Read this guide carefully so you fully understand it, then read it again to make sure.

Step 1

Open an account with a betting exchange. There are a number to choose from, but I would recommend betfair.com for its ease of use and there is generally a lot of money in each market. You should deposit £25 - £30 to cover your first lay bet.

Step 2

Open an account with a bookmaker offering a free bet on sign-up. A good one to start with is Coral: it’s a free £10 bet after you place a bet of £10 (or matched if your first bet is less than £10), and it is stake returned.

Step 3

This is where you get down to the nitty gritty of matched odds betting. Football is a good sport to start matched betting with as there are only 3 possible outcomes, although any can be used, such as Cricket or Rugby.

You now need to find back odds at the bookmaker (Coral) that are as close as possible to the lay odds at Betfair. To keep things simple I am going to use Match Odds on the English Premiership. That way I know that the two markets will use the same rules and I won’t get confused with foreign team names.

On the Coral website navigate to Barclays Premiership Matches, and make sure that MATCH ODDS is the selected market. Next, set Coral to display decimal odds so you can easily compare them with Betfair; to do this click the EU link at the top of the screen.

Now compare the odds of each outcome for each match on Coral with the lay odds on Betfair (highlighted in pink by default). You are looking for odds as close as possible, as the closer the odds, the less you lose on your qualifying bet and the more you gain on your free one; use the Matched Betting Calculator to check the figures.

Betfair:

Betfair Odds Screen

Coral:
Coral Odds Screen

In the above example the Coral back odds on Middlesbrough to win the match are 1.91, whilst the Betfair lay odds for the same result are 1.93, a draw is 3.20 back odds on Coral and 3.8 lay on Betfair, and Fulham to win is 3.50 to back on Coral and 4.8 to lay on Betfair.

The Middlesbrough back and lay odds look good, so it’s that’s result I’m going to use. Using the Matched Odds Calculator I can see that for a £10 qualifying bet my loss will only be 35p; if it was a free bet my profit on that bet would be £9.65.

Step 4

Now concentrate: this is the step where you wil actually be placing your bets, so if you make a mistake here you could potentially lose money. Using the calculator I can see that at these odds, for a £10 bet at the bookmaker my lay stake at Betfair should be £10.16. To place the lay bet at Betfair:

1) Click on the odds for the team you want to lay (no sniggering at the back please)
Betfair Bet Step 1

2) A new panel will appear to the right. Check the odds and the team are correct and enter your stake. You will see what your potential liability will be should your Betfair bet lose (and the bet at the bookies win), and you will need to have at least this amount in your Betfair account.
Betfair Bet Step 2

3) Double check everything, and when you are sure it is correct press the Yes button at the bottom of the screen. You will then see a summary of your bet with ‘Matched’ next to it. Your lay bet has now been placed.
Betfair Bet Step 3

Now go ahead and place your £10 bet at Coral, being careful to back the same team that you layed at Betfair.

Step 5

That’s it! You now have two opposing bets in the same market, one of which will win and the other you will lose, and you are guarenteed the same payout whichever happens. You just need to wait now for them both to be settled. As this is a qualifying bet I will lose 35p of my £10; however, I will then be credited with a free bet of £10 so I would repeat steps 3 and 4 with this free bet. If I could find odds as close as these (or closer) I would win £9.65 of the free bet, for an overall profit of £9.20. Not bad for 30 minutes work!

Now repeat the same steps for each bookmaker offering a free bet for an easy tax-free additional income.