this?
A. As mentioned, some bookmakers do not like matched betting and, if they suspect that a customer is using this method, they will restrict their account (in matched betting terms, their account will be ‘gubbed’). What this means is that the customer will not be able to take advantage of free bets, bonus offers, etc. All they will be able to do is place a normal bet.
Q. What should I do if my account has been restricted (‘gubbed’)?
A. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do. You could try to appeal, but in my experience, you will not be successful. You are probably best to withdraw any funds you have deposited with them and concentrate your efforts on your active accounts.
Q. How can I prevent my account from being gubbed?
A. There is no foolproof way of preventing this, but there are some precautions you can take to stay ‘under the radar’:
- Be consistent in your betting – if you usually bet on Premier League football, do not suddenly place a bet on the Outer Mongolian basketweaving championships!
- Do not always take the maximum bonus – for example, if the offer is that you receive a free in-play bet to the value of your pre-match bet up to £50, don’t always place the £50 bet. Consider, at times, taking, say, £30. You will still make a very nice profit on the free bet, but will not raise suspicion
- Place a normal bet from time to time, known in matched betting terms as a ‘mug bet’. This could be a small (say £2) bet on a single event or, preferrably, an accumulator. Bookmakers love these, as they usually take your money. So placing a bet like this makes you look, to them, like a mug, hence the term. However, your acca could win. Who’s the mug then?!
- If your bet wins into your bookmaker account, rather than into the betting exchange, don’t immediately withdraw the funds. You can leave it there to take advantage of future offers. Obviously, only if you can afford to do so.
- However, there are limitations to this and converse arguments. If you normally bet, say, £20 per event, it may look strange if you have a balance of £300 in the account.
- I have heard that using decimal odds can raise a red flag with some bookmakers. So consider using fractional odds and then using a converter as well.
- When placing your bets, always use round amounts, e.g. £10, £20. Placing a bet of, say, £21.39 will instantly raise suspicion, as this smacks of arbing, which is a different thing altogether!
- Consider ‘overbetting’ your qualifier. Say the offer is for a free matching bet if you place a bet of up to £20, consider placing a bet of say £25. You can lay it off as usual and you will still get the £20 free bet, but it looks less suspicious.
- The timing of your bets is another thing you may want to bear in mind. Most ‘normal’ punters will place their bets on the day of the event. So, if you are placing yours three or four days in advance, this could raise a flag. So bet as near to the event as you can, bearing in mind that the odds are more volatile the closer you get, particularly with regards to horse racing.
Q. What should I bet on?
A. The short answer to this is anything! As long as there are back and lay odds availablle for an event, you can bet on it. However, in practice, I would stick to events that attract the most money, e.g football or horse racing. I would suggest football to start with, as the odds can be fairly stable. Horse racing can be very profitable, but the odds change very quickly, so can be tricky at times.
Q. Will the bookmaker offers run out?
A. This is highly unlikely! Even if you have opened all the bookmaker accounts you can and have taken advantage of the new customer offers, you always have existing customer offers, or reloads. Bookmakers don’t just want your business, they want to keep it! So they offer free bets, enhanced odds, extra places, etc, to entice you to bet with them. And they continue to produce these offers day after day, week after week. And you can continue to take advantage of them.
Q. Where can I find the bookmaker offers?
A. Right here, right now! You could use Google (other search engines are available!) to find them yourselves, but why spend hours doing that when I have done it for you? I will endeavour to find all the latest offers for you and post them here as soon as they become available. Some offers, however, are personalized. Bookmakers sometimes offer exclusive offers to select customers as a way of rewarding their loyalty, or to encourage them to place a bet if they haven’t done so in a while. These will be sent to you by email, so keep an eye out.
Q. Can I make a profit from accumulators?
A. Absolutely! In fact, accumulators are one of the most profitable betting methods for making money. Many bookmakers offer acca ‘insurance’, meaning if one leg of your acca lets you down, you get a free bet. Laying an acca is more complicated, but there is a spreadsheet you can use to determine the lay stake, which can be downloaded here