Bet £10, Get £10 - BETDAQ

Matched Betting: Definitive Beginners Guide (2021 Update)

This is a complete beginners guide to matched betting in 2021.

So if you want to make money by beating the bookmakers, you’ll enjoy the actionable tips and strategies in this new guide.

Let’s dive straight in.

What is matched betting?

In this section I’ll answer the question: “What is matched betting?”. I’ll also show you that matched betting is still incredibly profitable and worthwhile in 2021.

Matched betting is a way of making a guaranteed profit by taking advantage of bookmakers free bets and promotions.

This betting technique is used by thousands of individuals across the world to beat the bookmakers and make money online.

Here’s an example of how one matched bettor turned £87 into £7500 profit in just 7 months:

Matched betting testimonial

And another happy matched bettor making a second income online:

As I mentioned above, matched betting takes advantage of bookmakers free bets and promotions.

To keep punters interested, the bookmakers offer countless incentives to both new and existing customers.

Here’s a great example from Betdaq, one of the leading betting exchanges. They offer new customers a £10 free bet.

Betdaq signup offer

It’s free bets like these that matched bettors make a guaranteed profit from.

With so many promotions out there, it’s tricky to know which offers to complete first and which are the most profitable.

To make things easy, bettors split bookmakers free bets into two main categories:

  • Sign up offers
  • Reload offers

Let’s check out each of these in more detail below.

Sign up offers

You guessed it… sign up offers are for customers who register a new account with a bookmaker.

Most online bookies offer some kind of sign up promotion meaning there’s plenty of profit to be made using matched betting.

Typical examples include Bet x, Get x and deposit bonuses.

Here’s a typical example from Betconnect who offer new customers up to £50 in free bets.

Betconnect £50 free bet

Sign up offers are a great place to start with matched betting as they’re easy for beginners to understand.

They’ll also give you the biggest bang for your buck. Most people make at least £500 in their first month using sign up promotions.

Reload offers

Most bookmakers also offer promotions to existing customers in the form of reload offers. These offers are generally similar to sign up offers.

This is where the long term profit is made with matched betting (more on this later in the guide).

How does matched betting work?

At this stage, you’re probably wondering how matched betting works.

To make things easy, we can split the process down into 6 simple steps which you can check out in our matched betting infographic below.

  1. Find a free bet
  2. Place a qualifying bet
  3. Place an opposite bet
  4. Use free bet
  5. Place another lay bet
  6. Make guaranteed profit
No risk matched betting infographic

As easy as that… Let’s check out each step in more detail.

Step #1 – Find a free bet

The first step is to find a free bet or offer to take advantage of.

There are various ways to do this.

You can manually search for free bets by checking bookmakers websites or use an automated tool like OddsMonkey.

Initially, you should look for free bets and offers for new customers.

Most online bookies display their sign up offers directly on the homepage making your job incredibly easy.

William Hill promotion

If you’re looking for reload offers, check out the promotions tab of the bookmakers website.

Here are some of the best and easiest free bets to take advantage of right now:

Using OddsMonkey

Alternatively you can use a tool like OddsMonkey which speeds things up and makes the process incredibly easy. They do all the hard work for you.

OddsMonkey employs a team of people to find the latest free bets and promotions available online.

They then show you exactly how to profit from each free bet making the entire process incredibly easy.

As we saw earlier, there are plenty of promotions available in 2021. At the time of writing, there is over £1200 worth of free bets for new customers alone.

Free bets in matched betting

Step #2 – Place a qualifying bet

The second step is to place a qualifying bet to activate your free bet or bonus.

Unfortunately, the bookies don’t just hand out free bets to anyone. They want something in return and that usually means depositing and placing a bet or two.

With this bet, you are effectively triggering or unlocking your free bet within your account.

Once again, there are various methods you can do this.

You can search for suitable matches manually.

If you don’t like the sound of this, head over to OddsMonkey.

They have some brilliant software that continually scans hundreds of bookmakers websites in order to find profitable matched betting opportunities.

OddsMonkey OddsMatcher software

Once the software has found a suitable event, it shows you exactly what bets to place and how much to wager etc.

