What is Matched Betting?
Matched betting is a technique that can be used to lock in profits by placing differing bets on the same game or event. It has become incredibly popular in the UK, and the concepts are now making their way over to the US.
How does it work in the UK?
In the UK, matched betting is quite commonplace and somewhat easier to pull off. For a bare bones example, bettors place a bet with a bookmaker on the outcome of a game. They then head to a betting exchange and find action on the opposite side of the wager.
So what is a betting exchange? This is a platform that allows bettors to wager against each other with no bookmaker involved. Among the more popular and well-known UK bookmaker, Bet365.
How does it work in the US?
Over here in the US, betting exchanges aren’t a thing as of yet, at least not on a widespread basis. Each individual state is working through its own set of rules and regulations to open legal sports betting. Some states are already up and running, including, Indiana, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Betting in a legal state is for both in-person wagering at a retail sportsbook, and via online websites and mobile apps.
In a bid to attract users, they will offer incentives for signing up, including deposit bonuses and no risk free bets. This is where matched betting in the USA fits in.
In a nutshell, users would open two accounts and take advantage of free bet incentives.
- On sportsbook A, you would place a bet on a certain outcome.
- You then place a bet on the opposite outcome at sportsbook B.
In a perfect world, you’ll have placed both wagers by taking advantage of the free bet offers from online sportsbooks. Since you have staked nothing on both bets, the wager that’s graded a winner equals profit.
That’s the gist of it, but there’s a lot more to consider to insure that you are applying the technique correctly. Don’t worry, we’re going to walk you through all of it. If you need a free bet offer, you can find one here.
Are There Any Risks with Matched Betting?
Anytime you are putting money to work in hopes of making a return on your investment, there’s risk involved. This is true in numerous situations, whether we’re talking about opening a business, buying a piece of property you intend to flip, or wagering on sports.
That said, the idea behind no risk matched betting is that the risk has been removed from the equation. Since you are betting on two separate outcomes on the same event or contest, one of the bets is going to be right.
You’ll earn a return on that wager, but you’ll also lose your stake on the other bet you placed. If you used free bets in both cases, you’re not losing any of your own money.
An Example of Matched Betting
Before you jump in with both feet on matched betting, it’s important to have a full understanding of how it works. In order to find success, you’ll need to implement the strategy in the correct fashion. For those who merely attempt to wing it, there’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed with the ultimate results.
To start, walk through the strategy from top to bottom a few times without actually pulling the trigger. This will give you a sense of how it all works, and also give you more confidence when it’s time to give it a go.
On that note, let’s take a look at a fictitious example of a matched betting opportunity after you join two sportsbooks.
You have a free $10 bet at both sportsbooks. You identify an opportunity that has the same odds at both books. For illustrative purposes, let’s say it’s an NFL game with the following moneyline odds.
- San Francisco 49ers +100
- Kansas City Chiefs -120
On one of the operators, you’ll place the $10 free bet on the Chiefs side. You’ll place the other $10 free bet at the other operator on the 49ers. Here’s the potential return on both sides.
- If the 49ers win at odds of +100, the return will be $20 – the original $10 wager plus the profit.
- If the Chiefs win at odds of -120, the return is $18.33 – the $10 bet plus the profit.
You’re covered on both sides. If the 49ers win, it’s a $10 profit off a pair of free bets, while it’s $8.33 if the opposite happens and the Chiefs win. In both cases, you’ve made money because your actual investment was zero due to using the free bets.
Our example has been laid out with small stakes, but it’s not too tough to see the potential if you have a larger amount of free bets available. Here’s what the return would be with a $100 free bet.
- On the 49ers side, it’s $200 – the $100 free bet plus a $100 profit.
- For the Chiefs, it’s $183.30 – $100 free plus the 83.30 return.
When used the right way, matched betting can generate solid returns off of free bets.
Step-by-Step Guide for Matched Betting
Here is an easy step-by-step guide for matched betting.
- Identify the operators you want to sign up with from our recommended choices. Sign-up via our exclusive links to take advantage of the bonuses, including free bets.
- Research opportunities available on both books. Find a game or contest in which the moneyline odds are a mirror image.
- Place your first free bet on one of the operators on one side of the event.
- Place your second free bet on the other sportsbook you signed up for and make sure you choose the opposite outcome.
- Once the game is in the books, tally up your profits.
If you have used free bets in both cases, the profit calculation is simple. The return is your profit as you staked nothing but free bets to get it.
How to Turn a Profit with Matched Betting
To profit with Matched Betting, following our step-by-step guide will help point you towards profit. The free bet component is key. If you’re staking actual funds and picking opposite sides on two books, you’ll slowly bleed money.
The exception to this rule is when you find a disparity in moneyline odds that effectively guarantees a profit on both sides of the coin, but instances such as this are few and far between. The odds at different books can vary by a few ticks, but the range of difference is generally not so vast that profit can be locked in.
The simplest way to make it happen is via the use of free funds. If you sign up with our recommended operators by clicking through on our exclusive links, it won’t be too hard to find those opportunities.
Are You Guaranteed to Make Money with Matched Betting?
No, not always. When matched betting is used in the correct fashion, you’ll know going in what the expected return is.
If you place the wagers using the moneyline, you can essentially guarantee a profit if you’re using free bets on both sides. One of the wagers you make will be correct, while the other will be wrong.
The return generated from the correct bet is your profit. If you’ve employed matched betting with free bets, then this profit is free and clear. When you’ve used a portion of your bankroll to do so, then it’s the return less your stake that determines your profit or loss.
Barring a situation in which you’ve found a wide discrepancy in odds at two different operators, there’s going to be some kind of loss in this case.
Here’s a fictitious bet for illustrative purposes.
- Place a $10 bet at one operator for a potential return of $19.
- Do the same at another operator on the opposite side: $10 for $19.
- One of them is correct. You’ve made $19, but put up $20 for a loss of $1.
Additionally, it’s tough to guarantee yourself a profit when placing the wagers on spreads and totals. There’s always the possibility that the outcome would land exactly on the number set by bookmakers, resulting in a push.
You’ll be even on both sides as your bet will be refunded, but those using free bets have now used them up. From a bottom line perspective, there is a way to lock in profits with matched betting, but everything has to be laid out with precision to make it happen.