How Does Matched Betting Work? A 10-Step Process

Man on laptop learning how matched betting works

Matched betting works by canceling out the risk on the 'back' bet at the sportsbook by betting against yourself at the same (or similar) odds (known as 'hedging' or 'laying' a bet) at another sportsbook or betting exchange. In other words, you are 'matching' your bet. 

Matched betting is a strategic approach that enables individuals to profit from online sportsbooks' promotions. It's a legitimate, legal, and risk-free method that involves placing bets on both sides of a wager to ensure a profit regardless of the outcome.

Because this process guarantees a profit, it is not actually classed as gambling

And now you know what matched betting is. The next step is to take a deep dive into how it works - right?


How Does Matched Betting Work?

Matched betting works by capitalizing on the variations in odds and promotions that different betting sportsbooks offer.

It enables individuals to make a guaranteed profit from sportsbook promotions by wagering on all outcomes of a sporting event to unlock the promo and then later redeem it for risk-free cash. 

Here's a step-by-step breakdown of how matched betting works:


1. Understanding the Basics

How long it takes to learn matched betting can vary depending on the level of detail and effort you plan to dedicate to it. However, the basics can be explained very simply.

Matched betting involves two types of bets: a back bet and a hedge bet. A back bet is placed on a particular outcome (e.g., a team winning), while a hedge bet is placed against that outcome (e.g., a team not winning).

Matching this bet with both outcomes means you will not risk any money with the bet. However, by placing it you will unlock free bet promotions. These free bets can then be transferred into cash, risk-free (this is what gives matched betting its other name 'free bet conversion').

Read More:  Matched Betting Glossary: An A to Z for Beginners


2. Finding a Matched Betting Opportunity

To get started, you need to identify a suitable sporting event or market with close odds between the sportsbook (AKA the 'bookies') and the betting exchange (a platform where your hedge bet is placed).

Note: You could instead use another sportsbook to hedge your bet, this technique is known as 'dutching'. Either way, this ensures minimal loss when placing the initial bets (known as your Qualifying Bet).


3. Qualifying Bet

Place a qualifying bet: Place a back bet with the bookmaker using your own funds. Simultaneously, place a hedge bet on the same outcome at the betting exchange or a secondary sportsbook (when dutching). These two bets cancel each other out, resulting in a minimal loss, usually in the form of a small qualifying loss.

How much you stake on your qualifying and hedge bets will vary depending on the odds, however, these stakes can be easily calculated using a free bet conversion calculator

Note: different promotions will have different minimum qualifying amounts. The higher your bankroll (initial investment), the more generous sportsbook promotions you tend to be able to unlock. 


4. Unlocking Free Bets/Promotions

Online sportsbooks often offer free bets or promotions to attract customers, including profit boosts. Once your qualifying bet is settled, you'll receive a free bet, which you can then use to repeat the matched betting process and secure a profit.


5. Calculating Bets

To ensure a guaranteed profit, precise calculations are crucial. Matched betting software and calculators are available online to help you determine the optimal bet amounts for both the back and hedge bets, and give yourself the best chance at maximizing your profits.

Read More: What Matched Betting Tools and Calculators Can I Use?


6. Placing Free Bets

Just like with the qualifying bet, you'll place a back bet using the free bet and a corresponding hedge bet at the exchange (or another online sportsbook if you're dutching). The difference this time is that you'll aim to retain a portion of the free bet as profit.


7. Repeating the Process

Continue the process with various sportsbooks promotions to accumulate profits. As you gain experience, you can take advantage of more advanced strategies to maximize earnings even further.


8. Managing Variations

Occasionally, the odds may change or a hedge bet might not be immediately available. These situations require adjustments to your calculations to ensure a balanced outcome. You can do this using the integrated calculators in the Dutch Matcher.

Read More:  Matched Betting Tools & Calculators: The Essentials


9. Cashing Out

Now for the simplest stage of all. Once the bets have settled, you can withdraw your winnings from your relevant sportsbook account. It's important to follow the specific withdrawal procedures of each betting platform. You can find this information in dedicated Offers Guides in the Premium Members Area.


10. Staying Organized

To effectively manage multiple bets and track your progress, it's recommended to keep a detailed record of your bets, free bets, and profits. You can track your profits using a spreadsheet or even better, use our dedicated Profit Tracker Tool.



Matched betting success relies on meticulous planning, precise calculations, and adherence to the strategy. It's essential to remain disciplined and informed about the latest promotions and offers from various online sportsbooks.

Remember, matched betting is legal and accepted by sportsbooks, as it utilizes their own promotions and free bets. They might not like it as we have the edge.

It's an effective way to generate a consistent income online without relying solely on luck. As you delve into matched betting, the ProfitDuel's Matched Betting Resource Center provides invaluable information and tools to guide you through every step of the process, ensuring your journey towards profitable matched betting is smooth and rewarding.

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*DISCLAIMER: We're legally required to state that there is no guarantee of specific results each month. The amount of money that you earn can vary dependant on the time and effort that you commit each month.