Welcome to my matched betting guide for beginners, a while back a friend of mine asked if I had ever heard of matched betting, we were talking about ways to raise some capital for a project I was working on without having to dip into my own monthly salary.

He raised the idea of matched betting which was a totally new concept to me, and the start of a great new source of income, the following article “matched betting guide” aims to solve the mystery of matched betting for beginners.

In this post we will get into the nitty-gritty of what matched betting is and how it can supplement your monthly income, how much additional income totally depends on how far you want to go and how much effort you want to put in.

I started with roughly £190 as I wanted to see how everything worked before I committed much more than that, In my first month I made £465.90 and since then I have generated the figure that you can see at the top right of this website (£1300 at the time of writing)

TLDR; (Too Long, Didn’t Read)

I know some people prefer to get to the point so here is the TLDR (too long, didn’t read) version to make an amazing tax-free side income.

  1. Watch the videos in this article below (also subscribe to my YouTube channel and FaceBook Group for even more help and tips)
  2. Sign up for a free account at OddsMonkey
  3. Sign up for a free account at Smarkets.com to lay off your bets
  4. Do the first two offers, make around £45 for FREE and decide if you would like to make more free money

Matched Betting Guide for Beginners

You might be wondering what matched betting is? is it gambling? what are the risks? is it a scam? If you’re anything like me then you probably have a million questions or maybe you’re quite skeptical about the whole concept.

The idea is that we take advantage of online bookmakers that provide free bets to entice potential customers through the door, as an example you might see an advert for a bookmaker who will say something along the lines of:-

Place a £50 bet with us and we will give you a £50 free bet!

The problem is that the £50 they award us is in the form of a free bet, they sadly won’t just let us withdraw that money as they want us to bet with it, but using clever bets and some great tools we can extract around 80% of that free bet into cash, and best of all it’s not actually gambling!

How does matched betting work?

The simplified process goes something like this, we place two bets, the first is a qualifying bet and the second is the bet to take profit, let’s use an example of a football match between England and Brazil:-

  • sign up for an online bookmaker who is providing an offer for new customers.
  • place an initial bet, for example, “bet £50 on England to WIN against Brazil”.
  • bet against that outcome (this is called laying the bet) on a betting exchange at odds that are very similar, for example, “bet £50 on England to NOT WIN against Brazil”.

At this point we have basically bet on all outcomes of the match, if England win, we win at the bookmaker, if England doesn’t win, then we win on the exchange (and a draw is considered not winning). In terms of the profit, we haven’t won, and we haven’t exactly lost but we may make a tiny loss of a few pence.

We have now GAINED A £50 FREE BET from the bookmaker, this first initial bet is called a qualifying bet because we don’t care about making money at this point, we are just trying to qualify for the free bet, but how do we turn that into cash?

Simple, repeat the process but with our free bet instead:-

  • place our £50 FREE BET at the bookmaker on Nottingham Forest to WIN
  • lay that bet again on a betting exchange that Nottingham Forest will NOT WIN

However this time since we have used the FREE bet we will profit on either outcome, we either win at the bookmaker and lose at the exchange, or we win at the exchange and lose at the bookmaker, either way we gain around 80% of that £50 depending on the odds, so we make a profit of around £40.

This sounds like a lot of work, but with the right calculators and some practice, it’s actually really easy.  With the use of a few tools we can make this entire process very simple, we don’t have to calculate odds and we don’t even have to find sporting events to bet on, we can have them all shortlisted for us.

Betting Exchanges

When a bet is placed that bet is constructed of two participants, the person that is wagering that an outcome will happen, and the person that is wagering against that outcome.  So if I place a bet that England will win the world cup, someone else will have to wager against me that England will not win the world cup.

Up until the late 90s the only organisation that would wager against you would be the bookmakers, this was the whole point, you place the bet and they would give you odds against that happening and this would be how a bet would be formed.

Matched Betting a Step by Step Guide - Smarkets

Around 1999 saw the arrival of Betfair, they are a betting exchange which means they allow you to bet against certain outcomes on various events, this is known as “laying the bet”.

  • So I could place a BET at the bookmaker for England to win the world cup
  • I could then LAY that bet on the betting exchange for roughly the same amount

This would result in a position gain/loss of £0, I would be pretty much in the exact same position, but applying this technique will allow us to gain free promotional bets from the bookmaker with a tiny loss of a few pence.  Also, when you place a lay bet on the exchange you are not betting against the exchange itself, but rather other customers on the site that are willing to bet against you (hence the term exchange).

At the time of writing, there are a handful of exchanges, Betfair.com which we have already spoken about, Smarkets.com, and Matchbook.com.  The exchange usually take a commision on any bets that you lay, this is usually 5% in the case of Betfair or 2% on Smarkets, however, I would recommend Smarkets as they have promotional offers on and you can get 0% from them!

