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Getting Started Walkthrough
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Getting Started with Matched Betting - A Walkthrough

Level: Beginner
Updated: May 09, 2024
12 min read

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  • Join our Discord community of matched bettors. There you'll find many helpful members who share experiences and lessons learned.
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Introduction

This guide is designed as a thorough introduction to Matched Betting. We start with what Matched Betting is and how it is different from gambling. Then, we cover with sports betting basics, such as reading odds and the most common bet types, and then move into the core matched betting concepts. We will also review topics that can increase your long-term profitability and how to avoid sportsbook "limits".

It would not be feasible to cover every detail about matched betting in a single guide. When we reach a more complex topic in this guide, we will discuss it at an introductory level and link to a more in-depth guide where you can master it. When you first get started with matched betting, the most important thing you can do is take your time and ensure you have a complete understanding before you place your first matched bet. You can reach out and ask for help via email at support@darkhorseodds.com or via our discord server.

Key Takeaways
  • Matched betting is a side hustle where you profit from sportsbooks' promotions.
  • DarkHorse Odds provides all the betting calculators and information necessary to get started with matched betting. Start your free trial.
  • Matched betting is not gambling: there is no risk of losing.
  • There are nuances that are important to maximize profit, such as identifying what promotions are available and what the best order is to complete the offers. Start by reading this guide.

What To Know Before Starting Matched Betting?

There are several things you should understand before starting matched betting that we will teach you in this guide.

  1. Matched betting is not gambling
  2. The most common types of sports bets
  3. How to read odds
  4. The most common sportsbook promotions
  5. Sportsbook “Limits”
  6. DarkHorse Odds has all the tools needed for matched betting. Start your free trial now.

What Is Matched Betting?

Matched betting is an approach to sports betting where you can mathematically guarantee a profit from sportsbooks' promotions. When sportsbooks offer promotions, they tilt the odds in your favor, but this still involves the risk of loss. With matched betting, you eliminate this risk by hedging your bet.  You place the promotional bet on one sportsbook and hedge your bet on a second sportsbook. By hedging your bet on a second sportsbook, you are betting on both sides of the same event, and they are 'matched' in a way that guarantees one of those bets will win. Think of it like a coin toss where you bet heads and tails. One of those two bets will win, and one will lose. There is no possible scenario where both win or both lose. Matched betting can guarantee you a profit when sports betting because one of your bets has to win.

Note that Matched Betting is different from gambling. Gambling means that you can lose money if a particular outcome happens. With Matched Betting, you don't care what happens because you make the same amount of money in either outcome. DarkHorse Odds provides all the betting calculators you need to find the best bets and know exactly how much to bet.

Infographic outlining how matched betting works

The Outcome of the Event Doesn't Matter

This is worth reiterating: with Matched Betting, you're not rooting for a team to win. All of the Bet Finders on DarkHorse Odds are designed to account for every aspect of your promotion so that the outcome of the event does not matter.  Matched betting is not traditional gambling. If your promotional bet wins, you will profit the same as if your promotional bet loses.  Your profit is mathematically guaranteed before the event takes place. In the infographic above, it does not matter if the Yankees win or the Red Sox win; you win $25 either way.

Three Most Common Types of Sports Bets

You do not need to be an expert in sports betting to be a successful matched bettor, but a basic understanding of these concepts reduces the chances of human error and placing the wrong bet.

  1. Money line: Betting on a team to win the game. Example: Betting on the Yankees to win the game.
  2. Spread: Betting on a team to win by a certain amount or lose by less than a certain amount. Example: Betting on the Patriots to win by two or more points.
  3. Total: Betting on under or over the number of points scored in the game. Example: Betting on over 42.5 points scored in an NFL game.

How to Read Odds

Odds, sometimes called lines, determine the payout of a winning bet. The most common format for odds in the United States is American Odds. American odds are range from +100 and higher or -100 and lower. American odds are always tied back to $100. A positive number indicates how much money you will win on a $100 bet. A negative number indicates how much you must bet to win $100. The team with the positive odds is often called the underdog, and the team with the negative odds is called the favorite. 

