How Does Matched Betting Work?

How Does Matched Betting Work

So here we are, the big how does Matched Betting work guide. Using the information you learn on this page you should be able to safely say you understand the concept and go start your matched betting journey.

The Basic Concept

OK so lets start with the basic concept and break down the process.

  1. Sign up with a bookmaker that has a free bet offer (bet £5 and get a free £20 bet for example)
  2. Place a small paid bet to qualify for the free bet (£5 that says Sunderland will win there next match for example)
  3. Sign up with betting exchange that allows you to bet on the opposite outcome (£5 that says Sunderland will lose there next match)
  4. As you now have both outcomes covered when your bets win or lose you aren’t out of pocket although you now have a free bet! (£20 free bet based on this example)

So now you have money in your betting account to do what you want with, profit!

The Full Step By Step Guide

So we covered the basics of how this all works above but now lets actually go out and create accounts and place bets. If you have any questions so far then maybe try reading through this more in depth section or ask a question in the comments below.

1. Create A Betting Exchange Account

If you don’t already know what a betting exchange is then you can learn about and find a list of them to sign up to here. In short, a betting exchange is different from a bookmakers as they pair you up with other gamblers meaning you can bet on either outcome of a match.

The Main Betting Exchanges Are

or see our full list of betting exchange websites on this page.

2. Open A Betting Account

Now find a bookmaker that is advertising a free bet offer to new customers and sign up. Almost always you will have to place a small qualifying bet to get this free bet reward. These qualifying bets are usually in the £5 to £10 area (we will cover this in the next step).

You can use our up to date list of matched betting offers to find the latest deals to keep you busy. Be sure to bookmark that page so you can keep coming back and checking regularly for new offers.

Start with a small offer so you can get your feet wet without risking too much of your own money.

3. Place Your ‘Qualifying’ Back Bet

Using your bookmaker betting account you set up in step 2 look for an event to bet on that will reward you with a free bet. Be sure to check the conditions of the offer when you sign up to ensure that it hasn’t changed and that it fits in with the matched betting system.

You will want to aim for a bet with the lowest odds possible that come under the terms of the free bet offer you are trying to take advantage of. Be sure to check the minimum odds, otherwise you could be placing bets that don’t earn you free bets and eat into your profits.

Look for popular events such as football matches that will attract lots of other gamblers. Popular bets will make the betting exchange process easier, as you will see in the next step.

4. Place Your ‘Qualifying’ Lay Bet

Now you must match the back bet you made with the bookmaker in step 3 with a betting exchange lay bet. This lay bet must be the opposite of the bet you made with the bookmaker.

Now you have two bets covering either outcome of a match, one will lose and one will win. Even with the betting exchange fee you should only be down pennies so far.

5. Take Advantage of the Free Bets

Once the outcome of the match has been announced your account with the bookmaker should be credited with free bets fairly quickly.

Now you need to repeat the process used during the qualifying bets portion almost exactly the same except your using the free bet money. Using the bookmakers free bet credit place your back bet and using your betting exchange place your opposite lay bet.

Be sure to aim for odds as high as possible with your free bets (opposite to what you do during qualifying bets) to maximise your earnings from your free bets. Typically with the bookmakers offers you wont be able to withdraw the free bet portion of your winnings. So say you earned £10 in free bets from a £10 initial bet and then went on to win £30 the betting site will not allow you to withdraw the first £10 of it, leaving £20 profit and £10 to do matched betting with again. So by ensuring that you only bet on a high stake outcome on the betting site you increase the potential profit.

Once you have finished with the free bet credit you should then have real cash winnings in either or both accounts!

What Next?

Now you know the process of how matched betting works you now need to know where to go to get the introductory offers. Luckily for you we keep a list of the current offers available online that you can take advantage here.

If you have any questions about matched betting then please feel free to use the comments below. You may want to check the comments anyway for questions that have already been asked that you didn’t know you had to ask!


    1. Hey Joseph, you are right that there’s are only a limited number of bookmakers in the UK that you can do this with yes.
      there are a lot of them (around 90 at the last count) and we keep checking for more offers all the time that we add to our free bets page whenever we find them. Once you are a customer with these bookie sites they will start emailing you with special offers every now and again to get you to come back. This is where you will find the long term income. Just be sure to keep a look out in your email inbox so you can spot these special offers and be sure to read the terms thoroughly!

  1. It may be a bit corny but I would just like to say a BIG thank you to you at for introducing me to match betting. Im not sure when I stumbled across this blog but im sure it was late at night while browsing the web and im glad I did! Im not sure how I never thought of this before and it seems dead easy to do. I made £50 in the first evening easy and im spending my free time in evenings doing it to almost double my income from my 9-5:30.

    Im hopeful they don’t close my accounts down as this is way to easy

    Thanks for explaining it so simply and easy to understand

    1. Thanks Darak, tell your friends!

      About trying to avoid your accounts getting closed down from withdrawing too many winnings…. we have an article with a method that can help you out (see this blog post). I’m using this method myself on the big bookies that release the regular offers to make sure I can keep going back to them again and again.

    1. Always check the terms and conditions of the offer that you are taking advantage of Jon. Most of the time you will find that you still have your free bets after that situation and you can try again to win some real cash… or lose with the bookie and end up transferring to the exchange 😉

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