The Ultimate Matched Betting Guide

Betting Terminology
January 25, 2023

How would you like to improve your chances of making a profit from our Telegram betting tips? Outcomes aren’t always guaranteed in sports betting, even though our premium tipsters are known for their winning picks. Thanks to a strategy known as matched betting, you can lock in a profit, whatever the outcome.

What is matched betting? This guide to matched betting explains all. From the basics of matched bets to the process of making them, we’ve covered it all. So, if you want to know what matched betting is and how it’s profitable, scroll down for all the secrets.

What is a Matched Bet?

Matched bets are wagers designed to cover every possible outcome. Another way to describe this type of strategy is no-risk matched betting. We've called it no (or low) risk betting because you’re covering both sides of a wager.

For example, if you bet on Team A to win and Team B to win, you’ve covered two out of three possible outcomes (a tie is the third option). Covering both Team A and Team B is, in essence, a matched bet. The problem, however, is that making these two bets simultaneously may mean you don’t make any profit.

This is where sports betting bonuses come into play. Bonuses give you free credit when you complete a certain task e.g. placing bets. These offers can help you make a profit when you make matched bets. How? Here's an example

Examples of Matched Bets

To illustrate how matched betting works, here’s a simple example of a coin flip where there are only two possible outcomes:

  • The coin lands on heads
  • The coin lands on tails

The odds for Heads are 1/1 (aka even money or 2.0 in decimal odds)

The odds for Tails are 1/1 (aka even money or 2.0 in decimal odds)

  • You bet $5 on Heads
  • You bet $5 on Tails

If the coin lands on Heads, you make a $5 profit + your $5 stake back. You also lose $5 because it didn't land on Tails.

If the coin lands on Tails, you make a $5 profit + your $5 stake back. You also lose $5 because it didn't land on Heads.

This isn't an ideal scenario. Yes, you don't lose anything, but you don't make a profit either. What's more, you're likely to be in a situation where the odds don't match. In our example, the odds for both outcomes was 1/1. In sports betting, it's likely that one outcome will have different odds to the other.

A discrepancy between the odds means you stand to lose money on a losing pick, if even you've covered both outcomes. This is where the process of unlocking bonuses comes in.

How Does Matched Betting Work?

We’ve explained matched betting in its basic format. To recap, it’s the act of covering both sides of an event. This is technically known as backing and laying. You’re backing one team/outcome and laying another (i.e. taking the alternative result). To put it another way, backing means you believe an outcome will happen. Laying means you believe it won’t happen.


  • Backing = Manchester United will win
  • Laying = Manchester United won’t win (i.e. they will either tie or lose)

You can only lay bets on an exchange, so your match betting strategy has to utilize betting markets across different sites. In general, you will back with a bookmaker and lay with an exchange. This means finding suitable events to back and lay across two different platforms is the first step in making a successfully matched bet.

It’s also important to note that you become the bookmaker when you’re laying a bet, so you have to accept a certain amount of liability. This liability is shown before you lock in a lay bet. For example, you might be laying a bet for $10 and have a $30 liability. This means you stand to lose $40 if the lay bet is unsuccessful. As a matched bettor, you need to factor in these costs when you’re using bonus bets to make a profit.

Backing and laying with a match bet bonus

As we’ve said, a matched betting strategy doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve used a match bet to unlock a bonus, you need to use it correctly. The first thing to note is that, in general, bonus credits/free bets can’t be withdrawn. For example, if a bookmaker gives you $20, you can’t withdraw it as cash.

What you can do is use it to make more bets. This is where you need a matched betting calculator. How does a match bet calculator work? A free-matched bet calculator takes into account the size of your bonus bet, the odds for backing, and the odds for laying. It tells you whether or not there’s a profit to be made from a matched bet and, if there is, which option (back or lay) to use your bonus for.

Calculating a profitable match bet tells you how to use your bonus to cover one outcome. You then use your own money to stake an appropriate amount on the other outcome. Let’s illustrate this with a matched bet example:

  • You receive a $20 bonus after making a matched bet.
  • You use a matched betting calculator to find a profitable way to use our bonus.
  • You back Team A at 4.0 odds using your bonus bet. This means you’re backing Team A to win for $20.
  • You lay Team A at 4.2 odds using your own money. This means you’re betting on Team A not to win (i.e. they lose or tie).
  • Based on the numbers, the matched betting calculator tells us that our lay stake needs to be $14.46 to generate a profit. This takes into account the odds for backing and laying, as well as the bonus bet you’ve used to back Team A.
  • The exchange’s commission is 5% and the balance required is $46.27. This means the total amount you stand to lose on the lay bet is: $14.46 stake + $31.81 liability = $46.27.
  • The profit from this matched bonus bet is $13.73

Here are the possible outcomes:

  • Team A wins = You make a $60 profit from your bonus bet. Your stake isn’t returned because you used a free bet. You lose $46.27 on the exchange, so the profit in this scenario is $60 - $46.27 = $13.73.
  • Team A loses = You win your lay bet of $14.46 (i.e. you make $14.46). Once you take off the exchange’s 5% commission charge, it leaves you with = a $13.74 profit.

