Football betting pic

Does Matched Betting Really Work?

Matched betting is a well known form of betting but many people question whether it really works. It sounds too good to be true to be able to make money off the bookies risk-free. Surely it can’t work?

Well in a nutshell, the good news is that matched betting works and works very well. But you do need to be careful; get it wrong, and you might risk losing your bookie accounts. Here are some tips that should help you make the best of matched betting while avoiding the potential pitfalls.

What is matched betting?

Matched betting allows you to lock in a profit by taking advantage of various offers bookmakers make to attract new customers. There are hundreds of such offers to take advantage of and they are all brought together by matched betting packages like Profit Maximiser, which we did a full review of here.

The mechanism of matched betting is simple:

  1. – You place a bet with a bookmaker, such as “Wales will win the Six Nations.”
  2. – You lay that bet by betting “ Wales will NOT win the Six Nations” at a betting exchange at the same odds.

Doing this means that whatever the outcome, you will neither win nor lose any money apart from a small commission on your winnings.

However, if you place the first bet with a bookmaker who is offering a free matching bet, then you will also qualify for that free bet.

Next, you use that free bet in a similar way to the first bet. Continuing:

  1. – USING YOUR FREE BET place a bet on another event such as “Everton will win its next home match.”
  2. – Lay the same bet at a betting exchange, e., “Everton will lose or draw its next home match.”

Now, if Everton wins your free bet wins and you receive a pay-out from the bookmaker. However, you lose the bet you laid at the betting exchange, but of course, this is less than your winnings.

If Everton fail to win, you neither make nor lose anything from your free bet (as it was free) but your lay with the betting exchange is successful, and you make a profit. Whatever the outcome, you will win some money.

In real life it is just a little more complicated than that, so to demonstrate this here is a real-life example of how it works.

  1. – Say we select a bookmaker offering a £25 free bet a qualifying bet with odds of at least 2.0. We find a bet with odds of 2.3 and bet £25 of our own money on that. It is best to select a bet with relatively low odds.
  2. – You now lay that bet with a betting exchange. Your lay is likely to be at slightly different odds, say 2.4. You will also be charged a commission on your winnings, typically 5%. You should calculate how much to bet to cover your £25 bet. In fact, this works out at £24.47.

The possible outcomes are:

  1. – The bet with the bookmaker wins: win from bookmaker £32.50, lose at exchange £34.26, total loss = -£1.76
  2. – The lay with the betting exchange wins: lose to bookmaker –£25, win from exchange £23.25. total loss = -£1.75

So whatever the outcome you lose a maximum of -£1.75. BUT you now have a FREE BET of £25. Let’s move on to the next stage. Note that free bets are usually different from normal bets as with free bets the sake is not returned, you just receive the winnings.

  1. – You now use your free £25 bet. It is best to choose an even with high odds to maximise your profits. Let’s say you can find a bet at 6.0.
  2. – Next, you lay the bet at the booking exchange. The best you can find is 6.2, so the optimum lay is £20.33 leaving you with a liability of £19.28

This time the possible outcomes are:

  1. – The bet with the bookmaker wins: win from bookmaker £125, lose at exchange £105.72 total profit = 19.28
  2. – The lay with the betting exchange wins: lose to bookmaker £0, win from exchange £19.31 total profit = -£19.31

Thus, whatever happens, you will make an overall profit of a little over £17.  You can modify this by over-laying or under-laying, but as a beginner, we recommend a standard lay as we show above. But the bottom line is a guaranteed profit.

Now simply start again with another bookmaker offering a free bet. And so on until you have exhausted the supply of free bets. As some bookmakers offer free bets of £125, you can make significant profits. Using this method you can expect to clear a profit of up to £1,000 with absolutely no risk.

After you have used the complete supply of free bets, the game can still continue. Many bookmakers recharge free bet offers, and you can use those in the same way.

The best way to take advantage of the dozens of bookie offers there are each week is to use a matched betting package like Profit Maximiser, which brings together all the offers in one place and shows you to do them.  


Potential Pitfalls of Matched Betting

There is nothing illegal or even underhand about using matched betting and bookmakers are fully aware that many of the more astute of their clients will lock in a profit by using these tactics. However, you do need to be careful.  

As long as you stick to the rules, and are aware of the bookmaker’s terms and conditions, there should be no problem with your first matched bet. However, problems may arise if you continually use matched betting on free bet reloads.

If a bookmaker believes you are making unreasonable profits, then your account may be limited which is known as being “gubbed.” This will restrict the size of bets you can make. In the most extreme circumstances, your account will be closed. However tempting it may be, do not open multiple accounts with the same bookmaker.

The only other pitfall is making a calculation error when placing a lay. Getting that wrong is likely to cost you money or even wipe out your profits. But as long as you are careful and always double or triple check your maths, then there is substantial risk-free cash to be made.

Finally, it is important to note that matched betting only really works in the UK and Ireland due to most other countries not allowing bookmakers to offer free bets.

But if you are based in the UK or Ireland then matched betting is a great way to generate some additional income if you do it right. 

Make up to £500 per month tax-free with a matched betting package like Profit Maximiser which will show you exactly how.





6 replies
  1. Caroline
    Caroline says:

    Yep it sure does! I started matched betting at the end of August, hoping to make maybe £300 a month or so and I was astounded and delighted when I hit the £2k mark after just 8 weeks!

    • Dan
      Dan says:

      Hi there,

      There are lots of scams out there but matched betting certainly isn’t one of them! In fact it is one of the very few legit ways of making money from the bookies. If you are losing money from it then you aren’t doing it right and I would recommend signing up to one of the matched betting programmes. Thousands of people have made money from it so don’t miss out!

      Kind regards,


  2. Teresa Browning
    Teresa Browning says:

    I want to try it but im a bit confused by the way its done. Also, do the bookies make you keep playing your free bets until they make the money back?

    • Dan
      Dan says:

      Hi Teresa,

      If you sign up to a package like Bonus Bagging then it will walk you through the process step by step. Once you have the free bet you can set it up so you cannot lose, it’s very straightforward. At some point you may lose your bookie accounts from matched betting but there are steps you can take to preserve them as long as possible.

      Kind regards,



Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *