A Comprehensive Guide to the Online Betting Strategy of Matched Betting

Forming part of our betting guide series, we will go head on to the subject. Imagine if someone told you that you can bet on sports and always be guaranteed a profit. You would probably be suspicious, right? No need, thanks to this guide to match betting.

Top Offers for Match Betting can be found at these bookmakers

18+ | UK 1st depositors only (NI excl.). Mobile Exclusive. Bet £10 minimum on sports & get a £20 free bet. Wagering req. apply: min odds of 2 | Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply | 30 days to qualify | Payment method restrictions exist | Play Responsibly | Terms and Conditions apply. http://www.begambleaware.org

18+ New Players only. Make a qualifying deposit of €5* or more and claim the offer within 30 days of registering your account to qualify. Must contain at least one selection at odds of 1/5 (1.20) or greater.. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s.| Terms & Conditions apply | Play Responsibly | www.begambleaware.org

18+ New UK + IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min 5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x 5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. www.begambleaware.org

What is Matched Betting?


To put it as simply as possible, matched betting is a way to sports betting without taking any risks. We know that things that sound too good to be true often are, but in this case… it happens to be the truth. This technique is known as matched betting. But what exactly is matched betting? is it legal? how does it work? and is it worth it? How is this so? Well, it is because all the possible outcomes have been covered, meaning that you will get a positive return no matter what the final result is. Matched betting, just so you know, is also sometimes known as "no-risk betting" or "bonus hunting".

You might think that this is impossible as it would mean that the best-betting sites would be losing so much money and would ensure that this could not be done, but it is possible thanks to bonuses such as free bets and other promotions. The great thing about matched betting is that you do not even have to have a lot of specialist sports knowledge in order to be successful.

Okay, you will certainly have an advantage if you are familiar with different sports and have experience betting, but it is not too difficult to pick up the expertise and knowledge that you need as you go along.

How Does It Work?

As we already mentioned above, matched betting works by allowing you to cover all the possible outcomes of a sporting event that you want to bet on. Naturally, you cannot usually make use of matched betting using just betting sites. This is because the prices that bookies set for a particular sporting event have a betting margin or house edge that ensure that the bookmakers make a profit. This means that in order to do matched betting, you need to use a betting exchange. One of the best betting exchanges around is Ladbrokes exchange, which of course accepts players from Ireland.

Before we go ahead and give you an example of matched betting to help give you a better idea as to what it is, we thought it would be a good idea to briefly explain what a betting exchange is. So, what is it exactly? Well, a betting exchange is something that allows gamblers to bet against fellow punters rather than the bookie. At a betting exchange, you request odds from or offer odds to, fellow bettors. Traditional bookies go head-to-head with sports betting fans on markets, but a betting exchange has no risk at all for the operator. Bettors place a stake against each other, and the betting exchange takes a small commission from the winner.

The major difference with a betting exchange when compared to a bookmaker is that lay betting is possible. A lay bet is when you back a selection to lose instead of to win. Every stake that is made at a betting exchange involves two different bets - someone backing a selection to win and someone else backing the exact same selection to lose. It is the ability to place a lay bet that makes a betting exchange important for matched betting.

Betting exchanges have become popular because they offer punters a much greater choice. Before betting exchanges came into being, if a bookmaker was not willing to offer the odds or markets that you sought, you just had to miss out on your bet. However, with a betting exchange, you just have to find another gambler who wants to take the risk on - or lay your bet. In other words, a betting exchange gives you the ability to find markets and odds that you want. Another reason why they have become so popular is that there is often greater value on offer. Bookies, to make a profit, do not provide their players with true odds - they take a small fraction away from the odds to ensure they always make money. With a betting exchange, the market is not priced by just one person, but by thousands of bets, meaning there is a lot more pressure for layers to give fair prices so that their bets are matched.

Betting Exchange Sites

There are way more traditional bookmakers out there than betting exchange sites, but there are a number of traditional bookies that also have a betting exchange option available to their players. However, just like with your regular sports betting site, not all betting exchange sites have been created equally.

At this current moment, we are spending a considerable amount of time reviewing a number of the best betting exchanges by making use of their services, and when we have done this, we will publish all that we have learned in some in-depth reviews, so be sure to check back for those.

