Soccer Betting Strategy: Matched Betting With Free Bets
Matched betting, also known as double betting, is a legitimate betting strategy for making guaranteed profits. Yes, that's right. We said GUARANTEED. This may sound too good to be true, but it isn't. You just need to understand how the strategy works. This isn't something that you're going to get rich from, but you can certainly make enough money to justify the limited amount of time and effort it requires.
Now, this strategy can technically be used for just about any sport. We feel it works best with soccer though, and here's why. Soccer presents a lot of betting opportunities, and many of those opportunities are ideal for using matched betting. That's why we've included this strategy as part of our soccer betting guide. There's nothing stopping you from taking what you learn here and applying it to other sports though.
There's a lot of information about matched betting on the internet, but the majority of it is far more complicated than it needs to be. So our goal with this article is to provide a comprehensive guide that's as easy to understand as possible. Take the time to read through it carefully, and you should have no problems implementing this strategy effectively.
Matched Betting Explained
Matched betting is essentially a form of arbitrage betting. However, there's one big difference between using this strategy and using a traditional arbitrage betting strategy.
Traditional arbitrage betting involves looking for opportunities where there's a disparity in the odds and lines at different bookmakers. The right kind of disparity creates the potential for a guaranteed profit by betting on multiple outcomes. Here's a simple example, using a hypothetical total goals betting market.
A bookmaker is offering odds of 2.10 on over 2.5 goals for an upcoming soccer game. Another bookmaker is offering odds of 2.05 on under 2.5 goals for the same game. By placing a wager on the over with the first bookmaker, and a wager on the under with the second bookmaker, you can lock in a guaranteed profit.
Let's say you staked $100 on each wager. If there were three or more goals in the game, you'd win the first wager and make $110. You'd lose the other $100, for a total profit of $10. If there were less than three goals, then you'd win the second wager and make $105. You'd lose the other $100, for a total profit of $5.
These kind of situations are rare, but they do happen. The difference with matched betting is that you don't need to rely on there being a disparity in the odds. Instead, the goal with this strategy is to make guaranteed profits by taking advantage of the free bets and bonuses that online betting sites offer. Before we go over exactly how this strategy works, let's explain these bonuses in a little more detail.
Virtually all betting sites offer signup bonuses to their new customers. While these bonuses are sometimes offered in the form of extra funds that are directly deposited into a customer's betting account, it's more common to find them being offered in the form of free bets or free play credits. When customers use these to place wagers, they get to keep anything they win, but they don't get to keep the value of the bets/credits themselves.
Most sites also offer additional bonuses to their regular customers. Again, these tend to be in the form of free bets or free credits. They can be offered based on any deposits you make, or on your wagering activity. Sometimes they are simply made available as part of special promotions.
The online gambling industry is an extremely competitive one. There are LOTS of gambling sites to choose from, and these sites have to work very hard to attract and retain customers. One way they do this is by incentivizing new customers with signup bonuses, and rewarding existing customers for their loyalty with additional bonuses. These bonuses are essentially part of their marketing costs. In theory, the sites will be able to cover the cost of these bonuses from the money their customers will lose in the long run.
Most bettors just use these free bets and free-play credits to place their normal, everyday wagers, and there's nothing wrong with that. This will give recreational bettors extra value for their money, while winning bettors may even have an opportunity to make a decent profit from these bonuses by honing their skills and knowledge.
What we recommend is using these bonuses for matched betting, which is exactly what we cover in this article.
As with traditional arbitrage betting, matched betting involves betting on both possible outcomes in order to make a guaranteed profit. But, as we've already mentioned, you don't need there to be any disparity in the odds and lines.
Start by finding any market that has just two possible outcomes, and then place a wager on one of the two outcomes using either a free bet or free-play credits. Then bet on the other selection in that market using real money. The important thing here is to make sure that the potential winnings from the free bet wager outweigh the potential losses from the real money wager. When that's the case, the two following outcomes are possible.
- 1The free bet wins and the real money wager loses. Since the winnings from the free bet are greater than the loss from the real money wager, you make an overall profit.
- 2The free bet loses and the real money wager wins. The free bet doesn't technically cost any money, so the winnings from the real money wager are all profit.
As you can see, either outcome is good. Regardless of what actually happens, you're going to make a profit. This is obviously a great position to be in, and shows just how powerful matched betting can be.
We've tried to keep our explanation of matched betting as simple as possible here. We don't want to overcomplicate things, because this truly is a straightforward strategy. However, we recognize that this explanation may not be detailed enough to properly teach you how to use the strategy in practice. Hopefully these examples will help make everything easier to understand.
Matched Betting Examples
Matched betting works slightly differently depending on the circumstances. A lot depends on the terms of the signup bonus or other offer you're taking advantage of, and these terms can vary significantly at different betting sites. Another option would be to use two different betting sites for the required wagers, or using one betting site and a betting exchange.
