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Matched Betting - How It Works

For starters, if you visit Odds Monkey, you will find all their tutorials with comprehensive step-by-step instructions on everything from starting from the basics of Matched Betting, to Advanced levels where you can extract even more money from these bookmakers.

Basic Requirements of Matched Betting

Age and Location : You must live in the UK and be over 18 years old.

Patience : You will need to be patient at first, but once you are aware of the basics, there should be nothing to worry about.

Risk Free : You understand that although Matched Betting is 'risk-free', human errors can occur but mostly can be rectified.

Equipment : You will need a PC/laptop (preferrably), but you could also do Matched Betting on a smartphone or tablet.

Starting Money : The more money the better (and easier) to progress quicker, but you can start with £50 and build gradually.

Read : Below is a link to take you to everything you need to know about Matched Betting by Odds Monkey.


An Overview of Matched Betting



Alan : “I bet I can drink a pint faster than you!”

Bob : “No, chance. Get em in and I’ll show ya.”

What we have here are 2 people's opposite outcomes.
Alan is predicting that he can drink the pint faster than Bob, so much so that he is willing to bet on it.
If he drinks the pint faster than Bob, he’ll have predicted the outcome correctly and will have won the bet.

But it wouldn’t be a bet if Bob wasn’t willing to predict the opposite.

For it to be a bet, someone has to match it with an opposing view.

If Alan can’t drink the pint faster than Bob, Bob will have predicted the outcome correctly and Bob will win the bet.
So as you can see, every bet has two sides to it. This is important, because every Matched Bet uses both sides.

The technical term for these two sides is BACKING and LAYING.
Alan is the BACKER because he’s BACKING that he’ll drink the pint faster. Bob is the LAYER because he is LAYING that he’ll drink the pint faster than Alan.
When you predict that something is going to happen – you’re BACKING it. BACK bet / BACKING.

When you predict that something is NOT going to happen – you’re LAYING it. LAY bet / LAYING.

How Backing & Laying works with Sports and Bookmakers

You’ve probably placed a bet at a bookmakers before but if not, don’t worry about it.

Basically, whenever you go to the bookmakers to place a bet on a sporting event – such as a football match or horse race – you’re BACKING an outcome. If you predict the outcome correctly – you win money off the bookmaker.

Remember, every bet is actually two people’s opposite points of view on predicting an outcome. When you go into a bookmakers to to place a bet it’s just like the example above with the drinks, except this time it’s the bookmaker who is LAYING the bet.

Let’s take a horse race as an example:

Dave walks into the bookies and places a £1 bet on Mr Ed to win the 14:30 at York (a horse race). In other words, he’s BACKING Mr Ed to win that race.

The bookie is matching that bet with the opposing view. In other words, the bookmaker is LAYING Mr Ed.

If Mr Ed wins the race, Dave will have predicted correctly and he’ll be quids in at the bookmaker’s expense. If Mr Ed doesn’t win the race, the bookmaker will keep Dave’s money.

For a bet to be a bet, the opposing views have to be matched. BACK and LAY.

Bookmakers are just ‘layers’. The reason they are called bookmakers instead of ‘layers’ harks BACK to the books they used to write in so that they could keep a record of who they’d agreed bets with, how much was matched and what odds were given…

Understanding Odds

If you’re brand new to betting; odds can be really confusing. OddsMonkey is here to make understanding odds really easy for you…

The first thing we’re going to do is stop using fractions. Fractions, such as three to one (3/1) or fifteen to two (15/2) make understanding odds harder than it needs to be. Instead of using fractions, we’re going to use decimals.

The most important thing you need to know about decimal odds are that they are a measure of how likely something is going to happen. The bigger the number – the less likely.

Here are some examples. The decimal ‘odds’ are the bold numbers at the end.

Mr Ed to WIN the 14:30 at York = 6.00

Red Rum (he’s dead) to win the 14:55 at Newmarket = 1000.00

Wayne Rooney to score in the Man Utd v Chelsea match = 3.50

Sir Alex Ferguson (retired) to score in the Man Utd v Chelsea match = 5000.00

The higher the number, the less likely it is to happen. Wayne Rooney is much more likely to score a goal than Sir Alex, right?

When you BACK an outcome that has high odds, if you guess correctly the rewards are greater than if you BACK an outcome with lower odds. By using decimals it’s really easy to understand how much you can win by BACKING an outcome correctly. Here’s how:

Dave BACKS Mr Ed to win the 14:30 at York at odds of 8.00 and hands the bookmaker a stake of £1. A stake is just another word for the amount of money that Dave (the BACKER) is putting on his prediction.

Mr Ed romps home in 1st place. Dave has predicted correctly and swaggers BACK into the bookmakers. The bookie gives him £8 (£1 x 8.00 = £8) for predicting correctly. In other words, the bookmakers has lost £7 and Dave is £7 in profit.

See? It’s dead easy. You don’t need to remember this, but for reference just multiply the stake by the decimal odds and the resulting number is the amount that would be returned to the BACKER.

A return is just another word for the amount of money the BACKER receives if the prediction is correct.


(£1 x 6.00) = £6

When the bookmaker accepted the bet, the bookmaker knew that there would be a liability of £7 if Dave predicted correctly. The liability is just betting jargon for how much the LAYER stands to lose.

BACKER = Stake

LAYER = Liability

Calculating the liability is dead easy. You don’t need to remember this, but for reference its just a case of multiplying the backers stake by the decimal odds; and then subtract the backers stake. (stake x decimal odds) – stake = liability.

(£1 x 6.0) - £1 = £5

Betting Exchanges

Until the early noughties, if you wanted to LAY a bet; the only way you could do that was if you personally arranged a bet with a friend or family member – just like the example with the pint drinking above.

Then Betfair came along and changed everything. Betfair is a betting exchange; a website that helps people match their opposing views with one another. It’s a bit like eBay, but for betting.

If I don’t think Manchester United are going to win the league this season, I can visit the Betfair website and LAY Manchester United. I can also decide how unlikely I think it is by deciding the odds.

If someone thinks that Manchester United are going to win the league next season and is willing to BACK Manchester United at the odds I’ve decided; the bet is matched. I’m the LAYER. Someone else is the BACKER. We’ve agreed the odds and the bet is matched.

Betting exchanges are just websites that make it possible for backers and layers to match their bets with one another. Betting exchanges make their money by taking a 5% cut of the winning bettors return. Odds Monkey tutorials explain Betfair in more detail in their tutorials.

Summary so far:

There are two parts to every bet. The BACK and the LAY. It’s only a bet if it’s matched by two opposing views.

BACKING: predicting that something is going to happen.

LAYING: predicting that something is not going to happen.

Decimal odds: Easier to understand than fractional odds (e.g 13/2).

Higher odds = less likely but greater return.

Lower odds = more likely, but lower return.

Stake: the amount of money ‘the BACKER’ risks on their bet.

Return: the amount of money that the BACKER will receive from the LAYER in return for predicting the outcome correctly.

Liability: the amount of money that the LAYER stands to lose to the BACKER if the BACKER predicts correctly.

Calculating the return : stake x decimal odds = return.

Calculating the liability: (stake x decimal odds) – stake = liability.

Betting exchange = Betting exchanges help backers and layers to match bets with one another. Betfair is a betting exchange.



Now Read the Guide with Examples.