So, now that you should have a good understanding as to what a betting exchange is, we are now going to provide you with an example of matched betting.

Matched Betting Example

We Irish football fans absolutely love the English Premier League, so we are going to use this in our example. Let us pretend that Liverpool is playing Manchester United. If you were to bet on Liverpool to win the match, you would be backing them. However, if you felt that Liverpool would not win, you could lay a Liverpool win. If Manchester United went on to win or draw the match, laying Liverpool would be a successful bet.

With matched betting, you would go to the betting site that you have an account with and back Liverpool to win. To cover the other possible outcomes, you would go on a betting exchange and lay Liverpool. If Liverpool does go on to win, you will win your back bet. If the game is a draw or a Manchester United win, your lay bet will win. Either way you will walk away with some money.

It is important to note that matched betting only works when you are using free bets and other promotions offered to you by the sportsbook you have an account with. Do not let this put you off though because bookies have to offer plenty of free bets and promos now in order to entice people to open an account with them. There is so much competition in the sportsbook industry nowadays that any betting site that does not offer regular freebies will not be around for very long and will definitely not make it onto any best bookmaker list. Remember to check the terms and conditions of a free bet or promotion before you start making use of it.

By using your free bet money to back a certain outcome and then laying that same outcome with your own money at a betting exchange, you can guarantee yourself a profit. Sometimes you will need to make a qualifying bet to unlock a free bet that your bookie offers, but this is a small investment for a bigger award. You should consider making use of a matched betting calculator as this will tell you how much cash you need to put on each wager to walk away with the highest guaranteed profit.

What is important to take away from this is that as long as you follow the rules, you should always make a guaranteed profit. Therefore, matched betting is a lot different from normal betting as with normal betting your chosen outcome has to happen in order to win the bet.

Is Matched Betting Legal in Ireland?

Many sports betting fans are unwilling to try matched betting because they think it is shady, but you do not have to worry as it is completely legal. Betting sites are obviously aware of the fact that matched betting happens, but there is not an awful lot they can do about. After all, if they provide their players with bonuses and other promotions, people will take advantage. Not only is it legal, but matched betting is regularly recommended as a great way for betting customers to earn tax-free money with minimum effort. News outlets like The Guardian have also written articles about matched betting, encouraging sports betting fans to give it a go.

Does Matched Betting Work for Irish Punters?

This is a question that many Irish sports fans like to ask, and the answer is that it definitely works for Irish punters. Matched betting is a gambling strategy that can be used by people all over the world at any time and in any place, so long as you have access to an internet connection, of course. It does not matter whether you are in Australia or Timbuktu, you can use matched betting to make profits.

Matched Betting Free Bets

You can do match betting at any bookmaker, but you obviously want to deposit your hard-earned money at one of the best ones that offer regular free bets. Whenever you are matched betting, you need to keep in mind that it is only works if you are using free bets and promotions, so it is best for you if you register with a bookmaker that offers regular bonuses.

Therefore, in the table below, we have provided you with some of the best bookmakers for sports bettors in Ireland that are currently offering some great bonuses that you can make use of to do some matched betting.

Bet365€50 worth of Bet Credits Claim Bet365Now
William HillPut down a €10 bet and receive free bets worth €30 Claim Now
888sportMake a €10 bet and receive free bets worth €30 and a €10 casino bonusClaim Now
BetVictorMake a €5 bet and get free bet bonuses that are worth €30Claim Now
UnibetGet up to €40 back if you lose your first bet and a €10 casino bonusClaim Now

How to Open a Betting Account?

Obviously, in order to do a spot of matched betting, you need to have an account with a bookmaker. Now, nobody wants to waste precious betting time trying to work out how to register with a bookie, which is why you will be glad to hear that signing up with a sportsbook is very simple.

To prove just how easy it is, we are going to give you a step-by-step guide below, and we are going to use Ladbrokes as our example since they are one of the best sports betting sites around. They first came into being back in 1902, so the fact that they are still as popular as ever is a testament to just how good they are. So, without further ado, let us crack on with the registration guide.

