Matched Betting For Beginners – How To Make Money From Bookie Bonuses

The first time you come across matched betting I am sure it will feel like the most confusing thing in the world. But never fear, once you get your head round it is actually very straightforward. In this post, I will lay it out and give you a complete detailed guide to matched betting for beginners.

Now. Very simply. Matched betting is a technique used for generating a profit from the free bets that are offered by bookmakers.

It is risk-free and based on simple mathematics rather than guesswork. It is not gambling.

Which is awesome. There are hundreds of bookies out there, and we can claim the free bets from each one. It is actually a very easy way to make a bit of extra money.

What Is A Free Bet?

In order to encourage you to sign up to their website, most betting companies will offer you a free bet.

It is very similar to free money, but with some loopholes attached.

Matched betting is simply the process of jumping through hoops in order to keep that free money. 

A very typical example would be.

  • Sign-up to the bookie
  • Bet £5.
  • Get £20 in free bets.
  • You can withdraw any winnings from the £20 free bets.

That’s actually a real life example. It is the sign-up bonus offered by Coral.

But How Do you Place Bets In A Risk-Free Way?

This is where the matched part of matched betting comes in.

Every bet has two sides. The punter’s side. And the bookie that takes the punter’s bet. If the punter wins, the bookie loses. If the bookie wins, the punter loses.

But what is really cool, is that there are websites out there that let you take the bookies side of the bet.

Betfair being the largest one, you may have heard of it? It is what is known as a betting exchange.

In the above gif, you can see me placing a bookie side bet (also known as a lay bet). If you pay attention to the expected profit on each outcome, you will see that I will make money if Newcastle loses or draws.

By placing the free bet at the bookmaker and placing a corresponding lay bet at Betfair, we can lock in the profit.

We can make sure that the outcome of the bet doesn’t matter.

How Does It Work In Practice?

The style of bonus that we saw above, where you place a ‘qualifying’ bet and get rewarded with another free one, is the most common type of free bet.

Those in the matched betting community call them ‘stake-not-returned free bets’ because the stake part of the free bet is not returned when the bet wins.

To make the most money out of it, the free bet needs to be bet on higher odds. As this is a guide on matched betting for beginners, I don’t want to get bogged down in the details. If you’re curious, be sure to check out some of our more advanced articles.

Let’s work through the process with the Coral bonus.

  • Register for Coral.
  • Register for Betfair.
  • Deposit £5 into Coral.
  • Find an event where the odds are around 2 and similar on both Betfair and Coral.
  • Bet £5 on odds of at least 2. Lay off at Betfair to hedge the bet. The lower the odds at the exchange the better.
  • 4x £5 free bets should be added to the balance in Coral.
  • Find an event where the odds are at least 5 and similar on both Betfair and Coral.
  • Bet the bonus amount on odds of at least 5 (around 7 is ideal). Lay off at Betfair.
  • Withdraw from both Betfair and Coral, and spend you profit!

The key here is finding close matches between Betfair and Coral.

Remember that, it is an important part of matched betting for beginners. The closer they are they more money you get to keep from the free bet.

How Do You Find Close Matches?

It can be very difficult to find instances where there is a close match between Betfair and the bookie. Luckily there are some free tools available that will find them for us.

Head over to Oddsmonkey and sign up for a free account. Then navigate to their oddsmatcher.

Just enter the bookie you are using and it will provide you with all the closest matches.

The higher percentage rating, the better and the more money you will make off the bet.

How Do You Know How Much To LAy Off?

The mathematics behind how much you should lay is pretty complicated. So we will ignore it as this is a guide to matched betting for beginners. Instead, we will use a calculator.

The same site that brought us the oddsmatcher, also has a free tool that will tell us exactly how much to lay off at Betfair in order to lock in the same profit regardless of who wins.

Just go to:

  • Tools -> Calculator

How Do You Find Free Bets?

You can research free bets yourself. But there isn’t really much point. It’s complicated and there are loads of good resources out there that will find you offers in exchange for a small monthly subscription fee.

The best one is Oddsmonkey (yes the same company who have all the cool free tools aimed at matched betting for beginners). They have hundreds of offers recorded, with step-by-step guides on how to do each one.

oddsmonkey is the best tool about matched betting for beginners

Shhh. Don’t tell them I am showing you what is behind their pay wall!

Oddsmonkey Premium costs £15 a month and has a 30-day money back guarantee. You can also access the first few offers for free by signing up for a free account.

That’s a bargain.

Is That Really All There Is To Matched Betting For Beginners?

We have just touched the surface of matched betting. There is loads more to it, and loads of different types of offers. But in the post, we have covered the basics.

We’ve looked at the most common type of offer, I’ve introduced you to the best tools around, and hopefully I have wet your appetite for more research.

If you are looking for a detailed walkthrough of one offer, I highly recommend this post on matched betting. It’s incredibly detailed, but well worth the time it would take to read.

Good Resources From Around The Web

Want to learn more about the basics? Here are the best online guides about matched betting for beginners I’ve found on the web:

  • Matched Betting. An awesome in-depth guide from The Arbing Blog. In it, the writer goes through the Bet365 sign-up bonus and makes £145.
  • Money Saving Expert forum. This forum has some really old school but still awesome guides to matched betting.
  • Oddsmonkey. On top of the oddsmatcher, the calculator and finding all the free offers, Oddsmonkey also have some good free tutorials. You can access them on the free account.
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