No other sport manages to unite as many people from all over the world quite like football does. From unforgettable evenings at the pub and endless parties in big screen arenas to the thrill of having some your closest friends and family all gathered around a TV (probably shouting at the players thousands of kilometres away), the World Cup shifts the planet’s love for football into overdrive.
With such behemoth sporting events, also comes the opportunity to make some money on the side, but most of the time, betting feels like a lost cause unless you’re super lucky.
That’s where matched betting comes in
Last week, we learned what matched betting was all about.
If you’d like a bit of a brush-up, matched betting is a technique where people turn the free, promotional bets offered by bookmakers into actual money by placing calculated bets on two opposing scenarios.
In other words, if you’re betting on England to win a match with one bookmaker, you then lay England to lose the match thanks to a little something called Smarkets.
Matched betting is a technique that relies on mathematics rather than chance, which means the risks involved are significantly lower. It also means you don’t need to be proficient in football to place a winning bet. Heck, you don’t even have to like sports!
The mathematics of it all comes from the two different elements: back bets and lay bets.
Back bets are the ones you place with a bookmaker, and are the simplest form. You’re betting on a specific thing happening, like England to win, or Italy to qualify (eesh, sorry).
Lay bets are the second step. Using a betting exchange (like Smarkets), you bet on the opposite of the above outcomes (so for example, England losing).
This way, you’re covered on both outcomes, and one of the bets has to pay out. And if the odds are right and you bet the perfect amount, you’re guaranteed to come out ahead.
OK, but how do I go about benefitting from matched betting?
Well, it’s actually possible to break down the entire, rather complicated process into three simple stages.
1. First up is actually qualifying for a free bet…
… and turns out it’s quite straightforward.
For example, in order to get a free bet of €25 with the bookmaker who’s offering a 100% welcome bonus, you’re going to need to place a bet of €25. This, for obvious reasons, is known as the qualifier bet.
2. Now, it’s time to make sure you don’t win… but don’t lose either
Now we know what you’re thinking, but it’s actually simpler than you think.
Place the €25 bet, and then lay off that same bet off on the Exchange (providing the Exchange prices was the same as the bookmakers).
Like that, you won’t win any money for now… but you also won’t lose any of those €25. More importantly, however, you now fully qualify for the free €25 bet.
Now you can easily stop at this stage and potentially win some money off of those free €25 or lose money which wasn’t yours in the first place, but why not take it one step further and add some guaranteed profit into the mix?
3. Let the matched betting commence!
You’re now ready to turn a free €25 into a profit, and it starts with partitioning it into different outcomes.
So let’s say you place the €25 free back bet on England winning. Lay a portion of it off on the Exchange, and you’re guaranteed to make a small profit whether England win or lose. How exactly? Well:
Let’s take as an example a hypothetical bookmaker with 2/1 for England to back, and an Exchange of 2/1 to lay. Well, back England for the free bet, and lay England for a lesser €16.95 (you’ll see why soon enough).
Like this, If England win, you win €50 with the bookmaker but lose €33.90 with the exchange.
If England lose, you lose your free bet but win €16.10 (after the usual commission is deducted).
Some quick Math later, you’ll realise that you’re going to be left with a profit of €16.10. No matter what the outcome is, matched betting just allowed you to turn what was after all a free €25 bet into a €16.10 profit.
And, well, there you have it!
Now that I know how, what do I need to get started?
Like most great things in life (and much like the previous point), what you need is three things.
1. Bookmaker accounts
Of course, you will actually need to set up accounts with each of the bookies you are going to use. This is after all what qualifies you to the free bets in the first place, and there’s an impressive list of bookmakers who offer signup bets or other offers to people living in Malta.
2. A Smarkets account
Remember how we talked about back bets and lay bets? Well, you’ll be using the bookmaker accounts for back bets… which means you’ll need accounts with betting exchanges to be able to place the lay bets.
3. A matched betting calculator
Because if you’re going to do this the proper way, then you’re going to need a quick and easy companion to help you calculate all that profit.
So the next time you find yourself on a losing streak, not sure whether you’re doing something wrong, just remember; a better alternative does exist, and it’s staring right at you!
Of course, football is only one of the many sports that you can benefit from with matched betting. In reality, anything that makes it to bookmakers’ websites can be treated in the exact same way, and once you understand the simple concept behind matched betting, there’s no limit to your potential profit. But with the World Cup being the most watched sporting event in TV history, it’s safe to assume that it will take centre stage for the next couple of weeks.
Managed and executed in the right, you’re looking at a very profitable way to enjoy the World Cup, and this could be the big break you’ve been meaning to catch.