In the “how to get started” section later I will give you some links on signing up for the various exchanges, it’s worth having accounts on all the exchanges but personally I really only use Smarkets, the main reason is I am currently enjoying 0% commission and I have also spoken to their customer services a few times on live chat and they are a really friendly bunch, customer service + cheap = customer satisfaction.

How much can you make with matched betting?

The amount that you can make per month totally depends on how much time and effort you put in, you might be looking to just make a few hundred quid per month, or you might be looking to make a fulltime income out of this, on various forums I have come across people that are doing both, anything from £50 per month to £4000 per month!

My advice would be to not get caught up in what you can make, just get involved in the process, I opened up a second bank account where I deposited £200 and exclusively used that account for matched betting, this way it was separate from my usual day to day income and expenditure and it was super easy to then see my £200 grow which was very rewarding!

How to Make £500 per Month

When you first start matched betting you will go through the process of placing your bets very slowly, you will check, double check and sometimes triple check! and that’s a good thing, the only way you can feasibly make a big loss with matched betting is if you make a mistake, so take your time, learn the ropes and move through the learning process slowly.

What risk is involved?

As I mentioned above, since we are placing bets at the bookmaker and then laying the bets off on the exchange the risk is almost none, we are not gambling as we have no preference on the result of the match, the only time I have lost any money in matched betting is when I have made a mistake, I once placed the bet at the bookmakers and then laid off the bet with the wrong amount on the exchange, this was the only time I have made a loss and it was only a few quid.

With a few tools which I will show you towards the end of this article, you will see that you can use integrations with Smarkets so that laying your bets off is literally a single click.

The only other risk is dealing with less than reputable bookmakers who don’t want to pay out, it’s always worth doing a little bit of research and finding information from forums before jumping into an offer, there have been a few occasions where I was about to signup for a promotional offer and then decided not to based on what I read.

If you stick with highstreet bookmakers you are pretty much covered and have nothing to worry about but with these smaller bookies its worth doing an extra two minutes of research, with some of the sites I will mention later on they have forum links where a bunch of other matched bettors are discussing an offer, it takes just two minutes to scan the last few posts just to make sure.


When I first got started it took me a few days to get into a rhythm and confident with the process, after that I could do an offer in 10 minutes, but I soon found out that the biggest roadblock is having enough money to run several offers at once to maximise profits.

I would need money to place the bet at the bookmaker and money to lay off that bet on the betting exchange.  But don’t let this put you off! if you keep doing the offers and keep building your bankroll you will soon have more than enough to place as many bets as you like, it just might mean you move a little slower, and to be honest that’s probably a good thing in the early stages to minimise losses with any mistakes you might make.

The bottom line here is that a small bankroll will initially keep you from doing all the offers in one go as you will run out of capital, but doing it this way will also protect you, so don’t rush the process and take your sweet time.


Probably the shortest section in this guide since it’s only good news! since we are using bookmakers and placing bets this is considered gambling, so any winnings are totally tax-free, which let’s be honest makes this whole process even sweeter.

How to get started

So after reading all of this article, you might be wondering where to start? well I can make this super simple for you, you can literally start in one place, a site called OddsMonkey this site will help you enormously, guiding you step by step with written and video guides on how to take advantage of each offer from various bookmakers, they will also provide you with integrated tools and calculators to minimise the effort you need to put in.


OddsMonkey will give you a tool to find the offers, so you don’t actually have to go and find events to bet on with the close odds that we need, you just click on the offer in a tool called an oddsmatcher and it will tell you what to bet on, they also provide calculators so you know how much you place on the bookmakers and how much you lay that bet on the exchange, they even have integrations within the calculators they provide so you don’t even have to go an lay the bet off, you literally just click a button.

To get started take a look at this video review for OddsMonkey they basically show you the very basics of matched betting.

The best thing is about OddsMonkey is that you can signup for free, they will then give you two offers that you can do which will give you around £45 profit! so even if you decide that matched betting is not for you then you can at least take that £45 free money!


Actions – £45 for FREE

  1. Watch the video above (also subscribe to my YouTube channel and FaceBook Group for even more tips)
  2. Sign up for a free account at OddsMonkey
  3. Sign up for a free account at Smarkets to lay off your bets
  4. Do the first two offers, make around £45 for FREE and decide if you would like to make more free money

So, what do you think? is this something that might help you by making anything from a few extra quid per month or into the thousands? let me know how you get on in the comments below, I can’t wait to see the results.

Contact Me

If you need to reach out to me, feel free to e-mail me on richard@matchedbettingjournal.com, I will always answer any questions you might have as quickly as possible.


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