No risk matched betting – The complete beginners guide for 2020

No risk matched betting is one of the most popular methods to make money online.

You can earn up to £1000 per month risk and tax free all from the comfort of your own home…

This definitive guide will cover everything you need to know from what matched betting is to how the process works and why I recommend using a site like OddsMonkey.

OddsMonkey Mac


Plus we clear up whether this process still works in 2020 and share our top tips to maximise your income right now.

Ready? Let’s get started.

What is no risk matched betting?

You may have heard of no risk matched betting before but you’re still not sure exactly what it is and how it works.

Not to worry…

We’ve created this guide with complete beginners in mind and left no stone unturned. Read on to find out more about this strategy and how you can get started today.

Let’s start right from the beginning. The best definition of matched betting can be found on OddsMonkey’s website:

Matched betting is a way to turn the free bets offered by online bookmakers into real money

This is an incredibly popular method of making money online and it’s used by thousands of people throughout the UK. Its attraction continues to grow as more individuals find out about its inherent benefits and potential.

Matched bettors make money from free bets and incentives offered by UK bookmakers such as Coral, Ladbrokes and Bet365.

No risk matched betting free bets

There are hundreds of bookmakers all offering their own unique offers and promotions meaning there’s plenty of profit to be made in 2020.

Matched betting isn’t just for those based in the UK. For those of you who are further afield, check out our dedicated matched betting outside the UK article or our specific USA page.

So, how does this process work and how can it be risk free?

How does matched betting work?

Before we get into the nuts and bolts of how matched betting works, let’s clear a few things up.

The bookmakers don’t give out free bets without getting something in return. There is always some form of qualifying criteria involved. Most free bets will look something like this Betdaq example: Bet £10, Get £10.

Betdaq signup offer

So in the example above, you’d need to bet £10 before gaining access to your £10 free bet. To guarantee a profit from this bonus, bettors use a risk-free method called back and lay betting.

It’s vital you understand how this method works as you’ll use this process in every matched bet you complete. That’s why I recommend you use a matched betting site like OddsMonkey.

OddsMonkey does a great job of explaining how back and lay betting works with easy to follow video tutorials and guides. Here’s what existing members think of OddsMonkey.

OddsMonkey reviews

Check out this article for more information on what OddsMonkey offers.

Backing and laying bets

As this may be the first time you’ve heard of backing and laying bets, let’s look into the details of what it is and why it’s so important for matched betting.

The first thing you need to know is that this method involves placing two opposite bets. A back bet and a lay bet.

Back betting

The first bet is called a back bet and it’s placed at a traditional bookmaker like Coral or Ladbrokes. This bet is used to activate or redeem your free bet offered by the bookmaker.

Back bets are generally placed on a certain team to win an event or game. For example, you might bet on Leicester City to beat Manchester Utd or on a horse to win a race.

Leicester vs Man Utd

Lay betting

The second bet is called a lay bet and it’s placed at a betting exchange such as Betdaq (more on betting exchanges a little later). This bet is used to make your first bet risk free.

Lay bets allow you to bet against a certain outcome. So using the example above, you’d now bet that Leicester City would NOT beat Man Utd.

The lay bet is placed on the exact opposite market to the back bet. Therefore, these two bets are used to cancel each other out removing any risk from your bets.

By using this no risk betting technique, the outcome is based on a mathematical equation rather than chance. Matched bettors know the exact outcome of their bets before an event even starts.

This allows bettors to ensure a profit no matter what the outcome of an event is.

Individuals use a matched betting calculator to work out the required bets they need to place to ensure a profit.

OddsMonkey calculator

If you’re a bit lost at this stage, not to worry. All will become clear a little later in our matched betting example.

What are betting exchanges?

A betting exchange may be a new term to some of you, so let’s find out what they are and how they work.

Betting exchanges are gambling websites which match bettors together. They’re essentially a marketplace for punters looking to place opposite bets. Look at them like the eBay of gambling – they match buyers and sellers.

Betdaq betting exchange

Exchanges allow you to act as the bookmaker and sell a bet (lay betting) as well as buying a bet (back betting).

They differ form traditional bookmakers in that they make their money by charging a commission on players net winnings. Bookmakers make their money by offering less efficient odds.

