Now, I'm not a gambler by any means. But I have made enough money from bookmakers in just six months to pay for an £860 flight (return) to Australia using matched betting. And I've got some company too after walking a good friend through this risk-free technique.
The result is this guide, where I'll share the exact steps with you too, including screenshots and a free oddsmatcher tool.
Why should I trust this guide?
What I'm teaching you here is a completely legal, tried-and-tested method called 'matched betting'.
Matched betting basically allows you to turn the tables on the bookmakers to extract their free bet offers.
Matched betting is legal and a spokesperson for William Hill has indicated that the betting industry does not have a problem with this use of free bets – Wikipedia
I've used it myself for several years and have never lost any money doing it, but I have taken my time and been very careful to avoid making mistakes.
Do not rush this guide – make sure you understand it 100% before depositing any money, and please ask any questions in the comments if unsure of anything.
I'll be taking you through the 'need-to-knows' then showing you how I made £12.64 in 20 minutes in a full-blown example.
Piece by The Guardian on making money from free bets
One of many comments on this page by other readers
What is Matched Betting?
Matched betting is a technique that mathematically guarantees a profit from free bet promotions offered by betting companies. Almost all bookmakers advertise these offers to entice new customers to place bets with them.
For example, “bet £25 with us and we'll give you a £25 free bet!”.
How does matched betting work?
Firstly, you don't need to know all the betting terminology if you follow the steps below, but it's important that you know two types of bet which allow matched betting to work:
A 'back' bet
Betting for a certain outcome to come true. Eg. “I bet England will win” is a backing bet. If it comes true, you win the bet and the winnings. If England lose or draw, you lose your stake. You can place a back bet at any bookmaker, such as Paddy Power, William Hill, Ladbrokes etc.
A 'lay' bet
Betting against a certain outcome to come true. Eg. “I bet England will not win” is a lay bet. If they lose or draw, you win the bet. You can only place a lay bet at a betting exchange such as Betfair.
Matched betting works by cancelling out the risk on the 'back' bet at the online bookies by betting against yourself at the same odds (know as 'laying' a bet) which you can do at a betting exchange. In other words, you are 'matching' your bet.
Following your first or 'qualifying' real money bet, you will then be awarded the free bet by the bookmaker. This is where the profit is made. Quite simply, you repeat the process: bet using the free bet and then lay the bet. Whatever the result you are guaranteed to make a profit (which I'll be demonstrating below).
How much profit can I make?
For each matched bet, you will be left with up to 95% of the free bet amount as profit. This is because betting exchanges usually charge a commission of 5% on winnings. You may also make a very small loss on the qualifying bet due to the minor difference in odds on each website. This is normal, and you will recoup this when you use the free bet.
In the steps below I'll show you how to profit from a £20 free bet using a real life example. Replicate the same steps across the hundreds of free bet offers each year and you can quickly be looking at £1,000s.
And it's worth pointing out, earnings from the gambling industry are currently tax-free.
What's the risk?
Anyone can learn how to do matched betting and, in theory, there is no risk involved because you are covering yourself by betting for and against the same event.
However the risk comes when mistakes are made so, once again, you need to double-check everything and follow the steps exactly. On rare occasions free bets do not always come through right away, so just be patient.
Once you've understood the process and been successful by following the steps below, you can then continue matched betting at many other online bookies with free bet offers (see my table at end) which can quite quickly land you a lot of money without risk.
It's also worth knowing that depositing at gambling websites does not affect your credit rating.
7 steps to matched betting profit
Note: This is literally a step-by-step, hold-your-hand kind of guide. There's lots of fragmented information out there on forums etc, which often results in costly mistakes for novices.
Below I outline exactly the steps I follow, using the practical example of one free bet with Coral. So long as you follow word for word, you can't go wrong. I strongly suggest reading through all the steps first before making any bets.
You'll also find using a desktop computer far easier than on mobile!