Screenshot from FanDuel highlighting a moneyline bet

In the screenshot above, the numbers in blue are the odds for each particular bet. Looking at the money line for this game, you can see that the 49ers odds are +124, and the Eagles are -146. A $100 bet on the 49ers at +124 profits $124. The total payout would be $224, as this includes the original bet amount of $100 . The original bet amount is called the stake. A $146 bet on the Eagles at -146 profits $100. The total payout would be $246, including the $146 stake.

Three Most Common Sportsbook Promotions

  1. Bonus Bet: A promotion where you can place a bet without risking any of your own money. If a Bonus Bet wins, you receive the winnings back in cash. The original bet amount is not returned.
  2. Site Credit: Much like a Bonus Bet, it is an offer you receive from a sportsbook where you can bet without risking your own money. The difference is that if a Site Credit bet wins, you receive the winnings and the original bet amount back in cash.
  3. Second Chance Bet: This is the most common sign-up offer. You place a bet with your own money to start. You receive a Bonus Bet or Site Credit refund if that bet loses. Think of it as insurance on that bet.

You can convert all three promotions above into guaranteed profit through matched betting. More detail on exactly how to do this later.

Don't Get Limited!

Do not start betting until you have read to the bottom of this guide and learned how to avoid limits.

All sportsbooks limit how much money they will accept on a wager. Everyone starts with the same limits. Over time, sports books track your behavior, and if you prove to have unusual betting patterns, they can and will impose severe limits on you. This means they will drastically lower your max bet amount compared to the average bettor, often to just a couple dollars.  We will explore methods for avoiding limits later in this article, but know it is something that can happen. Being limited reduces your ability to profit from matched betting.

Matched Betting Core Concepts

Here, we will expand on how exactly to convert the three most common sportsbook promotions: Bonus Bet, Site Credit, and Second Chance Bet. DarkHorse Odds has betting calculators we call "Bet Finders". DarkHorse Odds combs through each sportsbook, checks their odds, and processes millions of combinations to find you the most profitable bets based on the exact promotion you have. The only thing you need to do is place the bets. This increases your profits and saves you time compared to using a generic hedge, arbitrage, or Bonus Bet calculator where you have to find the lines manually and enter the odds.

Throughout this guide, the word "conversion" refers to how much profit you get from a promotion. If you have a $100 Bonus Bet and profit $70 from it, that is a 70% conversion.

Core Concept: Converting a Bonus Bet

For a full review, read our How To Convert Bonus Bets guide.

Bonus Bets are the most common sportsbook promotion. It is essential to understand that they can be converted into profit through matched betting, often at about 70% of their listed value. Only the winnings, not the original bet amount, are returned on a winning bet. When you place a Bonus Bet, you are not risking any of your own money, meaning if the Bonus Bet loses, you do not lose any money.

Here is an example of converting a $100 Bonus Bet on DraftKings using the DarkHorse Odds Bonus Bet Finder.  

First, you enter the details of your promotion. Then, the best conversions are displayed for you to choose from.  From this table, you can select the matched bet you want.

  1. Select DraftKings as the sportsbook
  2. $100 as the Bonus Bet amount
Screenshot showing availabe Free Bet conversions Screenshot showing availabe Free Bet conversions

Selected the matched bet will display a bet slip with all the necessary information to place your matched bet.  In this example, you would place a $100 Bonus Bet on the Wizards money line (to win) with DraftKings and then a $395 Hedge Bet on the Thunder money line (to win) with BetJack.  The Wizards and Thunder play each other; therefore, one of these two bets has to win.

Screenshot of the DarkHorse Odds Free Bet Calculator

Clicking the info icon gives you a detailed explanation of how you will profit $70 no matter who wins the game.

Screenshot explaining how you profit from a free bet no matter who wins the game when you use matched betting Screenshot explaining how you profit from a free bet no matter who wins the game when you use matched betting

Core Concept: Converting Site Credit

For a full review, read our How To Convert Site Credit guide.

Site Credit is less common but more valuable than Bonus Bets. It is essential to understand that it can be converted into profit through matched betting, often at 98% or above of its listed value. Unlike a Bonus Bet, Site Credit returns the original bet amount, stake, on a winning bet. When you place a bet using Site Credit, you are not risking any of your own money, meaning if the Site Credit bet loses, you do not lose any money.

