Matched Betting - Turn Free Bets Into Real Cash (Full Guide 2024)

Matched Betting can help you make thousands of pounds profit each year from the comfort of your own home.

Here, you’ll learn the basics of how it works so you can make your first profits today. We’ll also throw in some great beginner tips and answer all the questions you’ll have to get you off to a flying start.

What is Matched Betting?
How Does Matched Betting Work?
Matched Betting The Basics
First Matched Betting Offer Walkthrough
1. Open a Matchbook account
2. Open a Coral account
3. Switch to decimal odds
4. Qualifying bet
5. Using your free bet
Beginner Matched Betting Tips
Matched Betting Frequently Asked Questions

What is Matched Betting?

Matched Betting works by covering all outcomes of an event to qualify for free bets and bonuses.

You can then use the same process to turn those free bets and bonuses into cash.

That’s right, win, lose or draw, you’ll make money!

You’ll use our beginner-friendly software and calculators to lock in a profit from every offer you complete. If you prefer to learn by doing - sign up for our free trial to access over 40 different bookmaker signup offers worth over £850 in profit. We've already taught over 150,000 in the UK how to do it, making us the #1 Matched Betting service.

Quick Tip

If you prefer to learn by doing - sign up for our free trial to access over 40 different bookmaker signup offers worth over £850 in profit. We've already taught over 150,000 in the UK how to do it, making us the #1 Matched Betting service.

How Does Matched Betting Work?

Matched Betting (or matched bets) works by converting a bookmaker's free bet or bonus into real money through a 'back and lay’ betting technique.

Online bookmakers provide these offers and free bet promotions as part of their welcome bonus offer to attract new customers.

By placing two bets, a back bet and a lay bet, you can eliminate the possibility of losing money and ensure that you win regardless of the outcome.

You’ll lock in around 80% of the free bet value, so a £50 free bet will net you roughly £40 cash that you can withdraw to your bank without any risk if you follow the instructions correctly.

That's just the beginning though - the bookies also give out tonnes of freebies and similar promotions to existing customers daily called reload offers.

The serious and long-term profits with Matched Betting come from these reload offers.

Matched Betting The Basics

Let’s say a bookmaker is running a promotion where if you place a bet of £10 you get a free £10 bet on any event.

If you imagine a coin toss there are only two possible outcomes, heads or tails, with an equal probability of both happening.

If you were to put a £10 bet on both heads and tails, you would’ve covered all outcomes and would win one bet and lose the other.

Either way, your overall profit is zero (as the two bets cancel each other out), but you’ll have met the conditions needed to qualify for your free bet because you’ve now already placed a £10 bet to get the £10 free bet.

Now, you’ll have your £10 free bet.

You now have the bookie's money to play them at their own game and use Matched Betting to lock in a profit.

To do that you simply repeat the process as before, covering all outcomes on another event, but this time using your free bet.

Take a look at the table below where if you place your £10 free bet on heads, then use £5 cash to bet on tails, this guarantees a profit no matter the outcome.

You may be thinking - how do you know how much to bet to lock in a profit? - in this case £5.

We make this bit super easy for you, no maths skills required!

Our Matched Betting calculator tells you exactly what stake is needed to return a profit no matter the outcome when using your free bets.

In the example above, you’d have extracted 50% of the value of the free bet (£5 profit from a £10 free bet).

You’ll be extracting around 80% of the free bet value from real bookie offers once you get started. So, if your free bet is worth £10, you’ll make about £8 profit.

What Are Back And Lay Bets?

The two types of bets you need to place when Matched Betting are known as back bets and lay bets.

back bet is betting that something will happen.

lay bet is betting that it won't.

For your back bets, you'll use a bookie, and for your lay bets, you'll use a betting exchange.

What Is A Betting Exchange?

Betting exchanges are very similar to bookmakers, with one key difference. Instead of betting against a bookmaker, you bet against other people.

That’s why it’s called a betting exchange; people are exchanging bets allowing you to place back or lay bets.

Betting exchanges allow you to propose a bet that you want to place. If another user is happy to take your bet, the bet becomes ‘matched’. The second user here effectively plays the role of the bookmaker.

