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Complete Guide to Matched Betting

Matched betting is a strategy used by many people to make money online. It’s risk and tax free and can be done from the comfort of your own home. In our view match betting is the best way to make some extra money each month.

This is going to be a long article with lots of information so let’s get started!


The Origins of Matched Betting

Match betting is not a new concept, it has been around since 2000 when the first betting exchange, Betfair, was created. More on betting exchanges later. Matched betting has risen in popularity over the last few years thanks to the Internet. The technique is also at it’s most profitable thanks to the fierce competition in the betting industry. It’s therefore a brilliant time to get started with matched betting. We use each bookie’s incentives to new and existing customers to make our money.

What is Matched Betting?

As we’ve already mentioned matched betting is a method to make money online.

The betting industry is incredibly competitive and gaining and keeping customers is becoming harder than ever for bookies. According to Ben Cleminson, company director at Square in the Air, the bookies are willing to spend up to £300 in promotions and free bets per new customer. The whole concept behind matched betting is taking advantage of these promotions and free bets.

To cancel out any risk from a normal bet we use a method called back and lay betting. A back bet is a normal bet where we’re backing a team to win a match. A lay bet is the opposite of a back bet. We bet against the same team winning. If it’s a draw our lay bet will win. We place back bets at regular bookies that you might see down the high street like Coral, only we place our bets online. We place our lay bets at a betting exchange.

How Much can I Make Matched Betting?

This is one of the most common questions we get asked at The Sure Bettor and our answer is always the same. It totally depends on how much time you invest into matched betting. The more you invest, the more you’ll make. Very simple. We know this doesn’t answer your question so most of our premium members make around £500 per month. However with some more experience, some matched bettors can earn as much as £1000 per month. These are averages and your earnings may differ.

To make this amount of money these members are spending about 30 minutes to an hour each day to complete all the latest matched betting offers. We do the time consuming part of finding the most recent offers and adding them to our members only area along with an expert tutorial to guide you through the whole process.

Who’s Matched Betting For?

Matched betting is for literally anyone who’s interested in making money online. All you need is proof that you live in the UK, have a laptop or PC, a connection to the Internet, a debit or credit card and be at least 18 years old. Oh… and willing to put some time into this technique. The last one definitely being the most important! Matched betting can be a challenging concept to grasp at first but with our expert help you’ll be a pro in no time.

When signing up for a new bookie account we recommend members use a debit card as a preferred payment method as this gives you the most freedom in terms of the offers you can complete. Some bookies restrict offers to customers who use a debit card.

What is a Betting Exchange?

Betting exchanges are marketplaces which match people looking to place bets. They’re simply the platform that matches punters together. They don’t take any bets themselves. Gamblers can place both back and lay bets at a betting exchange. They also make their money in a different way to regular bookies. They charge a commission on net winnings where as a bookie makes money by offering less efficient odds. Each betting exchange charges a different amount of commission, Betfair charge 5% where as Smarkets charge just 2%.

The odds at betting exchanges are usually slightly better than at the bookies which draws more people to these platforms.

The main advantage of a betting exchange over a traditional bookie is the freedom that they offer. The gambler is more in charge of the bet they make and has far more flexibility with what they bet on. For example the Betfair Exchange allows the punter to cash out their bets. This is a feature that lets gamblers lock in a profit or loss before an event has finished. Betfair work out the value of your current bets by using the live market price. Using this method we can sometimes make a guaranteed profit from cash out features.

Our Recommended Betting Exchange

Here at The Sure Bettor we recommend members use Smarkets. Founded in 2008, they’re the new kids on the block in the betting industry. However, they’ve grown massively since then. We love their industry leading commission of just 2% which ultimately allows you to make more money. Their recently updated platform is very easy to use and we’ve had very little trouble in the way of placing bets on their software. Overall a brilliant betting exchange.

Betfair are another brilliant platform and we recommend you use them when you need to place a bet on a more discrete market or when you’re placing an accumulator, a bet with more than one selection. Currently, Smarkets don’t support accumulators but we think it’s on the horizon. Betfair’s liquidity, the amount of money waiting to be matched, is usually higher than Smarkets thanks to a larger client base. However, for most markets Smarkets are our go to.

How does Matched Betting Work?

The best way to show how match betting works is through an example and we’ll break it down into different steps.

Let’s say that Ladbrokes will give us a £20 free bet if we stake £10 on Chelsea’s next Premier League game. Obviously we need to place our bet on the next Premier League game to ensure we qualify for our free bets. Once we’ve found a market we need to place two opposite bets, one at the bookie and one at the exchange. Once these bets have settled we’ll have a £20 free bet to use. We repeat the same process above and use the bookies free bet to place the back bet rather than using our own money. Here’s how it looks broken down:

  1. Place a £10 back bet at Ladbrokes on Chelsea to beat Leicester for example.
  2. Place a £10 lay bet at Smarkets on Chelsea not to beat Leicester.
  3. The previous two bets effectively cancel each other out. If the games a draw our lay bet will win.
  4. Receive £20 free bet
  5. Repeat the process, placing a back and lay bet on the same market, only using our free bet.
  6. Make a guaranteed profit from the free bet

When picking a market to place our bets, we want the back odds at Ladbrokes and the lay odds at Smarkets to be as close together as possible. The closer they are, the more money we’ll make from the offer. If the back odds are 3.5 we want the lay odds to be something like 3.7. The lay odds are always slightly higher than back odds.