Here is an example of converting $100 in Site Credit on FanDuel using the DarkHorse Odds Site Credit Bet Finder.  

After entering the specifics of your promotion the best conversions are displayed for you to choose from. From this table, you can select the matched bet you want.

  1. Select FanDuel as the sportsbook
  2. Enter $100 as the Site Credit amount
Site Credit Calculator results table Site Credit Calculator results table

After selecting the matched bet you want, a bet slip with all the necessary information is displayed.  In this example, you would place a $100 Site Credit Bet on Bruins -1.5 with FanDuel and then place a $166 Hedge Bet on Coyotes -1.5 with MVG.  One of these two bets has to win; there is no scenario where both bets lose. If the Bruins win by two or more the FanDuel bet wins. If the Bruins lose or win by one, the MVG bet wins.

Site Credit Calculator

Clicking the info button gives you a detailed explanation of how you profit $102 no matter who wins the game.

Screenshot explaining how you profit from site credit no matter who wins the game when you use matched betting Screenshot explaining how you profit from site credit no matter who wins the game when you use matched betting

Core Concept: Converting a Second Chance Bet

For a full review, read our How To Convert Second Chance Bets guides.

Second Chance Bets are the most common sign-up offer available. However, understanding how to convert them into profit via matched betting can be a little more complicated than other promotions. Before you try to understand how to convert a Second Chance Bet you need to understand that Bonus Bets and Site Credit can be converted via matched betting. Without this understanding, you will likely have difficulty with the process flow for converting Second Chance Bets. Either re-read the sections above about Bonus Bets and Site Credit or read our more in-depth How to Convert Bonus Bets and How to Convert Site Credit guides.

The next thing to understand is that converting a Second Chance Bet can either be a one or two-step process. Step two is only needed if the initial Second Chance Bet loses. However, the Second Chance Bet Finder on DarkHorse Odds will ensure the same profit regardless of the scenario. The image below shows the process of converting a Second Chance Bet.

Infographic outlining how to convert a Risk Free Bet by using matched betting

The final to know about converting Second Chance Bets is that the DarkHorse Odds Second Chance Bet Finder accounts for the value of the refund if the Second Chance Bet loses. We designed it in a way that the profit is the same whether or not the Second Chance Bet wins or loses.

Now that you have a general understanding of converting a Second Chance Bet let's look at how to do it using the DarkHorse Odds Second Chance Bet Finder.  In this example, we will use the $100 Second Chance Bet sign-up offer for BetRivers.  Notice the maximum amount is $100, and the refund is in Bonus Bets.  Bonus Bets are what BetRivers calls Bonus Bets.  We know this because they mention "stake not returned" for Bonus Bets, as seen at the bottom of this promotion.

BetRivers $100 Risk Free Bet Sign-up Offer BetRivers $100 Risk Free Bet Sign-up Offer

After entering the details of the promotion, the best conversions are displayed for you to choose from.  From this table, you can select the matched bet you want.

  1. Select BetRivers as the sportsbook
  2. Select Bonus Bet as the refund type
  3. Enter $100 as the Second Chance Bet amount
Risk Free Bet Calculator results table Risk Free Bet Calculator results table

After selecting the matched bet you want, a bet slip with all the necessary information is displayed.  In this example, you would place a $100 Second Chance Bet on the Trail Blazers money line (to win) with BetRivers and then a $491 Hedge Bet on the Knicks money line (to win) with Golden Nugget.  The Trail Blazers and Knicks play each other; therefore, one of these two bets has to win.  There is no scenario where both of these bets lose.

Risk Free Bet Calculator

Clicking the info button gives you a detailed explanation of how you profit $49 no matter who wins the game.  It is important to remember that converting a Second Chance Bet might be a two-step process.  If the Hedge Bet wins, in this case, the Knicks, you lose your Second Chance Bet on BetRivers.  This is refunded as a Bonus Bet based on the terms of their offer.  We know that Bonus Bets can be converted at approximately 70% using matched betting.  If you receive the Bonus Bet refund from BetRivers, you must convert it using the Bonus Bet Finder; this is step 2 of converting Second Chance Bets.   

