Opinion: How to Make Easy Profits from Matched Football Betting
Bookmakers have it pretty good these days. Online betting enables them to reach more customers than ever before along with a reduction in overheads. If any troublesome punter has the temerity to turn a profit, they are allowed to restrict them to bets of no more than a few pennies.
As punters, we have to cope with this, the in-built edge the bookie has, their propensity to void bets for no apparent reason, constantly fluctuating odds, suspending markets whenever they want, and a lot more besides.
It is extremely hard to be profitable in the medium or short term. Therefore, what would you say if I told you there was a way to make a guaranteed profit in the short-term with next to no risk? Best of all, you don’t even need to know anything about football. “What is this sorcery?” you ask.
Introducing Matched Betting
To be honest, I wish I knew about it before trying to win the old-fashioned way. Matched betting involves placing a ‘back’ bet on one gambling site, and a ‘lay’ bet on an exchange such as Betfair. What you’re actually doing is guaranteeing a profit regardless of the outcome, by taking advantage of the myriad of ‘New Customer’ offers provided by bookmakers in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
A quick glance at Oddschecker reveals 27 different online bookmakers, and there are numerous ones not even included! Almost all of them have a Free Bet offer for new customers. You have to deposit money and bet a certain amount to be eligible. What’s interesting is that most of these bookmakers do not have a stipulation that you have to bet a specific amount of money before withdrawing (although Bet365 does so beware).
As a result, you can deposit, bet, match the bet on the Exchange, and earn a guaranteed profit
Matched Betting – A Practical Example
Although there is also a free bet for new customers on the Betfair Exchange, I am NOT including it in this example because you will need to use the site multiple times for other matched bets and won’t have the extra edge.
SkyBet has a ‘Bet £5, Get £20 Free Bet’ offer for new customers which takes the form of two x £10 bets. You need to bet a minimum of £5 to earn the freebie, and the wager must be at odds or Evens (2.00) or above. For reference, the odds only have to be 1.50 or above on Coral; please read the Terms and Conditions before using any bookmaker.
The first step is to make your £5 bet and lose as little as possible; that means laying the bet on Betfair. This process involves trying to find the smallest discrepancy between SkyBet’s odds and the lay odds on Betfair.
I found one in the form of a Europa League game between Red Bull Salzburg and Celtic. I recommend changing the odds into decimal form; I was unable to do so here because my SkyBet account is closed after heavy restrictions. For the record, 8/15 is 1.53 in decimal odds.
Over at Betfair, you can lay Red Bull at 1.56. Therefore, bet £5 on Red Bull to win on SkyBet at 1.53, and lay it for the same amount at 1.56 on Betfair. Here are the two possible outcomes:
- Red Bull wins, so you make a profit of £2.65 but lose £5 on Betfair for a loss of £2.35.
- Celtic wins or draws so you lose £5 on SkyBet but gain £8.92 on the Exchange for a profit of £3.92.
It’s not the worst outcome, but you can do much better by searching for games close to Evens. Also, you can’t make this bet on SkyBet, but you can on Coral.
I found another Europa League game: Rangers vs. Rapid Vienna. Rangers are Evens on SkyBet, and you could lay at 2.1 on Betfair. Here are the possible outcomes:
- Rangers win so you win £5 on SkyBet and lose £5.01 on the Exchange for a loss of £0.01.
- Rapid Vienna wins, so you lose £5 on SkyBet but win £4.55 on the Exchange for a loss of just £0.45.
A maximum loss of just £0.45 is much better than the possible £2.35 loss in example #1.
Pro Tip: You can use a premium service such as MatchedBets.com to find a never ending list of matched betting opportunities. Make upwards of £500 a month from a few minutes a day. Learn more about matched betting here.
Using Your Free Bet
Minimal losses in phase 1 mean you can maximise profit in phase 2; which involves using the free bet. Once again, you need to find the smallest gap between back on SkyBet and lay on the Exchange. The odds of the match you choose depends on the amount of money you want to put into your Betfair account. For higher odds, you need more cash available.
In another Europa League game, Bordeaux is 10/11 or 1.91 to win. Again, check terms and conditions to see if you need to place a bet at Evens or above with your free bet.