With this in mind, we've provided examples for a wide range of different scenarios. Some of these won't be apply to you, depending on your location and the betting sites you have access to. We suggest studying any examples that are relevant though, as they'll help you gain a better understanding of how to properly use this strategy.
- Using a typical free bet signup offer
- Using free-play credits
- Using bonus funds
- Using a betting exchange
Using a typical free bet signup offer
This example is based on using the kind of free bet signup offer that a lot of the major betting sites use. This won't really apply to those that live in the United States, though, as US friendly betting sites are often set up a little differently. If you live in the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada or Australia though, then this advice will be just what you're looking for.
Here's an example of a typical free bet sign up offer.
In order to apply matched betting on this type of offer, you must follow these two steps. First, you'll need to sign up with this site and "earn" our free bet by placing an initial £50 bet. This first step may not be profitable, but this second step definitely will be. Earn our free bet by spending as little amount of money as possible.
The best way to do this is to look for a market with two possible outcomes, where both possible outcomes have very similar odds. Check out our example below to see an ideal situation.
It's pretty common to see over/under 2.5 goals have the same odds on both possible selections. If we spent some time shopping around, we might be able to get slightly more favorable odds. For now, we'll just assume that the best odds available for both selections are 1.91.
Having found a suitable market, we'd bet £50 on one outcome with the betting site we've just joined, and £50 on the other outcome with another site. No matter what happens, we're going to win £45.50 at one site and lose £50 at the other. So there's a cost here of £4.50, but we've now earned our £50 free bet.
Step two is basically just a repeat of step one, but using our free bet. For the purposes of this example, we'll assume we've identified another betting market with two possible outcomes both at 1.91. We'd place our £50 free bet on one outcome, and we'd place half that amount on the other outcome at another site. The two possible outcomes are now as follows. Remember, we don't get to keep the value of the free bet here. We just get any winnings.
- 1We win our £50 free bet, for a profit of £45.50. We lose our £25 wager at the other site. Total profit is £20.50.
- 2We lose our £50 free bet. We win our £25 wager at the other site, for a profit of £22.75. Total profit is £22.75.
In either case, we have to factor in the £4.50 lost from step one. So we'd actually make £16 overall from the first outcome, or £18.25 from the second outcome. Either way, we're guaranteed to bring home a profit.
There's something you need to bear in mind when using matched betting. Since you can only claim a signup offer at a betting site once, this specific method can only be done so many times. It's worth signing up with all the reputable and trustworthy betting sites to take advantage of their offers, but once that's done there'll be no more signup offers to claim. At that point, you'll need to start looking into reload bonuses, rewards, special promotions or any other ways to earn more free bets.
Using free-play credits
Free-play credits are what many US friendly betting sites offer to new customers when they make their initial deposit. These sites typically offer free-play credits to reward existing customers too. For example, they might offer a reload bonus where you can earn more free-play credits for making a deposit. Or they might just offer some extra credits based on your wagering activity. It doesn't matter HOW you get the credits, it's still possible to lock in some guaranteed profits.
This method only has one step, as there's no need to "earn" the credits beyond making a deposit. You may not even need do that if you're just given extra credits based on your wagering activity. Either way, the process is the same.
For the purposes of this example, we'll say that we've got $100 worth of free-play credits in our account. All we have to do now is place a couple of wagers just like in step two in the example above. Again, our aim is to find a market with two possible outcomes at the same or similar odds. The following market was found at one of our recommended US betting sites, and it's ideal.
We'd use our free-play credits to place a $100 wager on Chelsea to cover the -1.5 spread at odds of -110. Then we'd find another betting site that had the same odds and lines for this game, and place a $50 real money wager on Manchester United to cover. Note that we've staked exactly the amount of the free-play credits. That leaves us with these two possible outcomes.
- 1Chelsea cover and we win our $100 free-play wager. We get $90.91 back from this, but would lose our $50 real money wager. Our total profit is $40.91.
- 2Manchester United cover and we win our $50 real money wager. We get $45.46 back from this. We lose our free-play wager, which costs us nothing. Our total profit is $45.46.
Once again we've created a situation where we're going to make a profit no matter what the outcome. We can repeat this process any time we have free-play credits, and ensure that we always turn these credits into a real money profit.
We have to warn you though. A lot of betting sites that offer free-play credits require you to wager their value several times over before they allow you to make any withdrawals. For example, after being issued with $100 in free-play credits you might have to place a total of $500 in wagers before being able to withdraw any real money proceeds.
If you lose the free-play credits at one site and win money at another, then this shouldn't be a problem. Once the free-play credits have been "spent," the wagering requirements may no longer apply. If you had to make a deposit to earn them though, the wagering requirements may still be in place on the remaining funds. So you'll have to go through the process outlined above a few times before being able to make a withdrawal. The same rule applies if you win money through the free-play credits.