- Betfair is a betting exchange where you can 'lay' bets to cancel out your risk at the bookmakers.
How To Win at Sports Betting
Wait you’re not surprised? Of course you’re not! Everyone knows the bookmaker has an advantage so more times than not sports bettors lose. However, what if there was a way that the rolls could be reversed; what if the sports bettor always had the advantage?
This is in fact possible.
Have you ever heard the term advantage player? This is a label gambling companies assign to players who only bet when the odds are in their favor.
Even though “on average” bookmakers have a 4.55% advantage on straight bets (2.38% @ -105), the key word is “average”; advantage players find bets where the bookmaker’s advantage is negative. Whether your goal is to be a sports betting pro, or just earn a little money on the side, the first step to winning is to stop making –EV bets.
If you understand what expected value, -EV, and +EV mean, go ahead and skip down to our advice on finding +EV bets. If you’re not familiar with this concept continue reading.
Expected value is a term professional gamblers use on a regular basis. To explain what it means in simple terms I’ll use an example. Let’s say me and you decided to have a coin flipping contest. We flip coins and you give me $1 for each outcome of heads; I give you $1 for each outcome of tails.
We could flip coins for all eternity and neither of us will ever have an advantage because on average half the time we lose $1 half the time we win $1. While there will be swings back and forth, as long as we flip the coin enough times eventually we’ll both break even.
This particular bet has neutral expected value.
Now let’s say I’m tired of flipping coins, and want to quit, but while begging me to stay you offer me a better deal. This new deal pays me $1.10 for every heads, and I still pay you $1.00 for every tails. What happens now is half the time I win $1.
10 and half the time I lose $1.00. If we flip 100 times I should average 50 wins of $1.10 ($55) and 50 losses of $1 ($50). Every flip of the coin I have a positive expectation (+EV) of 5 cents.
As the one offering me this proposition you have the opposite, every flip of the coin is 5 cents –EV for you.
Every wager made in sports betting has either a positive expected value (+EV), negative expectation value (-EV) or in rare cases neutral expected value. Winning sports betting requires avoiding –EV and finding +EV bets.
Finding +EV Sports Bets
The reasons most sports bettors don’t spend time learning the tricks of advantage players is it’s slightly time consuming, most have no leads how to do it, are overwhelmed or when they do learn it’s not actually fun. If you’re looking for something fun we suggest paint balling, a trip to the amusement park, circus or what have you. If you’re looking to actually make money then you’ll need to know how to find +EV bets.
At TheSportsGeek.com we have several articles on this topic you’ll want to read:
Teaser Betting Strategy – This is perhaps the easiest method a sports bettor can use to find bets with a positive advantage. When you also read our article on the current betting market, you’ll realize just before game time the lines are efficient.
Teasers are based off the current betting lines, so no longer do you need to go do any deep analysis to find out whether as straight bet is +EV. Here find spots where teasers increase the win rate by enough and you’ll have a +EV bet.
This is all described in our article on teaser betting strategy.
Prop Betting Strategy – Prop bets are generally considered the easiest wagering opportunity for sports bettors to beat. In our article on prop betting strategy I give a full break down of the prop bet “which team will score first”.
After reading that article you’ll have enough information to start finding +EV bets on this specific prop.
In time, as you get experience you’ll be able to solve other prop bet on your own and then beat them using as similar method to the one I show in the example.
Must Read Sports Betting Books
- If you’re new to advantage betting some books that will help you greatly with the basics are:
- 1) Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong
- 2) Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting by King Yao
Once you’re much more experienced and ready to take things to the next level then I strongly Conquering Risk: Attacking Vegas and Wall Street by Elihu D. Feustel. This is a book for advanced sports bettors and not a good read for anyone not already winning. It is heavily math, statistic and handicapping intensive. If you eventually decided on a career as an advantage player at some point down the road you’ll want to work to understand what Elihu D. Feustel shares in this book.
