9 common mistakes to avoid

Training: Beginner

We all started matched betting at some point, give yourself a head start and learn from our blunders!

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Mistake 1: Laying before backing

We often take for granted the idea that both bets are placed simultaneously. When starting we probably don't put too much thought the order in which the bets should be placed - surely it makes no difference?

It's good practice to place the bookie bet before the lay bet. This is because you have a lot more control over bets placed on the exchange. The bookies, on the other hand, may decide that they don’t like the stake you entered or change their odds.

If they change their odds than you can adjust the stake for the lay bet accordingly, or just not bet at all if you decide it's not worth doing anymore.

Here's a common situation: you place the lay bet with the exchange first, and the bookmaker odds suddenly drop and now you start panicking and returning to the calculator to see how much extra you should lay. You then realise you have layed too much so you need to enter a small back bet to fix this but you’re struggling to calculate how much.

Do yourself a favour and place the back bet first.

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Some advice from one of our members

Mistake 2: Making it obvious you’re a matched bettor

Matched betting is more than just taking advantage of the signup offers out there, and some bookies will flag your account before you even finish that if you’re always betting on the top suggestion from the Oddsmatcher.

Build a ‘profile’ with the bookie – mug bet, use other parts of the website that take your fancy; remember the more engaged you appear with the bookie the more offers you could have emailed to you.

Betting on a lower division Romanian game will look extremely suspicious - especially if it's your first bet! Stick to markets that UK punters are likely to bet on, i.e. UK events!

Mistake 3: Not betting over the weekends

We get it, you've got a tonne of signup offers still to do from bookmakers you'll probably never bet with again. But it's good practice to get into the habit of taking advantage of all the existing customer offers that you possibly can over the weekend. Remember, what makes Reload offers different is that they expire.

There's a tonne of offers and racing refunds available every weekend. Hell, I even send you an email every Friday telling you what to look out for - you've got no excuses!

Mistake 4: Not checking if there's enough liquidity

You ever wonder why your bets are always unmatched? Well, it's probably because of this.

You can check how much liquidity is available at the exchange by looking at the little figure (in £) under the odds. This amount is also shown on the last column on the Oddsmatcher.

oddsmatcher result

For example, in the market below if I placed a £20 lay bet on ‘Dutch Artist’ at 6.40 I will have £16 matched but £4 will be unmatched as there’s only £16 available to be layed at that price.

liquidity This is from another guide on dealing with unmatched bets - have a read if this happens to you a lot!

Mistake 5: Rushing

This will only increase the likelihood of a mistake being make. (Hence this guide!)

If you’re in a rush, it's best to leave it for another time. There are no prizes for the quickest matched bettor!

Mistake 6: Doing an offer without realising how much could be needed

Before starting an offer, you should always ask yourself: how much money am I going to have tied up worst case?

A quick way to work this out is to assess what would happen if you had a series of winning bets with the bookmaker. Consider how much you'd lose in the exchange from each matched bet until the wagering requirements have been completed.

The bet365 new account offer is a matched deposit up to £200 with a 3x wagering requirement. One of our members explains how much will roughly be needed:

quote from user

Explaining the intuition of how much may be needed

Put short, if you can't allocate £1,200 of your own money for this offer then you're opening yourself up to risk.

An alternate way some tackle this offer is to deliberately place their bets on high odds hoping it will lose (this is known as trying to 'bust out'). No doubt it's a valid strategy, but as you can see above it may require significantly more of your own money if things don't go as planned.

Mistake 7: Not reading the terms

The main points of an offer will usually be outlined, but that doesn't mean you should fire away with your bets without having a good read of what's required. The main things to look out for are the minimum odds, the wagering requirements and whether an opt-in is required. Some offers may specify the bets needs to placed via mobile, in-play or on a particular market.

Don't get caught out!

Mistake 8: Wasting time gathering ID documents only after it’s requested

This is a standard procedure and more common than you think. You should have images or PDFs of the following documents safely stored somewhere:

Mistake 9: Trying to 'bust out'

This is a little controversial as above I said it was a valid strategy. It's very popular amongst newbies but it's not a good idea if you're not completely sure how much money could be needed by opting for this path (see mistake #6).

When undergoing an offer with a high wagering requirement you should aim to complete it. You may find yourself in a position where the bets at the bookie have all lost from your deposit and bonus funds, at this point you can consider the offer complete as the bonus would have moved to your Betfair balance. Think of it as a bonus that's saved you a bit of time, rather than the goal.

If your mentality is to simply move the bonus funds by matching a bet you think will lose, it is absolutely vital you are prepared if the bet does win. It's amazing how many times people ask for advice when their funds are tied up with a bookmaker and they don't have the bankroll to get it out. At this stage it can be very tricky: anything that is done will have some risk attached.

If you have the bank to do it, then it's not so much a problem. Keep in mind in the long term you will not make as much from the offer than if you matched several bets at shorter odds.

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Next guide »
Unmatched bets


Bank of Bets

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