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Matched Betting Strategy 2023: All you need to know!

Publish Date: 19/03/2020
Fact checked by: Mike McKean

Matched Betting Explained

The matched betting strategy relies on using the bonus bets and promotions offered by bookmakers to ensure a profit. As a result, it's a very different strategy to more standard forms of betting or even individual bet types such as the Asian handicap. Rather than betting and hoping for a good outcome, matched betting, when applied correctly, will almost guarantee you a profit, every single time.

Now if that sounded like total gibberish to you, you’re the kind of person who needs to read this matched betting explained guide. We’ll also be looking at lay betting, what it is and how you can use it to profit consistently from your wagers using a matched betting strategy.

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Key Takeaways

  • Very high probability of profit
  • Dependent on knowledge of betting markets
  • Very effective in sports betting
  • Utilises multiple bookie bonuses to maximise profit
  • Can lead to restrictions on betting accounts

Is it easy to use a Matched Betting Strategy?

Guide to matched betting strategyWelcome to matched betting explained, our comprehensive guide to the matched betting strategy. At first sight, matched betting may appear rather complex and we fully understand how newcomers to the online betting scene may think it above their capabilities. However, by putting the time and effort into learning the matched betting system, it represents the difference between losing or winning the majority of your bets.

Matched betting is a system that requires careful attention to every detail for it to be successful. You'll also need to learn how to use betting exchanges effectively so that you can lay every bet you place, which we will explain in greater detail in the next section.

Understanding Back and Lay Bets

This is the part that most newcomers to the matched betting strategy find somewhat confusing to start with, so we will endeavour have Lay Betting explained to you in simple terms.

A Back bet is made based on the prediction that an event will happen

A Lay bet is the opposite and indicates that the event will not happen

When you place a bet with your bookmaker, it is always a back bet and you are betting against the bookmaker, at the odds they are offering for that specific outcome. Conversely, a lay bet can only be placed using a betting exchange, here you are betting against the prediction made by another bettor.

There is a little more to it than this, but that defines the basic concept for you. One thing to be aware of is that some bookie specials might offer a 'not to win' bet or similar. This is not a lay bet, it is still a back bet, bookies do not offer lay bets.

Top tips for implementing the Matched Betting Strategy

It’s about using your offers

The matched betting system makes use of the bonuses made available by almost every bookie that are designed to attract or retain punters. The first step is to activate the bonus, which might involve opening a new account and making the necessary deposit. Once you have placed your back bets in accordance with the terms and conditions of the offer, you will then make a lay bet on a betting exchange to match each one of them.

As you can see, by covering both sides of the bet, regardless of the outcome of the event you have selected, you win. Matched betting works well for almost every sport and it's a useful addition to other systems, greyhound betting system and golf betting strategies are good examples of where this will work well. However, there's a couple of other things to take account of before you get too carried away.

When you lay a bet on an exchange, you will assume 'liability' for the outcome. You can use the online matched betting calculator provided to assess your liability and you must have enough money deposited in your account to cover the full amount if you lose, or your lay bet will automatically be cancelled. That's the main reason to use this method in conjunction with any bonus offered by the bookie. Again, this is not matched betting explained in minute detail, more to give you an understanding of the importance of using bonuses to maximise profit.

One last thing about bonuses, they inevitably have terms and conditions attached relating to the payment methods eligible when you make your deposit. You can find out more about this in our Ecopayz accepted betting sites guide. There are usually many more conditions  that you need to pay attention to, but you don't want to fall at the first hurdle.

Look far and wide for offers

When you’re using the matched betting strategy, seeking out multiple bonus offers is absolutely crucial to your overall success. It’s therefore well worth spreading your search far and wide in order to secure as many potential offers as possible, even if it means doing some election betting rather than sports betting once in a while.

However, you’ll still want to research each of the bookmakers to ensure they are legitimate and our operator reviews will prove very helpful to you in that respect. It's also important to thoroughly check the terms and conditions of every bonus to make sure that you can comply with them fully, we cannot stress that point strongly enough.

