The Bet Advisers matched betting guide is a simple 4 step process that will show you how you can simply and successfully begin your matched betting career. As stated in the overview of matched betting basics, we must select the offer which we want to exploit, place back bets at the bookmakers, cover the outcome with a lay bet at the betting exchange and extract the profit as cash from the free bet.

For this example we are going to use Ladbrokes for our new customer offer. It is a simple offer in which we only need to bet £5.00 to receive £20.00 in free bets.

Step 1 – Sign up to a bookmaker

Head over to Ladbrokes and create a new account using Promo Code: 20FREE.

After we have successfully created our new account we need to change the odds from fractional to decimal. To do this head to Menu > Settings > Odds Format. Please refer to the images below to see what is looks like on both mobile and desktop platforms.

matched betting guide odds settings

It is important we change our odds to decimal so we can quickly identify close back and lay odds.

IMPORTANT: Please do not deposits via eWallets such as Moneybookers, Paypal, Paysafe, Neteller or Skrill. These payment methods will not be eligible for the welcome offer, please refer to step 3.

Once we have done this we can head on to step 2.

Step 2 – Sign up to a betting exchange

Before we place any bets at the bookmaker we need to open up a betting exchange account. The two most popular betting exchanges are Betfair Exchange and Smarkets. There are pros and cons of using either exchange, such as more liquidity or lower commissions.

This guide was originally created while taking advantage of a 0% commission promotion at Betfair. However, this has since been removed. We recommend using Smarkets to begin with as they offer a more competitive 2% commission rate (opposed to Betfair’s 5%). Both exchanges work in the exact same manner, however the example images used in the rest of the guide are from the Betfair exchange instead of Smarkets.

Step 3 – Placing our bets

Now that we have signed up to both Ladbrokes and a Betting Exchange and changed the odds to decimal, we can begin step 3 and place our Qualifying Bet.

A Qualifying Bet is what we refer to as a bet that will allow us to qualify for an offer, in this case betting £5.00 to receive £20.00 in free bets.

With any offer it is vital we read the terms and conditions of the offer – this will become second nature. In the terms of the Ladbrokes welcome offer it states that our qualifying bet can be used on any sport at odds of greater than 1.50 (1/2) but deposits from Moneybookers, Paypal, Paysafe, Neteller or Skrill will not qualify for the offer.

This means that we MUST make our first initial deposit with any other payment method other than the eWallets listed above.

Now we know the terms of the welcome offer we can proceed to finding a market that has close odds between the bookmaker and the exchange. The closer the odds means the less we will lose on our “qualifying loss”. The less we lose on our qualifying loses means the more profit we will make from each offer so it’s important to minimise our qualifying loss on each offer.

At the time of writing this guide the following odds were available on Atlanta vs Genoa in the Italian Serie A.

matched betting guide exchange

Now we have found some pretty close odds that meet the minimum requirements (1.50) for the offer we can now place our back bet at the bookmaker. Once this has been done we will need to place our lay bet at the exchange.

To do this we must work out what our Lay Stake needs to be. For this we can use the Matched Betting Calculator.

We simply select “Qualifying Bet” and fill in the details for our specific bet. Our back stake is £5.00 at odds of 1.5 and our back commission is 0%. The lay odds are 1.52 and our lay commission is 0% (assuming we are taking advantage of the first £500 0% offer at Betfair Exchange). 

*Additional note: As stated earlier, Betfair are no longer offering the 0% commission promotion. We recommend using Smarkets as they offer a flat 2% commission opposed to Betfair’s 5%. If you are following this guide, please enter your lay commission % as ‘2’.

Back Bet

Lay Bet

Adjust Lay

Required Lay £
Bookmaker Exchange Cashback Total
If Back Wins
If Lay Wins

As we can see, the calculator is telling us to lay £4.93.

We can also see on the calculator what our qualifying loss will be, along with the outcome if either the back bet wins, or if the lay bet wins.

Once we are happy with the calculation we must place our lay bet at the exchange. When we are using Betfair Exchange we can choose to back a result as well as lay a result so it’s important to make sure we select the correct market. Back markets on Betfair Exchange are coloured blue, while lay bets are pink. We are going to be laying, so we must click the pink market corresponding with out selection.

matched betting lay odds

We then proceed to enter £4.93 in the Backer’s stake section and place the bet. We can also check that the potential liability matches up to the result of the calculator – in this instance £2.56. Once our lay bet is placed we can check our potential profit or loss on Betfair Exchange for all the possible outcomes on the Match Odds market. 

matched betting using betfair

Congratulations, you have just placed your first matched bet – It now does not matter if Atlanta win, draw or lose the match, whatever outcome we will have lost £0.07 but gained £20.00 in free bets. 

Step 4 – Extracting profit from our free bets

It’s time for the final step in the matched betting guide. We have now received our £20.00 in free bets – these will be credited as 4 x £5.00 free bets. It is time to extract our profit. As per Step 3 it is vital we read the terms and conditions for any specific bet requirements. Our £20.00 in free bets at Ladbrokes are treated as Stake Not Returned (SNR). This means that the original £5 will not be included in any winnings.

To extract our profit, we must simply repeat the process outlined in Step 3 – this time however we will be using higher odds. Higher odds are vital to extract the most profit from our free bets. We recommend placing bets with close matched on odds above 7.00 for maximum profit, our aim should be 80% of the free bet value i.e £20.00 in free bets, £16.00 cash.

As in Step 3, closer odds means more profit. We have found a close selection at back odds of 7.0 and lay odds of 7.4.

We simply load up the matched betting calculator again but instead of clicking Qualifying Bet we are going to select “Free Bet”. We then fill in the details of our first £5 free bet – Back stake £5.00, back odds 7.00, back commission 0%. Lay odds 7.4 with our lay commission of 0%.

matched betting calculator

We then proceed and place our back bet (ensuring we click our free bet on Ladbrokes) and place our lay bet and net ourselves a tidy £4.05. We then repeat this process with our remaining 3 x £5.00 free bets to extract the rest of our profit.

It’s worth noting that cannot place all of our £5.00 bets in one go, we can only use 1 free bet per bet. However we can place the same bet 4 different times on the same result. This will save us time looking for other close matches. If this is what you would prefer to do you can simply place all 4 separate £5.00 bets on the same result and adjust the Back Stake on the calculator to £20. This will then give us one lay stake with a total profit of £15.93.

After we have extracted our profit and taken into our qualifying loss in Step 3 of £0.07, we have netted an easy £16.13 for around 5 minutes of work. For more information on why it is important to extract free bets with higher odds can be found here.

We hope that this matched betting guide has helped you successfully profit from a simple welcome offer. Once you have repeated this process a couple of times and are comfortable with the method, matched betting can reap great rewards. We have plenty of other matched betting guides for more experienced users, feel free to check out the guides section for more information.