You win money in both scenarios. Either your bonus bet wins and you make a profit once your lay liability has been subtracted. Or you win the lay bet and you don’t need to worry about the back bet because it was bonus money.

How To Match Bet Step By Step

How do you make matched bets using bonus credits? Here are the steps you need to follow:

Step 1

Open an account with two or more bookmakers and betting exchanges. This allows you to take advantage of bonus offers and, in turn, back/lay bets.

Step 2

Set the odds across all accounts to mirror each other. Doing this allows you to easily compare odds across different platforms. Match bet calculators typically require you to input decimal odds. You can use converters if you prefer to view betting lines in fractional or American odds formats.

Step 3

Place your back and lay bets using a combination of your own money and bonus credits. Go back to the previous section of this matched betting guide for an example of how you can back and lay an outcome to generate a profit.

Step 4

Cash out your profit. Assuming you’ve successfully followed our matched betting strategy using bonus credits, you’ll have a profit at the end. This profit will be paid in cash that’s withdrawable. You can leave it in your account and use it again or you can withdraw it.

Match betting tips

Matched betting is a reliable strategy if you can find the right bets and bonuses. Here are some match betting tips to help you find the right wagers:

1. Subscribe to our Telegram tipsters. Our betting experts provide daily sports betting tips via Telegram, many of which can be used to make matched bets.

2. Use matched betting blog posts to get a better overview of the latest opportunities. These blog posts will cover the latest events. For example, during the racing season you might be able to read about the latest Cheltenham matched betting tips.

3. Use a matched betting calculator. The easiest way to tell whether or not a wager can produce a profit from matched bets is by using a calculator.

4. Keep track of your wagers using a matched betting spreadsheet. A match betting spreadsheet allows you to keep track of all the offers you’ve claimed, your bets, and your profits.

5. Never risk more than you can afford to lose. This is a fundamental sports betting type, regardless of whether or not you’re using a matched betting strategy.

Matched Betting Calculator

You can use the free match bet calculator below to find out whether or not a wager can yield a profit using this strategy.

How does a match betting calculator work?

A matched betting calculator tells you how much you need to stake in order to break even on a bet. You can use one to find out the amount you need to stake on a lay bet if you’re trying to qualify for a bonus. You can also use a calculator to tell you how much you need to stake on a lay bet once you’ve got a bonus bet.

A match betting calculator works in the following way:

First input whether you’re trying to find the stake for a lay bet when you’re making a qualifying wager or when you’ve got a bonus bet. Once you’ve done that, in the following variables:

  • Back bet stake (i.e. how much you’ve backed a team for)
  • The odds of your back bet
  • The odds of your lay bet

A matched betting calculator compares these variables and tells you how much you need to stake on a lay bet. The stake takes into the odds of both wagers and the amount you’ve backed a team for. The answer you get should help you break even/make a profit, regardless of the game’s result.

Match Betting FAQs

How do you find the best matched betting odds?

There are programs that will automatically find the best matched bets of the day. You can also search through betting sites manually to find profitable matched bets. The tip here is to find bets where the back and lay odds are as close to each other as possible.

Are there any downsides to matched betting?

The main downside to matched betting is the process itself. It can take a lot of work to find profitable bets and a small mistake could be costly.

Do you pay tax on matched betting?

You don’t have to pay tax on match bets in the UK because gambling profits are taxable. The laws will vary depending on the country you’re in, so check the local tax laws before you start matched betting.

Why do bookies not like matched betting?

Bookies don’t like winning matched betting strategies because it gives you a way to make a profit, regardless of the outcome. Bookmakers are trying to make money by laying odds, so taking away this advantage hurts their profits.

Can matched betting affect your credit score?

No, it shouldn’t. Certain banks may take into account deposits/withdrawals from gambling sites when assessing risk. There is nothing inherently wrong with match betting.

Which sport is best for matched betting?

Match betting can be used in a variety of sports where there is more than one outcome. In general, matched betting in the UK is most commonly used for football.

Can a matched bet become unmatched?

An unmatched bet is possible if the odds suddenly change or one side of the wager gets canceled. In this situation, you stand to lose money if you’re unable to cancel your bet.

How long does it take to learn matched betting?

The general premise of match betting is fairly easy to understand. As demonstrated in this match betting guide, there are a lot of variables to consider. This means it can take time to learn and even more time to master.

Can you automate matched betting?

Yes. There are software programs (bots) that can find and place matched bets for you. These systems are usually reliable but they come at a cost that has to be factored into the potential profits you can make.

How do bookies know you are matched betting?

It’s not easy for a bookmaker to know if you’re using a matched betting strategy. An obvious sign that you’re matched betting is that you only use bonuses. Therefore, it’s wise to use your betting accounts to place a variety of bets, some with bonus credits and some with your own money.

Featured Posts