Matched Betting: What Is It and How Does It Work? The New 2022 Guide

Any sports betting system that promises you no-risks is always going to be interesting. The thing is, usually, any promises of guaranteed winnings or no-risk betting prove to be smoke and mirrors. But, no-risk matched betting is a system that, provided you know just what you’re doing, is a great way of betting, using the bookies own offers and betting exchanges as a way to ensure you come out ahead! Read on for our comprehensive guide to matched betting, with a look at what it is, how to make the no-risk betting decisions, and even a look at the best no-risk matched betting sites.

  • Matched betting involves hedging your bets.
  • Losses are outweighed by winnings from paired bets.
  • Involves using betting exchanges plus bookmakers.

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Your Quick Guide to No-Risk Matched Betting

Before we begin getting into the details of no-risk matched betting, we have to tell you that an introductory article like this, something of a matched betting for dummies guide, can cover the essentials but it’s vital to understand this isn’t something for the absolute novice bettor! No-risk matched betting is more about understanding maths, probability, and betting theory than it is about simple chance and you definitely need a really solid knowledge of just how it all works before you can think about making it work for you.

Essentially, when you look at no-risk matched betting online, you’ll find that it’s just a version of the old phrase, hedging your bets. On the very simplest level, when you want to know how does matched betting work, it’s all about putting on a pair of opposite sports bets, at odds that mean the betting losses on one side are always outweighed by the winnings on the other side. And when it comes off, it’s a great feeling, knowing you’ve beaten the bookies!

With no-risk matched betting you have two ways to win. The most popular, and easier method, is to use a combination of extra or bonus bets from bookmakers to place your bet and a betting exchange to lay the same bet at shorter odds. Or, in a more difficult method, with shorter margins, you can simply use betting sites with 5 pound deposit to place the bet and the betting exchange to place the lay bet.

no risk matched betting


No-risk matched betting is a strategy based on maths rather than chance and to make it work you need to understand the betting theory behind it and exactly how exchange betting works. So, here’s a very simplified guide to matched betting, with an example to make things clearer for you:

First, you will need to make a bet at the sports bookmaker. Second, you need to make a “lay” bet at a betting exchange, such as Betfair or Smarkets, on the same market as you made at the bookie. If your sports bet wins at the bookie, you will win at the bookie and lose at the betting exchange, but the idea is to ensure you lose less than you win. Conversely, if you lose the bet, you will lose your stake at the bookie, but win the lay bet at the betting exchange, with the loss at the bookie less than the win at the exchange, so you come out ahead that way, as well. Yes, no-risk matched betting is complicated, which is why we recommend a lot of research before you even try it!

As an example, let’s say that we’re making a sports bet of £10 that a particular football match will have 3 or more goals total. You make the football bet at a bookmaker at odds of 1/1 (2.00). Next, you need to lay – bet against – the same bet at odds of 1/2 (1.50) at a betting exchange like Betfair.

If the result of the football match is 3 goals or more total:

  • You win your bet at the bookies and your £10 stake returns £20. But you lose the lay bet, which costs you £15. You’re up £5.
  • If the result is 2 goals or less total: You lose at the bookies – £10 stake is lost. But you win £15 on the lay bet. You’re up £5.
  • So, by hedging your bets, you win either way!

Your Single Best Winning Strategy

Almost all sports bookmakers will use the lure of welcome bonuses and promotions to get you to put your money down with them. A lot of them offer extra bets and bonus bets as part of these welcome bonus offers. And it’s these these additional bets that you’ll seek to make use of with your matched betting. When you understand how does matched betting work, you can make a better profit on your betting by using these bonuses. All you need to do is use the extra bets when making your bet at the bookmaker. You’ll be making more cash from your winnings this way because, if you lose at the bookies on this one, you’re only losing their stake, not yours! You still place the same lay bet at the betting exchange.

There is a problem with this method though. Yes, there are a lot of bookmakers out there, but if you use the welcome bonus and move to the next bookie with each of your matched bets, you’ll soon run out of new bookies! At this point you can do a couple of things; either wait and use a bookie’s reload bonuses, or just go forward and try matched betting without bonuses, something we’ll show you below.

  • Matched betting is for experienced punters only, not for novices
  • Matched betting can use bookmaker bonuses and free bets
  • Matched betting without free bets is also possible

Coming Out Ahead Using Exchange Bets

When you do run out of bonuses and extra bets given to you by the bookies, you don’t need to stop. All you need to do is get smart and make sure your knowledge of how to matched betting is up to scratch. Without using the bonuses and extra bets, your take from matched betting will be smaller but, as long as you know what you’re doing, you’ll still come out ahead. Again, just go for a matched bet by placing one bet at the bookies and then lay the same bet at the betting exchange, making sure you’re taking account of the differing odds. Because there’s still that key difference between the odds of the bookmaker bet and the exchange bet, you’ll come out ahead!


When people first hear about no-risk matched betting and how it’s possible to hedge those bets to deliver results and winnings, they usually have a lot of questions. Here, in our matched betting guide, we’ll answer a few of the most common questions.

The one question everyone asks, at some point, when they hear about no-risk matched betting is is matched betting legal? People ask because the idea of coming out ahead seems too good to be true. But, our guide to matched betting can confirm, matched betting is perfectly legal.


In short, no. Bookmakers really don’t like matched betting as it tends to cost them money, and they don’t like that at all! Bookmakers will try, if they suspect you’re using no-risk matched betting strategies, to limit your betting. They can restrict your account, they can close it down, and they can remove any bonuses.


Yes, it is. It’s very complicated. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work for you. There are no end of resources out there for you to use to help you become a matched betting expert. You can find matched betting calculators, apps, advice sites, and so much more. Get online, do the research, and look for those best matched betting sites, use social media, use forums, and you’ll find that all your research will make you a matched betting expert!

Other techniques you’ll want to look for include corner betting, as well as cover spread explained.

Matched Betting – Final Decisions

We’ve shown you that no-risk matched betting can be that most rare of betting things; a betting strategy that works and can deliver results – and results mean winnings in your pocket! If you’ve read our “how-to” matched betting guide, you should have a great insight into just how does matched betting work and feel that you’re in a position to load up those no-risk matched betting apps or head to those best matched betting sites to get started.


The concept of hedging your bets is a very simple way to explain the process, but you definitely need to be very careful when starting out with no-risk matched betting. It will only work for you if you have a solid understanding of betting theory and know your way around both traditional bookmakers and betting exchanges. But, once you get started, you can develop this method for fun and more winnings!

Looking for more betting guides? We’ve got just that! Take a look at our Asian handicap explained and rollover explained guides for more essential information!

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