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What is Matched Betting?
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What is Matched Betting?

Level: Beginner
Updated: Feb 22, 2024
3 min read

Matched Betting is a way to convert sportsbook promotions into withdrawable cash. Examples include promotions such as Sign-up offers, Deposit Matches, Bonus Bets, Profit Boosts, and many more. Not to mention it's a great way to make money online. It can even turn into a side hustle especially if you become a VIP. Matched Betting is safe and completely legal.

Key Takeaways
  • Matched betting is a side hustle that mathematically guarantees profit from sportsbook promotions
  • Matched betting is not gambling since there is no risk of losing
  • You can matched bet from any location where online gambling is legal
  • DarkHorse Odds provides all the tools and guides you need to get started. Start a free trial.

How does Matched Betting work?

Sportsbook promotions tilt the odds and payouts in the favor of the bettor. To profit from these promotions, you place one bet using your promotion and then place a ‘hedge’ bet with a different sportsbook. These bets are ‘matched’ in a way that guarantees a profit, no matter which outcome happens.

The terms "Back Bet" (a bet on something to happen) and "Lay Bet" (An opposing bet against the same outcome) are also common terminology within the industry, but most commonly used in the UK.

Note that Matched Betting is different from gambling. Gambling means that you can lose money if a certain outcome happens. With Matched Betting, you don’t care what happens because you make the same amount of money either way.

Infographic describing matched betting process

What is a sportsbook?

A sportsbook is a company that accepts bets from bettors. There are retail (in-person) sportsbooks as well as online sportsbooks. (When we refer to sportsbooks, we are talking about online sportsbooks since matched betting can only be done online.) Generally, these bets are on sporting events, but bettors can usually bet on most outcomes. Non sports bets include politics and entertainment (Is it time to bet on the Oscars?)

Sportsbook are legally allowed to choose how to define a winning bet although pretty much every sportsbook offers the same sort of bets. (Parlays, prop bets, money line...etc)

Why do sportsbooks do this? (This sounds too good to be true.)

Sportsbooks offer promotions in an attempt to lure in new customers and retain existing ones. Some sportsbooks even allow you to repeat sign-up offers across multiple states. They know that in the long term, they will make money off of the average gambler. It’s not that different from bank and credit card sign-up offers, except there’s a lot more money to be made.

Is Matched Betting the same as Arbitrage?

No, Matched Betting is not the same as Arbitrage. They are two different distinct forms of betting.

Matched Betting takes advantage of offers from sportsbooks, while Arbitrage is a way to mathematically guarantee profit by betting on all outcomes at specific sportsbook odds without taking advantage of any offers.

Arbitrage betting is also significantly riskier than Matched Betting and will get your account limited much faster. Not to mention, Matched Betting is much easier to learn and execute.

Is Matched Betting the same as Low Hold betting?

"Low Holds" and matched betting are related. Hold is a term used to describe how much of the total wager amount a sportsbook keeps. The average hold is around 4%. A simplified way to think of that is if $100 is wagered on a particular event, on average the sportsbook pays out $96 in winnings and keeps $4. A low hold occurs when the hold is below 4%. This happens when two different sportsbooks have different odds on a particular event. The difference in odds between sportsbooks helps make matched betting profitable, but strictly using low holds is not the best approach to matched betting. Learn more in our Low Holds Fallacy guide.

How much money can I make doing Matched Betting?

You won’t be able to quit your day job, but it can be a sizable side hustle (Be sure to take advantage of special promotions such as FanDuel's Dinger Tuesday). A lot depends on how much money you can commit to Matched Betting to start with and what sportsbooks are available in your state. A lot of DarkHorse Odds members clear $1,000 every month. Some do much more than that.

Who is Matched Betting right for?

Matched betting is great for anyone interested in a profitable side hustle. You need to be in a State (or Province) that allows online sports betting and you need to be of legal age to place sports bets.

Is it possible to make Matched Betting into a side hustle?

Of course. Matched betting is a great way to make money online, but it's highly unlikely you can make a full-time living from matched betting.

What’s the catch? Is there any risk?

There’s no catch. The biggest risk to be aware of is human error. For example, placing a bet on the wrong team or with the wrong amount. So, don’t rush, take the time to understand the promotions, and double-check your bets.

If you are new to Matched Betting, we recommend starting with sportsbooks that have smaller signup bonuses. Check out our other guides for the various sportsbook promotions and how to get started.

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