Common Pitfalls in Matched Betting

Within sports betting, there is a very popular strategy known as matched betting, which allows players to exploit bookmakers’ promotions and bonuses to guarantee profits. While this method is often praised for its potential to yield consistent returns, it is not always an easy method. As more and more people try their hand at matched betting, it becomes increasingly obvious what the most common pitfalls are. 

Today, we are going to take a look at some of the most common mistakes and pitfalls in matched betting so that you can become aware of them and not make the same mistakes for yourself going forward. 

Human Error

In order to match bets successfully, you need to make sure that the bets are backed mathematically. Luckily, for those who are not as skilled in maths, there are matched betting calculators available at sites such as OddsMonkey. These matched betting calculators do the hard work for us and allow you to place bets more efficiently. 

However, many people fail to notice the multiple different settings available on these calculators. The different settings include normal, free bet SNR, and free bet SR. Normal should be used for qualifying bets, free bet SNR (stake not returned) and free bet SR should be used when placing free bets. 

By mixing up these settings and/or doing the calculations wrong from the start, you run the risk of human error and may encounter losses due to the matched bets being placed incorrectly.

Placing The Bets in The Wrong Order

When matched betting, the back bet should always be placed first. This is imperative to successfully match betting because everything works off of the odds of the back bet. It’s a lot easier to place a suitable lay bet than it is to find a suitable back bet. You also don’t want to place a lay bet before confirming the back bet, as getting left with a lay bet in the exchange could cost more due to the liability. 

Placing lay bets at first may not seem like that big of an issue, but it can lead to failed bets down the road. Always ensuring that you place back bets first will stop this from happening and lead to more successful bets. 

Lay Bet Liability

As you get into the swing of matched betting, you are going to place more bets more frequently. As this inevitability occurs, it will become more crucial that you check the liability of the lay bets you place. Essentially, exchanges will only let you risk as much money as is deposited in your account. You’ll want to ensure that you have enough balance in order to pay off any losing bets. This is particularly true on bets with higher odds. If you are just starting out, it may be a good idea to avoid bets with higher odds so you can come to terms with the rules of betting exchanges. It is always crucial to check the liability of your bets before you even place the back bet. 

Unmatched Bets

Unmatched bets are, unfortunately, a problem that almost every matched bettor faces eventually. Betting exchanges are where individuals bet with each other, meaning that someone needs to accept your bet for it to be taken on. Whether or not someone accepts your bet is not something you are in control of and can lead to frustrating sessions if no one wants to lay bets. 

This is why you need to make sure the market is liquid enough before placing any bets. A fast-moving market can be more difficult to match with because the odds are moving so fast that it might go against you. To prevent this, you shouldn’t place bets close to the fixture start time and instead make sure you are well prepared beforehand. 

If no one matches your bet, then you want to make sure to cash out your back bet before the fixture begins. Leaving it in hoping for a win is gambling, the opposite of matched betting, and can lead to losses. It is better to take a small loss or have reduced profits than it is to potentially lose your entire stake. 

Not Tracking Results 

Trying to figure out when and where you have placed previous bets can be very time-consuming. This is why we always recommend that you track all of your matched bets so that you know where your money is and has been. This can also help you keep track of your balance in each bookmaker and which free bet promotions you have used so far. Once again, a betting software such as OddsMonkey can provide a tracker for you that streamlines the process completely. 

Expired or Invalid Offers

Bookmakers frequently update their promotions, and matched bettors need to stay informed about the terms and conditions. Attempting to capitalise on expired or invalid offers can lead to disappointment and potentially financial setbacks. 


It is evident that success in this unique betting strategy requires many skills, such as knowledge, adaptability, and a commitment to responsible gambling practices. Recognizing the pitfalls discussed in this article is the first step toward fortifying your matched betting endeavours. Whether it’s the complex calculations or the need to adapt to market fluctuations, each challenge presents an opportunity to refine your skills and enhance your approach.


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