Matched Betting explained & best sites for UK


Introduction: A beginner’s guide

If you have never placed a bet in your life, then you may want us to define laying a bet. This is betting in which you bet that an event won’t happen. During this, you will replace the bookmaker.

Let’s say that for an example Arsenal is playing against Newcastle United. Arsenal’s odds of winning are 2.25 (in fractions, 5/4.) New Castle United’s odds are 4 (in fractions, 3/1). The draw odds are 3 (in fractions, 2/1).

If you wanted to make a lay bet on New Castle United with 10 pounds, this means that you’re making an offer to someone to bet on the club of New Castle to win. You’re replacing the bookie and enabling the punter to bet.

Since you’re laying a bet, it means that you are betting against the team of New Castle to win. If New Castle wins, then you lose. If they draw or lose, then you win.

Laying bets is to be done on online exchanges. Popular examples are Matchbook, Betfair, Smarkets and a few others.

If Newcastle wins, then you’re paying 40 pounds. This is the 10 pounds lay bet and the 30 pounds in profits – 10 pounds lay x odds of 4 = 40 pounds.

But if Newcastle doesn’t, then you will get the 10 pounds lay – this is the money of the punters.

Our top oddsmatching tools are:

Matched Betting Sites Killer Benefit Rating (2024) Register Link
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How to earn money

Hear us out – this is not just a form of regular gambling. There is a way in which you can use this system for guaranteed profits. If you go and use the services of an online bookmaker, you will usually get a bonus for signing up. For an example, you may get 30 pounds for signing up – these you can place as a bet.

This bonus will enable you to make free money from matching. If you match a bet, then it means that you’re covering all the options when it comes to your bet.

Let’s say you’re going to lay a bet. At the same time, you will make the same bet but normally, not by laying it. If you win this bet with the bookies, then you’ll be paid for the bet but also you will need to pay for your lay. In such a case, you have neither lost nor won any money. But the use of free bets can make your profits by the use of this system.

When laying a bet, you should be aware that you need to lay the bet at odds that are near to the real odds at the bookmakers. This means that you will only lose a small amount of money for making these bets. If you can find odds for a lay bet that are comparatively lower when compared to the bookmaker’s odds, then you will definitely be able to make profits out of this.

An example of winning free money with no risk-matched betting

Let’s say that Arsenal’s odds of winning the title in the premier league are 3 – 2/1 in fractions. These are the bookmaker’s odds for the win of Arsenal.  If you want to lay a bet at the exchange for Manchester United winning the premiership, then the odds are virtually identical – 3 or 2/1.

You could use a free bet on Arsenal winning the Premiership in value of 10 pounds at the bookmakers. Then you can lay a 10-pounds bet at the Exchange – this is your money – and you will get money no matter what happens.

If Arsenal should win the title, then you win 30 pounds (if the free bet is stake-returned). Then you will have to pay 20 of these pounds on the exchange to support the lay. Your profit is now 10 pounds.

But if Arsenal doesn’t win the title, then your free bet is lost. You won’t lose any actual money of your own – however, you will still win the 10 pounds lay bet. Again – the profits are at 10 pounds.

This example should tell you that you can use free bets to get almost the entire amount of the free bet back. But this is not always the case – there are certain issues you need to be aware of. There’s a commission that some of the most popular exchanges charge on a winning lay or bet. At Betfair, it’s 5%.

Also, the free bet may be Stake Non-Returned. In such a case, if you place a bet of 10 pounds on the odds of 3 (2/1) then you’ll get 20 pounds back. Your stake won’t be returned to you.

But the good thing is that these issues can be solved very easily. You can use programs and spreadsheets for the purpose of figuring out the optimal matched betting strategies. These programs and spreadsheets will enable you to enter the Non-Stake Returned number and they will also enable you to enter a number for the commission that the Exchange charges.

Most programs will take in fractional odds when you add in the data. It won’t be any issue for you to convert these odds to decimals, however – there is an easy way to do this.

Stake Not-Returned:

The Bookmakers give out free bets. But most of the time, they’ll be stake non-returnable. If this wasn’t the case, then people would be able to bet on very likely events – such as Manchester City beating Leeds United. In such a case, the bettors would get the bets and the winnings for a nice extra sum of money. But if the stakes are non-returnable – this minimizes the profits that you can make in this way. If there were odds for Manchester City beating Leeds United at 1.1, and you get a 10-pounds free bet, then you will get 1 pound in profits only. You won’t get the 10 pounds free stake.