The commission rate differs between companies but ranges from 1.5% to 5%. Here’s a list of the most popular betting exchanges and their commission rates:

  • Matchbook – 1.5%
  • Smarkets – 2%
  • Betdaq – 2%
  • Betfair – 5%

How do you place exchange bets?

Placing bets at a betting exchange is very similar to the process you use at a traditional bookmaker.

  1. Find the correct market
  2. Select whether you want to place a back or lay bet
  3. Enter your stake
  4. Place your bet

One of the most important aspects of a betting exchange is that you can place both back and lay bets. To differentiate between the two markets an exchange uses different colours.

Here’s the colour scheme Betdaq use:

Orange – Back markets
Green – Lay markets

Betdaq colour scheme - Back and lay markets

The Smarkets colour scheme:

Green – Back markets
Blue – Lay markets

Smarkets colour scheme - Back and lay markets

And the Betfair colour scheme:

Blue – Back markets
Pink – Lay markets

Betfair colour scheme - Back and lay markets

Matchbook use the same colours as Betfair.

For more information about betting exchanges and what they offer, check out our in-depth guide here.

Beginners out there may feel a little overwhelmed so far. Not to worry, in the next section I’ll walk you through an example from start to finish to show you how simple it really is.

Matched betting example

Before we get into our example, here’s a brilliant infographic showing our six steps to matched betting success.

No risk matched betting - 6 simple steps to succeed at matched betting.
No risk matched betting – An infographic
  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

As easy as that… Well, there’s a bit more to it but all will become clear in the example below.

In this example, we’ll take advantage of a Coral promotion.

No risk matched betting example - Coral offer

Coral offers new customers a £20 free bet when they sign up and bet £5.

This is an incredibly easy offer to complete and one that will help you get to grips with the basics of no-risk matched betting very quickly.

If you’re just getting started, I recommend you follow the process below to help you complete your first offer.

In this example, I’ll be using OddsMonkey’s calculator and OddsMatcher. Both of these tools are available for free, you just need to sign up for a free trial which you can do using the following link.

Step 1 – Open new Coral account

So to kick things off you’ll need to open a new account with Coral. Click this link to register your new account.

Fill in the required information and set up your new account. I recommend you opt-in to marketing emails and messages to receive the latest offers which you can profit from in the future.

Step 2 – Place deposit

To complete this Coral offer, you need to deposit £5 into your new account. I suggest you use a debit card if possible. Other payment methods are available but may restrict you from certain free bets and promotions in the future.

Step 3 – Change odds format

Before we continue, we need to change the odds format from fractional to decimal odds. This makes it easier to compare odds between the bookmaker and betting exchange.

You can do this by heading to ‘my account’ then ‘settings’ and ‘betting settings’.

It should look something like this:

Change odds format Coral

Brilliant, so now we’ve set up the Coral side of things, let’s find a qualifying bet.

Step 4 – Qualifying bet

So the next step is to find a market to place our qualifying bet. This is where OddsMonkey’s OddsMatcher tool comes in handy. The software does all the work for us and shows us the most profitable opportunities.

You can access the tool by signing up for a free trial at OddsMonkey using the following link:

Open the tool and it should look something like this:

OddsMonkey OddsMatcher software

As we’re completing the Coral offer, we need to filter out all other bookmakers. You can do this at the top of the OddsMatcher tool.

OddsMatcher Coral filter

The terms and conditions in the Coral offer state that we must use minimum odds of 1.5 to qualify for the free bet. So the odds in the ‘back’ section of the OddsMatcher need to be at least 1.5.

The most profitable offers appear at the top of the tool. I suggest you look for options with ratings as close to 100% as possible (without going over 100).

For your first few bets, I recommend looking for high profile football games. Premier League and Champions League games are ideal.

Once you’ve found a suitable market, click the little information icon in the tool. This should bring up the match information and calculator in a new window.

OddsMatcher information

The tool will calculate the exact bets you need to place at both the bookmaker and the betting exchange. For this bet you can leave the calculator in normal mode.

You just need to ensure that the Coral stake in the calculator is the same as your qualifying bet. So in this example, it will be £5.

