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Five things I wish I’d known about matched betting before I started

I’ve been unemployed for 6 weeks now – about 3 of those have been spent in other countries spending my savings and the rest trying to figure out what I want to do going forward. Now, living in London, I don’t have a lot of savings so I knew I couldn’t sit on my laurels all day long and just hope for the best but instead of spending my days applying for jobs like a madman I decided to take the lead from some of my fellow UK Money Bloggers who’ve made the leap to full-time and see just how much extra cash I could make on the side while I figure things out.

I’ve switched my bank account again, I filed my tax return for last year and got a refund, I’ve got a massive box of goodies to get sold on eBay and I finally got round to starting matched betting seriously. I signed up to Profit Accumulator a couple of months back and while I had made a couple of hundred pounds from it, I hadn’t really had the time to dedicate to it properly. In the last 12 days since getting back from Lisbon I’ve been doing as many offers as I could and am currently at over £500 profit!

What is matched betting?

Matched betting is when you take advantage of the free bet offers that bookmakers use to entice you to sign up to their sites. For example Coral offer you a £30 free bet when you place your first £10 bet on their site. By using other sites called exchanges to place the opposite bet to what you are betting on at the bookmaker you can make a profit on the free bet.

E.g bet on West Ham to win with Coral and then for West Ham to not win on the exchange and you always win on one site. For your initial win you will likely lose a small amount of money but when you do the same again using the free bet you make a profit because your money was never at risk.

If done properly matched betting is completely risk free.

That said, here are a few things I wish I’d known before I embarked on this journey which will hopefully help you out should you decide to do the same.

It’s not a get rich quick scheme

First and foremost it’s important to know that this is not a get rich scheme. I started with quite a large pot of money (£1000, but you can start with as little as £50) so I was able to do multiple offers at once but when you start hitting the big ones that require you to stake £100 or more your money quickly gets tied up in different bets and you have to wait patiently for these to settle before you can move on to another offer. Also, when your bet wins at the bookmaker it’s a bit of a pain waiting for the money to withdraw to your bank account as this can take 2-3 days to process.

You will make mistakes

Matched betting is completely risk free if, and only if, you do it properly. Looking at my spreadsheet from July/August I made 3 mistakes on bets where I ended up losing money instead of making a profit. Two of them was just pennies but the 3rd cost me over £20 – I don’t know about you but I can’t really afford to throw away £20! Two of the easiest mistakes to make are laying the wrong amount and laying the wrong bet entirely.

Profit Accumulator have a calculator on their site that helps you figure out what this should be – you have to make sure that the type of bet is correct and I made the mistake of using normal instead of the settings for a free bet meaning I basically wiped out all of my profit a couple of times I’ve accidentally laid what should have been the liability instead too.

I’ve only laid the wrong bet once and it was a super easy mistake to make – the teams I was betting on happened to be playing two matches against each other within a short amount of time and I placed one of my bets on the incorrect match altogether – sadly the bet lost so I ended up down overall.

Obviously these mistakes could have been avoided had I taken the time to double and triple check everything was correct before hitting OK but I do think that everyone will make a silly mistake or two during their matched betting journey.

Dual monitors will make your life easier 

Following on from the above I really wish I had a dual monitor desk setup. At the moment I sit cross-legged on my bed with my MacBook Air and it’s really not the most productive way to work. The multiple windows I have open at the same time means I’m constantly flipping between them when it would be 100 times easier if I could just have everything on-screen at the same time. It would make checking that everything is input correctly a lot easier too. I know it’s not possible for everyone to have this kind of setup but if you can I definitely recommend it.

It’s not just about betting on sports

One thing I had absolutely no clue about before starting was that matched betting involves much more than just placing bets and there are a multitude of different offers you can take part in from Casino offers where you play slot machines or roulette online to Bingo or Poker and sometimes even in store offers where you have to physically go to a bookmakers shop!

A lot of these are NOT risk free so you have to be wiling to lose money on them. I set aside 10% of what I earn from each of my sports bets to use as a pot for these offers and they have been very lucrative. Within 24 hours over the weekend just past I made over £150 from casino offers.

Slots are FUN!

I played about $10 on slot machines when I went to Vegas because I was absolutely terrified of them and I didn’t really get the appeal of them at all. Now that I’ve completed more than a few casino sign up offers I can totally see the appeal of them and how easy it would be to get addicted to them. You just never know when a bonus round is going to hit!

That said I am the most risk averse person ever and when I attempt to play through spins at anything other than the minimum amount my heart starts racing and I panic even if it’s just free money. It takes longer to complete wagering this way but you have a better chance of coming out with a profit. At the end of the day though it’s really all down to luck and you should never risk money that you wouldn’t be willing to lose.

Matched betting isn’t gambling but if you have an addictive personality it can be easy to get carried away. Every bookmaker site has options that can limit you from spending money if needed but to be honest if you think you might be tempted then it’s probably best you just find other ways of making money – many of which I’ll be blogging about over the upcoming months.

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