In Short, Matched Betting is a fancy term for a specific type of hedge betting that makes use of free bets and promotions. But this would be a very short and pointless article if we ended there, so I will go on. The term and practice of matched betting has been around for a few years now, but only recently has it really started to take off. There is still an air of mystery, a cloud of distrust and for many it is hard to believe that a form of betting exists where risk is more or less entirely removed. Look a little further, do a little research and the cloud and mystery clear.
Why Is Matched Betting Like Hedge Betting?
You might only have heard whispers of matched betting, but hedge betting has been around for a long time, commonly used in stocks, forex and speculation. It is a term used to describe the process of ‘hedging your bets’, which by dictionary definition is “to protect yourself against loss by supporting more than one possible result or both sides in a competition”. – Cambridge Dictionary
In essence this is exactly what matched betting is, but where this is unique, is that with matched betting you are taking advantage of free bets and incentives that are offered by a variety of bookmakers to cover your bases and ensure a profit.
What Makes Matched Betting Unique?
The major differences between match betting and normal betting or ‘gambling’, are the element of risk and chance. As match betting is based on formulae or mathematical equation rather than chance alone, the risk is virtually nullified. You are not simply walking into a bookmaker or going to their site and saying, ‘right, I bet Spurs will beat Arsenal, it’s a dead cert’ and placing a £20 bet. Rather, you are placing both ‘back’ and ‘lay’ bets to ensure that all possible outcomes are covered. It doesn’t matter which side wins, ultimately you win. It doesn’t stop here though. To understand how it works clearly, we need to dive into a little bit more details to explain the principle of the ‘qualifying bet’, ‘back’ bets and ‘lay’ bets.
- The Qualifying Bet
This is essentially the bet that you place to qualify you for the free bet offered by the bookmaker. You want to ensure that whatever the outcome of the competition you are betting on, that you win your free bet as this is where you effectively make money for nothing. Your qualifying bet should be made up of both a back bet and a lay bet. It goes without saying here, that a ‘qualifying bet’ is placed on an offer or promotion from a bookie that is offering a free bet when you place your stake.
- The Back Bet
A back bet is your typical ‘normal’ bet that most people place with a bookie. It is effectively where you are ‘backing’ a team or individual to win. With a back bet, if you win you will get your stake, plus any profit back along with it.
- The Lay Bet
A lay bet is where you essentially do the opposite from a back bet. You place this against a team or individual, betting that they won’t win. So if the result is that the team lose or even if they draw, you win the bet.
Either of these bets on their own, have win or lose scenarios. But combined, your risk is mitigated and regardless of the outcome, win, lose or draw you win either way. If you set your stakes right, the profit can be considerable.
This is where match betting is unique. You are taking two or several positions that all have chance and win lose scenarios, betting on all of them in the right way, so that chance no longer matters and risk is irrelevant.
Once you have won your ‘qualifying bet’ you now have a free bet to place, and by following the same principle of placing back and lay bets against the same result, you will make a profit with no initial outlay. Money for something free tastes so much sweeter.
Are Free Bets Not Just A Hook?
By design, to the bookie, that is exactly what a free bet is, or at least ‘some’ of them. It’s a way to get people to sign up so that they place a bet with you. In the majority of cases, a person will sign up, make a bet, lose, place the free bet, and lose that too, gambling has so much more risk than matched betting.
The practice of offering free bets has become popular with the rise of online betting and the increase in competition within the market place. Bookies offer these free bets to secure their position and keep the customers coming in. But this is to the advantage of matched betters.
It is a common misconception that free bets are a one off. That they are used to ‘reel you in’ but once you have obtained your free bet that it ends there, no more free bets. There are many ways to make sure you can get several free bets, even once you are signed up to a bookie, past the initial ‘hook’ free bet.
Getting Your Stakes Right
We go into this in more detail in our post on ‘how to match bet’ but we will cover the basics here. Getting the stakes right is quite possibly the most important element of match betting. If you don’t get this right, then even when one of your positions win, you could be set to take a loss. Getting this right is the key to your success but you don’t need to be a mathematical genius to do this. In principal, all you need to do here, is make sure that your ‘lay’ bet is sufficient enough to provide a profit greater than the loss you stand to make if your back bet loses, and vice versa – that your back bet is sufficient enough to provide you a profit greater than the value of a loss on your lay bet. The idea is to cover all bases with the right stake so that whatever the outcome, there is a profit.
You need to understand that, even with matched betting, the bookie will take a small percentage on every bet you place. They will also always slightly load the odds to tip in their favour. That’s what they do, that’s how they work and you need to know this. However, when you are using their own money (which is what your free bet is) to make your wager, then you risk nothing, and this is where you can beat them at their own game.
Is It Really Legal
Now you might think that matched betting is a scam. That it sounds too good to be true, or that nothing this good can ever be legal. Well, it is legal, it is not a scam, and more and more people are realising this and getting in on the action every day.
In one article from the Guardian, author Jason Shearer explains how “Over the past month I have researched and used every decent online free bet introductory offer from a bookie. I’ve taken up 31 offers so far – and I’ve made in the region of £770”. Jason goes on to explain that “The money I have made has been absolutely risk free, it’s not been about gambling but about playing the system”.
In another article from the Telegraph, author Rosie Murray-West receives the following response from Graham Sharpe, from William Hill when addressing questions as to if the industry has a problem with matched betting. “There’s no illegal element,” he says. “It’s a free bet and you can do what you like“. So the bookies are aware of matched betting, they know people are doing it and they are not opposed to this. From the horse’s mouth as they say, it is a free bet and you can do what you like with it.
These are not random blog posts ripped form the darkest corners of the web, these are legitimate articles, written by legitimate journalists for reputable publications. Matched betting is not a scam, it is perfectly legal and you can make an additional tax free income by following the principles and the free bets.
The Key Benefits Of Matched Betting
- Risk Is removed
Unlike normal ‘gambling’ or ‘betting’ with matched betting you are covering all sides of a bet using free bets, removing risk and ensuring a profit. No matter the result, you win.
- There are always free bets
There are always free bets and offers to be found across the massive range of bookmakers, allowing you to continue to place matched bets long after the initial sign-up offers.
- Tax Free additional regular income
There is a real potential to earn over an additional £1000 per month, tax free in matched betting. In fact, do some research online and you will soon find that this figure is on the modest side. People are regularly earning much more than this every month.
Once you have picked up the basics, there really is nothing to it. You are placing back bets and lay bets in a particular way, using free bets to ensure a profit. That’s it in a nutshell.
- Lots of tools to help
There are an abundance of resources online to help you succeed in matched betting. There are even some outstanding sites such as oddsmonkey and matchedbets that offer free accounts, exhaustive resources, guides and tools. Just click on the links if you want to know more. These sites also collate all the free offers for you so you can see what is on offer at each of the bookmakers in one central place. Matched betting can be as easy as you want to make it.