At this stage, the calculator will likely show you a negative profit. Don’t let this alarm you. This is just the small qualifying loss.

What is a qualifying loss?

A qualifying loss is the small amount of money we stand to lose in order to activate the free bet. This will generally be less than £1.

OddsMonkey calculator example

To make things easy the OddsMonkey calculator tells you exactly what bets you need to place.

OddsMatcher calculator - no risk matched betting

Step 5 – Place your bets

Once you’re happy, it’s time to place your qualifying bets. Using the OddsMatcher tool, you can click the direct links which take you to the specific events.

Find the correct markets and double-check the odds are the same as in the OddsMatcher tool. Then go ahead and place your back bet.

Matched betting with Coral

The next step is to place your lay bet at the betting exchange. In this example, the match is with Betfair. If you don’t already have an account, you’ll need to register with Betfair at this stage.

This process is fairly self-explanatory. I suggest you deposit about £20 to cover your liability. Once again, I suggest you use a debit card as your preferred payment method.

Once you’re logged in, follow the instructions in the calculator and place your lay bet. The calculator tells me I need to place a lay bet of £5.21 at odds of 1.49.

Betfair example

Now you need to wait for your bets to settle and you’re halfway to completing your first matched betting offer!

Step 6 – Check your free bets

The next stage is to check that your free bets have been credited in your account. This will usually happen immediately or once your bet has settled.

If your free bets don’t appear within a few hours, I recommend getting in touch with customer support.

Coral display free bets next to your account balance in the top right-hand corner. Coral gives you four x £5 free bet tokens, totalling £20.

Coral free bets - No risk matched betting

Note: I have three bet tokens available as I’ve already used one of them. 

Step 7 – Free bet

The next stage is very similar to the steps mentioned above, only this time we’re using our free bets.

So we’ll head back to the OddsMatcher software and look for a new market with the same filters applied. For the free bet, we want to pick back odds that are higher. Around 7.0 is usually a great place to start. Bear in mind, this will increase your liability at the betting exchange.

You should look for opportunities with a SNR higher than 70%. Here’s an example with a SNR of nearly 82%:

No risk matched betting - OddsMatcher

Once you’ve found a suitable market, click the information icon and head to the calculator. This time you’ll need to select the free bet (SNR) mode.

The calculator will then work out your overall profit from the bet.

Awesome, that’s your first offer completed! Rinse and repeat the process above and you’ll be making a great second income before you know it.

As you can see, OddsMonkey makes the entire process incredibly easy and more profitable thanks to brilliant software and tutorials.

Why not try OddsMonkey for free today?

How much can you earn?

So now you’ve seen the process in action, let’s look at how much you can realistically earn.

For obvious reasons, this is the most popular question we get asked so we’ll look at it first. As with most things, people often want to know the potential earnings before getting started.

As you can imagine, this is incredibly hard to answer and one figure isn’t going to be representative for everyone.

It totally depends on how much time you invest and how much money you make from each specific offer.

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!

Increase money matched betting

As you can see, matched betting can be incredibly profitable. If you put in the time and effort and learn how to maximise your income you’ll be able to bolster your bank balance in no time.

For the time investment, matched betting can be incredibly rewarding compared to other methods of making money. You can make more than £40 an hour when you know what you’re doing.

What’s more, this process is completely tax free…

Matched betting is 100% tax free

In the UK, all gambling winnings are 100% tax free.

The Government get their cut directly from the bookmakers. Therefore, for matched bettors there’s no hassle dealing with the tax man as they don’t take any of our profit.

I don’t know of another method to make money online that is legally 100% tax free. I’d love to check it out if there is…

Long term profitability

We know that matched bettors take advantage of bookmakers sign up offers and promotions they use to incentivise new customers to open an account with them.

Here’s another typical example from Ladbrokes:

Ladbrokes sign up offer - Take advantage with no risk matched betting

Ladbrokes offer a £20 free bet when you sign up and bet £5, similar to the Coral example above.

With such a wide range of online bookmakers all competing for your custom, there is plenty of profit to be made from sign up offers.

At the time of writing, there are hundreds of sign up offers you can profit from with a combined value of over £900!

These ‘new customer promotions’ offer you the quickest bang for your buck and are incredibly worthwhile completing.