How to Win at Sports Betting
Betting on sports games is a hobby for many, and most people just consider it to be a fun and friendly past time.
But there are ways to consistently make money on sports betting, and the tricks are understanding betting strategy and the different types of bets you can make, understanding the odds, making smart bets, and walking away from bad bets.
It’s also important to remember that making money on sports betting is something that requires time and dedication: it’s not about making a single huge bet and winning lots of money in one shot. Instead, it’s all about making a series of small, smart bets that add up over the season to an overall gain.
Open a specific bank account. To really make money on sports betting, you have to be dedicated, so it’s a good idea to have a special account that’s only for placing bets.
- When you open this account, be sure you invest enough money to cover your bankroll for an entire season or year, not just a single game.
- To ensure you have enough money, multiply your base bet by at least 100, and that’s the minimum amount you should keep in this account at all times.
- If you're new to sports betting and don’t know your base bet, put in whatever money you have set aside for this venture and determine your base bet on the size of your bankroll (each bet should represent one to two percent).
Create accounts with a few sportsbooks.
In order to place bets, you have to have an account with at least one sportsbook, though it’s ideal to have at least three, because then you can compare offerings and place smarter bets.
Some sportsbooks also offer signup bonuses, so be sure to shop around. Most sportsbooks are available online these days, and some of the more popular sites include:
Learn to make smart bets. There are a number of rules that apply to this, and while some are about the numbers, others are about which teams you should and shouldn’t bet on.
- For instance, while each bet should represent about one to two percent of your bankroll, you can reduce this to 0.5 percent if you aren't confident about a bet. Similarly, you can increase the bet if you're very confident, but never place a bet that exceeds four percent of your bankroll.
- There are also some experts who say never to place a bet if you aren't confident, because it’s better to walk away and find a better bet that you feel good about.
- Many experts recommend not betting on your home team in any sport, because your bias can cloud your judgement, and this can lead to great losses.
Create a betting schedule.
How I used maths to beat the bookies
Until September last year, I had never really gambled. I’d been to the dog tracks a few times when I lived in Manchester and once went to Aintree to watch the Grand National.
Some of my friends would bet on the football, and I could see how it could add an extra dimension to watching the game.
But I’d never got over the entry barrier posed by opening up an account and feeding in my credit card details.
That was all about to change. I had spent the summer working on “Soccermatics”, my book about maths and football, and decided to set myself one final challenge before I sent my draft to the publishers. I was going to take everything I had learnt about the mathematics of football and apply it to a real-life situation. I was determined to use maths to beat the bookies.
So, during the first half of the 2015-16 Premier League season I developed a set of models that tried to predict the outcome of games more accurately than the bookmakers’ odds did. I tested the models, refined them, and before too long I started to make money. From a starting capital of £400, I made £108.33 by the end of November: a return of 27% over two months.
Gambling is not about picking winners. The trick is to know your probabilities better than the bookies
Before I reveal the secrets of my betting model, we need to take a step back and get some of the basics straight. To the uninitiated, the world of online betting can be somewhat overwhelming.
There are a huge number of bookmakers, all offering free starting bonuses and a whole range of products, from straightforward bets to more complicated ones such as Asian handicaps (where the weaker team is assigned extra goals at the start of the match), over/under corner markets (where the stake is multiplied by the number of corners over – or under – a target set by the bookmakers) and Scorecasts (that offer very long odds on the first or last goal scorer and the match result). But don’t worry about them: for the purposes of clarity, I decided to stick to the traditional win/draw/lose bets.
Now, it might be tempting to set up an account with one of the gambling sites from TV adverts or a company you’re familiar with from the high street. But a single account is not a good idea.
Most bookmakers calculate odds to guarantee a 5% profit on every bet you place. This means that if you were to place £100 on win, draw and lose in the same match, your £100 would become £95.
Unless you are a lot smarter than the bookmakers, your money will soon be gone.