Decimal Odds

To help us compare the odds between the bookie and the betting exchange more efficiently we convert the odds into decimals. Betting exchanges already display their odds in decimals. Most bookies use the common fractional odds format however, changing this is very simple and can be done within your account preferences.

It’s important to note that we usually lose a small amount of money qualifying for our free bets. We aim to keep this amount below 5% of the overall qualifying bet. Using the example above we’d aim to lose no more than 50 pence. Once again the closer the back and lay odds the smaller amount we’ll lose in our qualifying bet.

The maths behind matched betting can be quite complicated which is why we built the matched betting calculator. Our basic matched betting calculator is free to use for anyone. It works out the correct lay stake to either minimise losses from a qualifying bet or maximise profits from a free bet.

Premium matched betting at The Sure Bettor

Is Matched Betting Legal?

Yes, matched betting is completely legal. All we’re doing is using the free bets given to us by the bookie. Here’s what Graham Sharpe, from William Hill said about matched betting. ‘There’s no illegal element, it’s a free bet and you can do what you like.’

Do the Bookies Like Matched Betting?

This is an important question for us matched bettors. We need to keep our accounts open so we can complete more offers and maximise our profit.

Some bookies don’t have a problem with us matched bettors where as some are a little less keen. It totally depends on the bookie in question. It’s generally the smaller bookies that are more protective about matched betting. Due to less revenue they have less money to offer free bets and promotions to either new or existing customers. The large bookies like Bet365 and Ladbrokes Coral have a much larger revenue and can therefore afford to give new customers promotions and free bets.

Bonus Culture

Geoff Banks, a renowned figure in the betting industry, has recently hit out at the ‘bonus culture’ in modern gambling. He doesn’t approve of using incentives and promotions to gain new customers but he says he is forced to do this. When his company,, recently ran a sign up promotion on their website they had a huge influx of accounts being opened at the same time. It turned out that people were creating multiple accounts, what we call multi-accounting, to take advantage of the free bets more than once. This is against all bookies terms and conditions and we strongly recommend you don’t use this method. There are hundreds of reload offers for existing customers so there’s always money to be made with matched betting.

It’s not that the bookies don’t want us to use their free bets and promotions. They don’t like it when customers only bet with their free bets and promotions. As matched bettors that’s exactly what we do.

So we need to make it look like we’re regular punters and we’re not just in it for the free bets. This is an important part of matched betting if you want to maximise your profit. We need to blend in with the betting crowd. There are a number of ways we can do this and we’ll have a look at a few of the options below:

Mug Betting

Mug Betting is the number one way to get the bookies off our backs. It involves placing bets where there are no promotions attached. It’s just a normal bet. You can either choose to offset the bet and lay the same outcome which mitigates the risk or you can go for a gamble.

As matched bettors we’re always on the lookout for free bets. The bookies can easily track which customers are only placing bets on promotion qualifying markets. Therefore we need to place bets on random games of interest like an upcoming Premier League game or large horse racing event.

We suggest members place one of these bets for every matched betting offer you complete. This may seem like a pain but if you’re serious about maximising your profit it’s an important technique to use.

Bet Timing

Placing bets well in advance of an event starting may alert the bookies. The majority of bets are placed on a given market in the run up to the event starting. Usually in the last few hours (minutes for horse races) before kick off. Therefore to blend in with the crowd we should place our bets at a similar time. The liquidity will also be higher which makes placing our bets easier.


The market we place our bets on is also important. Placing a bet on the Conference League is more conspicuous than placing a bet on the Premier League. It may be common sense but it’s worth betting on events where a large number of people are staking money.

What If I don’t use any of the methods above?

For a short while nothing will happen and then out the blue you’re likely to receive an email or message from the bookmaker saying your account has been restricted. For us matched bettors this is the worst outcome.

Gubbing is the betting term used to describe when a bookmaker restricts your account in some way. This can be anything from excluded markets to a whole account ban. Neither of which are good news for matched betting. We need as many bookmaker accounts open as possible.

From experience if your account is restricted it’s hard to get it back to where it was. The best thing you can do is place mug bets and act like a normal punter.

Why use a site like The Sure Bettor?

Matched betting can be a challenging concept when you first start out. That’s why it’s great to use a site that will help you learn the correct methods and allow you to maximise your profit.

Here at The Sure Bettor nothing is overlooked and we walk each member through the exact process required to make money from this brilliant betting technique.

Sign up for a free trial today and see what we’re talking about. Oh and you’ll also make £45 straight away.


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