**Matched Betting Guide**

Matched betting is the term given to the process of extracting guaranteed profit from the bonuses offered by online bookmakers. For example, at the time of writing this article, Skybet are offering £20 if you sign up and stake £5. The ‘qualifying bet’ of £5 is then followed up by placing the ‘free bet’ of £20. By ‘matching’ both of these bets at a betting exchange (Betfair), we can guarantee to extract a profit. At the time of writing this article, there are over £715 worth of offers from UK Bookmakers.

The matching process is simply placing two separate bets. The first one is what is known as a ‘back’ bet. This is placed at Skybet. The second is known as a ‘lay’ bet. This is placed at Betfair. This process involves no gambling because we are covering all outcomes.

Both the ‘back’ and the ‘lay’ are placed on the same game and on the same outcome. For example, the ‘back’ is placed on Southampton to win at odds of 2.1 (only use decimal odds, not fractional odds). The ‘lay’ is also placed on Southampton. By backing Southampton, we are betting that they will ‘win’. By ‘laying’ Southampton, we are betting that they will ‘not win’. The ‘back’ and the ‘lay’ cancel each other out.

**Qualifier**

Let’s have a look at a practical example of a qualifying bet (from here referred to as a ‘Qualifier’. We will take the Southampton v Swansea game in the English Premier League:

**Back:**

- Back Southampton with a stake of £5
- Odds of 2.1

**Lay:**

- Lay Southampton with a stake of £5.02
- Odds of 2.14

The reason why we stake a little bit more on the ‘lay’ side is because Betfair charges a commission of 5% on any winnings, so that has to be taken into account. Don’t worry too much about the maths just now.

**Result of the Qualifier:**

If Southampton win:

- We would win £10.50 at Skybet
- We would lose £5.73 at Betfair

Because £5 of the Skybet winnings was our initial stake, our profit at Skybet is £5.50, so:

- £5.50 – £5.73 = – £0.23

If Southampton draw:

- We would lose £5 at Skybet
- We would win £4.77 at Betfair

So again, we’ve lost 23 pence:

- £4.77 – £5 = – £0.23

If Southampton lose:

- We would lose £5 at Skybet
- We would win £4.77 at Betfair

So again, we’ve lost 23 pence:

- £4.77 – £5 = – £0.23

So whatever happens in the Southampton game, regardless of the result, we’ve lost 23 pence on the Qualifier. However, we have unlocked a £20 bonus.

**Free Bet**

We now have a £20 in our Skybet account as a bonus. This part is slightly more tricky. Here is an example of how we would use the matching process to extract the profit:

Let’s take Southport v Grimsby

**Back:**

- Back Southport to win with your £20
- Odds of 6.5

**Lay:**

- Lay Southport with a stake of £19.26
- Odds of 6.8

**Result of the Free Bet:**

If Southport win:

- We would win £130 at Skybet
- We would lose £111.70 at Betfair

Because it was a free bonus, £130 is pure profit, so:

- £130 – £111.70 = £18.30

If Southport draw:

- We would lose £0 at Skybet (because it was a free bonus)
- We would win £18.30 at Betfair

So again, we’ve won £18.30

If Southport lose:

- We would lose £0 at Skybet (because it was a free bonus)
- We would win £18.30 at Betfair

So again, we’ve won £18.30

So whatever happens in the Southport game, regardless of the result, we’ve won £18.30 by covering all possible outcomes of the game.

Here are the results of both our ‘Qualifier’ and our ‘Free Bet’:

- Qualifier = – £0.23
- Free bet = £18.30
- Total profit: £18.30 -£0.23 = £18.07

That means you have made a profit of £18.07 without risking a penny.