The net result of having to do this will be that you'll end up with a smaller overall return, as you'll have to pay some vig each time you go through the process. Depending on the exact terms of the free-play credits, it's possible that you could end up with no profit at all.
It's VITAL that you fully check the terms and conditions of any free-play credits before employing the matched betting strategy. Do the necessary calculations to make sure that you'll come out ahead after meeting the wagering requirements. This should usually be the case, but you need to be certain. Otherwise the strategy simply won't work out as intended.
Using bonus funds
Some betting sites offer bonuses in the form of funds added directly to your online account. These bonuses work a little differently to free bets and free-play credits, as you get to keep the bonus funds as well as any winnings you generate from them. The drawback is that these kind of bonuses usually require a deposit and they ALWAYS have wagering requirements attached. Using these funds may require you to take a different approach and repeat the process multiple times.
For the purposes of this example, we'll say that we've been offered a £100 bonus for a £100 deposit. The wagering requirements are 5 times the bonus amount, which means we have to wager a total of £500 before we're able to withdraw any winnings.
With the £100 bonus and £100 deposit, we have a total of £200 in our account. We first look to place a wager using that £200. As usual, we're looking for markets with two possible outcomes at similar odds. Something like the following would do just fine.
- 1Our first wager wins for a profit of £182. Our second wager loses for a loss of £200. Our total loss is £18.
- 2Our first wager loses for a loss of £100 (the other £100 was bonus funds). Our second wager wins for a profit of £182. Our total profit is £82.
As you can see, only the second outcome appears favorable. By losing our first wager, we've now spent all of our bonus funds and the associated deposit. This means we don't have any more wagering requirements to worry about, so we can take our £82 profit and be done.
Although we've technically made a loss of £18 in the first outcome, we're still in good shape. We still have our £100 bonus, it's just that we haven't met the wagering requirements yet. We have wagered £200 towards those requirements, so now we'd just repeat the above step on another suitable market. At this point we have £382 in our account at the first site. Our initial £100 deposit, plus the £100 bonus, plus the £182 winnings. We'd put £300 of that on one outcome, and we'd put £300 on the opposite outcome at a different site. That leaves us to face one of these two options.
- 1Our first wager wins for a profit of £273. Our second wager loses, for a loss of £300. Total loss is £27.
- 2Our first wager loses for a loss of £200 (£100 is still bonus funds). Our second wager wins, for a profit of £273. Total profit is £73.
The first outcome here would equal an overall loss of £27. Added to the previous losses of £18, we're now down £45. Now that we've met the wagering requirements and cleared our bonus funds of £100, we can add those in as profit. That means we'll actually be up £55.
The second outcome here would represent a profit of £73. We'd have to deduct the previous losses of £18 though, which would also give us a total of £55 in profit.
Obviously, matched betting is a little more difficult when using bonus funds, but it's usually more profitable in the long run. This is particularly true if you lose your bonus funds and the associated deposit right from the start.
Before you attempt using matched betting strategy, you must first check the terms and conditions of the bonus. If the wagering requirements are especially high, you may not be guaranteed to make any profit at all.
Using a betting exchange
Did you know it's possible to use a betting exchange instead of a second betting site? This will work for any of the methods listed above, but unfortunately, it's not an option for anyone living in the United States. Main betting exchanges currently don't accept US customers, and although that could change in the future, it's reality for now.
The purpose of using an exchange is two-fold. First, it gives you more options for using the matched betting strategy, which means you don't have to rely on finding markets with two possible outcomes and similar odds. Actually, feel free to use just about any soccer betting market you want. Second, it's possible to make a little more money this way.
If you're not familiar with betting exchanges and how they work, this example won't make much sense to you. Please read our article on using exchanges for soccer betting before proceeding.
The basic principle of matched betting using an exchange is the same as when using a second betting site. The only difference is that you look to LAY your original selection with an exchange rather than backing the opposite outcome at another site.
Let's say that we've been given a £50 bet from a betting site, based on our wagering activity from a previous month. We decide to use this free bet to implement the matched betting strategy on the following market.
Our first step is to choose any one of these outcomes. It doesn't really matter which one, but it's usually best to go with the favorite and the lower odds. So we decide to back Manchester City to win with our £50 free bet, at odds of 1.5. We then stand to make £25 if City can pull off the win.
Our next step is to go to a betting exchange and lay Manchester City to win. This basically means we're accepting a bet from someone else on Manchester City to win, and giving them the relevant odds in exchange. In this case, we're able to lay City at odds of 1.55. We decide to lay £15, meaning our liability is £8.25. We'll win £15 here if City DON'T win, but have to pay out £8.25 if they do.
