What Is Matched Betting: Making a Sure-Fire Wager

Person watching a football match on TV

When you log into wagering sites and place your bets, you accept that luck will significantly impact your chances to take winnings home. And even the best-prepared betting plan that is supported by the punter’s experience and knowledge can fall apart when the goddess of luck strolls into the picture.

Luckily, there is another way to start piling money from betting. Mathematics got us from spinning rocks with a stick as a means of transport to rockets capable of reaching Mars. The next time you hear what is matched betting, know that mathematics is on your side. It’s an exciting way to bring cash, regardless of the betting outcome.

Win Every Time

This type of betting is also known as lay bet matching, back bet matching, or double betting. In essence, matched wagering allows you to cover all sports event outcomes to score free bets and promotions with minimal deposits. With this technique, you’re placing two bets, one betting on a particular outcome winning, and one on the same outcome losing, with the result of you winning, regardless of what happens in the sports game.

Matched betting relies on mathematical equations to minimise the effect of luck in your wager. It uses back and lay bets to remove the risk as you wager for and against yourself with the same or close odds as possible. The player is the one who is matching their wager. You use a wagering venue to place a back bet and a betting exchange to counterattack with the lay bet.

Let’s use a simple lamp light to explain this betting technique and one of the essential aspects of matched betting: free bets. A bookie offers a bonus where you receive £10 in free bet once you deposit £10 or more on any sports event. There are only two outcomes with equal chances of happening: the lamplight activates or deactivates when entering the room.

If you bet £10 that the lamp will be active, and another £10 that the light is turned off when you step into the room, you won’t win anything or lose. These two bets negate each other. Still, you’ll get the £10 free bet from the promotion.

Use matched betting on enough casino offers and sites, and you’ll start to secure your payouts. The one thing you have to worry about is that real matched wagering has more variables than our straightforward example with a lamp. You’ll have to count on multiple outcomes and betting odds. That is where the back and lay bets, matched wagering calculators, and the betting exchange come into place.

Back Bet

A back bet is one-half of the matched wagering where you bet that an outcome in an event will happen. For example, if we place a backing wager that England will win, and that occurs, we’ll beat the stake. You have several matched betting sites, such as William Hill, Betfred, or Paddy Power.

When a back bet wins, in what we refer to as potential return, a player gets their stake multiplied by odds. A liability is a sum a user might lose if the outcome doesn’t go as expected.

Lay Bet

With a lay bet, you’re wagering against the outcome or that a specific result won’t happen. If you bet on England winning and they lose or end up in a draw, you win this wager. If England wins, you will end up losing your bet.

When we’re talking about matched betting in the UK, you’re betting against yourself to minimise risks with identical odds as with the back bet. If the outcome doesn’t come to fruition, you win back the stake. However, you’d pay a liability with a stake multiplied by odds if the outcome happens.

Betting Exchange

Laying bets cannot be placed anywhere; instead, you’re looking for a betting exchange. You can place a lay bet on these sites and act as a bookmaker with the same odds that the back wager has. Betfair offers a wagering exchange.

These exchange houses take up to 5% of the commission fee on all winnings. For our ​​matched betting tutorial, that means you get around 95% of the profit on free bet amounts. If there are differences in odds between both qualifying bets, you can expect a negligible loss which you’ll recover with a free bet.

Matched Wagering Calculator

Setting up odds for these sports wagering methods is the trickiest part. It includes calculating mathematical equations to see how much cash at the betting exchange you need to stake on a lay wager to make a profit.

Since miscalculating these equations leads to wrong odds and more impact on your bankroll, most bettors have turned to software calculators or oddsmatcher tools. OddsMoney is the favourite oddsmatcher tool in many matched betting guide sites. This software determines the best opportunities and matched-wagering odds in a few clicks.

The Rundown of Matched Wagering

Now that you know the essential moving parts of this type of betting let’s check how an average matched wagering plays out. It’s not complicated, but it does require many steps to accomplish it.

Let’s start with a welcome bonus of £30 of free bets for newbies after putting down at least £10. Once you create an account on a gambling site, wager £10 on England winning at 2.0 odds in the matched betting step by step process. It will make available the free wager of £30 to you, which we call a qualifying bet. We’ll leave it for later use.

