What is matched betting?

What is matched betting?

Matched betting is a sports betting strategy in which you place two bets, at least one being a free bet, with different sportsbooks on the same market for an event in order to guarantee yourself a profit, regardless of the outcome. This can involve betting on opposing results in a moneyline, point spread, or total or over/under market, or betting on a back or lay option on a sportsbook exchange.

Matched betting is arguably one of the most popular and straightforward methods for making guaranteed money from sports betting, and there are many websites specifically dedicated to teaching bettors how to use it.

As the strategy involves taking advantage of free bets, matched betting is most commonly used by bettors who have signed up with no more than a few sportsbooks, and are therefore in a position to get welcome offers for new customers at other betting sites.

How does matched betting work?

Let’s imagine that Sportsbook A has given you a $100 free bet to use on an NBA match, for which the free bet stake is not included within the payout for a winning bet. While browsing their NBA markets, you notice that for one match they are offering odds of -110 for the over on the points total. If you place the $100 free bet on the over and that wins, you would get $90.90 (a $190.90 payout minus the $100 free bet amount).

You then notice that Sportsbook B is offering odds of -110 for the under on the points total in the same NBA match. However, you cannot simply place a $100 bet on this, as if the over wins, you would in fact lose $9.10 over the two bets.

You therefore need to work out what amount you need to wager with Sportsbook B to give yourself the best possible guaranteed profit. In this case, a bet of $47.62 on odds of -110 would have a payout of $90.90.

The two potential outcomes are now as follows:





Sportsbook A (over)

$100 free bet ($0 actual)


$190.90 - $100 free bet = $90.90

Sportsbook B (under)




Guaranteed profit

$90.90 - $47.62 = $43.29

In other words, no matter whether the over or under wins for that market, if you use your free $100 bet on Sportsbook A (over) and bet $47.62 on Sportsbook B (under), you are guaranteed to make a profit of $43.29.


How can I make money from matched betting?

Naturally, the key to getting the best possible guaranteed profit from matched betting is to find two sportsbooks that are offering long and (at least) near identical odds for opposing outcomes on the same market for an event. For instance, in the example above, odds of -110 on both sides of the points total produced a profit of $43.29, yet odds of +110 would have produced a profit of $57.62.

There is no limit to the profit you can guarantee from matched betting, so long as the odds are in your favor. Therefore, you may find it beneficial to only use matched betting in certain situations, such as if you are guaranteed to make at least a certain amount of money, or the profit represents a specified percentage total of the free bet stake.

Numerous sportsbooks regularly offer free bets and odds boosts which can create matched betting opportunities. Don't forget that you can see the latest promotions at Canada's top sportsbooks with BET.CA.

You can also work out potential profits from a matched betting situation by using a bet calculator. There are also websites that have databases listing where the best possible returns are among markets for events happening that day, although some require a subscription fee to use.

Matched betting FAQs

What markets can I used matched betting on?
How much money can I make from matched betting?
Is matched betting legal?

All betting guides on BET.CA are written by in-our house team, who have over 40 years’ experience in the sports betting and gaming industries, and have worked and written for several of the world’s leading sportsbooks. They possess in-depth knowledge of betting markets and strategies, as well as an understanding of what is important to bettors, meaning you can read on with the confidence that they will help improve your betting.

BET.CA staff
BET.CA staff