Matched Betting Guide
What is Matched Betting ?
Many people tend to over complicate things when trying to explain exactly what matched betting is so I will try and explain in simple terms. Matched betting is a process of covering all possible outcomes of an event in order to take advantage of offers and promotions from bookmakers without using too much of your own money. Once you have qualified for a free offer or promotion from a bookmaker, that is when you make the profit because you are using the bookmakers money.
So how do we get a bonus or offer without spending too much of our own money ? It’s not about taking any risks, it’s simply using the maths in our favour.
A Simple Example
So Bookmaker A is offering you a £10 bet if you place a £10 bet using your own money.
We are not going to over complicate this so let’s just use a simple Heads vs Tails coin toss. A Coin has just 2 sides so there is only two possible outcomes, it will land on heads or it will land on tails.
If you place a £10 bet on heads to win and also a £10 bet on tails to win you won’t win anything but you also wont lose anything, all you have done is cancel the other bet out by betting on both outcomes. By doing that with a bookmaker offer you have done the first part of what the bookmaker asked you to do in order to qualify for a £10 free bet.
|£10 On Heads||£10 On Tails||Result||Outcome|
|Lands on Heads||Win £10||Lose £10||0p Profit/Loss||Qualified for £10 Free Bet|
|Lands on Tails||Lose £10||Win £10||0p Profit/Loss||Qualified for £10 Free Bet|
So the table above simple illustrates that if heads win you would both win and lose £10, and if tails wins you would also win and lose £10. Whatever it lands on your profit will be zero, however you have qualified for the £10 free bet the bookmaker was offering because you placed a £10 bet.
Now you have a £10 free bet that the bookmaker has given you and matched betting is all about guaranteeing profits. To make sure we guarantee a profit we simply repeat the steps we did with the heads and tails example but using it on an event. We cover all possible outcomes.
The general aim of a free bet is to make around 80% of the value of the free bets so
80% of £10 = £8 Profit
80% of £20 = £16 Profit
80% of £30 = £24 Profit
80% of £40 = £32 Profit
80% of £50 = £40 Profit
We spoke about tossing a coin only having two possible outcomes but other events have more than two possible outcomes, for example a football match might have a home win, an away win or a draw and this is where something called a betting exchange comes in to use for matched betting. Betting exchanges allow you to place a bet on something happening like a normal bookmaker would, however they also allow you to bet on something NOT Happening.
Let’s use a football match again as an example, you can bet on Team A to win the match at the bookmaker, but you also bet on Team A NOT to win the match at the betting exchange. this would cover an away win or a draw (Because they would not have won).
Betting on something NOT happening at the betting exchange is called a “Lay Bet”.
The betting exchanges are pretty similar to a normal bookmaker, however the one major difference is that instead of betting directly against a bookmaker, on a betting exchange you are betting against other people, hence the name betting exchange because you are exchanging bets with another person.
A betting exchange allows a person to choose a bet they want to place, but it does not become a “Matched Bet” until another person is happy to take that bet. The second person is effectively becoming the bookmaker.
To put into matched betting terms the regular bettor has placed what is called a “Back Bet” and the person who is effectively the bookmaker has placed a “Lay Bet”. To place a matched bet you will have to be both the person placing a “Back Bet” and also acting as a bookmaker placing a “Lay Bet”. This again covers what we said about covering all outcomes.
If the “Back Bet” user wins then the “Lay Bet” user would pay out the winnings just like a bookmaker would to a normal bettor. So the “Back Bet” user placed a £10 bet on Liverpool to win at odds of 2/1 and stands to win £20 from the “Lay Bet” user if Liverpool win. The £20 from the “Lay User” is what is called Liability, this is the amount they would lose should the bet not win.
So when you place a bet at the Bookmaker you are on the “Back Bet” side of the bet, when you use the betting exchange you are on the Lay Bet” side. This allows you to cover all possible outcomes using just two bets. Liverpool Win, or Liverpool Don’t win.
Let’s use football again and as already mentioned there are three possible outcomes, Home Win, Away Win & Draw. If you “Back” the home team to win at the bookmaker that would cover that side of the bet. You can then place a “Lay Bet” on the Home team not to win at the betting exchange to cover that side of the bet. by placing a “Lay Bet” you are saying the Home Team will not win so covers a draw and an away team win.
One final thing to consider is when placing bets with the betting exchange you will pay a small commission on winning bets, this varies between different betting exchanges but the rate is usually between 2% and 5%.
For a more in-depth article on betting exchanges you can visit the What is a Betting Exchange Tutorial Here
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