When we check the betting exchange that takes a 5% commission, we’ll find that the site gives lay odds of 2.1 on England winning. Compare odds on the matched wagering calculator to see that you’ll have to bet £9.76 to cover your back bet, with a liability of £10.74.

In case England wins, that back bet will succeed and bring you £20 when you multiply your win odds and the stake. To have matched betting explained in more detail, let’s check how a lay bet will stand in this situation: it will fail, and you’ll be £10.74 shorter. Combine this, and you’ll find that when you take £10 of the back bet, you’ll have a minus of 74p.

If England loses, the opposite will happen, starting with your victorious lay bet where you get a £9.27 wager once you subtract the £9.76 stake with a 5% commission fee. The back bet won’t be successful in this instance, with you losing a £10 wager. At the end of the day, you’ll be 73p short.

If you’re still wondering: is matched betting safe, know that in the example with England, we’ve gained access to a £30 free bet that we can use as a stake. We’ll focus on using this stake on horse racing web pages and Pegasus’s horse to win at 6.0 odds. By taking a gander at wagering exchange, we’ll notice they offer a 6.1 lay odds on Pegasus to win, with a standard 5% fee.

When we compute odds, we’ll see that we need to bet £24.79 to match our back wager, with a £126.43 liability, thanks to the matched betting calculator. Hence, if Pegasus wins, you’ll get to cash out your back bet of £150, and the lay bet won’t succeed, with a £126.43 loss. Still, we end up with £23.57 in profit.

If Pegasus doesn’t win in case he becomes a non-runner, our lay bet will succeed and bring us £23.55. However, our back bet will fail with no loss to our bottom line since we’re using a free bet. And our bankroll will be £23.55 heavier. With these two matched wagers, we’ll make a net profit between £22.81 and £22.84. And if you persist in making the best-matched betting offers for yourself, the payoff will continue to soar.

Pros and Cons of Matched Wagering

If there’s a strong possibility of making a profit every time you resort to matched wagering, it is natural to expect some setbacks from bookmakers. They are in this business to make a profit, after all. Let’s dive into all the good and the bad things that this betting technique brings.

  • Matched bets are legal – In the UK and several other countries, matched wagers are 100% legal to use as any other gambling activity. And most bookies have no problems with it.
  • Matched bets are active to this day – Plenty of punters from the UK are relying on matched betting tips to bring cash home. They are making sure the matched wager scene is alive and kicking.
  • Matched bets are 100% tax-free – There are no gambling taxes when you use this technique, and you don’t have to report your winnings to the HMRC. It also won’t have an impact on credit points.
  • Matched bets are steady and lucrative – It’s enough to start with a £50 bankroll for a matched wagering. In the beginning, you can expect around £1,000 of profit when you use this technique on various welcome offers. Experienced bettors make £20,000 or more by spending a few hours matched-wagering every day.
  • Matched bets might lead to gubbing – Some betting sites are not fans of no-risk matched betting (using this technique on no-risk bet promotions) and might resort to limiting your account or gubbing. These limits often include penalties such as getting your target profits harder, restricting you to small amounts stakes, or denying you free promotions, including free bets. Still, you can always open up a betting account somewhere else.
  • Manual calculations bring some risks to the game – The crucial component of matched wagering is running complex equations. If done manually, a small mistake in calculation could cost heavily. This is why most users rely on the matched betting calculator that is free to minimise mistakes made by human error.


Bookmakers try to offer bets with balanced outcomes so they can always make a profit, no matter the game results. Matched wagering offers a similar balancing technique and power to players who want to start making a small but steady influx of cash. So why not use this tool to make wagering wild and lucrative at the same time.


What is a lay bet?

It is the opposite of the back bet, where you’re betting on a specific outcome not happening.

What is a lay stake?

If you’re betting on an outcome happening with a back bet, you’re doing the opposite with the lay bet to minimise risks.

Is matched betting still profitable?

This form of wagering technique is as relevant as ever, and the UK punters often use it. Bookmakers are well-aware of this form of betting, so it’s not as profitable as in previous years. However, with a few hours spent matched wagering every day, punters could have a £20,000 profit or more. Please check the article What is Matched Betting for more detailed information.

Table of Contents
Win Every Time Back Bet Lay Bet Betting Exchange Matched Wagering Calculator The Rundown of Matched Wagering Pros and Cons of Matched Wagering Conclusion FAQ
Table of Contents