Step #3 – Place opposite bet

The third step is vital to matched betting as it makes your qualifying bet (step 2) completely risk-free.

You need to place an opposite bet at a betting exchange (more on exchanges below) to cancel out your initial bet.

This process is called back and lay betting.

Back and lay betting explained

One of the main concepts behind matched betting is called back and lay betting. This process allows us to make our bets completely risk-free.

Every matched bet you place will contain two bets:

  • Bet 1 – A back bet
  • Bet 2 – A lay bet

You place these two bets at different betting companies on opposite outcomes.

Here’s the difference:

Back bets are the most common bet types. You’re backing an outcome and saying that Man City will win for example.

Lay bets are the opposite of back bets. You’re now betting against an outcome and saying that Man City will NOT win.

Lay betting is only possible at betting exchanges such as Betfair or Smarkets.

What’s this nonsense about risk-free betting I sense you thinking… Let me explain.

The maths is such that no matter the outcome of your bets, you’re guaranteed to make a profit.

Let’s say you placed bet 1 (the back bet) on Manchester City beating Watford at a bookmaker like Ladbrokes.

Man City football

Note: it’s not the same as betting on Watford to beat Man City.

No matter what the outcome of the game is, one bet will win and the other will lose meaning your two bets cancel each other out.

All in all, this leaves you where you started.

However, this allows you to make a guaranteed profit when using bookmakers free bets.

Betting exchanges

Let’s check out what betting exchanges are and how they fit into matched betting.

As I mentioned earlier, bettors place one bet a traditional bookmaker like Ladbrokes or Coral and the other bet at a betting exchange.

A betting exchange might be a new phrase to some of you. But in simple terms, an exchange is an online betting platform that matches gamblers together.

The most popular exchange platforms are Betfair, Betdaq and Smarkets.

Betfair and Smarkets in 2020

Betting exchanges don’t take on any bets as a traditional bookmaker does. They simply charge a commission on players net winnings.

Check out this article for more information on betting exchanges and how they work.

Bettors use back bets to back a certain outcome and then lay those bets off by betting against that outcome.

So now you know more about what matched betting is and how it works, let’s look at what’s in it for you.

Step #4 – Use free bet

Now for the exciting bit, using your free bet!

First up, you should double-check that your free bet has been credited in your account. If not, get in touch with your chosen bookmaker’s support and they should be able to help you out.

Once you’ve activated and unlocked your free bet, you need to repeat the same process as above, only this time you’ll make a guaranteed profit.

Guaranteed profit with no risk matched betting

Find another market to place your bet. Once again, I suggest you use OddsMonkey’s software to help you pick the best market.

Step #5 – Place another lay bet

The fifth step requires you to place another lay bet at the betting exchange. Use the matched betting calculator to work out the correct stakes.

Step #6 – Make a guaranteed profit

Congratulations, you’ve completed your first offer.

Rinse and repeat the 6 steps above and you’re well on the way to making a great second income online.

There’s a bit more to it, but that should give you an idea of how no risk match betting works.

So now you understand the basics, let’s look at back and lay betting in more detail.

Best matched betting tools

One of the best ways to maximise your profit with matched betting is by using some of the brilliant tools available.


Whilst it’s not essential to use a site like OddsMonkey, I thoroughly recommend you do.

There are several benefits which we’ll check out below.

As I mentioned earlier, OddsMonkey walks you through everything hand in hand with tutorials, videos and other guides along with expert support.

Matched betting with OddsMonkey

This allows you to start earning instantly. It won’t be long before you’re placing your first profitable matched bets.

Below are some of the key benefits of joining OddsMonkey:

  • Tutorials designed with beginners in mind allowing you to get up and running as quickly as possible
  • Matched betting offers updated daily along with tutorials guiding you through the whole process
  • The latest matched betting tools and software allowing you to maximise your income in 2021

And loads more…

Whether you’re using matched betting to make money in your free time or you’re using it as a full-time income, OddsMonkey will allow you to maximise your profit.

Make money with OddsMonkey

Matched betting FAQs

Next in this guide, I’m going to answer some of the most frequent matched betting questions.