Bookmakers only offer you the chance to place back bets but when you use the betting exchange, you’ll be placing lay bets. Doing this allows you to cover all of the outcomes of an event using only two bets (even if there are more than two outcomes).

For example, in a football match there are three possible outcomes – a home win, an away win, or a draw. If you back the home team to win at the bookmaker, this covers one outcome.

You can then place a lay bet on the home team at the betting exchange so you’re also betting that the home team won’t win, which covers BOTH the away win AND THE DRAW outcomes.

Betting exchanges make money by taking a small commission from winning bets, usually between 2 - 5% of the winnings. Our Matched Betting calculator takes into account this small amount when working out your stakes.

First Matched Betting Offer Walkthrough

Now you know the basics, let's walk through how to make a profit from a real new customer signup offer, step-by-step.

You’ll then be able to apply the same process to any similar offer and make a profit no matter what the outcome is.

Coral is a very well-established UK bookmaker and a great place to start Matched Betting.

You can make at least £15 profit from it regardless of the outcome. You can use as little as £30 - £100 to get started, so it’s great for building up your confidence before tackling larger offers.

1. Open a Matchbook account

Before you can place any bets, you’ll need to open a betting exchange account. We recommend Matchbook as they’re a great option for newbies and you can pay 0% commission by using this link. This is where you’ll place your lay bets.

2. Open a Coral account

Coral offers new customers a £20 free bet when they place a bet of £5. Now you go ahead and set up your Coral account, using this link to ensure you are directed to the correct offer.

Fill in your details and create your Coral account, you don't need to deposit any funds at this stage.

3. Switch to decimal odds

When you place any bet, the odds you get determine how much money the bet will win. Odds can be displayed as fractions or as decimals. When Matched Betting, you’ll only care about DECIMAL odds because they're much easier to work with when using the Matched Betting calculators.

On the Coral Website, you want to change the odds that are being displayed to Decimal format. You can do this by going to My Account > Settings, followed by Betting Settings and you can now choose DECIMAL as your odds format preference. When you return to the homepage, you’ll see that the odds are displayed in decimal format.

4. Qualifying bet

Now you have your accounts set up, you can claim your offer. The bet you’ll place to qualify for your free bet is commonly known as your ‘qualifying bet’.

Coral Offer info:

  • Deposit Amount - £5
  • Deposit Method - Debit Card
  • Qualifying Minimum Stake - £5
  • Qualifying Minimum Odds - 1.5
  • Free Bet Value - £20
  • Potential Profit - £14-£16

You’re going to place a £5 back bet with Coral in order to qualify for the offer, and then place a lay bet with Matchbook.

This initial qualifying back bet at Coral needs to be at minimum odds of 1.5 or greater and our back bet must be at a stake of £5.

It’s also best to look for close odds between your back bet at Coral and your lay bet at Matchbook. This qualifying bet means you can claim your free bet by losing just a few pence overall (this will be your ‘qualifying loss’).

To find your bet, you can simply go to the Oddsmatching software (available in your free trial) and select Coral Qualifying Bet from the dropdown:

Placing your back bet

In this example, the odds are 1.67 for Brighton to beat Sheffield United at Coral, which is your back bet.

On Matchbook, you can lay Brighton at odds of 1.70.

(Remember, laying means you’re taking the role of bookmaker and therefore betting on Brighton NOT to win).

Coral back odds:

Matchbook lay odds (the available lay odds are the dark pink odds):

So, you’ll cover all the possible three outcomes:

Outcomes covered at Coral by your back bet:

- Brighton Win

Outcomes covered at Matchbook by your lay bet:

- Draw

- Sheffield United Win

You can now place your qualifying back bet at Coral. You know you need to place a bet of £5 to qualify, so you can do that now.

Deposit £5, and click on the ‘1.67‘ button underneath ‘Brighton‘, enter your stake of £5 and click ‘Place Bet‘.

Placing your lay bet

You don’t know yet how much you need to stake at Matchbook to even out your bets.

