Matched Betting Money

7 Days of Matched Betting: One Big Scam Or A Clever Side Hustle?

August 13, 2017 by
matched betting guide

In what can only be described as a moment of madness, in October last year I subjected myself to a gruelling 7 days of using the popular survey website Swagbucks. I kept a diary over the course of the week and when it finally went live, Becky from Scunthorpe told me the post was ‘the funniest thing on the internet’ and Keith from Slough called it ‘the most accurate review of Swagbucks ever’.

Since my Swagbucks Week Of Hell was such a hit with readers, back in May I decided to torture myself once more. This time, I spent a whole week matched betting.

This is a long read so please click on the headings below if you’d like to jump to a section:

What is matched betting?
Is matched betting shady or illegal?
Creating my profit Accumulator account
How much does Profit Accumulator cost?
Watching the tutorial videos
Setting up a fresh email account
A separate bank account… helpful but not essential
How much money do you need?
Placing my first matched bet
Creating my geeky matched betting spreadsheet
Upgrading my Profit Accumulator account
Don’t gamble away your matched betting profits
How long does it take to place the bets?
How much can you make per hour?
Is matched betting addictive?
How much did you make in your first week, Jen?


What is matched betting?

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of matched betting, it basically involves placing two bets on the same game to cover all possible outcomes. For example, you’d place one bet on Manchester United to win, and one bet for them to not win (protecting you in the event of a draw). In theory, if you follow the matched betting process correctly and don’t make any mistakes, you’re guaranteed a win – no matter what the result.

I know what you’re thinking – “but surely if you bet on all outcomes you won’t win anything because the loss cancels out the win?!” This is true. Which is why we make use of FREE bets in order to make a profit. From Ladbrokes to Paddy Power, most bookies offer the occasional free bet to new and existing customers to lure them in and get them gambling. In order to access these free bets, you have to place a qualifying bet…

Qualifying bet

So you might place a qualifying bet on Manchester United to win. You’d then place a bet elsewhere for them not to win. Once that game is over, no matter what the result, the bookie in question will reward you with your free bet!

Free bet

Now you have your free bet, you repeat the process again on a different game. This time you might place a bet for Chelsea to win. Elsewhere, you’ll place a bet for Chelsea not to win. Since you used a free bet rather than your actual money this time, no matter what the result, you make a profit! Hooray!

Is matched betting shady or illegal?

Type ‘matched betting’ into Google and you’ll find hundreds of people praising the process and thanking it for allowing them to make hundreds and even thousands of pounds a month. Matched betting is completely legal and while bookies might not be over the moon about the trick, many people argue that they allow it to happen because it attracts people to their websites and encourages people to bet.

Sounds too good to be true, ey? I’m about to find out whether matched betting is what it’s cracked up to be:

Day 1

Creating my Profit Accumulator account

I’ve been meaning to start matched betting for months but I’ve repeatedly put it on the back burner due to a fear it’d be a lot of work. But one lunch break, as I sat at my desk eating a curry, I suddenly felt the urge to just get started.

After asking other money bloggers for advice, my first step involved creating a free Profit Accumulator account. Profit Accumulator is a tool that I’ve been told will guide me through the entire matched betting process, holding my hand and telling me exactly what to bet on and how much to place on each bet.

Profit Accumulator’s main features include:

*  An ‘Offers’ page that lists offers from hundreds of bookies

*  An ‘Oddsmatching’ tool that shows you all the games that are on in the coming days

*  A calculator where you input the odds for your chosen game. This calculator then tells you how much money you should bet and how much profit you’ll make

*  Video tutorials that walk you through each bet step by step

How much does Profit Accumulator cost?

I decided to start off signing up for a free trial to see what all the fuss is about. You can sign up for a free trial here.  According to Profit Accumulator, this free a trial will teach me how to matched bet while also pointing me in the direction of two offers which should earn me up to £40.

Once I’ve completed these free offers and have made up to £40, I can either carry on matched betting independently (this means I have to find betting offers myself and do all the complicated maths myself) or I can sign up for Profit Accumulator’s premium account at £17.99 a month and continue following their advice and using their tools.

Watching the tutorial videos

Once I’d created my free Profit Accumulator account, I started watching the tutorials talking me through the process. At this stage, it all seemed very confusing but I figured I’d get the hang of it once I’d begun to put the lessons into practice.

Setting up a fresh email account

Matched betting pros tend to advise that you set up a fresh email account especially for matched betting (because you’ll be inundated with offers), so I did what they said.

A separate bank account… helpful but not essential

The real matched betting geeks recommend using a separate bank account too. This is by no means essential, but it can help to keep things organised. Having a separate account helps you keep track of your profits and saves you running up a massive bank statement on the account you use for regular stuff. After all, you’ll have to deposit money into each betting account you open. This could be as little as £5 or as much as a few hundred, depending on your budget and chosen bets.

How much money do you need?

I’ve read stories from people starting matched betting with as little as £50. But the more money you start off with the better because it means you can have several bets on the go at once. For the purpose of this experiment, I’ve decided to set aside around £500 of my own money.