Screenshot explaining how you profit from a Risk Free Bet no matter who wins the game when you use matched betting Screenshot explaining how you profit from a Risk Free Bet no matter who wins the game when you use matched betting

Sportsbook Arbitrage Is Often A Bad Idea

Learn more about each topic in our Arbitrage, Don't Get Limited, and Avoid Small Markets guides.

Arbitrage is the act of simultaneously buying and selling something in two different markets at two different prices to guarantee a profit. This most often happens with financial markets, but it also applies to sports betting. With sports betting arbitrage, you place bets simultaneously on opposite sides of a game to ensure one of your bets wins. When there is a large discrepancy between two sportsbooks, you can guarantee a profit. A simple example is if the home team is +105 on DraftKings and the away team is +105 on FanDuel. One of those two teams has to win therefore one of your bets will win. If you bet $100 on both DraftKings and FanDuel, you will profit $105 on the winning bet and lose $100 on the losing bet. That is a $5 profit, no matter who wins the game. If you bet $1,000 on both sides, then you profit $50 no matter who wins.

Arbitrage only occurs when one or both sportsbooks have odds that differ from the market average. When this happens, a large number of wagers will be placed, and the line will move back toward the market average (you're not the only one looking to profit from sportsbooks). In many cases this, happens within a few minutes.

Often, arbitrage only occurs on small markets like player props and alternate lines. These lines have much less wagered on them and receive less focus from the sportsbook in getting the odds set correctly. Using an arbitrage calculator like the Arbitrage Bet Finder we have on DarkHorse Odds is one of the only ways to find arbitrage opportunities fast enough to be able to bet them.

Sportsbook arbitrage sounds like a great idea and a quick way to profit. However, it is one of the worst things you can do. We recommend avoiding arbitrage in almost all instances.

When you place an arbitrage wager, it sets off several red flags to the sportsbook.

  • You bet on the exact line that was "wrong" in the few-minute window it was wrong.
  • Chances are it was an alternate line/player prop, which are much smaller markets.
  • Chances are you beat the closing line value. This means you got better odds than the final odds before the game started.

These are all signals to a sportsbook that you are a "sharp" sports bettor, which is the exact opposite of what sportsbooks want. Sharp bettors are profitable in the long run, and to take action against them, sportsbooks limit the maximum bet amount. This can range from 50% of the standard amount all the way down to 1% or less. If a standard bettor can bet $10,000 on a market a bettor with small limits may not be able to bet even $100. With such low bet amounts, you will not be able to place bets large enough to hedge or properly convert promotions.

Don't Get Limited!

Learn more about Avoiding Limits and Avoiding Small Markets.

We stated this before but are repeating it due to its importance. Sportsbooks can and will impose limits on you.

Here is an email from Fanatics saying they are limiting a bettor. This is the worst thing that can happen to you as a matched bettor.

Email from Fanatics sportsbook saying they are imposing limits on a bettor

The image below is an example of a limit applied to a bettor. Both bets are identical: the same team and the same odds. However, you can see that the first bettor has a max wager that is 50% lower than the second bettor. Sportsbooks are limiting that individual.

Screenshot of two different max bet amounts on FanDuel Screenshot of two different max bet amounts on FanDuel

Being limited is one of the worst things that can happen to you as a matched bettor because it hinders your ability to place and hedge bets. There is no perfect method to avoid limits, but the following actions have proven helpful.

  1. Exchanges: If available in your state, use a betting exchange. They are bettor friendly and like matched bettors. 
  2. Round Your Bets: Instead of betting $23.74, bet $25.‍
  3. Main vs. Alternate Lines/Props: For large bets, use money lines, spread, and totals instead of player props or alternate lines. While there's no exact number for what constitutes a large bet, consider anything over a few hundred to be a large bet.‍
  4. Large Markets: The bigger the market is, the safer. The largest markets are main lines on professional sports. You want to avoid markets such as Tennis and small NCAAB/NCAAF games with much less wagered on them.‍
  5. Avoid Book Errors: Sometimes, a sportsbook makes a mistake in its posted lines. Do not bet on the obvious mistakes. For example, every book but one has the Yankees money line near -250, but one book has the line at +200 for the Yankees. This discrepancy in odds would result in a massive arbitrage opportunity. Books are quick to void that bet and have shown a history of limiting/banning users for betting a line that was clearly a mistake.‍
  6. Withdraws: Do not withdraw after immediately completing a sign-up offer. Leave money in your account and make some more bets/hedges before you withdraw. Ideally, weeks or months later. Books track historical deposits vs. withdraws.‍
  7. Hedge Book: Always hedge on a different sportsbook than the promotion.‍
  8. Hedge Betting: Only betting promotions is another way sportsbooks can identify you as a matched bettor. Work in some hedge bets on every book.
  9. Browsing: Avoid logging in; immediately betting and logging out. Scroll around from time to time to look like a typical user who is browsing for bets.‍

