Matt’s Top Tips for Matched Betting Newbies

Level: Beginner
Updated: January 3, 2024

If you’re new to matched betting, you’re probably experiencing a mix of excitement and apprehension, which is perfectly normal. Exciting times are certainly ahead, provided you go about things the right way.

I’ve put together a few tips that should help get you started and set you well on the path to earning some extra cash with matched betting.


A brain representing the matched betting mindset mindset

Let’s tackle the matched betting mindset first, as it’s just as important as the practical side. If you can adopt the right attitude and way of thinking from the outset, you’ll be well set for everything that lies ahead. Here are some approaches to consider.

1. Stick to the strategy

Matched betting is all about placing a bet at a bookmaker and laying against the same outcome at a betting exchange. Covering all outcomes like this means you minimise your qualifying losses and maximise your profits.

If you don’t lay your bets, you are gambling. Some people may choose to be a bit more speculative with particular offers. For example, they might have one outcome providing a bigger profit and others breaking even. That’s fine; everyone is different. Whatever your strategy, it’s best to stick to it.

Taking money from the bookies is incredibly satisfying, but keep your wits about you. Bookmakers set their sites up to entice. Every customer is a potential profit, so stick to the strategy and stay in control.

2. Treat this as a bit of extra cash

Matched betting is not a get-rich-quick scheme and the weekly profits aren’t limitless, so it’s best to treat it as a bit of extra cash.

Having a goal in mind is okay, but don’t put yourself under too much pressure to hit it within a particular timeframe. Some weeks will be more profitable than others, depending on the sporting events and offers available.

3. If you make a mistake, own it!

Everyone makes mistakes; I’ve made my fair share. Sometimes it can work in your favour, and sometimes it will go the other way.

It can be hard to take if it’s eaten into your profits, but take it on the chin and chalk it up as a lesson learnt. Try and think of the money lost as an investment towards becoming a more experienced matched bettor.

4. Don’t fear restrictions

You may be wondering why bookmakers let you take advantage of their promotions. They’d prefer you didn’t but matched betting is simply a side effect of them running promotions.

If a bookmaker becomes wise to you taking advantage of their promotions, they may restrict your account. This is referred to as being ‘gubbed’ in matched betting circles. It will happen occasionally, so try not to be too disappointed.

No one knows for sure what criteria the bookmakers are looking for when handing out restrictions, though you can take steps to help fly under the radar.


A set of sliders representing optimising your profits.

Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll probably find yourself on auto-pilot. Going through the motions is fine, but here are some tips that will help fine-tune your matched betting and boost your profits.

5. Sign up with all three exchanges

To maximise your matched betting profits, you’ll need to sign up for an account with Betfair, Smarkets and Matchbook. Each exchange has pros and cons, and they all offer something different.

A specific exchange may be preferable for a particular offer, so having an account ready with each ensures you’re well placed to take advantage.

6. Join the community

Reading guides and learning the ropes solo is fine, but don’t underestimate the power of joining the matched betting community.

Joining a group of like-minded matched bettors is a fantastic resource. Everyone has the common goal of beating the bookies, so it’s a great place to seek help and have questions answered quickly.

We were all newbies once upon a time, so it’s great for us experienced matched bettors to give something back and help you guys beat the bookies, too.

Avoid common mistakes

A facepalm emoji.

Mistakes will happen at some point; I’ve made a few over the years! Here are some tips that should help you avoid making the most common mistakes.

7. Progress at your own pace

Discovering matched betting can be exciting. It’s important to take a step back, though, and walk before you run. There’s no need to rush, so take things slow initially; the sign up offers will still be there tomorrow.

Read the guides thoroughly and ensure you understand the process before getting involved.

8. Double-check your bets

Hitting the wrong key on your keyboard or the wrong number on your smartphone could prove costly. Therefore, you should always double-check your bets before placing them.

Once you’ve loaded your bet slips, check that the stakes you’ve entered match those suggested on the calculators.

9. Place your back bets first

This one catches quite a few people out. Always place your back bet first, never your lay bet.

Bookmaker odds fluctuate all the time, so the last thing you want is to place your lay bet at the exchange only to find that the back odds at the bookmaker have shifted.