Unfortunately, they don’t last forever and they can only be completed once. But no need to worry, this is where reload offers come in.

Reload offers

Once you’ve completed all the sign up offers it’s time to move on to reload offers. These are promotions for existing customers who already have betting accounts open.

Once the bookmakers get customers signed up, their job isn’t over. They want punters to keep betting. Therefore they offer ongoing promotions to keep customers returning.

There are plenty of these offers available daily and this is where the long term, ongoing profit is made with matched betting.

You’ll often find plenty of reload offers available on large, popular sporting events around the world. Such things as the Football World Cup are great examples.

There are different types of reload offers out there but you can generally profit from a lot of these promotions.

Once again, OddsMonkey does a great job of finding the latest reload offers for you to take advantage of. They display them in their daily offer calendar which is available to all OddsMonkey premium members.

OddsMonkey daily offer calendar

Once you get the hang of sportsbook offers, you can then move on to casino and bingo offers. Though there are less offers readily available, there’s still plenty of profit to be made.

For more information, check out this handy guide.

All in all, matched betting is a great option for those looking to earn a little extra money or a full time income from the comfort of your own home.

No risk matched betting top tips

Now for a few top tips to increase your profitability in 2020:

  • Double check everything
  • Use Betdaq betting exchange
  • Use multiple bookies

Let’s look into these tips in more detail.

Double check everything

Double checking everything is one of the most important tips I can recommend in 2020. As you can see, there are quite a few moving parts and it’s therefore necessary to check for any mistakes on a regular basis. One error in calculation could prove costly.

Double check the calculator

Here are the things I suggest you check:

  • Any calculator or other tools when entering any figures
  • Your bet slip before placing any bets
  • Your placed bets

As well as checking for mistakes, it’s also important to check the bookies terms and conditions. Each promotion typically comes with pages and pages of jargon filled with small print that most bettors don’t bother reading.

This can be a costly mistake and whilst reading the T&Cs is a boring and tedious process, it’s likely to save you a lot of money.

However, this is all taken care of when you use a site like OddsMonkey. All the hard work is done for you meaning you can spend more time placing matched bets and making money.

Use Betdaq betting exchange

Picking a betting exchange is an important part of no risk matched betting in 2020. It has a direct impact on the amount of profit you make.

There are a number of options out there, however, most bettors usually choose between Betdaq and Betfair. Both have their pros and cons but I like to use Betdaq.

Thanks to their low commission rate, using Betdaq as your preferred betting exchange is one of the easiest strategies you can employ to maximise your profit.

Betdaq exchange

As I mentioned earlier, Betdaq charge a flat commission rate of just 2% which easily beats Betfair’s 5% rate.

For ease of use and functionality, I also prefer their platform to their competitors.

Use multiple bookmakers

Another important tip is to use as many bookmakers as possible.

By this I mean take advantage of as many different offers and promotions as you can. As we’ve seen, there are hundreds of online bookmakers all offering their own incentives. The more you can take advantage of, the more profit you’ll make.

As simple as that…

Furthermore, the wider you spread your bets, the more likely you won’t have any problems with account gubbings etc.

Looking for more tips? Check out this article.

Matched betting FAQs

Below we’ll check out some of the most popular questions beginners have when they get started.

Is matched betting legal?

For some of you out there, this may seem too good to be true. This begs the question is it actually legal in the first place and if so do the bookies allow it?

In short, this process is 100% legal. We’re just taking advantage of bookmakers free bets and promotions with a clever strategy.

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.’

What William Hill say about no risk matched betting

There you have it…

No more worrying about whether this is a legitimate way to make money online. For more information on the legality of no risk matched betting, check out this article.

So we know the process is legal but do the bookmakers allow it?

It’s fair to say, bookmakers don’t like matched bettors. We’re taking advantage of their promotions with zero risk. However, the bookmakers can’t stop matched bettors unless they gub or restrict our accounts which we’ll look at in more detail later.

How much money do I need to get started?

Individuals often ask how much money they need to get started with matched betting. In short I recommend you start with at least £100 to complete your first offer.

This will give you just enough to place your back and lay bets at the bookmaker and betting exchange. The more money you have available, the better as this will allow you to complete multiple offers at once.

