Sports Betting

Matched Betting: Is it a Good Way to Make Money or a Big Mistake?

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The internet is buzzing with talk of matched betting as the next big “get-rich-quick” scheme. We have bad news for you; if you’re looking for these sorts of opportunities, then you need an attitude adjustment. There is no such thing as easy money unless you’re a Wall-Street banker.

If you’re investigating an opportunity that sounds even slightly suspicious, then look for the sucker in the room. If you can’t identify the sucker, then we have some more bad news – it’s you. When people tout matched-betting as the latest and greatest way to make a ton of money, they are either people that got lucky once-off or promoters trying to hustle you.

Matched-betting is not a get-rich-quick scheme or a way to make millions doing practically nothing but gambling. Being successful with this past-time involves patience, strategy, and strict attention to the details. Matched-betting requires a significant investment of your time, as well.

Matched Betting Explained

Matched betting involves the use of a hedging strategy when placing sports bets with bookies. With matched betting, you’re essentially placing a bet on one possible outcome with one bookie, and then taking the other side of the bet with another online betting exchange.

The goal for matched-betting success is to ensure that your free bet ends up as the winner in the deal. This hedging strategy relies on using your cash to wager on the outcome, and then you use the sportsbook’s free bet to hedge against your first wager.

Arbitrage Betting Vs. Matched Betting

Matched betting is a similar strategy to arbitrage betting because you place equal wagers on the possible outcomes of the event — however, the difference between the two lies in the method.

With arbitrage betting, you’re exploiting the discrepancies in the odds at different sportsbooks, otherwise known as the spread. By using arbitrage betting, you spend an excessive amount of time doing line shopping to source opportunities.

Matched betting offers a more straightforward strategy; you’re hedging your bets by taking both sides of the wager using a free bet. Therefore, if things go wrong, you aren’t losing any real money, only a free bet.

Are Matched Betting Companies a Financial Scam?

Matched betting is not a pyramid scheme or some scam designed to drain your bank account. You’ll find more of these companies advertising online through personal finance blogs. However, it’s critical that you understand that matched betting is not a way to earn your primary source of income.

Relying on matched betting for your income will lead to a life of stress and financial hardship. Matched betting is a strategy for people that can afford to lose what they want to spend on a bet. If you’re playing for income, then you are gambling, not betting.

There are plenty of matched betting “experts” online that are willing to teach you the secrets of matched betting for a subscription fee. These are the real online scams involved with matched betting.

Anyone who claims to have a secret matched betting strategy is trying to con you out of your money. The chances are that you’ll receive no benefit from the information, and you’ll probably end up losing more than if you didn’t take the course at all.

Is It Legal to Use These Strategies?

Matched betting is legal in America. The only exception is that you’ll need access to a betting exchange if you want to take advantage of the opportunity. Betfair is the biggest matched betting platform online, and it’s available to US residents.

However, the only states that allow access to this platform for betting purposes are Delaware, New Jersey, and Nevada. Despite having legality at the federal level, matched betting remains unavailable in many states across America.

Common Matched Betting Mistakes

When people talk about matched betting, and they refer to it as a scam, it’s because they lost money on bets using the strategy. As explained earlier, matched betting requires you to develop a new skill. Merely trying your luck with no research is as good as gambling, and the chances are you’ll lose.

Matched betting is like trying to trade stocks. If you have no knowledge of the stock market or listed companies, and no idea how to use a trading platform properly, you are destined for failure as a trader.

The same scenario goes for matched betting, as well. If you want to make a success of the strategy, you need to understand it in its entirety, and you also need to execute your strategy consistently.

We put together a list of common mistakes players make when using matched betting services. By understanding what not to do, you might get a better idea of what works.

Check the Terms and Conditions

One of the biggest mistakes newbies make is failing to check the terms and conditions of the site they use for their bets. As a matched betting player, you make your money by using the free bets offered by bookies.

However, many of these bookies have extensive terms and conditions covering how you can utilize these free bets. Before you sign up for any platform and place a bet, make sure you read the fine print carefully. Here are a few terms and conditions to watch out for on your research.