Consider placing “mug” bets to guard your accounts

Account restrictions are one of the most aggravating issues for experienced gamblers. They can range from a stake restriction to complete bans depending on the extent of your misdemeanours. Don't think for a minute that bookies won't notice if they see a consistent winning streak either. They regularly and thoroughly check all betting accounts looking for certain signs, such as only betting with promotions and offers, and flag them.

Bookmakers do not like matched betting tactics. They are not illegal, but anything that eats into a bookie's profits makes them unhappy. As a result, a number of sophisticated systems are used by bookmakers in order to identify any accounts with 'suspicious' betting patterns that could indicate matched betting activity - if your account is flagged, it will swiftly be restricted or banned.

There’s no real way to guarantee against this. Account restrictions are a part and parcel of life for matched bettors and it's one of the reasons you should be extremely cautious if you decide to give this strategy a try, or you could end up without any bookmaker accounts over time. Some experienced bettors advise placing 'mug bets' that are destined to lose once in a while, but as you'd only be staking small amounts on a losing certainty, they might only delay the inevitable!

Check everything twice… no, thrice

The matched betting system is very precise and relies heavily on placing two separate bets to secure a profit, but it's neither foolproof, nor is it a way to make easy money. Should you make a fundamental error when you place either your back or lay bets you could be losing out. We recommend that you keep a record of every single bet you place and always go back and check carefully that both the back and lay bets have been placed correctly, every time, without fail.

That's why you should never use the matched betting strategy if you're short of time for any reason. For this reason we wouldn't recommend that beginners use it for in play tennis betting strategies, for example, due to the sheer speed at which the action takes place in that environment. Even simple mistakes cost money!

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Other Strategies

Our matched betting explained guide has now covered the most pertinent points relating to this strategy, so now it’s worth thinking about the other betting strategies that are available to punters. The matched betting strategy is one of the best horse betting strategies, but it can work just as well in conjunction with cricket betting strategies or tennis betting strategies as well as for most other mainstream sports. Using multiple profit-making tactics simultaneously can be the key to success.

At the end of the day you might decide that matched betting isn't for you and that ultimately you prefer the excitement of straightforward live betting. If that's the case why not check out our guide to the best in play betting sites? If it's tips you're after be sure to have a read of our latest greyhound bookies and Skrill betting site guides as well. All available now at, along with tons of other useful betting information.


Just like the 1.01 betting strategy, matched betting takes practice to make it work to its full potential. Take time to get your head around the process, especially if you’re relatively new to online gambling and keep your initial wagers low. Ultimately, the learning curve will pay off if you stick at it.

Our matched betting explained guide has also shown you what can go wrong when you use this strategy, including the fact that account restrictions are one of the potential outcomes. It's just something you need to be aware of if you decide matched betting a try - it's an excellent strategy in principle, but one that tends to be rather short-lived.

Check out more betting strategies that work:

Value betting Value betting is a strategy where bets are placed on outcomes with odds higher than the estimated probability of occurrence, aiming for long-term profitability.
In-play betting In-play betting involves placing bets on a sports event while it is already underway, allowing bettors to react to changing circumstances and potentially find advantageous opportunities.
Matched betting Matched betting is a technique that takes advantage of free bets and promotions from bookmakers to guarantee profit by placing opposing bets on all possible outcomes of an event.
Over-under betting strategy The over-under betting strategy involves predicting whether the total combined score of a game or event will be higher (over) or lower (under) than a specific value set by the bookmaker.
1.01 betting strategy The 1.01 betting strategy involves placing very high-stake bets on outcomes with extremely low odds (close to 1.01) in an attempt to achieve minimal but relatively guaranteed profits, often in arbitrage situations.
Pick 3 bets The Pick 3 betting system involves selecting the winners of three consecutive horse races, typically requiring bettors to correctly predict all three outcomes to win.
In-play tennis betting The in-play tennis betting system involves placing bets on various outcomes of a tennis match while the game is in progress, utilizing real-time information and fluctuations in odds to make informed wagering decisions.

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