Plan Your Approach 

With a general understanding of sports betting and the core concepts of matched betting, you are ready to get started. Coming in with a thought-out plan that isn't rushed will make it much more manageable. Here are a few things to consider when planning your approach.

Age and Location Requirements

You need to be in a state that allows online sports betting and be of the minimum age, 21, in most locations. You do not have to live in a state that has online sports betting.

Determine Your Starting Bankroll

The term bankroll refers to how much money you can put towards matched betting, meaning how much cash you can deposit into sportsbooks. Having a larger starting bankroll makes matched betting more manageable. Some sign-up offers require two to four thousand dollars to achieve the maximum value. However, you can start with much smaller bankrolls with just a few hundred dollars. We will go over both approaches in more detail.

Check What Sportsbooks Are Available To You

Different sportsbooks are available based on what state you live in. The number of available sportsbooks can range from well over a dozen in several states to three in Connecticut. We have guides designed to help you get started with matched betting in any state.

Start Slow vs. VIP

Becoming a Sportsbook VIP is an extensive topic with vast profits and rewards. Learn every detail you need to know in our Becoming a VIP guide. To get started, you should be aware that VIP status exists and is how you achieve the largest possible profits. You may not want to start by going after VIP right away, but it should be part of your long term plan.

For now, decide if you want to start slow, working through some of the smaller offers available. Or, you can start with some of the larger offers and go after VIP status. Starting slow is recommended to gain familiarity with matched betting. Reaching VIP status results in the largest profits and additional benefits like event tickets and free travel/hotels. Going after VIP does require a larger bankroll. Getting VIP after starting slow is possible, but it can take longer.

Choose Your First 2 Sportsbooks

Identify the first two sportsbooks you want to use. You want to avoid placing Second Chance Bets against each other. Most sportsbooks offer Second Chance Bets as the sign-up offer, so you must look for at least one sportsbook with a different sign-up offer, such as a deposit match.

Note: It is possible to place Second Chance Bets against each other, but it's a complex topic. You can read our Stacking Second Chance Bets guide to learn how to do this, but chances are it is best to avoid doing this.

Create Your Sportsbooks Accounts

Create an account on the first two sportsbooks you are planning to use. There are a few things you want to verify when creating your account.

  • Is a promo code required to ensure you are eligible for the sign-up offer?
  • Is there a timeline associated with the sign-up offer, such as must be completed within XX days of creating the account?

Funding Sportsbook Accounts

Learn more about Depositing into Sportsbooks.

Some sign-up offers are tied to the initial deposit amount. Deposit amounts are often pre-populated on the sportsbook, so you must override it before making your first deposit. DraftKings is an example. You must deposit $5,000 to maximize the sign-up offer, but the default amount is $200.

Funding sportsbooks can provide challenges based on your bank and the sportsbook itself. Here are a few methods that tend to work well.

  1. GBank Signature Visa: The GBank Signature Visa Card offers 1% cash rewards on sportsbook deposits. Learn more about how this can increase your matched betting profits in our GBank review.
  2. Online Banking: If your bank account allows deposits to sportsbooks.
  3. Debit Card: Similar to online banking, your bank may block these transactions. Contacting your bank may prevent this. You may also need to raise the transaction limit on your debit card. Most banks allow temporary increases.
  4. PayPal: Link PayPal to your bank account. This can allow you to deposit directly from your bank account if your bank does not allow it.
  5. VIP Preferred: They are a deposit/withdrawal provider many sportsbooks use. This method works well for deposits and withdrawals but starts with low limits. These limits grow over time, so opening an account as soon as possible is best, even if you do not plan on using it.
  6. Wire Transfer: Work great for large deposits but are limited to Monday through Friday during business hours. Always double check the wire information to make sure it matches exactly.

Placing Your First Matched Bet

Once you have determined the first sign-up offer you will use and which sportsbook to hedge it on, it is time to place your first matched bet. To eliminate any risk of a mistake, follow this order.

  1. Login to both accounts
  2. Ensure you have enough funds in both accounts
  3. Add the respective bet to each sportsbook's bet slip
  4. Verify the correct game, market, and side of the market
  5. Verify the sportsbook odds match the odds on DarkHorse Odds
  6. Place the promotional bet first
  7. Place the hedge bet second

Your first matched bet will likely involve a Second Chance Bet. If required, remember to convert the refund from your Second Chance Bet.

Example: Getting Started in Colorado

We have guides available for every state/province that has online sports betting. Read our State/Province guides to find yours.

There are several approaches you can take to complete all the sign-up offers in Colorado. Below we will outline two of them based on the size of your starting bankroll. If you already have accounts with one or more sportsbooks that will also change the order you complete these offers. If you already have an account with at least one sportsbook it likely makes sense to use them as the hedge for the next sportsbook you signup for. This will help you avoid complications that can arise when you have two sign-up offers at the same time and both are automatically applied to your first bet. Read more in our Stacking Promotions guides. Additionally, you should always start with a betting exchange if they are available and in CO, Sporttrade is available.

Based on the size of your starting bankroll, the order you complete sign-up offers varies.  In the examples below, we will look at a new user getting started in Colorado.  First, we will look at starting with a bankroll of under $6,000.

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Now, we will look at starting with a bankroll of over $6,000. With a bankroll of over $6,000, you can max out the DraftKings sign-up offer and use them to hedge the other large offers available.  This is a great way to become a VIP on DraftKings, which will lead to even more offers.

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Continuing Matched Betting

By now, you will be more comfortable with matched betting. Getting through your first Second Chance Bet is often the most stressful part. From here, you can plan out which offers to go after next.

Complete The Remaining Sign-up Offers

This will vary based on your bankroll and what state you live in. If you have a larger bankroll, think $10,000+; you may want to start with larger offers from sportsbooks like DraftKings, FanDuel, MGM, and Caesars. You can start with smaller offers like the $100 Second Chance Bet from BetRivers example above if you have a smaller bankroll. You can use the Sign-up Offer Dashboard to find available promotions and plan your approach.

DarkHorse Odds Sign-up Dashboard DarkHorse Odds Sign-up Dashboard

Don't Stop After the Sign-up Offers

The sign-up offers are just the beginning of matched betting. They are often some of the better offers available (until you reach VIP), but they certainly are not the end of the journey. Think about how physical casinos offer you free drinks while you gamble and comp you rooms the more you bet to get you to come back. Online sportsbooks use a similar concept to get you to open the app. They offer regular promotions such Second Chance Bets or deposit matches to keep you using their app. You can convert these offers into profit, just like the sign-up offers.

You can open every sportsbook daily and look at the available offers, or use the Promo Dashboards on DarkHorse Odds to view them all in one place. Below is a screenshot of the promotions currently available in Colorado on FanDuel. Highlighted is a Second Chance Bet on College Football for all customers, not just new ones. The Second Chance Bet Finder on DarkHorse Odds will give you the best bets to convert this offer.

Screenshot of FanDuel Sportsbook Promotions displayed on the DarkHorse Odds Promo Dashboard Screenshot of FanDuel Sportsbook Promotions displayed on the DarkHorse Odds Promo Dashboard

Identifying Sportsbook Promotions

For a full review, read our Identifying Sportsbook Promotions guide.

There are a variety of sportsbook promotions, and understanding exactly which type of promotion you have is necessary to convert it for maximum profit. It is essential to read the terms and conditions of each promotion to make sure that you understand the requirements and place a bet that qualifies for the promotion. For example, if you have Site Credit but think it is a Bonus Bet and use the wrong Bet Finder to convert it, you will reduce your profit. There are instances where if you use the wrong Bet Finder, you may lose money. Here is a brief overview of the most common sportsbook promotions.