  1. Head over to the Ladbrokes website and click the "Join" button
  2. Complete all of the necessary fields in the form that pops up, making sure that you enter all personal details correctly
  3. If you want, you can set yourself a deposit limit by entering the limit amount and the time frame. If you do not want to set up a deposit limit, then simply tick the box that confirms that
  4. Take the time to read the T&Cs, and when you have done that click on the "Create Account" button

N.B. Now, obviously, you might not want to open an account with Labrokes. Maybe you would prefer to register with another top bookmaker like Betway. If this is the case, we just wanted to point out the registration process is pretty much the same, regardless of who you decide to sign up with.

Now that you have a new sportsbook account, then next thing that you will need to do is claim the Welcome Bonus as this is vital when it comes matched betting. Remember that if you do matched betting without using free bets and promos, you are going to lose money. Below we have given a step-by-step guide as to how you can claim the Ladbrokes Welcome Bonus.

  1. Sign into your new Ladbrokes account and head over to the payments option page
  2. Scroll through the different payment options and select the one that suits you the best
  3. Click on it and follow the simple instructions to deposit at least €5 into your new account
  4. Place a €5 bet with minimum odds of at least 1/2, and you will then receive your four free bets worth €5 each
  5. You can then make use of these free bets to do a spot of matched betting

N.B. We should stress here that sports betting sites are changing their bonuses all of the time because they have to keep things nice and fresh and are always trying to stay that one step ahead of their main rivals. Thus, there is a chance that the bonus at Ladbrokes when you go to sign up is not the same as the one that we have spoken about above. Even if this is the case, the process will be pretty much the same.

Best Matched Betting Offers

You can do match betting at any bookmaker, but you obviously want to deposit your hard-earned money at one of the best ones. Below you can find some of the best bookies for sports betting fans in Ireland. If you decided to sign up with one of these, you will be guaranteeing yourself a great sports betting experience.

Top Bookmakers

18+ | UK 1st depositors only (NI excl.). Mobile Exclusive. Bet £10 minimum on sports & get a £20 free bet. Wagering req. apply: min odds of 2 | Cashed out/Free Bets won’t apply | 30 days to qualify | Payment method restrictions exist | Play Responsibly | Terms and Conditions apply. http://www.begambleaware.org

18+ New Players only. Make a qualifying deposit of €5* or more and claim the offer within 30 days of registering your account to qualify. Must contain at least one selection at odds of 1/5 (1.20) or greater.. For free bet wagering requirements and minimum odds read T&C’s.| Terms & Conditions apply | Play Responsibly | www.begambleaware.org

18+ New UK + IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min 5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x 5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. www.begambleaware.org

Is Matched Betting No Risk?

This is another question that people like to ask, and we understand why since it can be hard to believe that there is a betting strategy out there that can win you money without there being risk involved. Well, there is, because if you follow the matched betting rules properly, there is no chance that you will end up losing money as this is a mathematical fact.

However, bookies obviously do not like matched betting as it loses them money, therefore there is a small risk involved that if the bookie you have an account with finds out that you have been making a lot of money by doing this, they will ban you from your account. However, the chances of this happening are very rare and by the time they find out you have been doing it, you could have made a lot of profit. Anyway, if you do get banned from one bookie, there are many others out there that you can deposit money at and become one of their new customers.

Is Matched Betting Worth It?

It is quite difficult to put an exact number on the amount of money that you can make by matched betting. Therefore, the answer to the above question is that it is definitely worth it. We recommend that you make use of a spreadsheet so that you can keep of your matched betting. You should also set yourself a monthly target so that you have something tangible you can work towards.

Understanding Sports Betting Odds

If you happen to be new to gambling, then one of the first things that you need to do is learn how odds work. Understanding betting odds is vital, whether you are doing normal betting or matched betting, because they are what indicate the likelihood of a particular outcome happening as well as what your potential winnings could be.

Although they will look daunting to begin with, you will be able to get to grips with them in no time at all. You should always open an account with a bookmaker that is offering the best odds around as this will ensure you get the most profit whenever you make a bet that goes on to be a winner.

The odds at the majority of sports betting sites in Ireland and the rest of Europe will usually be displayed as Fractional odds or Decimal odds. We are now going to take a look at both these formats as there are some differences between them.