The software calculates this for you and you can click the Matchbook icon to open the calculator:

You’ll see the following when you open the calculator:

The calculator shows you how much you need to stake at Matchbook to be as close to breaking even as possible.

Based on the Brighton vs Sheffield United example, that’s a stake of £4.91, resulting in a tiny qualifying loss of -£0.09.

You can link your Matchbook with your Outplayed to make the process easier and faster by clicking 'Connect Account'.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to lay your bets with Matchbook directly from the Outplayed Oddsmatching software. Once you’ve connected your Matchbook account, you can place your lay bet simply by clicking the "Place Lay Bet" button that will show on the calculator.

If you prefer to go to Matchbook directly to lay your bets - this is how the lay bet will look in your bet slip once you’ve selected the available dark pink lay odds for Brighton.

You can see your liability is £3.44, and it’s good practice to check this figure against the expected loss on the calculator.

As you can see, they’re both the same, so you know you have entered the correct lay stake (sometimes they might differ by a penny due to rounding).

Qualifying bet outcomes

You’ve completed your first Matched Bet - nice work!

Let’s look at your overall profit/loss for the potential outcomes.

If Brighton win you make £3.35 profit from your back bet but lose £3.44 from your losing lay bet leaving you -£0.09 overall.

If Sheffield United win OR the game ends as a draw you make £4.91 profit from your winning lay bet but lose £5.00 from your losing back bet leaving you again -£0.09 overall.

As you can see, regardless of whether Brighton win, lose or draw, you’ll make a slight loss of no more than £0.09. But, you’ll have qualified for a £20 free bet.

5. Using your free bet

Your free bet at Coral should be credited after you place your qualifying bet. Again, it’s important to check the free bet terms for specific requirements.

To profit from your £20 Coral free bet you simply repeat the process you’ve just done.

Coral Free Bet

Coral Free Bet

As with most free bets, your Coral free bet is ‘stake not returned‘, meaning Coral won’t return your £20 free bet stake to you. They’ll just pay out any winnings from the free bet.

This free bet is also valid for 7 days so important you use it before it expires.

You can now repeat the Matched Betting process again. The only real difference this time is that you should place your free bets at higher odds around 4.0 - 10.0, as this helps you extract more profit. As always, the closer the back and lay odds, the better.

Place your free back bet

Using the calculator, select Coral Free Bet from the dropdown list:

The Oddsmatching software will automatically give you a list of the best bets to use with close odds, just like before when you placed your qualifying bet.

This time though you’ll see that the Oddsmatcher will be in SNR mode and be displaying results according to their SNR Rating.

SNR stands for “Stake Not Returned” and is used when placing free bets as, in almost all cases, free bet stakes are not returned in any bookie winnings.

The calculator factors this all in for you to make sure you're laying the perfect amount. This is how you generate profit from free bets!

You don't need to worry too much about the ins and outs of this at this stage but essentially with free bets, you want to look for selections with higher odds and an SNR rating of around 75%+.

The SNR rating is the percentage amount of the free bet value you’ll lock in by using that bet.

When using free bets, higher odds mean more profit - however, the higher you go, the more money you'll need in your Matchbook account to be able to cover the cost of your lay bet.

If you have the bankroll, it's good to go higher to maximise profits, but if you have a lower bankroll, you can take something lower which is fine to do and the difference will be very small so is nothing to worry about.

Coral back odds:

Matchbook lay odds (the available lay odds are the dark pink odds):

The Oddsmatching software shows that the odds for Wolves are close with back odds of 5.50 and lay odds of 5.80.

You can now go ahead and place your £20 free bet at Coral. You’ll need to:

  1. Load your selection into the betslip by selecting it
  2. Make sure that the stake is £0 in the stake cell in the betslip, when you choose the free bet they will automatically set the stake for you
  3. Select your free bet from the drop down menu
  4. Select Bet Now to place your free bet

Place your lay bet to lock in profit

Once you’ve chosen your selection, open up the integrated Oddsmatcher calculator by clicking on the Matchbook icon again:

As before, the calculator will be filled with all of the relevant information BUT this time it will be set to “Free Bet (SNR)” mode as you’re placing a free bet.