A Manchester City victory would represent a total profit of £16.75 for us. We'd get £25 in winnings from our free bet, but lose £8.25 on the exchange. If City lost, our total profit would be £15. We'd lose our free bet, which cost us nothing, but get £15 winnings on the exchange. Actually, that would be more like £14.25 as we'd have to pay a small commission on our exchange winnings. The best part is we're guaranteed to make a profit no matter what the outcome.
Now that we've addressed the following examples, you should have everything you need to give matched betting strategy a try. Once you get the hang of it, you'll find that it's not too complicated and it doesn't actually take that much time to implement. A third party matched betting service is also a viable option that's worth looking into.
Matched Betting Services
Due to the popularity of the matched betting strategy, a number of paid services have been launched that aim to help people take full advantage of its potential. A lot of these don't offer any value, as they do nothing more than simply provide step by step guides for what to do. That's useful information, but it's not worth paying for. We've just told you everything that you need to do, and our guide is completely free of charge.
There are a few services that take it one step further, and those CAN be worth paying for. Why? They don't just tell you what to do in general terms, but instead they provide specifics. They check the terms and conditions of signup offers and bonuses, and let you know which ones are best suited to matched betting. They also keep track of the latest offers and promotions for existing customers at appropriate betting sites. This enables you to find opportunities for matched betting more easily.
In addition to this, a few of the better services also highlight which betting markets offer the best possible return. They do all the necessary calculations for you, and basically tell you which bets to make and when. This means you can pretty much use the matched betting strategy on auto-pilot, without having to do any research or thinking for yourself. All you have to do in return is pay a small monthly fee.
Although we think the best option is to learn how to use this strategy effectively by yourself, using a matched betting service should be considered if you don't have much time or effort to commit to this.
Unfortunately for our American readers, we aren't aware of any services that are suitable for those in the US. In fact, the only genuinely useful services we've found are all targeted at those in the United Kingdom. We've detailed a couple of the best below, and we'll update this page if and when we find any US friendly services.
Profit Squad was launched towards the end of 2015. They managed to build up a solid customer base relatively quickly, partly because they invested in advertising on a few UK soccer forums. The real reason for their success, though, is simply that they provide a very good service.
The Profit Squad website is slick and functional. The home page explains everything the service has to offer in clear and concise terms, and includes several legitimate looking testimonials from existing customers. Here is also where you'll find details of their pricing plan. Membership costs £15 per month, or £99 for the whole year. A 14 day trial is available for just £1.
Within the site is a training area, which features useful video tutorials. There's a detailed list of all the signup offers that are currently available, and a daily calendar that's updated with other offers and promotions. Odds matching software is also included, which saves you from having to search for suitable bets yourself.
Members of Profit Squad get unlimited support, and we have to say that we're very impressed with this service and happy to recommend it.
OddsMonkey has been around for a few years now. They were actually one of the pioneers of matched betting services, and the software they developed has been licensed to many other operations. Like the Profit Squad, they also have a great home page that tells you everything you need to know about their service.
Membership is only £15 per month here too. The discount for an annual subscription isn't as substantial, as they charge £150 for that. Overall, the service is pretty similar to what the Profit Squad has to offer. There are plenty of guides and tutorials, odds matching software, and a daily calendar. There's also a calculator that helps you determine how much you can profit from your free bets. Other features include the following.
- The Racing Matcher
- The Eachway Matcher
- The Acca Matcher
- Dutching Search
- Member Community
OddsMonkey is one of the best matched betting services available. Anyone interested in paying for a service should definitely consider this as an option.
The Risks of Matched Betting
Although we wholeheartedly recommend using the matched betting strategy, it's important that we point out some of the risks involved. This is often presented as a completely risk-free strategy, but that's not really the case. While it is possible to make guaranteed profits on your wagers, there are still some risks involved.
For starters, it's easy to make mistakes. Even just a slight miscalculation can mean that you're NOT guaranteed to win at all. The same applies if you misunderstand any relevant terms and conditions, or forget to check them properly.
There's also a risk that you might not be able to place a second wager after having made the first. This could be due to some kind of technical failure, such as the internet going down, or a betting market being suspended. In some circumstances, the odds on a betting market can change significantly before you're able to place the second wager. When this happens, the strategy will essentially be useless.
Another possible risk is that your online betting account could be limited or shut down. This is rare, but it can happen. If the site feels that you're "abusing" the bonuses or free bets they offer, they may not want your business anymore. Even if they don't limit or shut down your account, they may avoid giving you any more bonuses or free bets.
We're not telling you about any of these risks to discourage you from using the matched betting strategy altogether. Despite the potential downsides, this is a good strategy. It's important to be aware of them, because if you're careful, they can easily be avoided.
That concludes our guide to matched betting on soccer. If you're interested in learning about some other simple strategies that are actually based on using your soccer knowledge, please check out the following page.