The Differences Between Matched Betting and Arbitrage Betting Explained

Matched Betting and arbitrage betting are two closely related ways to make a profit through betting. But they work in different ways. Both strategies involve placing bets on all possible outcomes of a sporting event. The common goal is also to make a guaranteed profit.
– When doing Matched Betting, your goal is to take advantage of free bets and promotions offered by the bookmakers. In the process you usually lose a fraction of the amount you bet. But the gain from the bonus is much larger.
– In Arbitrage betting on the other hand, the goal is to generate a guaranteed profit by itself, regardless of bonuses.
Let’s look closer at both below!

The Matched Betting process explained

You start by making a deposit, for which the bookmaker credits your account with a bonus. But the bonus comes with a turnover requirement, you can’t just withdraw the deposit and the bonus. So you need to bet your deposit and bonus money on some sporting event. For simplicity, let’s assume you bet it all on one event. At the same time, you place an offsetting bet with a betting exchange (or another bookmaker). When your  bet settles, one of two things happen:

  1. You lose your initial deposit and bonus money at the bookmaker. At the same time you win at the betting exchange. This is the best case scenario. Your money is “transferred” from the bookmaker to the betting exchange. Everyone is happy: the bookmaker made his money, the exchange earned commission, and you can withdraw the net winnings from your betting exchange account. There is a good chance that the bookmaker is so happy that they offer you a another bonus to continue betting. Then you just repeat the process.
  2. You win with the bookmaker, and lose your money at the betting exchange. You still have more money than you deposited, because of the bonus money. You now continue betting until the turnover requirement is reached. In this process, your money may end up at the exchange, but more likely you will finish your turnover requirement with some money in your bookmaker account. Now you can withdraw from the bookmaker, and repeat the process at another bookmaker offering you a bonus.

No matter what outcome, you may still receive reload bonuses to get you back at a later point in time. Most bookmakers run promotions regularly for all clients that are not “blacklisted” for just exploiting bonuses. And that’s the key to why you should usually accept a small loss when doing matched betting: you are much more likely to be a client the bookmaker wants to get back.

Arbitrage Betting explained

Arbitrage betting, also known as sports arbitrage or surebetting, involves finding discrepancies in odds between different bookmakers and placing bets on all possible outcomes to guarantee a profit. This can be done by finding mismatches between the odds offered by different bookmakers, and placing bets on both sides to guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome of the event.

The main advantage of arbitrage betting vs matched betting is that the former does not rely on a promotion from the bookmaker. In theory, arbitrage betting could make you unlimited profits, as the opportunities are more or less unlimited. But that’s why the bookmakers have tools and routines to stop arbitrage bettors. Sooner or later your account will be restricted, “gubbed” or limited.  At this point the account is more or less unusable, and you will only be allowed to bet pennies.

In summary, Matched betting involves taking advantage of free bets and promotions to make a profit, while arbitrage betting involves taking advantage of discrepancies in odds between different bookmakers to guarantee a profit.

So what should I do? Arbitrage betting or Matched betting?

The answer depends on a lot of factors. The most important question is how generous the bookmakers in your area are with respect to awarding bonuses to new and returning players. In most countries bonuses are plentiful these days. This makes Matched Betting the superior approach. It is of course also possible to combine the two. If you primarily look for bonuses through Matched Betting, you will constantly be looking for good turnover opportunities that lose a little but not too much. Adding in a few arbitrage bets will not put your account at risk, and will be a good strategy.

No matter what strategy you choose, the use of an exchange bookmaker, such as Orbit Exchange or Betfair, is essential when doing Matched betting and surebetting. Read our review of the ultimate matched betting suite, BFB247 here.

From which countries can you do Matched Betting?

Matched betting can be done from most countries where online sports betting is legal. Some countries have restrictions on online sports betting, but in many places, it is possible to place bets online, making matched betting accessible to a large number of people.

However, it’s important to note that the availability and legality of online sports betting and matched betting can vary greatly depending on the country, as well as the specific laws and regulations in place. For example, in some countries, online sports betting is illegal, while in others, it is only regulated by the state or local government.

In general, it’s always important to check the local laws and regulations before engaging in any form of online betting, including matched betting.  Check out our list of the best online sportsbooks.

What do I need to start doing Matched betting?

To start with matched betting, you will need the following:

  1. Access to online bookmakers: You will need to have access to online bookmakers that offer sports betting in your country.
  2. A reliable betting exchange: A betting exchange is a platform that allows you to place bets against other bettors. You will need access to a reliable betting exchange to be able to place lay bets – an essential component of matched betting. We recommend BFB247 as exchange bookmaker when placing your lay bets.
  3. Knowledge of sports betting odds and markets: You will need to have a good understanding of sports betting odds and markets, as well as the ability to calculate the potential profits and losses of your bets.
  4. A betting bank: You will need to have a betting bank, which is the amount of money you set aside for your matched betting activities. This should be a sum of money that you can afford to lose, as there is always a risk involved with any form of betting.
  5. Matched betting calculator or software: To make matched betting easier and more efficient, you may want to use a matched betting calculator or software. These tools can help you calculate the bets and odds required for matched betting, and also keep track of your progress and profits. Recommended Matched betting tools are Oddsmonkey and Outplayed.

It’s important to remember that matched betting is a complex process and requires careful planning, patience, and attention to detail. Before starting, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on the process. Familiarize yourself with the odds and markets, and practice with small, manageable bets before moving on to larger bets.