By having multiple bookmakers you can reduce the bookmaker’s advantage. Each bookmaker offers slightly different odds. If you take the best available odds then the bookmaker’s margin drops to around 1.5%. For some big matches it can be even lower. This means that you only need to be about 2% better than the bookmaker in order to start to make a reliable long-term profit.
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How to Win Every Bet
Richard Wiseman is Britain's only professor for the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, and a reknowned voice in the fields of luck, self-help and illusion.
With a background in magic and psychology, Richard traveled the globe for years in search of the world's greatest bets. He has compiled 101 of the best bets in his new book, 101 Bets You Will Always Win.
Today, he joins Math Dude Jason Marshall for a short interview to discuss how probability and mathematics can play a role in winning bets.
Q: I want to talk about some of the mathematical ideas that support a good bet. For instance, how can probability help us make better decisions when it comes to betting?
Richard: Well, we are notoriously bad with probability, which is why Vegas does so well. All those big flashy hotels are not built on the money that people have won in Vegas; they’re built on money that people have lost. So, we’re not very good with probability.
All those big flashy hotels are not built on the money that people have won in Vegas; they’re built on money that people have lost.
There are all sorts of classic probability problems that can show us that—for example, suppose you meet somebody on the street and they tell you that they’ve got two kids, one of whom is a boy.
What’s the chance that the other one is also a boy? You’d think it’s roughly 50-50. In fact, that’s not right. When you work through the probability, it’s actually about 1 in 3.
So we’re not good with probability, and some of the bets work because of that, while others are mathematical.
How to WIN: Sports Betting (4 Proven Methods)
It’s a common query; How do you win at sports betting in the modern world?!
Fortunately, thanks to advances in technology – it’s no longer that hard…
I’m not claiming it’s easy to accumulate monstrous wealth though, that’s a bit trickier. However, this post will take you through 4 different ways people are consistently winning in sports betting. We’ll even take a look at how some of them are done!
Broken down, let’s take a look at the 4 most popular (and proven) methods:
- Bonus Bagging
- Exchange Trading
- Exploiting Prices
- Value Betting
…it’s going to be a cracker so kick back, relax and get ready to absorb!
Looking for Trading Strategies? Sign Up Here for a FREE Lesson Now!
Starting with the easiest way to pick up a few quid…
How to Win: Bonus Bagging!
If you’re not familiar with the term bonus bagging, it’s quite simple. The clue is in the name.
It could be described as:
a methodical process exploiting bookmakers’ free bet or increased odds offers in order to lock in a consistent profit.
Simple. Although, the downside to this sports betting method is the limited upside.
Initially, you can probably make around about £1,000 from bookmakers signup offers. However, once the signups are gone, you’re on to bonus bagging the reloads.
Unfortunately, the reload offers aren’t so large in monetary value. Either way, you should still be able to make around about a few hundred pounds a month, providing you dedicate a little bit of time and effort.
Bonus Bagging in Five Steps:
To get started…
1) open an account with a free bet offer.
2) place a first back bet with a bookmaker.
3) place lay bet on the exchange on the same selection for a similar price.
(You may lose a couple of pounds during this.)
4) wait for the event to finish and claim the free bonus bet.
5) repeat the entire process with the free bonus whilst balancing the potential returns evenly.
That’s it. You’ve just completed your first bonus bagging signup offer.
Is Bonus Bagging a Scam?
We can confidently confirm that bonus bagging is not a scam! It’s completely legitimate.
However, there’s a fair amount of negativity towards this method of sports betting online.
Usually, for two reasons:
- First of all, the potential downside with this approach to sports betting is that bookmakers change their terms and conditions. If you employ this method, ensure that you check the terms and conditions first. People have lost money over time when the bookmaker has changed their terms after somebody has started to bonus bag the offer. Nobody wants that to happen.
- The second source of negativity around Bonus Bagging comes from previous users who have exhausted all the free bet offers.