Just double-check your back stake, which should be set to £20 as you have used a £20 free bet.

Pay attention to your liability and your overall position, or profit. In this example your liability is £74.50, this indicates that you’ll need at least £74.50 in your Matchbook balance to place this lay bet.

If your Matchbook balance is lower than that amount, you’ll need to deposit enough money to cover this. If you’re uncomfortable with this amount of liability then simply choose a different bet selection with lower back odds until you find one you feel comfortable with.

Quick Tip

Always check you have enough funds in your exchange to cover the lay stake before placing your back bets and ALWAYS place your back bets first just in case the back odds change or the bet is not accepted for any reason.

Below the liability figure on the calculator, you’ll see the profit you’re locking in from this free bet. In the above example, you’ll make at least £15.50 profit regardless of the outcome.

If you’ve placed your free bet, you can now go to the integrated calculator and then click the "Place Lay Bet" button to place your lay bet with Matchbook.

Free bet outcomes

So, in the example you completed, regardless of whether Wolves win, lose or draw, you’ll make a minimum of £15.50 cash from your £20 free bet!

Since your qualifying loss was no more than £0.09, you’ve made at least £15.41 profit from Coral’s welcome offer.

You've just made your first of many Matched Betting profits!

Matched Betting Free Trial

It might seem like a long process, but once you’ve completed a few offers, the process is very quick.

You’ll be able to go from selecting your offer to placing your free bets in 5 - 10 minutes for each offer you complete.

At Outplayed, we offer a free trial that’s designed to help you get off to a flying start on your Matched Betting journey.

You’ll follow simple step by step video tutorials and can expect to make more than £850 in pure profit from more than 40 bookmaker signup offers available to you during your free trial.

If you enjoy taking money from the bookies, you can then upgrade to our Platinum Membership option. This includes full access to all bookmaker reload sport offers, tools and training guides, as well as use of the Matched Betting forum.

The forum is an extensive and active Matched Betting community, where members share advice and support each other through their journey.

Start For Free

Beginner Matched Betting Tips

Keep it simple

When you start Matched Betting, follow the order of the sign-up offers and only do the offers you understand.

As your experience grows, so will your confidence and this is important before attempting some of the more advanced and complex offers.

Remember, Matched Betting is not a get-rich-quick scheme. You have to learn the process and devote time to completing the offers - but it’s so worth it!

Monitor your money

Keeping track of your cash is vital. Your money will be spread across several bookmaker and betting exchange accounts and it's easy to lose track of what's where.

You can take advantage of Outplayed's profit tracker, which comes free with your membership.

It’s a neat tool to replace the need for a Matched Betting spreadsheet and helps you keep track of all your bets and profit to be clear about how much you’re making. Cool right?

Stay secure

Keep a list of usernames and passwords using something like LastPass. This will save you time and keep your details secure when logging into all your bookmaker accounts.

We also recommend using two-factor authentication on your betting exchange accounts in particular where you may accumulate larger sums of money.

Ask for help

Don't be afraid to ask questions or get help from our amazing team and communities.

We all remember when we first started Matched Betting and love to help beginners.

Our customer support is truly superb and they’re the only Matched Betting support available by phone as well as live chat and email.

By the way, they’re available seven days a week!

As well as these four beginner tips, you can take it to the next level with our top Matched Betting tips for success this year.

Matched Betting Frequently Asked Questions

How much do you need to get started with Matched Betting?

Ideally, you’ll have at least £30 - £100 as a minimum to get started on your free trial. If you start with a smaller bank then just do the smaller sign-ups and build your bank ready for the larger sign-ups.

You’ll have to be patient and your progress will be slower but you’ll get there. It may take a few weeks to turn that initial £50 into £100 and then another couple of weeks to turn it into £200 but you’ll have still more than doubled your bank in a month.

If you have a larger bankroll available, you'll be able to complete many sign-up offers at once if you wish allowing you to make profits at a faster rate.

Do take your time at the start though and make sure you’re confident with the Matched Betting process before taking on multiple offers at once.

How much can you make from Matched Betting?

