How to start Matched Betting

Learn how to start matched betting

If you haven’t read our previous article What is Matched Betting? then I recommend that you take a look at that first as it gives you an introduction into the world of matched betting. Once you’ve read that you can carry on with this article and learn how it is we make £500-£1000 a month to fund our van life and how to start matched betting yourself.

I’ve discussed matched betting and what it is and now you’re probably staring at your screen wondering “where do I even start?” Below I’m going to talk you through an introductory offer for matched betting. Although I’m discussing it here I very much recommend that you do the introductory free trial at as they have an excellent video series talking you through a step by step guide on matched betting.


The most important part of matched betting is keeping track of your money. A spreadsheet is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. I use google docs as it means I can access my spreadsheet on any computer. You’ll find a spreadsheet example in profit accumulator under ‘keeping track of your money’ but my own spreadsheet looks like this:

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It’s also a good idea to keep a log of how much money you have in each bookie account. Quite often you’ll do a sign up offer and never touch that bookie again, so make sure you’ve made a note of where your winnings are or you might forget them! Also make a note of any deposits and withdrawals.

There’s going to be a lot of money moving around between bookies and exchanges so make your spreadsheet so it works best for you, just make sure you can keep a clear track of all your bets, it’s the only way you’ll know how much money you’ve made.

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Finding Your Offer

To get you started I’d recommend choosing an easy, lower value offer. I’ll use the Stan James sign up offer as an example to walk you step by step through a matched betting offer; they offer a £10 free bet when you bet your first £10.

Open an account with Stan James and deposit £10. Make sure all your details are valid and you have documents as evidence of the address entered. It’s a good idea to take a picture of e.g. a bank statement proving your address, a picture of your ID and a picture of the front and the back of your bank card (you can blank out all but the last four numbers) because we are going to need these a lot with all of the bookies. Having them saved somewhere means you don’t need to keep asking family or friends back home to scan and send documents out to you!

Next, you’ll need to open an account with an exchange in order to place the lay bet we discussed in the What is Match Betting article. In regards to which exchange you use I recommend Smarkets as they offer the lowest commission rate at 2%. They also offer a £10 refund on your first losing bet, which is easy money! Open an account with Smarkets and deposit a minimum of £50.

Qualifying bet

To take you through this example I will be using the oddsmatching software on

Before you place a qualifying bet you need to double check what the minimum odds are for the bet, which you can check in the terms and conditions of the offer. If you are subscribed with they will have this information in all of their explanations of each individual offer. In this example your minimum odds are 1.8.

To find the best odds for the qualifying bet select ‘filters’ at the top of your oddsmatcher.

Limit your bookmaker to Stan James and the exchange to Smarkets. Enter the minimum odds here as 1.8 and I’ve also limited the maximum odds as I’m assuming we have limited funds in the exchange. You may also want to limit the time frame of the results if you want the money returned into your exchange as quickly as possible in order to do another offer.

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Limiting odd on Profit Accumulator’s software
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The available matches are displayed

The most important aspect of the results is the rating. The rating shows you how close the odds of the bookmaker and the exchange are. In an ideal scenario the back odds would be greater than the lay odds (rated as over 100), this means we would not lose any money on the qualifying bet and may even make a small profit. This is rarely the case however, and bookmakers are not keen on you using odds with very high ratings (as it makes you look like a matched better!) but stick to odds above 96 if possible on your qualifying bet.

We’ll look at the next result down which is a bet on Coventry to win against Crewe rated at 99.10. If we click on the little calculator on the left it will bring up the stats.

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The Calculator

As it’s our qualifying bet we want the bet type in the drop down box to be ‘Normal’ and your bookmaker stake here is £10. The calculator shows you how much you need to lay with the exchange, how much your liability is (how much money you need in the exchange) and your overall position depending on which bet wins.

Have a play with your results now, checking different ratings and odds to see what effect these factors have on your losses and the liability. Once you’ve found a good match we can move on to the next step.

Placing our bets

We next need to check that the odds are the same as the calculator shows us. So in this example I need to find the bet on Stan James under English League 2 (if you hover over the event name on the results table it will tell you which league to look for).