How much can you make from matched betting in 2021?

The question everyone wants to know the answer to: how much money can you make from matched betting?

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to work out exactly how much you will earn from matched betting (and don’t believe anyone who tells you otherwise!)

Everyone’s results vary!

What I can tell you is the average earnings of individuals who take part.

So, how much can you make from matched betting?

On average, matched bettors make around £500 per month. However, individuals who learn more advanced techniques, dedicate more time and use services such as OddsMonkey can earn upwards of £1000 a month.

How awesome is that!

Click the link below and use the code ‘OM12FOR1‘ to join OddsMonkey for £1.

Legally, I’m required to state that there’s no guarantee of specific results each month. The amount that you earn will vary depending on the amount of time and effort you invest.

Right, disclaimers are done…

Just think what you could do with an extra £1000 each month… It’s a great way to bolster your bank balance, pay for that dream holiday or just provide you with an awesome second income.

Make money with matched betting

What’s more, no risk matched betting is completely tax-free.

Everything you earn, you keep – nothing is given to the taxman thanks to zero tax on betting winnings.

So matched betting is both risk and tax-free, surely there isn’t a better way to make money in your free time than that?

Who’s matched betting for?

We know matched betting in 2021 is still worthwhile, but is it right for you?

As with most things, it’s not for everyone.

However, if you’re interested in making a risk free guaranteed profit, matched betting is probably right up your street.

To get started you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be at least 18 years old and have a UK address – for those interested in matched betting outside the UK or matched betting in the USA check out our specific articles.
  • You need to have access to a computer/laptop and a reliable internet connection.
  • You’ll also need a personal form of payment – preferably a debit card.

If you meet the above criteria, great news you can start matched betting today and join bettors that come from all walks of life such as:

  • Students
  • Stay at home parents
  • Hardcore matched betting fans

This just goes to show how popular and versatile match betting is meaning you can fit it around your busy work schedule.

Students matched betting

As you can tell, matched betting works for anyone looking to increase their earnings online.

I’m new to betting

Never placed a bet before or you don’t follow sporting events?

Not to worry, you’re not alone! I get asked these questions all the time…

Whilst matched betting may seem challenging at first, you’ll soon get the hang of it. Especially with help from specialist matched betting sites.

If you’re just getting started, I recommend you sign up to a matched betting service like OddsMonkey.

They walk you through the entire process hand in hand and show you the exact bets you need to place. As a premium member, you even get 1-to-1 support.

So if you don’t know how to place a bet or create a new bookmaker account, you’ll be in safe hands.

Speaking of OddsMonkey, let’s check out other benefits of using their platform.

Is matched betting worth it?

In short, yes matched betting is worth it.

Match betting in 2021 does work and it’s still incredibly profitable and worthwhile – the numbers speak for themselves.

Whilst matched betting has changed over the last few years, the competition in the betting industry has intensified meaning more promotions for new customers.

Furthermore, despite clampdowns from The Gambling Commission, we’ve seen more promotions than ever, especially during the Football World Cup in 2018.

With the UEFA Euro 2021 taking place next year, you can be sure it will be another great year for matched betting.

So there’s plenty of opportunity in terms of how much you can make from matched betting.

Changing landscape of the betting industry

With all the changing regulations in the betting industry and the uncertainty around the future of free bets and promotions, is matched betting in 2021 still worth it?

As I’ve mentioned in this guide, free bets and other promotions are vital to match betting.

Without them, there would be no risk-free bets or guaranteed profit. Matched bettors rely on bookmakers to provide them with these promotions.

However, it’s no secret that the betting industry is evolving. The Gambling Commission, along with anti-gambling organisations, are piling on the pressure to ensure the industry moves more transparently in 2021 and beyond.

Gambling Commission

It’s fair to say that the betting industry has taken advantage of far too many people over the past few years. MPs and other organisations want this to change.

This is bringing significant changes to the way bookmakers incentivise customers and therefore how bettors can profit using match betting.

Investigations into bookmakers free bets

Back in February 2018, The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigated with the Gambling Commission, looking into the way bookies offer free bets and promotions.

They were specifically looking into wagering requirements and how punters have to complete multiple bets before being able to withdraw their funds.

No risk matched betting in 2020

The outcome was that firms must stop misleading customers and make their terms and conditions much clearer and easy to understand.

As any bettor knows, bookies terms and conditions are incredibly long-winded.

One of the most time consuming and tedious parts of no risk matched betting is reading through these T&Cs, making sure that you qualify for a bonus.

That’s another reason I suggest you sign up with a matched betting service like OddsMonkey.

In the wake of this investigation, several bookmakers reconsidered and altered their marketing promotions. William Hill, Ladbrokes and PT Entertainment are just three of the major bookies that made such changes at the start of 2018.

Since 2018, it’s fair to say a lot of bookmakers have simplified their promotions and bonuses. Ultimately this made match betting easier allowing bettors to make more profit.

More bookies to follow suit?

Since the investigation into bookies’ promotions, the CMA and Gambling Commission concluded that all bookies must ‘promptly adopt similar changes’ to that of William Hill, Ladbrokes and co.

Since this investigation, more and more bookies continue to make changes to their marketing strategies and specifically aim to simplify their terms and conditions to please the CMA and Gambling Commission.

If operators don’t follow these guidelines, more fines and restrictions are likely to be handed out, a move that all bookies will try incredibly hard to avoid in 2021. Especially after the record fines and penalties firms received in 2019.

How this affects matched betting

So the real question is how this will affect matched bettors?

These changes will undoubtedly have a significant impact on matched betting in 2021 and beyond. Sceptics are starting to say that matched betting doesn’t work and it’s not worth it anymore.

However, this is far from the truth…

Free bet promotions are still the most popular way for bookies to incentivise new customers. Check out the number of sign up bonuses new bookmakers offer.

In my view, we’re unlikely to see operators cutting promotions from their marketing strategies. Rather, they’ll just alter the type of promotion.

However, you’ll still have the same, if not more opportunity to profit using matched betting in 2021.

In the next section of our matched betting 2021 guide, we’ll look at different types of promotion you can take advantage of.

Make money from matched betting in 2021

These methods worked incredibly well in 2019 so you can be sure they’ll work even better in 2021…

Due to popular demand, the bookmakers are continually inventing new ways to make betting more exciting for punters. It’s these new and innovative methods of betting that we’re going to see more of in the coming years.

For example, such things as #RequestABet and Best Odds Guaranteed have been hugely successful for bookmakers.

Best odds guaranteed - William Hill

In terms of matched betting, as long as there’s a lay market available at the betting exchange, you can still profit from a lot of these new-style promotions.

Advanced matched betting strategies to use in 2021

Free bets are a key part of any matched betting strategy and will continue to be that way in 2021.

However, they’re not the be all and end all. There are more advanced matched betting techniques that don’t require the use of free bets.

As you gain more experience, you can include these strategies to increase your profit.

To name a few, such things as price boosts and each-way bets are worth considering. Let’s have a look at these in more detail and find out how much you can make.

Price boosts

Price boosts are a brilliant way to make money from match betting and they are one of the best ways to increase your overall profit each month (and you don’t need to use a free bet).

To incentivise punters to stake money on a certain market, the bookies may boost the odds, meaning a greater potential return for gamblers.

Here’s an example of a typical price boost:

Skybet price boost - matched betting

Skybet is boosting the price for Tottenham, Man City and Newcastle all to win from 3/1 (4.0) to 5/1 (6.0).

It’s possible to make a guaranteed profit from this price boost. Here’s how:

In matched betting, if the back odds are higher than the lay odds, you can make a risk free profit regardless of the outcome of your bets. So, using the example above you’d want the lay market to be below the boosted back odds of 6.0.

How easy is that…

Typically the lay odds remain around the original back odds (4.0 in this example) so there’s plenty of profit to be made with price boosts.

This is just one of the methods you can use to take advantage of price boosts. You can find out about other techniques in our price boosts guide.

There are plenty of these promotions available each week which means there’s plenty of profit to be made.