Day 2

Placing my first matched bet

Once I’d completed the training videos, it was time to get started on the first of two offers available with my free account.  The first offer was a free £20 bet with the bookmaker Coral.

Profit Accumulator said: “One of the easiest Matched Betting offers to get started with is Coral. They’re an English bookmaker (you’ve probably seen many of their shops around the country), and they offer a £20 free bet for new online customers. To qualify for that bet, you only need to deposit and bet through £5. You also need to open a Betfair account to lay off your bets.”

Despite watching the training videos, I still felt really nervous about putting my cash on the line. What if I mess up and lose it?! Thankfully, Profit Accumulator supplied me with another handy video talking me through the whole process step by step.

Until today, I assumed all betting websites were the same, but as it turns out, Coral is a traditional bookmaker where you bet against the bookies, while Betfair is a place where you bet against other individuals as they sit at home in their pants eating pizza.

For my qualifying bet, I chose a really obscure football match Deportivo Lara v Caracas. I placed a bet on at Coral for Deportivo Lara to win. I then placed a bet on at Betfair for Deportivo Lara not to win.

A few hours later, the results were in. Deportivo Lara lost to Caracas, but it didn’t matter because the bet I placed at Betfair protected me from losing my own money.

I logged into my Coral account and found that I’d been rewarded with my free £20 bet. Hooray!

Now it was time to place my free bet and actually make some money.

This time I bet on a horse called Vanity Queen to win at Salisbury. Using my £20 free credit at Coral, I bet for her to win. Then, I went over to Betfair and bet for her not to win. The poor lass lost… but it didn’t matter to me and I ended up with approximately £12.53 profit (as the tweet below shows, I originally thought it was more). In hindsight, if I’d been a bit more adventurous and bet on a different horse, I could have made a larger profit from my £20 bet, but oh well.

Even though it had taken a lot of research and effort to make this measly £12 profit, I was over the moon. I knew I’d get faster and faster with each bet I put on and would increase my profits over time.

I’m not gonna lie, by the end of the day I was feeling majorly exhausted. There had been a few occasions where I thought I’d messed up and felt like my life was going to crumble around me. Thankfully, after chatting to some more experienced matched betters on Facebook, I realised I hadn’t messed up at all.

Day 3

Creating my geeky matched betting spreadsheet

When I get into a new hobby, I get really into it. I go all in. So it made perfect sense to me to make a spreadsheet in Google docs. Here’s a sneak peek at what it looked like on the 19th May.

matched betting spreadsheet

A spreadsheet works for me because it stops me from worrying about things going wrong. When things don’t go wrong, I like to congratulate myself and reflect on how amazing I am. The spreadsheet enabled me to do this too! If you’re not a complete weirdo, don’t let this geekery put you off.

One of my work friends (we’ll call him Steve even though that’s not his name)  started matched betting on the same day as me and we bonded over our new hobby together. But as soon as I showed him my spreadsheet, he freaked out and he now avoids me at lunchtime and runs away when he sees me in the corridor. He thinks a spreadsheet is really excessive. He keeps track of his bets in a small notebook and just jots down the name of the match along with the amount he’s put on. He says it’s not let him down yet. Whatever. I like my spreadsheet.

Upgrading my Profit Accumulator account

I decided to upgrade from my free Profit Accumulator account account to the Platinum version. Since I’d made a profit off the first two offers (as PA had promised I would), I felt ready to increase my matched betting income by getting stuck into other offers too.

Day 4

By day 4, I’d placed bets with Coral, Betfred, Stan James, Sky Bet, William Hill and Ladbrokes.

It’s worth noting that some bookies make you wait a day or two before they put your free bet credit in your account. So let’s imagine it’s a Monday and you’re placing a bet on Tottenham to win on Saturday. You may have to wait until 24 or 48 hours after the Tottenham game has ended before you’ll get your free bet.

Don’t gamble away your matched betting profits

I’ve just remembered something funny that happened to Steve and I think it serves as a valuable lesson to us all. He would probably argue that it wasn’t funny but oh well.

While I began this matched betting lark completely new to the world of bookies and betting, Steve has had some betting experience before. He likes betting on the occasional match and putting the odd accumulator on. So, in the run up to the general election, Steve decided to put a regular bet on for Theresa May to be the next PM… without backing it at Betfair. He figured if Corbs lost, at least the Tories would give him some money. So yep. He did a proper gamble. With real money that he might not get back. Steve stuck two fingers up at the matched betting safety net. He went rogue.

So guess what happened when the diabolical election results came in? Since there was so much uncertainty surrounding the winner of the election, the bookies wouldn’t give him his money for several days. He was left with a chunk of cash in limbo and it seems he wasn’t the only one:

Lucky for Steve (and unlucky for Kieran Nicholas and those of us who hate the Tories) his bet won and he got his winnings in the end. But this was a huge gamble and one that could see you losing all your hard earned matched betting profits.

Moral of the story: there’s no point in matched betting if you’re only going to put your money on the line by doing proper gambling too.

Day 5

How long does it take to place the bets?