Some sites will display their odds as American odds, but since it is rare that you will come across them when gambling at a sportsbook in Ireland, we are not going to explain them. Besides, if you do come across American odds, which are distinguishable by the fact that they use +/- signs, you can just toggle them to either fractional or decimal odds.

Fractional Odds

These are the most common odds that you will come across in the UK and Ireland. They might look funny to begin with, but when you understand their meaning, they are very easy to calculate.

Let us say that you want to bet on the Grand National and come across odds of 5/1, but what does it mean? Well, the number that appears on the left (5) is the number of times that the bookmaker expects the related outcome to fail, while the number that appears on the right (5), indicates the number of times the outcome should happen.

Calculating your potential payout from fractional odds is pretty simple. You just have to multiply your wager by the left number and then divide by the right number. So, if you were betting €50 on a horse with odds of 5/1, your calculation would be as follows:

(50x5)/1 = €250 will be coming your way, for a profit of €200.

Decimal Odds

Out of the three formats, decimal odds are the simplest to learn and they are common with European bookies. Calculating your potential winnings when using decimal odds is very simple - all you need to do is multiply your wager by the odds that are attached to the market that you are betting on.

For example, if you are betting €10 on Liverpool to beat Manchester United at decimal odds of 2.10, your equation would simply be:

2.10 x €10 = €21.00 - meaning that you would make an €11 profit if Liverpool did go on to win.

Tips for Matched Betting

Making use of a matched betting calculator is a great idea as it makes the whole process a lot easier. This type of calculator tells you how much profit you can make if you go ahead and bet with a certain amount. As we mentioned earlier, matched betting is not illegal, but bookmakers have been known to shut accounts of those they believe are using this strategy. Therefore, to decrease the chances of this happening, you need to keep your accounts active and do your best to make it look like a normal customer is using them. One way you can do this is by placing some small normal bets every now and then.

Pros and Cons of Matched Betting

To round up this article, we are going to take a look at the pros and cons of matched betting.


One of the major pros of matched betting is that you do not need to be a sports guru to make money from it. Another pro is that it is not gambling. You are not gambling your money because there is no chance of you losing it if you use this strategy correctly. There is also a welcoming and friendly matched betting community and those who are new to this strategy will find experts who are more than willing to share some great tips.


One of the main cons of matched betting is that if you have accounts with lots of betting sites, then you might start to find it difficult to make money due to the fact that new bookmaker accounts are vital for matched betting. Furthermore, you should not withdraw your profits right away. Also, the need to have a decent bankroll to begin with is something that rules those out who do not have much money to spare.


What Is a Back Bet?

This is the most traditional kind of wager that you can place. When you place such a bet, what you are basically saying is that you think your chosen selection will go on to win the sport event, whatever sporting event that may be. If your selection does go on to win, then you will win your wager and make a profit. It is called a back bet because if, for example, you choose a horse to win the Grand National, you have backed that horse to win.

What Is a Lay Bet?

This bet type has become popular due to popular betting exchanges like Betfair. This is the opposite to a back bet since with this kind of bet you are basically saying that your selection will not win the sport event in question. If your choice that you lay bet ends up not winning the event, you win your bet. If the match ends with a draw, you still win your lay bet since your selection did not win anything.

What Is Lay Commission?

When you are laying bets, you have to pay a small percentage of your profits as commission. While traditional sports betting sites make their money by providing their players with false odds, betting exchanges make money by taking commission. Even when you have paid the commission, you will still end up with a tidy profit.

What Is Liability?

This is the amount of money that you stand to "lose" from your lay bet. For instance, if you place €25 with a bookie on odds of 3.00, you will make a profit of €50 if your bet goes in. The bookie's liability in this scenario is €50. When you lay a bet, you become the bookie and the liability becomes yours, but keep in mind that since you will have all bases covered, you will not actually lose money.

What Is a Qualifying Loss?

When you are matched betting, you need to use free bets and other bonus money. Sometimes, in order to claim a free bet, you will need to place your own wager first. So, you will back a selection with your bookmaker and lay the same selection at a betting exchange. You will always end up losing a small amount of money, and this is known as a qualifying loss. In exchange for losing a few cents, you will gain a much bigger bonus that you can then use for big profits.

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