You can lay the French side at 1.97 on the Exchange. Here is where your mathematical skills come into play, although I recommend using one of the numerous matched betting calculators online. By doing so, here is what happens when you look to maximise profit from your free bet:
- You bet £20 on Bordeaux to win at 1.91 on SkyBet for a possible profit of £18.20. However, without your lay bet on Betfair, you win nothing if the Danish side grabs at least a draw.
- At odds of 1.97, you need to place a lay stake of £9.24; your liability on Betfair is £8.96.
- If the home side wins, you get £18.20 – £8.96 for a guaranteed profit of £9.24.
- If the away side gets at least a draw, you get nothing on SkyBet but benefit from a profit of £9.24 on the exchange.
- You can increase potential profit but reduce guaranteed profit. For example, place a lay bet of £12, and you win £12 if Copenhagen draws or wins. However, your liability becomes £11.64 which mean profit is reduced to £6.56 if Bordeaux win. As you are looking to maximise profit, it is best to stick with the original £8.96 liability.
You can boost potential profit by looking at bets with higher odds. If you go down this route, you must have enough money in your Betfair account. I spotted yet another Europa League game between Krasnodar and Sevilla where the Russian side were 3.5 to win on SkyBet and could be laid at 3.65 on the Exchange.
Using our £20 free bet, you need to place a lay bet of £13.70 which carries a liability of £36.30. No matter the outcome, you’re guaranteed a profit of £13.70. If Krasnodar wins, you get 20 x 3.5 = 70 – 20 = £50 on SkyBet minus your £36.70 liability on Betfair. If the home side fails to win, you lose nothing on SkyBet and earn £13.70 from your lay bet.
Unless you find an arbitrage opportunity, you will never have an outcome where you earn more than the value of the free bets; aim for around 60% of the value. For example, you should try to guarantee £30 from a £50 bet and so on.
If you’re greedy, you can go for a Jackpot bet where you reduce your guaranteed profit for the chance of a big win. For instance, place your £20 free bet on a 20/1 shot (21.00) and lay at 22/1 (23.00). Normally, you could guarantee a profit of £17.39. However, if you place a lay bet of £10, your liability is £220. If your long shot loses, you earn £10 on Betfair. If it wins, you lose £220 on Betfair but win £400 on SkyBet for a profit of £180. This could be worth doing for long-odds horses, but I wouldn’t recommend it on football generally.
Final Thoughts on Matched Betting
If you have the time and patience, matched betting is a real opportunity to rack up easy profits. Make sure you read the Terms and Conditions carefully first or else you could be gambling your money as opposed to guaranteeing a win. I have heard reports of people winning over £500 using this method, and if you are prepared to open dozens of accounts, and have enough to carry the liability on Betfair, you could earn this money in double quick time.
There are also regular opportunities available on Bet365 where you get a £50 free bet once you bet £50 on selected Premier League and Champions League games. Place your pre-match £50 on a short-odds bet and lay it on Betfair or use another bookmaker. Next, place your free £50 bet in play and lay on Betfair again. Make sure you act fast or else the odds could turn against you.
Want to know how the professionals do it?
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For £1, this is a steal! Even someone with no matched betting experience at all should be able to have time to get to grips with it and complete a handful of bookmaker offers which can be worth hundreds of pounds! All for just £1.
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Jon is the Founder and Chief Tipster at Football Advisor and Predictoloy. He started life as data analyst in the digital marketing field before find his true calling in the world of Football and Horse Racing Betting.
Jon has been sharing his professional expertise since 2009 and specialises in using objective data analysis and subjective experience of betting built up over more than a decade of professional betting.
In 2014, Jon also launched (and continues to run) the trusted Football Advisor service service which provides a variety of football and horse racing betting models and portfolios. A few years later, Jon launched the Predictology platform which is the worlds first betting system builder and analyser covering a wealth of football betting related statistics covering more than 200,000 matches.
Jon has also lent his knowledge and expertise to several of the trusted Premium Services offered by the respected Secret Betting Club, including Football Lay Profits. Racing Bet Profits and, most recently, Racing Lay Profits.