Bonus Bet

For a full review read our How To Convert Bonus Bets guide. The most common sportsbook promotion.

Distinguishing Characteristics

  • You do not lose any money if a Bonus Bet loses.
  • You only get the winnings on a winning bet, not the original bet amount (stake).

Common Names

  • Bonus Bet

Expected Value

  • 70%

Site Credit

For a full review read our How To Convert Site Credit guide. More valuable than Bonus Bets, but much less common.

Distinguishing Characteristics

  • You do not lose any money if a Site Credit bet loses.
  • The original bet amount (stake) is returned on a winnings bet.

Common Names

  • Bonus Cash

Expected Value

  • 100%

Second Chance Bet

For a full review read our Second Chance Bet guides. Second Chance Bets are the most common sign-up offer. How a Second Chance Bet is refunded impacts how you hedge it and its value.

Distinguishing Characteristics

  • You wager with your money, but if the bet loses, you get a refund.
  • The refund for a losing bet varies, but Bonus Bets are the most common.

Common Names

  • No Sweat Bet
  • Second Chance Bet

Expected Value

  • 50-70%

Profit Boost

For a full review read our How To Convert Profit Boosts guide. A common recurring promotion. Rarely tied to deposit matches or sign-up offers.

Distinguishing Characteristics

  • You wager with your money, but the odds are increased, which increases the payout on a winning bet.
  • The odds are increased by a set percentage outlined in the offer, such as 50%.
  • Most times, there is a maximum bet amount.
  • Sometimes, there is a maximum additional winnings.

Common Names

  • Profit Boost

Expected Value

  • Varies significantly

Qualifying Bet

For a full review read our Qualifying Bet guides. Qualifying Bets are a catch-all for other promotions that do not fit into the other types. Most times, Qualifying Bets are a variation of Bet $X to Get $Y. The terms of Qualifying Bets vary substantially. Sometimes, your Qualifying Bet has to win; other times, it has to lose, or it may not matter.

Distinguishing Characteristics

  • They do not fit the mold of other promotions.
  • Terms and conditions of the promotions vary.
  • Often, a variation of Bet $X to get $Y.

Common Names

  • Bet Match
  • Loss Back
  • Bet and Get

Expected Value

  • Varies significantly

Bonus Voucher

For a full review read our How To Convert Bonus Vouchers guide. The least common promotions. Only a few sportsbooks use them. Mainly Superbook and Sahara Bets.

Distinguishing Characteristics

  • A portion of your bet is cash, and a portion is a Bonus Voucher, such as 50/50.
  • Only the winnings are returned, not the stake, on the portion of the bet that was a Bonus Voucher.

Common Names

  • Bonus Voucher

Expected Value

  • Varies

DarkHorse Odds Bet Finders

Learn more about all of the DarkHorse Odds Bet Finders.

The DarkHorse Odds Bet Finder is the core tool to help you convert all your promotions at maximum profit. We have a unique Bet Finder for every type of promotion outlined above. The only thing you need to do is enter the criteria and select the sportsbook you have the promotion on. For example, if you have a 50% profit boost on a $100 bet with a $250 max additional winnings from FanDuel, you simply need to make those selections like the image below. Our Bet Finders will then search through all possible combinations, find the highest conversions, and tell you which bets to place and how much to bet.

DarkHorse Odds Profit Boost Calculator results table DarkHorse Odds Profit Boost Calculator results table DarkHorse Odds Profit Boost Calculator bet slip DarkHorse Odds Profit Boost Calculator outcome explanation DarkHorse Odds Profit Boost Calculator outcome explanation

Let's take the example of a 50% Profit Boost on FanDuel from above and now say that the Profit Boost only applies to the Grizzlies game. Using our filters, you can narrow down the results to only show bets that qualify for this promotion.

Screenshot of the DarkHorse Odds event filter

DarkHorse Odds provides filters beyond selecting a specific event. You can filter by min/max odds, date/time, sport/league, and many more.

