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What is Matched Betting in Sports Betting?
If you’re a novice sports bettor, perhaps the overwhelming abundance of online sportsbook bonuses is leaving you with more questions than answers. With so many potential no deposit promos, deposit match promos, and risk-free bonuses offered up to first-timers, it can be difficult to parse out which ones you’d prefer to take advantage of.
Likewise, even after you’ve figured out that information, it can still be tough to figure out how to convert that bonus cash from your sportsbook account into real, tangible, cold hard cash that can be withdrawn straight to your bank account. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be!
So long as you have multiple legal online sportsbooks in your area to reap welcome benefits from, you should be able to reap relatively high rewards with relatively low risk through hedged, matched betting opportunities. But what exactly does matched betting entail? Let’s find out.
What Is Matched Betting?
Ostensibly, in the most general terms, matched betting entails placing a bet using one online sportsbook’s promo, then placing a “hedge bet" through a different online sportsbook promo on the opposite outcome. In principle, this nullifies a lot of the “gambling” aspects of gambling, because instead of risking the loss of any stakes, you can guarantee a profit, regardless of the final outcome of the match or game.
Win or lose, you’ll walk away with a net profit! For example, with college and pro football season around the corner again, let's imagine a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys, two longtime, hot-blooded football foes. In this hypothetical Monday night matchup, the oddsmakers have deemed the Birds decent favorites, and the Doomsday Defense heavy dogs.
You use a hypothetical $100 free bet from Bovada on the Eagles, then place $50 on the Boys through BetMGM. Taking a deep breath to put long standing bad blood aside, you eagerly wait out Whether you’re successfully riding with The City Of Brotherly Love or The Triple D City, you’ll be guaranteed a payout either way!
It’s far easier to retain profit in betting with promotions and risk free bonuses than without. But if you’re wondering about how to squeeze the most potential juice out of your matched bets, here’s what you should know.
Matched Betting Strategy
Part of the major appeal of matched betting is the effectively guaranteed reward with zero potential risk. Unlike parlay betting, where you’ll want to ensure that you have relative confidence in each leg’s viability, or spread betting, where you’ll have to contemplate the likelihood of a team winning or losing within a certain point range, matched betting requires minimal strategizing to ensure success.
There are minimal risks to first-time matched betting, strategic or otherwise. You are retaining a smaller overall profit, usually; it won’t pay the bills But there are a few key pointers worth keeping in mind if you’d really like to reap the most potential reward from matched betting:
- Pay Attention To The Types Of Promos Being Offered: Risk free bet promos generally offer the highest potential returns of any sportsbook promotion. But as you would with any online sportsbook promo, pay close, careful attention to the terms and conditions of the promo prior to opting in.
- Pay Attention To The Odds Along Both Sides Of A Matchup: A soccer game with a heavy -1200 favorite against a heavy +2800 underdog won’t offer a balanced payout along both sides of the money line. An odd with closer lines, however, will afford you better opportunities to hedge and arbitrage your matched bets between books. Look for the most valuable hedge lines by comparing books and using odds calculator tools.
- Pay Attention To The Best Promotions To Stack Together: A risk free bet promo on one sportsbook will hedge best with a deposit match promo from another? Don’t know why? Read our guide to fill yourself in.
- Pay Attention To What You’re Clicking On: The biggest risk associated with matched betting is sheer human error. It might sound like a silly oversight, but whatever you do, make sure you don’t tap on the wrong team or game by mistake!
No, matched betting won’t yield enough profit to let you quit your day job. It won’t get you anywhere near the jackpot payout that’s got you crossing your fingers over that improbable 25-leg parlay that’s got crossing your fingers over the astronomically slim off chance your 25 cents will yield 25 grand.
We’ve all been there, but at the end of the day, the degen approach just isn’t the most consistently profitable way of doing things. While they yield smaller victories, matched betting is an excellent tactic to guarantee victories across sportsbooks, no matter the actual victor or loser of an event.
Why Do Sportsbooks Allow Matched Betting?
Matched betting offers a feasible way of beating the system by hedging your bets across different online sportsbook systems. Bookies generally don’t mind offering generous promotions in the short term because in the longer term, they know they’ll make money (or vigorish) off the average gambler.
However, if an operator catches you doing moneyline arbitrage or hedging on the same book, or multiple books catch you erroneously using bonuses outside the bounds of their terms and conditions (a practice pejoratively referred to as “bonus abuse”), there’s a chance they could limit or ban your account.
Matched Betting Risks
But provided you play by the rules, matched betting is generally a passable, low risk way to guarantee a profit across sportsbooks, take the gamble out of gambling, and get started sports betting with a higher bankroll. Matched betting takes out the guesswork and nerve-wracking anxiety over whether you’ll pick the right pick ems, single bets, point spreads, parlay legs, or money lines.
If both money lines present an opportune chance to hedge between both books, you can walk away a winner - no matter which money line wins out! All in all, there’s very little risk to this strategy beyond human error, the possibility of miscalculating the value of your matched, hedged bets, and of course, it’s temporary nature.
Obviously, you can’t retain a sportsbook welcome bonus multiple times over if you were previously welcomed to them before. Conversely, certain lines will be better for hedging bets than others, and these hedging opportunities are only limited to binary, two-way outcomes.
But if you’re looking for a solid way to get started building your bankroll, matched betting is a great way to get started. If you’re wondering where to get started, review our operator review portal to find the best online sportsbooks, and the best welcome bonuses to get started at online sportsbooks.