Matched Betting Explained

August 10


Matched Betting Explained – The Ultimate Guide

Are you interested in making money with matched betting but wondering how to get started? This article will give you everything you need to start profiting from matched betting as soon as possible!

It will answer all of the questions you may have about matched betting and give you the necessary tools to ensure that your journey begins as smoothly as possible!

The sections are concise, designed to give you just enough detail to get started without overwhelming you.

I hope that you can use matched betting to earn a great side income like I did! Let’s get started!

What Is No Risk Matched Betting?

If you are brand new to matched betting (or sports betting in general), you will quite rightly be wondering, what actually is it?

Matched betting involves betting on all possible outcomes of a sporting event to ensure that we profit regardless of the outcome that actually occurs. We are matching a bet on one particular outcome with another bet on all other outcomes.

By doing this, we are eliminating the risk as no matter what happens, at least one of our bets will pay out.

Typically, betting on all possible outcomes of a match is a sure fire way to lose money, as the bookmakers build a profit margin into their odds (known as vigorish) to ensure that they profit every time. The house always wins, right?

Matched Betting UK

This is true, so the way that we gain an edge over the bookmakers is by taking advantage of their promotions and offers.

If you’ve ever watched a sports match, you will have had ads rammed down your throat telling you if you back so-and-so side your odds will be boosted, cash back if your team is leading at half time, get bonus bets up to $100 if your horse runs 2nd or 3rd etc.

These promotions that the bookmakers offer are actually not profitable for them. They lose money when people use them, but they don’t mind paying a small price to get a new customer in the door is worth it in the long run.

Eventually that customer will start betting on regular matches with no promotions and that’s where the bookmaker starts profiting.

As a matched bettor, you make money by using the promotions to your advantage. This is why matched betting is also known as bonus bet arbitrage or bonus scalping.

What are the Benefits of Matched Betting?

In my opinion, matched betting is one of the best ways to make money online. Here's why:

Make Money From Home

With matched betting, you can set your own hours and spend as much or as little time as you like betting.

Work around your full time job and other commitments.

Minimal bankroll required to get started

£/€/$200 is more than enough to get started with matched betting. If you have more, that's great and you'll see results even faster!

The lucrative sign up bonuses are a great way to build your bankroll, so don't stress if you don't have much spare money to commit initially.

Tax Free Income

Gambling winnings are typically not taxed, unless you are considered to be a professional gambler.

Even if you have a full time job and are in a high tax bracket, you can profit with matched betting without paying an extra cent in tax!

Beginner Friendly

If you use a matched betting service, it is really easy to see good profits from matched betting without spending hours and hours reading tutorials and guides.

The majority of people who get started with matched betting have never placed a sports bet before in their life!

What are the Different Bookmaker Promotion Types?

The promotions can be categorised into 3 types:

  • Sign-up bonuses
  • Ongoing bonuses
  • Reload bonuses

Sign-up bonuses typically come in the form of bonus bets when you first sign up.

Ongoing bonuses are promotions such as odds boosts, early cash out if your team leads at half time, cash back if your team loses by less than X points etc. These are a great source of ongoing profits.

Matched betting services summarise these bonuses into a nice list that is updated daily. They will analyse these bonuses and make a list of bets that maximise the profit from these bonuses.

Reload bonuses are a promotion whereby the bookmaker will offer you bonus bets based on how much additional money you deposit into your account.


Matched Betting Example

If you would like to see exactly how to turn the bookmaker promotions in cash, click below to access a matched betting worked example with real numbers.

Otherwise, feel free to skip this section (you can learn all about this later when you sign up to a matched betting service).

Matched Betting Example (click to expand)

Say Manchester United are playing Chelsea in an upcoming EPL match. You sign up with a bookmaker and they offer to match your first deposit with them up to £100 in bonus bets.

So you deposit £100 of your own cash and activate a £100 bonus bet. The condition of the bonus bet is that your stake is not returned if you win the bet. Our goal is to unlock as much cash profit as possible from this £100 bonus bet.

Chelsea are the underdogs, with odds of 4.5.

Note: Odds of 4.5 means that we will receive winnings of £450 for every £100 we stake on this outcome (if they win).