  • Ensure you Qualify for Free Bets – Bookies don’t give out free bets to everyone. To qualify for a free bet, you’ll need to place a bet on a game or event. After completing your first bet, most bookies will offer you free best to remain a loyal customer. Your success as a matched better is to ensure you’re signed up with the right bookies that send out plenty of free offers to their subscribers.
  • Free Bets Expiration – Always check the terms and conditions for the validity of free bets. As a matched better, you make your money based on the free bets given to you by bookies. However, most of these free bets have expiration dates attaches. Some bookies may offer your 24-hours to use the voucher, and others might offer longer. Since you’re paying for a bet the first-time round, if you miss the expiration date on your free bet, you’re then running at a loss.
  • Correct Events – In most cases, bookies will hand out free bets to events or games en masse. You need to check the types of games and events on offer before signing up with your bookie. Some bookies only offer free bets on specific matches and events where they are trying to raise interest in the betting community. Therefore, you’ll need to be selective when signing up, and do your research on previous free bets offered by the bookie.
  • Maximum and Minimum Odds – Some of the bookie promotions you can take advantage of will mention the minimum and maximum odds. For a successfully matched bet, you need to select odds that are greater than the minimum odds, or less than the maximum odds.
  • Changing Odds – You need to be wary of changing odds when placing your bets. As money enters and leaves the marketplace, the odds will shift depending on the cash flows for or against each of the parties in the game or event. Matched betting strategies prefer stable odds, helping you calculate the stakes without confusion.
  • Trying to place matched bets with changing odds requires you to keep shifting between browser tabs while making entries on your calculator. , It’s a better strategy to play in markets that offer you more stability in the odds, to avoid mismatching your bets
  • Most FL and NBA games have stable odds until the game starts, but horseracing events can be more volatile. So, it’s best to avoid them if you have little experience in matched betting.
  • Unmatched Bets – If you’re a newbie to matched betting, then you’ll find that unmatched bets are where your strategy tends to fall apart. With unmatched bets, there isn’t enough liquidity in the market to cover your bet.

Low liquidity levels make it challenging to place bets and often leaves us with unmatched or partially matched bets. As a result, calculating the lay stake becomes difficult, and profits dip. Stick to matched bets in highly-liquid markets instead, and never deal with these partial or unmatched bets that end up costing you your profits.

Opt into Promotions

As a matched bettor, you rely on free bets as the cornerstone of your hedging strategy. Therefore, it makes sense to sign up for free offers and promotions with all of the platforms. However, remember to check the terms and conditions of use before you give out your personal information to the site. If the bookie doesn’t meet your rules of engagement, then don’t bother signing up.

By entering into free promotions and offers, you’ll find that you have more opportunities for betting throughout each week.

Avoid Gambling

There is a significant difference between someone that places matched bets using a strategy and those that haphazardly rely on luck to make them money. Before you enter into any game, ask yourself how certain you are about the outcome. If you did your research, then you should have a good feeling about the outcome.

However, if you’re placing bets for the sake of placing bets, with no thought to doing any research, then you can expect to lose. If you continually lose money with your betting strategy, then you need to create a new one and move on from your losses.

It’s for this reason that it’s vital that you don’t play for income. If you’re relying on matched betting to put food on the table for your family, then you could face financial hardship in the future. Eventually, you’ll take a huge loss or several substantial losses in a row. What will you do in this situation? Many people end up filing for bankruptcy, and it’s not long after that that the family takes an exit.

Is Matched Betting Worthwhile?

The straightforward answer to this question; is no. Matched betting offers some rewards, but you’ll struggle to earn big money using any strategy you learn. Matched betting is also not as entertaining a standard sports betting, and we find that it takes the joy out of placing bets as well.

If you’re looking too matched betting to supplement your income, there are plenty of other ways to make some extra cash on the side. Unless you have a solid strategy, and plenty of experience in the game, then matched betting is probably not what you’re looking for with a supplemental income stream.

The amount of time and research it takes in hunting down free bets that are worthwhile is not worth the profits you make. We would say that the financial rewards from matched betting only compare to a minimum wage job.

However, if you have time on your hands and nothing to do at home, then matched betting might be a viable way to make a few extra bucks. Matched betting still offers one of the best risk-free methods of making money online, but it’s not for everyone.

Can Sportsbooks Ban You for Using Matched Betting Services?

Sports bookies all share the same central servers. Eventually, they’ll pick up that you’re using a risk-free strategy that’s earning you plenty of money at their expense. However, the winnings are so small with matched betting, that we doubt you’ll raise any red flags.

Sportsbooks know about matched betting, and it’s not some secret loophole that’s draining them dry of profits. The truth of the matter is that they don’t care.

Wrapping Up – The Final Verdict

Matched betting offers you a unique and risk-free way of making money online. However, you’ll need to invest time and money into developing a strategy that works for you and consistently brings you winners.

If you do decide to dip your toes into this arena, then make sure you have the correct preparation. By doing your research on the company, its terms and conditions, and the events of games your betting on, you could turn matched betting into a profitable hobby.

Oliver Dale is Editor-in-Chief of Beanstalk and founder of Kooc Media Ltd, A UK-Based Online Publishing company. A Technology Entrepreneur with over 15 years of professional experience. His writing has been quoted by Nasdaq, Dow Jones, Investopedia, The New Yorker, Forbes, Techcrunch & More. Contact him at

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