Need extra income to see you through the crypto-crash? Try matched betting

Matched betting involves taking advantage of ‘free’ offers from bookies, so that you are guaranteed to win, risk free. I had a play around with matched betting back in 2016-17 and ‘earned’ (risk free) about £6000 over the course of a year, for a ‘work-input’ of about 4-5 hours per week.

If you’re a full time steemian presently struggling to live purely off steem, this could be a useful alternative temporary income stream for you, and if you’re careful with it, you could actually earn a few hundred quid a month in the long term! In fact, there are plenty of people doing match-betting right now who use it to generate a decent second income.

And if you’re used to living off crypto, it might be just what you need to ‘tide you over’ until the market picks up.

Two key sites that explain everything you need to know about matched betting:

  • The Matched Betting Blog explains what it is much better than I do below! This is a great starting point.
  • Odds Monkey should be your next point of call….they have some free information, but if you pay a £15 a month subscription fee (JUST DO IT, TRUST ME, YOU’LL IN IT BACK IN AN HOUR) you get step by step walk throughs of many ‘new account offers’ and access to their odds matching calculators which are essential if you want to maximise your profits.

How matched betting works: an overview

The ‘in point’ for matched betting is to take advantage of the ‘free bet’ offers offered by dozens of bookies, by placing bets with said bookies, and then laying those same bets on a betting exchange (for example Smarkets).

‘Laying’ means betting against an outcome… for example if you ‘lay against’ Man-U winning, you win the ‘lay’ if Man-U lose, and you also win if they draw.

One example of how one type of matched betting works:

A bookmaker (for example Corals) offers you 4* £5 free bets just for signing up and placing your first £5 bet. You can make ‘risk-free’ money by doing the following:

  1. You open an account with Corals and place your first bet for £5
  2. You ‘lay’ that bet on a betting exchange, effectively you bet against yourself, with a £5 stake.
  3. Because the lay odds are never as good on an exchange, you will lose a small amount of money from this bet-lay combo, say around £1 (it varies!)
  4. HOWEVER, you know have 4*£5 free bets to do the same with, so….
  5. You place free £5 bet number one at the bookies
  6. You lay that bet at the exchange, at a £1 overall loss.
  7. It doesn’t matter whether you win at the bookies or the exchange, you’ve made £4.50 profit from this ‘free bet’
  8. Repeat another 3 times, and you’ve made £16 from the £20 worth of free bets.

You can now repeat this with another dozen bookmakers.

There are several other types of matched betting

Bookmakers don’t only give free bets when you join, they also have periodic offers, especially during big sporting events. I remember during the Euros (when I first started in June 2016) Paddy Power were running an offer where you’d get one £5 free bet for every goal scored by the team you’d backed. I remember in France v Iceland match, France won 5-2 and I ended up with £25 of free bets in my account the next day: Nice! (And a lot nicer than England’s ‘Icelandic shaming’ the following week, for sure.)

One of my absolute favourite types of ‘matched betting’ were the ‘extra place’ offers – typically on golf and horse racing – where the bookies would offer you place-odds on ‘the top 6’ rather than ‘the top 5’ places, while the lay bet on the exchange would still be on 5 places. The trick here was to back a high odds horse and hope it finished exactly 6th, in which case you’d win both at the bookies and the exchange. I think I netted £80 for one horse, and quite a few in the several of £10s of pounds.

The downsides of matched betting

There is a risk of getting ‘gubbed’ by the bookies: they know people do this, so they know the patterns to look out for. This happened to me with Coral, Paddy Power, and quite a few others!

This is because I took a fairly amateurish, haphazard approach to matched-betting – I got a bit carried away and it was obvious I was scamming. To avoid this, the trick is to put on a number of ‘disguise’ bets (also laid) to give the impression you are a regular punter, and not to abuse the free offers too much.

Having been gubbed by a lot of bookies, I made a point of doing this with Sky Bet – I ‘adopted a football team’ and put regular (laid) bets on them every Saturday/ Sunday, and I put horse bets on in the ratio of at least 2-1 to the offers. I survived with Sky!

NB there is plenty of advice on how to avoid gubbing on the websites above, but no one knows for certain!

You have to be prepared to open a dozen or more betting accounts, which I wasn’t bothered with, but it might be an issue for some. NB if you give it a go, check for sister sites – Paddy Power and Betfair (an exchange) are the same company, for example!

You need at least a £1K fiat float, ideally more. If you keep winning at the exchanges, it’s fine, but if you keep winning at the bookies, if means you’ll have to make a withdrawal at some point, which they don’t like (possible cause of gubbing) – remember, bookies want regular punters who lose more than they win!

It got to a point where I had several hundreds of pounds in half a dozen accounts, and I kept on winning at the bookies: I’d always resist withdrawing. I think at one point I had £2K tied up in various betting accounts.

A final point on the subscription to Odds Monkey – for some reason I couldn’t cancel this through PayPal (there just wasn’t an option) so you may need to go into your bank to cancel it in person once you’ve had enough of matched betting.

Finally, finally, thinking globally, there may some restrictions on gambling depending on the country, fine in the UK, but maybe not elsewhere!

Final Thoughts

Matched betting does feel a little bit ‘dirty’, but it’s also easy money…. looking back it was some of the easiest money I never earned! if I ever need a stop-gap income, I’ll get back into it again!

This post was written for educational purposes. 

Picture Sources

Matched Betting –

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