So, this is the reason as to why most of the free bets are stake non-returnable. But there is a way around this – and it involves betting on an event with high odds with the free bet.

Take the opposite case in the abovementioned bet. You have decided to bet not on Manchester City but on Leeds United. The odds for Leeds to win are at 9. In such a case, if Leeds wins then you will get 90 pounds as winnings – and you will return the 10-pounds stake. So, now you have 80 pounds of free profit and this is much better than the 1-pound profit if you have bet on Manchester City. This doesn’t mean that Leeds has high chances of winning against City, however. But if you lay the bet on the Exchange, then you will get the free bet as your own money. To do this, you will need to find similar or lower odds when you’re about the lay the same outcome on the Exchange.

Laying the bet:

The smartest thing to do when laying a bet is to use the most popular exchanges when starting out. You could use Betfair for an example. The commission rate that they charge for winning a lay or a bet is usually 5%. But it can drop down in certain cases to 1%. It’s a smart thing to read the terms and conditions on the website.

It’s easy to lay a bet on this platform. All you need to do is get the relevant market first. You can then find the event that you have bet on previously (if your goal now is to match a bet) and after this, you will see the white and pink values on the sides of the screen. The white values are used to back the event – this means placing a regular bet. The pink values are for lays – you get information for the currently available lay prices. The full amount of the available money at the prices are also listed. This means that you will easily get to know how much of it you can use.

But if you don’t want to place lays with the available odds then you can set a personal price. You can then proceed to put as much money as you want to accept. If there is another user that will accept the lay value and if they choose what amount of money they will take from it – then you’re all set. But if there isn’t anyone that will accept the value of the lay then you will need to lower it or cancel it.

Using software & sites for making matched bet calculations

Odds Matching Software

The use of odds matching software will enable you to get the best odds for a variety of different matches. You’ll be able to see all the odds of a particular bookmaker in graphs. You’ll have it much easier to look for odds than if you were to use conventional ways. The use of this software makes this process much easier and it means that you will have a lot more time to make profits.

Matched betting calculators

The matched betting calculators will enable you to make calculations on the profitability of your bets. By using this calculator, you will make the calculations process a lot easier and simpler. You will be able to add in important data such as: bookmaker odds, bookmaker stake, exchange odds, and exchange commission. After you put in all the data, you will be able to hit the “calculate” button and you will get calculations in an instant.


If you use spreadsheets and XLS files in Microsoft Excel then you will be able to keep things organized. You will know exactly how much money you’re using to make bets and lays, and how much money you’re winning as a result of the bets and lays. You can get back to these spreadsheets whenever you feel like it. But if you have no access to Microsoft Excel, then you could use pen and paper for the exact same purpose.

Reload/Signup offers

If you want to do matched betting, then you’ll need access to various sign-up offers. The reason for this is that you’ll get free money that you can use as bets for matched betting. There are signup and reload offers that you can take at different bookmakers. There are different ways in which you can search for these reload/signup offers – but we suggest that you use what’s known as Matched Betting Service.

Matched Betting Service

If you use a matched betting service, then you will make things a lot simpler an easier when it comes to the matched betting process. With the use of this service, you will get immediate access to the best signup, bonus, and reload offers at various bookies. Searching for these offers manually is also an option – but a much more inefficient one. These services can be either paid or free – and it goes without saying that they can be very useful for the person that dabs in the waters of matched betting.


Is the matched betting strategy too good to be true?

Yes and no. Yes, as bookmakers may limit or ban your account if you become too greedy. No, as it’s very difficult for them to detect it.

What is the best tracker?

Basically, OddsMonkey and Profit Accumulator are one of the best in the UK.

Does it work for horse racing too?

Yes, with the horse racing refunds offers.

What is the taxation?

In the UK, it’s tax-free, as all gambling winnings.

In conclusion

Matched betting is a legal, safe and effective way to make some money on the side. However, you shouldn’t expect to become a millionaire with matched betting alone. You can make some money on the side and, if this is your goal, then, by all means, go for it. Use the software that we have recommended above in order to make things easier. But always make sure that you know what you’re doing at every step of the way. This will make sure that you have no setback in the process of winning money by using matched betting.

This guide has been written by an expert to help students, dummies or simply curious people looking for advanced betting strategies. 

last update : May 2024