If you’re unfamiliar with football betting, the order the team names are given corresponds to how the results are given. So here the match is Coventry vs Crewe so Coventry is 1, X is draw and 2 is Crewe.

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Next check in Smarkets. It’s a lot easier to find what you need in Smarkets, just type the name of the match into the search bar and it will come straight up.

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In Smarkets you always bet on the blue! Blue is the lay bet (green in for back bets but you won’t need to place back bets in Smarkets). You can see again the odds against Coventry are 1.8 so we don’t need to make any changes in the oddsmatcher. If you do find that the odds are different either in the exchange or with the bookie you can change the back odds and lay odds in the calculator and it will update your results.

Now we can place our bets. Add your chosen bet to your betslip on Stan James, enter £10 and select ‘place bet’. Always place your back bet first.

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Here’s an example of the Stan James betslip

Next we can place the lay bet. The calculator will show you how much you need to lay for your chosen bet. In this example the lay bet is £10.11. Enter your lay bet amount under ‘back stake’, select ‘place bet’ and then ‘confirm’ (make sure you click confirm!)

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Now update your spreadsheet, entering the information as I’ve shown you in my example spreadsheet. In this example you’d make a loss of 9p whatever happens. Make sure you enter what you’d win or lose for both the bookie and the exchange when you place the bet. When the bet is settled delete the relevant entry.

Placing the FREE Bet

The next thing we need to do is just repeat the above process again with some sight differences. We are going to be using the free bet we have earned by doing the above betting. Stan James will credit your account with a free bet within 24 hours of the bet being settled. Some bookies e.g. Coral will credit your account with the free bet instantly.

Go back to your oddsmatcher on and set the filters to show minimum odds of 4.0. The higher odds you use for your free bet, the more money you stand to make, so 4.0 is a good minimum. However, remember the higher the odds are the more money you need in the exchange. If you have limited funds in the exchange perhaps keep the odds for the free bet between 4.0 and 6.0.

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The best results in this instance are horse races, as I’ve said horse racing odds are extremely volatile so check them and get the bets on as quickly as possible.

Again, click on the calculator to bring up the details of the bet you will need to place. Because we are using a free bet it is vital to change the bet type from ‘Normal’ to ‘Free Bet (SNR)’ which will change the figures so that we make money, then make sure £10 is entered as the bookmaker stake.

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Updated the calculator to Free Bet (SNR)

In general you want to aim for an 80% return on your free bet. This bet on Hurricane Rock exceeds 80% so is a great match, but let’s double check the odds are the same.

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The back odds are still the same, so no changes here. Now let’s check Smarkets.

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You can see the lay odds for ‘Hurricane Rock’ have increased from 6.4 to 6.6. This means I’ll have to update the calculator.

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Updating the odds effects the profit we are making

Your winnings here are still over 80% so this is still a good match.

Once you’ve found a good match for yourself repeat the process just as you did before. This time though, when you place the bet with the bookie make sure you select the option in the betslip to use your free bet. Some bookies require you to enter your bet amount and then also select ‘use free bet,’ others allow you to just select the free bet option without entering an amount. Just make sure you don’t put on a £10 bet of your own money plus the free bet when you do this!

Once again enter your potential winnings in your spreadsheet as well as your bet details and update once the bets have settled. Whatever happens here, you’ve made instant profit. This is because we are betting using the free money which the bookie has given us as a free bet instead of betting against our own money.

Keeping the money coming in

The first few months of matched betting are the easiest and the most lucrative. Once you’ve completed all the easy lower value sign up offers you should have enough in your exchange to tackle some of the bigger offers. Bonus offers (e.g. Bet365 offer a £200 bonus) are very lucrative but require around £1000 in your exchange to pull off. Don’t worry though, you’ll soon build up your exchange and you don’t need to have this much in your account all the time. If you’re using the sign up offers are presented in a logical order in order for you to build up your cash reserves.

You can read about how we turned £50 into £500 so you can see how easily you can start with as little as £50

Best of luck in your matched betting journey. If you have any questions you can email us at and we will be happy to help and don’t forget to sign up to our mailing list to get your Easy Matched Betting Spreadsheet for FREE