Matched betting offers: Are they worth doing?
Go onto any betting site and you’ll see an array of offers. The question is - are they worth doing if you’re a matched bettor?
Whilst matched betting offers come in all shapes and sizes, the most common type is a simple ‘Bet £x get £x free bet’ promotion. Some of these offers are profitable, whilst others are just not worth bothering with. Here’s a short guide to explain the difference:
Expected value (EV) measures the difference between the loss you make in qualifying for an offer and the profit you make from the free bet. For a matched betting offer to be worth doing, it needs to have a positive EV. Let’s look at two examples:
Bet £10 get £5 free bet
As the name suggests, you place a £10 bet on any sports market (check the terms and conditions first!) and when the bet settles you receive a £5 free bet.
On average, your qualifying loss for the £10 bet should be around 50p-£1 once you’ve laid the bet at the exchange.
In return you receive a £5 free bet. After using this and laying it at the exchange you should expect to retain about 80% of the free bet value and make a profit of around £4.
So the overall EV is the £4 profit minus the 50p qualifying loss. In other words, about £3.50. This makes the offer well worth doing.
Bet £200 get £10
In this example you have to wager £200 to qualify for the free bet. Based on a similar match to the previous example, your qualifying loss will be around £10.
In return you receive a £10 free bet, from which you can expect to make around £8.
Overall, your EV is the minus £10 qualifying loss plus the £8 profit, giving you an expected value of minus £2. Obviously an offer like this is not worth doing.
The key things to remember are that you need the expected value to be positive. You should aim to make around 80% of the value of the free bet and lose around 5% of the value of the initial wager.
Confused? Luckily, it doesn't matter if any of that is above your maths skill ceiling. Whilst it’s useful to know how exactly matched betting offers work, matched betting companies like Profit Accumulator and Oddsmonkey not only help you find the best matched betting offers, but they calculate the expected value from them and even help you find the best matched betting wagers to place.