We use our £100 bonus bet to back them at these odds. This means that if they win, we will get winnings of £450 minus our £100 stake (remember the condition of the bonus bet is that we don’t receive our stake back).

So our current situation is this: if Chelsea win, we win £350 and if they don’t win (draw or lose), we win £0.

This is perfectly fine, as we haven’t risked any money, but it is quite unbalanced. It would be much nicer if we could distribute our profits across both outcomes. This is where Betfair comes in.


Betfair is a betting exchange, which is different to a bookmaker. Whereas at a bookmaker, you always back your bets (bet on an outcome occurring), at a betting exchange you can also lay bets (act as a bookmaker, you are betting on an outcome NOT occurring).

Note: A betting exchange is like a marketplace, where you don’t back or lay bets with Betfair itself, but with fellow punters like you.Punters place back or lay orders on the exchange, and other users match them if they like the proposed odds.

Betfair makes money by charging a commission (typically 5%) of the winnings received (you don’t pay any commission if you lose).

So, back to the example. After having backed Chelsea at odds of 4.5, we then go to the exchange and lay Chelsea at odds of say 4.6.

By using a back/lay calculator, we know that we need to lay them for £76.92. This means that we are accepting a £76.92 back bet from someone.

If our lay bet is successful (Chelsea do not win), we will earn £76.92 minus the 5% Betfair commission (so £73.07). However, if our lay bet is unsuccessful (Chelsea win), we will need to pay out £276.91 (4.6 x £76.92, minus their original stake of £76.92).

So here is our situation.

Back (Bookmaker)

Lay (Betfair)









Potential Payout (excl. commission)



Commission (%)



Commission ($)



Potential Winnings (incl. commission)



Total Money Spent



Potential Profit



So we have essentially turned a £100 free bonus bet into at least £73.07 of cash, ready to be withdrawn! This can be repeated multiple times until you have temporarily exhausted your available promotions.

I know this seems really confusing if it’s your first time, but if you use a matched betting service, they can tell you exactly what you should bet on and how much you should stake each time to guarantee a profit.

And that’s not all. In addition to the first deposit bonuses, bookmakers offer reload bonuses and ongoing daily promotions. You can use all of these to make money.

How Much Can You Expect To Make?

The amount of money you can make with matched betting is dependent on your initial bankroll and how many hours a week you can dedicate to matched betting.

If you have at least £200 to get started and a few hours a week to spend on matched betting, you can expect to make around £200-1,000 per month.

The graph below shows how much money you would have made each month if you had followed the daily plays offered by one of the top matched betting services in Australia.

Keep in mind that this graph doesn’t consider the profit you can obtain from signup bonuses, which are very lucrative!

In the long run, the limiting factor will be how long you can keep your bookmaker accounts open. When the bookmakers eventually realise that you are only betting when they offer you promotions, they will stop your account from receiving any further offers (this is known as being gubbed, or promo banned).

It happens to everyone eventually. For some bookmakers, you may be gubbed after a few weeks, others after a few months or even a year, it really depends.

Overall, you can expect to make somewhere between £2,000 and £10,000 before your accounts have been limited to the point where there is no point continuing (many have made much more than this by being very careful and using advanced strategies).

Note: All winnings discussed here are tax free, as most governments do not tax gambling winnings unless they consider you a professional gambler.

Is Matched Betting Legal?

If matched betting is starting to sound pretty amazing to you, you may be wondering, what is the catch? Is it actually legal?

Matched betting is entirely legal. As long as you are of legal age to participate in sports betting (usually 18+), it is perfectly legal to do matched betting.

As matched bettors, we are simply taking advantage of the publicly available promotions offered by the bookmakers and using the best value odds (which are also publicly available) to place legal bets.

The bookmakers are offering the promotions, we are simply taking them up on their offer!

matched betting legal

What do the bookmakers think?

Whilst matched betting is perfectly legal, the bookmakers do not approve of it, because for once, they are losing rather than winning!

If you start winning too frequently with a bookmaker or you only bet when there are promotions available, you can expect the bookie to eventually stop offering you new promotions (as I mentioned earlier).

