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A guide to matched betting - part three

This article is part three of my matched betting guide. To view earlier articles please see my author bio. In the previous article we learned about decimal odds and how to perform calculations with them, we then discussed backing and laying and by placing both a back bet and lay bet on the same outcome you are rendering the bet neutral, as your back risk is outweighed by your lay profit and vice versa. In this penultimate article we investigate the stages of matched betting and then the process of matched betting, with an example of a qualifying bet.

Stages of matched betting

1. Qualifying bet: This is the first stage, usually bookmakers require you to bet with your own money first to unlock a free bet. So you want to find odds to back and lay, that will result in breaking even.

2. Unlocked Free bet: The second stage of is after you have unlocked your free bet by completing a qualifying bet. †You need to find another matched betting opportunity, you want to find odds that will allow you to back and lay an outcome resulting in a profit. There are three types of free bet that you need to consider: stake returned, stake not returned and wager requirement and each type of free bet needs slightly different calculations.

The process of matched betting

The matched betting process stays the same, however depending on what stage you are, calculations will vary.

1. Search for an opportunity to mathematically back and lay simultaneously. This means the odds to both back and lay are suitable. Use a matched betting calculator to help you.
2. Place your back bet
3. Place your lay bet
4. If carried out correctly you should have rendered the outcome neutral, either breaking even or making a profit.

Example of the process of matched betting (qualifying bet)
In this example I will assume we are in the qualifying bet stage of matched betting.

1. Iíve found a matched betting opportunity: the back odds are 3 and the lay odds are 2.9 (note the odds are expressed in decimal format). I will use a matched betting calculator to figure out how much I need to bet.

2. The free bet I am targeting is £10 so this means my stake is £10. I place a back bet of £10 on odds of 3 (decimal). If I win I receive £20 profit (£10 stake multiplied by odds of 3 minus £10 stake = £20), if I lose I will lose £10.

3. After putting in the numbers into the matched betting calculator, I need to lay stake £10.53 on odds of 2.9 on the same outcome. If I win I receive £10 (£10.53 minus 5% commission), if I lose I will lose £20.

4. I have broken even:
If the back bet wins, I receive £20 profit but lose £20 at the exchange = break-even
If the lay bet winsPsychology Articles, I receive £10 profit but lose £10 at the bookmaker = break-even

Please continue to the fourth and final article in my matched betting guide. This can be achieved by viewing my author bio.

Source: Free Articles from


Matthew works in affiliation with a site that offers some of the best free bets from bookmakers. Without free bets matched betting would not exist.

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