The back stake at the bookmaker is almost always a set amount; a nice round number like £5, £10, £20, etc. If you place your back bet first and the lay odds at the exchange move, you can adjust the lay odds on the calculator to get your adjusted lay stake. It’s much easier to amend a lay bet than a back bet.

10. Check the liquidity

Before you place any bets, ensure there is sufficient liquidity within your chosen market at the exchange. If you place a lay bet and there isn’t enough liquidity, your bet will be unmatched or partially matched, making things tricky. Only when more money enters the market at your chosen odds will it become matched.

Suppose you spot that liquidity isn’t sufficient beforehand. In that case, you can either calculate your lay stake at higher odds or look for a different selection altogether.

11. Read the terms carefully

You should check the terms of every offer you do. Each offer has qualifying criteria you need to meet to be eligible for rewards.

The last thing you want is to place your qualifying bet, only to realise later you didn’t meet the minimum stake or minimum odds requirement.

12. Avoid taking arbs

Arbs are when the back odds are higher than the lay odds, giving you a straight profit without needing a bookmaker offer. You should avoid taking arbs like these, as doing so may attract unwanted attention to your account.

You’ll naturally want to take the best odds for every bet. It’s best to mix in less favourable odds now and again, as it will help you blend in with regular punters.

Bankroll management

A stacks of coins representing bankroll management.

How you manage your bankroll can have an impact on your profitability. Here are some tips that should help you take the right approach and build your pot nicely.

13. You don’t need a big bankroll to get started

If you’ve heard you need a big bankroll to start matched betting, let me tell you that’s not the case. You can start with as little as £50.

Your starting bankroll doesn’t limit the amount you can make. It only determines how quickly you’ll be able to grow your pot. There’s nothing wrong with starting small and growing your funds gradually.

14. Keep your money in your accounts

Everyone’s financial situation is different. If you can afford to do so, avoid withdrawing your profits initially and focus on growing your bankroll. If you keep your money in your accounts, you’ll have more funds to bet with, and you’ll be able to complete more offers.

Be organised

A selection of tidy matched betting related items.

Things could get messy quickly if you don’t go about your matched betting in an organised fashion. Here are some tips to help you manage your activity and keep a lid on things.

15. Keep track of your bets

Consider using a spreadsheet to track your bets and account balances. With so many offers available, losing track of your funds is easily done if you don’t keep a record.

Another benefit of tracking your activity is seeing how much profit you’ve made. Having a running total will encourage you to keep going. If spreadsheets aren’t your thing, old-fashioned pen and paper will do the job.

16. Use a separate bank account

It’s optional, but I recommend setting up a separate bank account for your matched betting. It’s much easier tracking your betting activity that way than picking the info out from your everyday transactions.

17. Be ready to provide ID

Don’t be surprised if a bookmaker asks you for ID. It’s a legal requirement, and some bookmakers are hotter on it than others.

Consider storing copies of your ID and supporting documentation on your device so you can just send it over when and if a bookmaker asks for it. That way, it won’t feel so much of a chore.

18. Say ‘yes’ to marketing communications

Always opt to receive marketing communications from bookmakers as they may send you exclusive offers not listed on their sites. You’ll also receive handy reminders regarding balances and any unused free bets.

You could set up a new email address to keep your betting emails separate if you wanted. I’ve not done that myself, but it’s an option.

Final words

I’ve covered quite a bit there, but it’s best to give you the information now whilst things are fresh in your mind. You can always come back at a later point and recap.

Don’t worry about implementing everything I’ve suggested; just take on board whatever bits you’re comfortable with. The more good habits you can get into now, the more success you will have with your matched betting.

Learn matched betting the free, easy way.

The Matched Betting Academy

  • Logically structured to tackle strategies and offers as you’re ready for them.
  • Bag profits every step of the way. About £600 from welcome offers, and another £500 monthly.
  • Make £15 from your very first offer.
Screenshot of the Matched Betting Academy

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Matt Kirman - Matched Betting Blogger

Matt KirmanMatched Betting Blogger

Since 2014, I’ve blogged over £85,000 worth of profit, and made it my mission to make matched betting accessible to everyone.