Screenshot of the filters on DarkHorse Odds

Withdrawing From Sportsbooks Accounts

Now that you've profited from matched betting, it is time to reap your rewards. There are a few things you should know before doing so. You can only withdraw via a method that you previously used to deposit. This means you may have to make a small deposit, ~$10, from a new method if you want to withdraw via it.

  1. Avoid PayPal: They incorrectly track profits and may provide inaccurate tax forms.
  2. Debit Card: Often the fastest method to withdraw money.
  3. Online Banking: Works well even if depositing via online banking did not work for large deposits. 
  4. VIP Preferred: Works well.

The first time you withdraw from a sportsbook, they will likely ask you for additional information, such as a bank statement or even a selfie of you holding your license. This standard practice ensures no one else is trying to withdraw your money. 

Sportsbooks prefer deposits over withdrawals, and sometimes withdrawals can lead to limits from a sportsbook. Here are a few things to consider before withdrawing.

  1. If you do not have to withdraw, don't withdraw
  2. Have you completed all Site Credit rollover requirements?
  3. If possible, avoid immediate withdraws after the sign-up offer
  4. Try to stick to smaller, spread-out withdrawals (weekly) instead of a large one-time withdrawal.

FAQ

Is Matched Betting Gambling?

No, because you are betting both sides, you guarantee one of your bets will win. This is sometimes called hedging your bet. With matched betting, you do this in a way that mathematically guarantees profit.

Do I Have To Use DarkHorse Odds For Matched Betting?

No, you can do the math and find the bets manually or explore other matched betting software providers.

Can My Friends/Family Do This Too?

Yes, they can. Sportsbooks do track and prevent people from creating multiple accounts or running accounts for others. Running accounts for others may be illegal in some jurisdictions. Learn more in our Can I Help Others Do This guide?

Can I Register Multiple Accounts With The Same Sportsbook?

No, you may only have one account per sportsbook.

How Do I Get More Promotions?

There are recurring promotions for all customers, but you can generate additional targeted offers by betting a lot on a particular sportsbook. Learn more in our Becoming a Sportsbooks VIP guide.

Do Existing Users Get Promotions?

Yes. There are recurring promotions for all customers, and you can find those offers in our Promo Dashboard. Additionally, you can generate targeted offers by increasing your handle across sportsbooks. Learn more in our Becoming a Sportsbooks VIP guide.

What If I Live In A State Where Online Sports Betting Is Not Allowed?

If you are legally allowed to gamble, you only need to be physically present in a location with online sports betting. You do not have to live there. Think of it like traveling to Las Vegas to gamble. You do not have to be a Nevada resident to play at their casinos.

In What States Is Online Sports Betting Legal?

Online sports betting is currently allowed in the following states:

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How Much Money Can You Make From Matched Betting? 

This will vary based on your starting bankroll, how much time you invest into looking at the daily promotions, and where you live/are willing to travel to. Just from the sign-up offers in most states, you can expect to make over $4,000. Continuing past that, many matched bettors make several hundred to a few thousand dollars a month. Some users profit significantly more than that if they are VIPs on multiple sportsbooks.

Matched Betting Benefits 

It is a side hustle you can do from your couch while on your phone. You can set your schedule and have tremendous freedom in your approach. 

Is there any Risk to Matched Betting?

The only real risk is human error, such as betting the wrong amount or placing the wrong bet. If you were supposed to bet on the Yankees and hedge with the Red Sox, but you accidentally place both bets on the Yankees.

Is Matched Betting Legal Worldwide?

Yes, it is legal worldwide. This article focuses on the United States, but the concepts are the same anywhere in the world with online sports betting.

Is "Risk-Free Matched Betting" Too Good To Be True?

No. It is a way to guarantee profit from sports betting.

How Much Money Do I Need To Get Started?

The more you have available, the easier it is. However, you can start with just a few hundred dollars and build your bankroll over time.

Do I Need To Learn About Sports?

It is not required, but having a basic understanding of the three main bet types, money line, spread, and total, reduces your risk of making a mistake and increases your comfort level.

What Happens When I Have Used Up All The Sign-up Offers?

Just like physical casinos offer promotions to get you back in the door as a marketing strategy, online sportsbooks follow the same approach. They have constant offers to get you to open their app daily because they want you to place bets. By using matched betting on these offers, you can ensure you profit.

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