Matched betting is up there with my favourite methods and it can actually be kind of fun. I can say fairly confidently that if any of these methods were to be guaranteed to make you money, this would be it. Firstly, don’t let the betting part put you off. Whilst traditional betting does play a part, it’s not gambling by any means. You don’t need to be a punter and you don’t need to be into sports. (I’m not) Anyone over the age of 18 can do this and with the programme that I recommend all the training is provided in simple, step by step video tutorials. (Even if you’re not 18 you can do this as long as your parents are happy for you to open accounts in their name). This can be done spare-time, part-time or full-time. I actually did a lot of mine whilst at work on breaks and lunch and you can realistically earn £500-£2000 a month. To really put that cherry on top, anything money you make from matched betting isn’t subject to income tax because it’s considered gambling. (In the UK at least) So, what is it exactly?
Most bookmakers e.g. William Hill, Paddy Power, have a website where you can bet online and they often offer new users a special bonus, usually in the form of a ‘free bet’ to encourage you to join. Usually between £5-20, this free bet is awarded once you place an initial bet of a similar amount. By employing the tactics of matched betting, you are able to take advantage of this by reducing any potential loss from the initial ‘qualifying’ bet to just a few pence and guarantee the majority of the free bet will be awarded as profit.
How? Well, the hero of the story is betting exchanges such as Betfair and Smarkets, which allow you to bet against the field i.e. betting against a particular outcome rather than for it. These are referred to as ‘lay’ bets and essentially cover all other possible outcomes to the bet that you place with the bookmaker. So whatever the outcome of the bet, you can calculate within a few pence what your financial position will be. By doing this for every qualifying bet then using the free bets you can guarantee yourself a profit. Once you’ve worked your way through the majority of sign-up offers you can continue to want money through ‘reload’ offers which are essentially the same just for existing customers. There’s also casino, bingo and poker offers as well, which work slightly differently but add to your potential sources of income.
The site that I use for everything matched betting is Profit Accumulator (PA) and they allow you to sign up for a trial so you can see that it really works before committing. They were one of the first to bring matched betting to the masses and provide the tools to make it really easy to learn and they have improved so much since then and I’ve stuck with them. The most important thing about a platform like this is that they provide you with a constantly updating list of bookmaker offers i.e. which bookmakers currently have sign-up offers worth doing. They vet them, keep them updated and even provide a walkthrough on how to complete them. Amongst other things, they provide a training archive on matched betting teaching you how to master every aspect of it, calculators specifically for various niches within matched betting (Football ACCAS, horse racing) and oddsmatching software to help you find matching odds across bookmakers and betting exchanges. They also have a forum for help and support from both the PA team and other members, some of whom share their advice on making a full-time living from matched betting.
In the spirit of full disclosure, you can do matched betting without signing up to a platform like this. Would I do it? Hell no! Would I recommend you do? Definitely not! The time required to not only find bookmaker offers, check the terms, then manually find matching odds across bookies and exchanges… well, just the thought of it makes me sink in my chair. I tried manual odds matching once because I the bookmaker wasn’t listed in the software and it was hugely time-consuming and really rather annoying. So I wholeheartedly say that the only way to do matched betting is using a platform like Profit Accumulator. There are others out there but these guys are the ones I started with and they continue to develop and offer new features so know they are ahead of the game, and I can comfortably recommend them.
Here’s an example of how matched betting works by using a free bet sign-up offer:
Firstly you need to qualify for your free bet by placing a ‘qualifying’ bet. You won’t make any profit at this stage, you will make a minimal but calculated loss of a few pence. (Don’t worry, any small losses will be covered by the free bet profit)
- I sign up for Paddy Power who offer a free bet of £20 if I place a £5 bet.
- I place a £5 back bet at odds of 1.5 on England to win a football game.
- Using PA’s odds matching software I find a close match for this game on Betfair for odds of 1.7. (The odds need to be as close as possible hence the term ‘oddsmatching’)
- Using the calculator as shown in the image above, I calculate that the loss will be 68p and that I need to place a lay bet of £4.55
- I sign up for Betfair exchange and place the lay bet against England winning. Now, whatever happens, I know I will make a loss of 68 pence but I will then be awarded the free bet from Paddy Power.
Once the £20 free bet is awarded by Paddy Power, I need to place another bet to cash in my profit. Anything earned from placing this bet will be pure profit and is usually around 75% of the free bet amount.
- Using the odds matching software I find an event where I can place a bet at reasonably high odds. I find a game on Paddy Power with odds of 4.5 and matching odds on Betfair of 4.7.
- I calculate the required lay bet amount and potential profit to be a minimum of £14.30.
- I place the back bet on Paddy Power using my free bet balance.
- I then place the £15.05 lay bet on Betfair and wait for the game to finish.
Now whatever the outcome, win, lose or draw, I will earn at least £14.30 profit either at Betfair or Paddy Power. Anything you lose at the bookies will be earned back at the exchange and vice versa.
If this still isn’t making complete sense to you, I don’t blame you, I was pretty stumped when I first got involved. I recommend you watch the tutorial video before getting started, just click here and then hit the blue learn more button and you’ll see the ‘how matched betting works’ video. Once you get going and work through a few of the signup offers, it becomes really easy and you’ll be on a roll in no time. Below is a diagram showing the process for those visual learners out there. Once you’ve done a few offers and get used to the process it takes very little time so the hourly earning potential is huge.
Something you’ll definitely want to do from the start is keep track of all your bets in a spreadsheet. Once you start completing multiple offers a day, placing bets in advance and depositing/withdrawing to/from accounts, you’ll quickly lose track if you don’t keep an organised record of which ones you’ve started, how much you deposited, what withdrawals you’re waiting for etc. Google Sheets is perfect for this as it allows you to access it from any computer. As a thank you for downloading my free guide you can get a copy of the spreadsheet I use here. To save a copy to your own Google Drive so that you can use it just go to ‘File’ → ‘Make a Copy’.
Top tip: In order to make things easier for yourself in terms of keeping track of your profit and to keep matched betting money separate from your regular earnings and spending I would highly recommend opening a new bank account. Also, get a new email address because you’ll be getting a lot of offers from the bookies once you sign up. With regards startup money, you can start with very little, £50-£100, but the more you can put into the kitty to start with, the faster you will be able to progress through the sign-up offers and make that cash. So if you can afford to set aside £500-£1000 that would be my suggestion. Remember, you’re not risking the money. It’s simply capital to allow for good cash flow so that you place multiple bets and cover the liability of multiple and/or larger bets on the exchange.
There’s not much else to say other than go and try it out yourself, with a free trial you’ve really nothing to lose and PA explain everything really well along the way. Just to wrap up; for most people, matched betting would probably be my suggestion to start making money online as it’s pretty much risk free, very easy once you learn the basics and offers a great solution to building up some cash to invest in other projects further down the line. It would not be my long-term solution for income however because whilst it’s not too time intensive, it will always require the same amount of time as it can’t be outsourced and also it’s not scalable.
Important Note: The above is specific to matched betting in England, UK with regard to laws around ‘gambling’. Please be sure to check your own local laws. Also, remember not to be tempted into gambling by letting emotion dictate any of your bets.