Getting Started Walkthrough
Table of Contents

Getting Started with Matched Betting - A Walkthrough

Level: Beginner
Updated: Aug 25, 2023
4 min read


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Key Takeaways
  • Matched betting is a side hustle that allows you to profit from sportsbooks promotions
  • DarkHorse Odds provides all the tools and information necessary to get started with matched betting
  • Matched betting is not gambling, since there is not a risk of losing
  • There are nuances such as identifying what promotions are available to you and best order to complete offers that are important to maximize profit. Start by reading this guide.

What You Need to Know

The Outcome of the Event Doesn't Matter

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.  If your promotional bet wins, you will profit the same as if your promotional bet loses.  

The Three Main Bet Types

Moneyline, Spread, and Totals are the main bet types. Learn more in the Sports Betting Basics guides.

Not All Promotions are the Same

Know the different promotions and how they work. Site Credit, Free Bets, and Risk Free Bets are the most common, but there are others.

How to Avoid Limits

Sportsbooks do not like profitable bettors.  For this reason, they can and will take action to limit sharp bettors.  Being limited means your max bet amount is lowered, making it significantly harder to profit from matched betting.  Learn more about avoiding limits in our Don't Get Limited Guide.

Can Matched Betting Be A Worthwhile Side Hustle?

Indeed. It is 100% legal and thousands have made extra money online. Don't take our word for it - see how others have matched betting as a worthwhile side hustle.

Plan Your Approach

Start Slow vs VIP

Decide if you want to start slow, working through some of the smaller offers available to you. Or, you can start with some of the bigger offers and go after VIP status.  Starting slow is recommended to gain familiarity with the Bet Finders and Matched Betting.  But there is more money to be made by reaching VIP status.  Going after VIP does require a larger bankroll. Note that it is possible to get VIP after starting slow, but it can take longer.

What Sportsbooks Are Available to You?

Our State Guides outline all the available sportsbooks in each state (and province) and have the sign-up offers listed. They list key information such as the type of promotion offered and which Bet Finder to use.

Choose Your First 2 Sportsbooks

Identify the first two sportsbooks you want to use.  You want to avoid placing Risk Free Bets against each other.  Most sportsbooks offer Risk Free Bets as the sign-up offer, so you will need to look for at least one sportsbook that has a different offer, such as a deposit match. In Matched Betting, when both bets are promotions, it's called stacking promotions. Learn more in our Stacking Promotions Guide.

Create and Fund Your Sportsbooks Accounts

Create an account on the first two sportsbooks you are planning to use.  If required, use promo codes when signing up to ensure you are eligible for the signup offer.  Also take note of any timelines that may be associated with the sign-up offer, such as must be completed within XX days of creating the account.

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

Not all banks/funding methods work well.  Initially funding a sportsbook can be a hassle.  See our Funding/Withdrawing Guide for more details.

Learn the DarkHorse Odds Tools

User Settings

Go into User Settings and select the Sportsbooks you belong to under “Sportsbooks / Location”.

Bet Finders

Explore all the features of our Bet Finders.  Know how to select your sportsbook, enter parameters such as bet amount, and apply filters such as Main Lines only. Here are some key parameters and filters to consider:

  1. Sportsbook with the promotion
  2. Bet amount
  3. Refund Type (if a Risk Free Bet)
  4. Market and Segment Filters (Recommend Main Lines Only)
  5. Max hedge amount
  6. Minimum Odds (if Site Credit)
  7. Minimum Hedge Odds (If Hedging with Site Credit)
  8. Date Range Filters (Recommend Today Only)

The Terms & Conditions of the promotion will tell you what these parameters/filters need to be.

Create a Preset for Your First Matched Bet

Bet Finder parameters and filters can be tedious to type in again and again. Saving a preset makes this much easier. Learn more in our Presets Guide.

Place Your First Matched Bet

Below are some best practices once you determine the first Matched Bet you want to place.

  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
  6. Place the promotional bet first
  7. Place the hedge bet second

Don't Forget to Convert that Risk Free Bet Refund!

Your first Matched Bet will most likely involve a Risk Free Bet. This is the most common sign-up offer. Converting a Risk Free Bet is either a one or two-step process. If your Risk Free Bet loses you will get a refund in the form of a promotion (usually Free Bet or Site Credit). This promotion will require another Matched Bet to convert.  Refunds may be instant (MGM, Barstool), or take a few days (FanDuel).

Don't Stop After the Sign-up Offers

Continue through the rest of the sign-up offers. Sportsbooks continue to offer promotions after those initial sign-up offers. These recurring promotions are usually very simple to take advantage of and can easily be worth over several hundred dollars a month, or even more if you reach VIP status.

The easiest and fastest way to view available promotions is to use the DarkHorse Odds Promo Dashboard. The Promo Dashboard consolidates the promotions for all of your selected sportsbooks based on offers available in your state. The result is a one stop shop that saves you time and increases your matched betting profits.

Withdrawing Money

At some point, you will need to withdraw money from a sportsbook.  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. Have you completed all Site Credit rollover requirements?
  2. Avoid immediate withdrawals after the sign-up offer if you can.
  3. Try to withdraw in smaller, weekly, amounts instead of one large withdrawal.

Learn more in our Funding/Withdrawing Guide.

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