How much you can make from Matched Betting can vary enormously depending on factors like your starting bankroll, the amount of time you have to put in, whether you’re using a brand-new set of accounts, and whether you’re also doing related offers like casino offers.

You can expect to make over £850 from the initial sportsbook signup free bets, and thereafter you can make £300 - £1000+ a month from reload offers for existing customers. You can also make over £1400 from casino welcome offers and a further £300 - £1000+ a month from casino reload offers.

How long does Matched Betting take?

As with any new skill, it can feel a bit slow when you’re first learning how to do it.

Once you’ve got the hang of it though it gets much faster. What might have initially taken you 30 - 45 minutes as a beginner, will later take you just 5 - 10 minutes.

One of the good things about Matched Betting is that you can do it in your own time. The more time you put in, the more offers you can do and the more money you'll make.

Even if you can only spare a little time each day it’s possible to get very good results with Matched Betting.

Of course, the more time you can put in - both to learning and doing - the more you’ll get out of it.

We have members who’ve even blown our experts away with what they’ve achieved. Dive in, aim high and you might even surprise yourself with what you can do.

Is Matched Betting legal?

Yes, Matched Betting is legal.

It can be done by anyone who is eligible to open an online betting account in the UK and Ireland (i.e. Over 18’s only!). Matched Betting profits are classed as betting winnings, so it's also tax-free.

Does Matched Betting affect my Credit Score?

Not at all.

Bookmakers don’t tend to perform credit checks. Whilst bookmakers may sometimes carry out something known as a soft credit check on you (rare), this isn’t recorded and does not affect your credit score.

Do I need to know about sports or betting?


You don't need any knowledge of sports or betting to do Matched Betting. At Outplayed we teach you everything you need to be successful at Matched Betting.

The best bets to use when Matched Betting are never selected using sports knowledge or betting tips! They’re selected on how closely a pair of betting odds match between two betting sites.

The closer the match between the odds, the better the Matched Bet is and our Oddsmatching software automates finding bets for you.

It sounds too good to be true, is it a scam or worse, illegal?

No. Matched Betting is not a scam and is recognised as the most effective way of making money online in the UK. It's been featured in many national publications (GuardianTelegraph and Calvin Ayre).

Better still, the money you earn is tax-free. The reality is that if you invest the time to learn, you will make money. It really does work!

Can I do Matched Betting if I have existing betting site accounts?

Absolutely yes! If you already have some bookmaker accounts it just means you won’t be able to take advantage of their sign-up offers so you’ll need to skip them and move on to the next available offer.

There are so many bookies around it’s very unlikely you’ll have them all open yet so start with any you haven’t got yet.

The early training videos available in our free trial have some great information for beginners though so be sure to watch them through anyway.

You’ll also be fine to do all of the reload offers that a bookmaker offers, even if you already have an account with them.

The vast majority of Matched Betting profits come from existing customer reload offers, rather than sign-up offers.

New reload offers are posted daily so having accounts with some bookies already won’t hold you back at all and you can even make money from Matched Betting without free bets.

Do you have another question?

No problem!

Please get in touch and our amazing customer support team will be happy to help. You can speak with us on phone or live chat 9am - 5:30pm seven days a week.

Or drop an email, every single email gets read and responded to personally by our Matched Betting experts.

Over 2000 5* Reviews on Trustpilot
Over 2000 5* Reviews on Trustpilot

11 Jan 2024

I have been using Outplayed for 4 months now and it has been worth every penny. Once you get your head around things it is so easy to make money. The service from the staff at Outplayed is also unbelievable. Massive shout out to Chris for being so helpful and answering any questions I have. Overall a great company and I just wish I signed up years ago.

9 Feb 2024

The service is absolutely outstanding. They answer every single question and guide you every step of the way. Genuinely the best company I think I have ever had regular contact with!

11 Jan 2024

I have been using Outplayed for 4 months now and it has been worth every penny. Once you get your head around things it is so easy to make money. The service from the staff at Outplayed is also unbelievable. Massive shout out to Chris for being so helpful and answering any questions I have. Overall a great company and I just wish I signed up years ago.

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