They may also reduce the maximum stake that you can place with them. Once this is done, it is virtually impossible to reverse their decision. You can no longer make any money with them from this point.

The good news is that Betfair will never limit you or close your account. They welcome matched bettors, as we typically place many bets with Betfair, which allows them to earn a good commission from us.

What do you need to Get Started With Matched Betting?

To start profiting from matched betting, you will need the following:

ID Documents

Anti terrorism and money laundering laws require bookmakers to verify the identity of anyone who opens an account with them.

Note that many bookmakers will let you open an account and start betting with them, but then require ID when you attempt to make your first withdrawal.

A passport, birth certificate or driver's licence, plus something to prove your address, like a bank statement or utility bill is usually sufficient.

Bookmaker Accounts

Once you have your ID ready, start opening a few bookmaker accounts. You can start with 2-3 and then open more once you are feeling confident.

Bookmaker accounts can be opened online, there is no need to visit a store.

Betfair Account

Critical to profiting from matched betting is your Betfair account. You will need this to lay the bets that you are backing at the bookmakers.

Your Betfair account will never be limited and they welcome matched bettors, so they are a very valuable asset.

You can open a Betfair account online.

Matched Betting Service Account

Did you look at the matched betting example earlier and find it confusing? Or perhaps you’re not sure how you are supposed to know which matches to bet on to extract as much value as possible from the promotions?

The bookmaker promotions often come with lengthy terms and conditions that can be difficult to interpret, even for experienced bettors.

That’s where matched betting services come in handy. They offer you the following:

  • A ton of tutorials to help you get started with matched betting
  • A running list of bookmaker promotions which is updated daily
  • Calculators to help you determine the profit when backing and laying an outcome
  • Software that scans the odds for hundreds of matches and tens of bookmakers to find you the perfect bet
  • A community of matched bettors who will help out if you are confused or need advice.

You can read my article on the best matched betting software out there, to help you choose the one that's right for you.

Essentially, I recommend OddsMonkey and Profit Accumulator. They are both excellent and cost only £20 per month.

So What’s The Next Step?

If you like everything you have read so far, your first step should be to organise and scan the relevant ID documents so that you can sign up to the bookmakers.

Then, sign up to the free version of either OddsMonkey or Profit Accumulator and start reading more about matched betting with their excellent, beginner-friendly tutorials and guides.

You should also sign up to Betfair, which is absolutely essential no matter which bookmaker or matched betting service you decide to ultimately go with.

Keep following the matched betting tutorials/guides and you will be profiting in no time at all! Start slowly with the beginner guides and once you are confident, move onto the more advanced strategies.

Ask questions as often as you like in the Facebook groups, my experience has always been that people are keen to help out new members (we’ve all been there before!).

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below and I will get back to you as soon as possible!

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Arbitrage Betting
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Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase a product or service after clicking on my link. This helps pay for the cost of running the website. You will not be disadvantaged in any way by using my links.


About the author

I'm an Australian guy who has used profitable sports betting to provide a decent side income (over a thousand dollars per month!) for myself while working full-time. I've set up the The Arb Academy to teach others how to do the same and achieve financial security through a second income stream!

  • When I opened the website of OddsMonkey a window appeared saying ” It seems you contacting us from the US , may be its better for you to go to ProfitDuel “.
    yet I am still able to deny this advice and continue to the oddsmonkey page to sign-up
    Pls., advice me what is better for me being in the US , to sign-up with oddsmonkey or profitduel?

    • ProfitDuel is OddsMonkey’s new tool for the US market. If you live in the US, go with ProfitDuel as it will cover the US sportsbooks that you need (OddsMonkey don’t cover these)

  • 1- Thank you for your sincere professional help that taught me [absolute naïf in betting ] a lot.
    2- I reside in the US consequently I was blocked to sign-up an account with Betfair …. pls. Advice ? what to do ?
    thank you

  • The example provided here seems to have a fundamental error in the calculation. It presumes that for the Lay bet with a stake of 76.52, the potential payout is stake x odds. With Betfair, the potential payout is actually just the stake itself (minus 5% commission should your Lay bet win). There is clear incentive to use bonus bets, but the profit calculations are off due to the payout being different.

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