All About Matched Betting
Matched Betting is a strategy adopted by many punters as a way to "beat the bookies". Bookmakers like to offer new and existing customers enhanced and bonus bets. By using these offers and essentially pitching bookmaker vs bookmaker it's possible to profit from this approach.
However - a word of caution - before you start along this pathway make sure you fully understand how it works. A little knowledge will go along way. Matched Betting is covered on a number of money orientated sites - such as MSE, MumsNet and Save The Student. It's well worth reading threads and comments to understand the pros and cons. Also remember that matched betting is gambling and it should not be undertaken as a get rich scheme. Only bet what you can afford to lose.
Betting For & Against An Outcome
So what exactly is matched betting. Well it's a way to turn bookmaker's free bets into real cash for you. It's legal but for it to work out well it needs a bit of thought. The approach is based on placing a back bet where you betting that an outcome will be true (e.g. Liverpool to win). This is then countered with a lay bet where you bet on the opposite to occur (Liverpool to not win).
The lay bet is placed at a traditional bookmaker, such as Ladbrokes, William Hill or Paddy Power. These regularly offer enhanced odds and bonus bets as well as bonuses to new players. To place a back bet you'll need to use Betfair or similar betting exchange. Betfair allow you to act as the bookmaker and therefore place a bet against fellow players. The aim of the lay bet is to counter your back bet.
How It Works
Let's say you're offered a "bet £10 get £20 of free bets" offer at a bookmaker. To get the free bets you need to bet on Liverpool to win their next match. You stake your £10 on the game. The next step is to head to Betfair or similar and place a laybet that Liverpool will not win and you'll get around £10 back if that occurs. Whatever the outcome of the match (Liverpool win, lose or draw) one of your bets wins thereby (hopefully) giving you a similar amount to your total stake. The important part is that you have £30 of bets to repeat the process and have your initial stake.
The next step is to repeat the process thereby eventually unlocking the "free bet" and turning it into cash. According to the various guides we've read you can usually convert the free bet into 75% to 80% of the original bonus. So from £20 of free bets you could potentially unlock £16 cash. Once that's done you simply move on to the next offer.
That actually all sounds quite easy doesn't it? Unfortunately it's not quite as simple or straightforward. You need to figure out the maths on each bet so that your laybet is enough to ensure you minimise initial losses and maximise profits. There are a number of sites that have matched betting calculators - we're currently working on adding one to Loquax.
Does It Work
Look around the internet and there are plenty of stories about Matched Betting generating decent profits for players. Although not widely known, there is a matched betting forum on Money Saving Expert. This can only be found after you have registered and then login. You will find an excellent guide about getting started plus plenty of warnings about it not being money saving if you lose! We like this guide as it's been written by real people rather than a website that is offering subscriptions to their betting service.
According to Oddsmonkey members of their Matched Betting forum report "making £900+ per month". That can add up to a tidy - non taxable - income. However remember those people have been involved with the matched betting for a long time and have developed strategies and expertise. Also note that many of the claims, especially made in Youtube videos, are designed to suck you in to believing matched betting is an easy system to make a profit.
Is Matched Betting For You
Matched Betting isn't something you can just dive in to and walk away with a tidy sum. It needs careful understanding of the process, how to use betting exchanges and how the free bets and bonus terms work. What you don't want to do is end up losing out by making silly mistakes. You can profit from matched betting but it is still gambling. Only spend money you can afford to play with.
However, if you're willing to do the ground work and understand the pitfalls then matched betting offers an interesting approach to taking on the bookies. The key point to remember is that whenever you bet with your own money then you may make a small loss. The profit aspect comes when you use the free bet money.