How long does it take to learn?

Whilst matched betting may seem complicated for any beginners out there, the process is actually very simple.

Most people learn the process within a couple of days, after completing a few offers. This is made easier with the help of a site like OddsMonkey thanks to brilliant tutorials, tools and software which speed up the learning process no end.

What’s great is that seasoned bettors can complete a single offer in less than 5 minutes which certainly makes it one of the most time-efficient ways to make money online.

Who’s matched betting for?

This isn’t for everyone. But if you’re interested in making a risk free guaranteed profit, it’s probably right up your street.

To get started you need to meet the few requirements below:

  • You must be at least 18 years old and have a UK address.
  • 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.

Great news, you can get started today and join bettors that come from all walks of life such as:

  • Students
  • Stay at home parents
  • Hardcore betting fans

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

Students matched betting

I’m new to betting

What if I’ve never placed a bet before or I don’t know anything about sports?

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

That’s where sites like OddsMonkey come in handy. They walk you through the entire process hand in hand and show you how and what 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.

The same goes for sporting knowledge. However, this is less important when it comes to matched betting. You’ll make a guaranteed profit no matter what events you place your bets on.

Is matched betting possible outside the UK?

We often get asked if it’s possible to start matched betting outside the UK. In short, yes it is possible outside the UK.

You can use the back and lay betting process anywhere in the world. However, the regulations and bookmakers promotions vary from country to country which is why this guide is specifically for those based in the UK.

For more information, check out this article.

Are there any risks with matched betting?

One of the great things about this betting strategy is that there is no risk if you follow the process carefully. The only risk is human error.

Therefore it’s vital you double check everything before placing any bets as mistakes can be costly.

Can I avoid account restrictions?

Unfortuantely, account restrictions and gubbings are part of matched betting. As I mentioned earlier, the bookmakers don’t like people taking advantage of their promotions when they get nothing in return.

To avoid getting accounts restricted or closed bettors use a process called mug betting. In simple terms this means placing bets that don’t directly qualify for a free bet or promotion.

This is key to long term success. Check out this article for more information.

Is matched betting worth it?

One of the questions we get asked a lot is whether matched betting in 2020 is still worth it.

Individuals are often unsure about the longevity and potentially how the bookies have clamped down on matched bettors and those taking advantage of their promotions.

The bookmakers use incredibly sophisticated technology to track the behaviour of their users and it’s unrealistic to assume they can’t spot matched bettors.

However, it’s in their interest to keep users active and placing bets on their platform. As long as something’s in it for the bookmaker, they’re happy.

Whilst it’s fair to say matched betting has changed a lot in the past 5 years or so, it’s a myth to say it’s no longer profitable.

As we’ve already discussed, it’s still the number one method to make money online and it’s arguably more profitable than ever.

At the time of writing there is over £900 worth of sign up offers to complete at OddsMonkey.

Matched betting made easy

As you probably understand by now, there’s quite a bit to get your head around.

There’s different concepts to learn and a whole heap of new tools and software for you to use. However, don’t let that put you off.

There are many different matched betting sites out there all aiming to help you increase your profitability whilst keeping the process as simple as possible.

They provide you with all the tools and information you need to succeed no matter where you’re starting from.

Below are some of the most popular sites:

I recommend you check out OddsMonkey. Thousands of bettors (myself included) use their platform to profit from matched betting every day. Below are just some of the benefits.

Benefits of OddsMonkey

One of the most time consuming parts of going at it alone (without any help) is finding the latest offers to take advantage of.

With so many bookies out there and countless websites to check, this is a process best left to the experts.

That’s why OddsMonkey does it all for you.

OddsMonkey tutorials

They have a crack team of matched bettors constantly scouring the internet for the latest and greatest offers for you to take advantage of.

Their team of experts then add these offers to the members area along with advice on how best to tackle the offer in question.

Along with this brilliant service, you’ll also have access to the following:

  • Dedicated tools and software
  • Best support in the industry
  • More advanced matched betting methods

And much much more…

For more information on OddsMonkey and the benefits they offer, check out our in-depth review here.

Alternatively, you can get started with a free trial by clicking the link below.

What are your thoughts of no risk matched betting? Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.