The tricky bit is finding all these price boosts. With so many online bookmakers to keep tabs on, it’s difficult to spot all the promotions and work out which ones are worth it.

Right, that’s price boosts done, let’s look at another type of promotion you can take advantage of.

That’s where using a matched betting site like OddsMonkey comes in handy.

Each-way bets

Another advanced technique to add to your betting repertoire are each-way bets which are available on horse racing events.

These offers are a little more challenging but are still well worth the effort.

One successful each way bet can be very profitable and set you well on your way to your monthly match betting target.

OddsMonkey offers various tools that you can use to maximise your profit from each-way bets.

OddsMonkey Each Way Matcher

I won’t go into the specific details of how each way bets work, I’ll save that for another article. All you need to know is that you take advantage of an extra place promotion on a horse race.

What are extra place promotions you’re probably thinking?

Instead of paying out the top 5 places on a horse race, a bookie may pay out the top 6 places. That is, if your horse finishes in the top 6, the bookie will pay you thanks to the extra place. The bookies use these promotions to incentivise punters by offering greater value.

How much can you make from matched betting?

Using back and lay betting you can potentially make a great profit if results go your way.

With each-way bets, your outcome is not guaranteed, however, it’s still risk-free. You’ll never end up losing any money with matched betting.

Overall, each way bets are definitely a technique to add to your matched betting 2021 strategy, once you’re a more confident bettor.

3 top tips to maximise your matched betting 2021

Below are three of my top tips to get the most out of your matched betting in 2021.

Check out this article for more matched betting tips.

Tip #1 – Complete latest offers

As with all money-making opportunities, your matched betting profit doesn’t just end up in your account. You’ve got to put the effort in.

My matched betting 2021 number one tip is to complete as many offers as possible. The more you complete, the more money you’ll make.

It seems like common sense but you’ll be surprised at the number of people who don’t or can’t complete all the offers. These matched bettors are leaving so much money on the table.

Gambling machines

You can do this by opening new bookmaker accounts and taking advantage of sign up bonuses.

Tip #2 – Avoid being gubbed

You’re probably wondering what gubbed means, so here’s a short introduction. It refers to when a bookmaker bans or restricts your account in some way.

As you can imagine, the bookmakers aren’t interested in customers who continually take advantage of free bets and promotions. They want something in return.

If the bookies think you’re just in it for free bets, they may close or restrict your account in some way – a process matched bettors call gubbing.

To make matched betting a viable long term income you need to complete as many offers as possible. To achieve this, you need a large number of bookmaker accounts open. It’s useless having your accounts gubbed or restricted.

Not to worry though, there are several methods you can use to prevent this happening. For more information check out our guide to gubbing.

Tip #3 – Assisted matched betting

Our third tip is to use assisted matched betting in 2021.

This is arguably the most important tip in our guide.

When you first get started with matched betting, it can be quite challenging. There are several new concepts and methods you’ll need to get your head around before you can place any bets and start making a profit.

That’s why it’s important to get some help from matched betting experts. OddsMonkey does a brilliant job of helping you get started.

Here’s what Nicole said about OddsMonkey:

OddsMonkey review 2020

Matched betting 2021

Match betting is one of the most popular ways to make money online and it’s incredibly profitable once you know what you’re doing.

Despite all the changes in the betting industry, it’s still a great time to get started with matched betting. There are more offers than ever meaning there’s plenty of opportunities to profit.

As matched bettors, it’s important to move with the times. Matched betting in 2021 is very different from what it was five years ago.

Whilst free bets still play an important role in the eyes of the bookmaker, they are unlikely to be around forever. You must find and utilise new ways to profit from match betting.

As I mentioned earlier, there are more advanced strategies available and these will likely become a major part of your matched betting strategy in the future.

In the meantime, continue as you were and implement the tips above to maximise your profit in 2021.

Overall matched betting in 2021 is still incredibly profitable and definitely worth it if you’re thinking about getting started.

Once again, sign up with OddsMonkey and you’ll start earning very quickly.

Happy matched betting in 2021.

What are your thoughts on matched betting in 2021? Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.