Matched betting by definition is a form of arbitrage that allows you to generate risk free profits by using free online bets in conjunction with betting exchanges. Using an appropriate strategy you should be able to compound a decent amount of profit within the regions of £700 to £1000.
To apply such a strategy you need to open a ‘betting exchange account’ such as betfair and also a ‘bookmaker account’ that is offering a ‘free bet’ promotion.
The system works by placing a bet at the bookmaker and then laying (betting against) it off at the betting exchange, essentially all your doing when applying this technique is hedging your bets to create a profitable scenario that eliminates risk. The value in this betting method exists because of the ‘free bets’ entity. If online bookmakers were to stop offering them tomorrow this type of risk free bet would become obsolete.
To apply the strategy you’ll need to place two separate bets. Firstly a qualifying bet using your own money, and then another bet using the ‘free bet stake’. A typical example of how it’s done is shown below.
Real life example – using a £50 free bet
Bet type: Qualifying bet- £50
Event: Bolton v Fulham: Saturday 14th March
Bet: Bolton to win
Odds: Bookmaker odds: 2.1 | Betting exchange lay odds: 2.16
Profit /loss: £-2.73
Free bet stake
Bet type: Free bet- £50
Event: Barnsley v Crystal palace: Tuesday 17th March
Odds: Bookmaker odds: 2.2 | Betting exchange lay odds: 2.45
Profit /loss: £33.53
Matched bet overall profit: £30.80
The figures above all include betting exchange commission set at 5%
When matched betting the idea is to maximize profits the higher the free bet stakes the better your overall return will be. A £50 free bet is much better value than a £10 one for example. From personal experience I have found the best time to take advantage of high value bets are when special events are taking place. A prime example is the famous ‘Cheltenham horse racing festival’ in March. For some reason at this time of the year bookmakers love to give big free bets away that you normally cannot get at other times of the year. An example this year (2009) is ‘ladbokes’ they were offering a free £200 bet throughout the festival. To qualify all you to do was open an account place a bet and you would receive a freebie bet to the same value. This type of great offer never seem to materialize at others times of the year. So take advantage when they come along.
Another important tip when applying is to also take higher odds on your free bet stakes, if you follow this rule your return will be better, this is because most bookmakers will retain the free stake on your bet, so in order to maximize profits you must take larger odds. If the stake is indeed retained by the bookmaker I tend not to place the bet at odds any lower than 3.0 in a decimal odds format. This strategy I find gives me a fairly good return on investment relative to my free bet stake.