By Day 5 my confidence was really starting to pick up. I was still quite cautious when placing my bets and would double and triple check them before hitting the Place Bet button, but the whole process became much more robotic (I’m looking for a better word but that will have to do).  I finally felt able to rattle off several bets in the space of an hour.

I don’t mean to show off or anything but if someone held a gun to my head and said ‘FIND, CALCULATE AND PLACE YOUR QUALIFYING BETS IN LESS THAN 10 MINUTES WITHOUT MAKING ANY MISTAKES’ I could probably do that. But I imagine by the time I was done I would be very sweaty and my pants would be filled.

How much can you make per hour?

The amount you make per hour depends on the amount you’ve been offered as a free bet AND how quickly you can plough through them. You don’t want to go too quickly though because you may make a mistake.

If you get a free £5 bet, you can probably make around £3 from this. This might sound pitiful but if you place your qualifying bets and free bets all within the space of 20 minutes, and repeat this process 3 times, you could make £9 an hour.

If you get a free £10 bet, you wanna aim for a profit of £7 or more (so that could add up to £21+ an hour). If you get a free £20 bet, you should aim for upwards of £15 (£45+ an hour).

Every now and then you can find free bets of £50 or more. I’d advise taking your time with these ones though. Quadruple, quintuple, sextuple, septuple, or octuple check that shit.

But anyway, I reckon you can make anything from £9 – £80 an hour depending on the quality of the free bets you do and how confident you feel in your ability to not mess up. If you spend a lot of time on spreadsheet geekery and general naval gazing like me, this will obviously soak up more time.

Day 6

On Day 6 I decided to strengthen my matched betting knowledge a little more. I joined a few Facebook groups and started watching matched betting YouTube videos while pedalling away on my exercise bike.

I don’t feel like it’s necessary to treat matched betting like you’re revising for your GCSEs, but when you live a life as empty as mine, why not immerse yourself in a hobby to pass the time?

Is matched betting addictive?

To be completely honest with you, I did feel kinda addicted to matched betting. I began to enjoy the process and loved the thrill of winning money without any risk. Scrolling through the list of sign up offers on the Profit Accumulator website, I also began to worry what I’d do with myself when the offers dried up.

However, although I got kinda hooked on matched betting, I can’t imagine ever turning into a regular gambler because the two are very different. The thought of putting my hard earned money on the line just doesn’t appeal to me whatsoever. I can’t even put a couple of quid on the national lottery without spending a whole day fantasising about my life as a millionaire before feeling deeply traumatised when I don’t win.

Some people assume that matched betting is some kinda gateway into gambling but I reckon it’s rare for people to make the transition. Obviously my friend Steve does both, but he was a gambler before he started matched betting.

Nevertheless, if you’re someone who has experienced gambling addiction, matched betting is not for you. You need to stay away from these websites. Contact gamcare for specialist help.

Day 7

Now it’s time for the big question! How much did I make? According to my calculations, I made approximately £156 profit in my first seven days of matched betting. I then went on to make £101 profit in my second week.

Of course, a lot of people earn a lot more than this by treating it like a part time (or even full time) job, but considering I did most of my betting on my lunch break and the odd evening here and there, I’m pleased with the outcome. I definitely spent far too much time researching the process and reading up about matched betting tips and tricks, but I guess I can keep using this knowledge going forward. I have several matched betting blog posts in the pipeline, but I’m undecided whether to publish them on Can’t Swing a Cat or a separate blog completely.

Although I really enjoyed the matched betting process and would definitely do it again, I haven’t placed any bets since that initial fortnight. Mid-way through the second week I landed myself a well paid freelance writing gig. Since the income from freelance writing was greater than I could realistically make by consistently matched betting, I figured I may as well take a temporary break from betting. I’m trying to get back into it again now though, placing the odd little bet here and there on my lunch hour.

What’s the verdict?

Unlike Swagbucks which I 100% hand on heart would not recommend even to my worst enemy, I really do think matched betting is a clever way to make money and, at the very least, it’s worth signing up for the Profit Accumulator free trial and seeing how you get on.

It’s often applauded for being ‘risk-free’ and I suppose there is some truth to this providing you do a bit of research, double check your bets and don’t make any mistakes. The actual matched betting process is based on maths and if you follow Profit Accumulator’s guidance without doing anything silly, you won’t lose money. I haven’t lost a penny!

Of course, if you’ve experienced gambling addiction or you’re opposed to gambling for ethical reasons, matched betting is not something you should invest your time in. I also don’t think it’s a worthwhile way to make money if you already earn a high salary. £50 free bets are hard to come by and if you’re on a high income, you’re probably better off focusing on your job and existing skills.

If you have any questions about matched betting, please give me a shout on Twitter @CantSwingACat or drop me an email to

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links to Profit Accumulator and, if you decide to use their tools, I may make a commission at no extra cost to you. I would never promote a product or service that I didn’t believe in. You only need to look at my 7 Days Of Swagbucks post to see that I’m not afraid to criticise the tools I think are a massive waste of time, even if that means missing out on hefty commission. If you decide to make a purchase via the affiliate links within this post, you’ll be helping me keep Can’t Swing a Cat honest, original, and ad-free. You’ll also be helping me to make a little bit of money from my beloved blog!

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