As most of you know, this blog recommended matched betting as a great way to make money since 2016. I know lots of people started doing it and made a good income out of it.
Matched betting is changing and has definitely changed a lot since I first started it 3 years ago. So I feel now is a good time to make a re-cap of my overall journey, what used to work and what to do moving forward.
“What gets measured gets managed”, they say in the corporate world. And to make sure I make a profit, I track every month of my ‘betting career’ since Oct 2016.
That’s £15,766 in matched betting income since October 2019. That’s roughly £463 per month – roughly £5,500 per year. Not bad for the time spent doing it, which is about 20 mins a day nowadays.
But long gone are the days where I’d make £100 an hour guaranteed profit on Saturday offers. Josh, amongst other people, was doing matched betting full-time making 2,000 per month! Although I’m not making anything close to that, I’m quite happy with my profits trajectory.
I still remember the £5 per goal by Coral, some great freebies from 888 sports and lots of Bet X get X offers. The 888 sports offer would actually give you random free bets if you happened to be near the stadium at the time of the match! I won’t forget faking my phone location to collect all the freebies near the stadium…!! Oh, nice memories 🙂
So I think it’s important to recognize how easy of a side hustle matched betting was.
My profits had started to plateau towards the end of 2018 when I was struggling to make just £300 from traditional matched betting offers. What happened to matched betting?
I knew for once, that as matched betting grows in popularity it can’t stay THAT good forever. Bookmakers eventually caught up and decided to drop the bonuses that were previously given to real punters. Offers have dried up because bookies are not charities.
Matched betting eats into their profits and their only hope is that you turn into a gambler by not being disciplined enough to stick to pure matched betting. (which has certainly happened to some of my slot-loving friends. You know who you are folks!).
Even when I started the blog end of 2016, I was only among the 4-5 people that were blogging about matched betting. Now you can find dozens of blogs writing about it while also earning affiliate commissions from OddsMonkey.
Therefore as with anything in capitalism, profits attract competition, and competition raises the bar. We as matched bettors need to up our game if we want to stay profitable.
Although I seem pretty dark in this monologue, I have some good news for you.
Matched betting is still a sustainable side hustle.
Well not exactly matched. You just need to know where to look. Each-way betting is my latest favourite way of making money on the side.
Each-way betting and the future of matched betting
It’s quick, efficient, and it works. Now that the traditional matched betting offers have sort of dried up, I had to find another profitable way to keep this side hustle going.
In short, each-way betting means you’re betting on the horse to either win or place. For a horse to place it has to finish in the first 3-4 places usually. Because the bookmaker’s place odds are tied to the winner odds, we find an arbitrage opportunity against the exchange (e.g. Smarkets).
Although bookmakers would be quick to ban you if you bet on arbitrage events, they do not yet detect people who bet on each-way markets. This creates a nice profit window for each-way betting punters like myself.
How to find those each-way arbitrage betting opportunities
Let’s not go and bet on any horse randomly. I focus on betting on those horses that have arbitrage characteristics. Now I could do this manually and compare each horse to the exchange. That would take ages though, not the 20 mins I spend per day!
So not surprisingly, I use software. Once again, I use OddsMonkey to spot profitable bets. It costs £17.99 a month (or £150 if you pay yearly as I do) and it’s worth every penny. Here’s a snapshot of the table from my previous EW post in March.
Each row is a possible bet. You can also filter by bookmaker based on the ones you have accounts with. Here are the each-way betting settings I’ve chosen:
- Each way rating: 100 to 200
- Normal Arb Rating: 50 to 130
- SNR Rating: 0 to 200
- Back odds: 6 to 200
Typically the each-way opportunities show up every day between 10:00-14:00. Then the races start and it’s kind of tricky to bet just before the race. So I try to place my bets in the morning. There are also some bets around 16:00-18:00 for the evening races.
How profitable is each-way betting?
I only started focusing mainly on each-way betting in April 2019. The thing with each-way no-lay betting is that your profits are really a percentage of your stake. There are no fixed £10 offers to cap your profit. So the more you can stake the higher the profit. But at the same time, you don’t want to go bust and deplete your bankroll by, say, betting £200 on one horse. This is called bankroll management and it’s very important.
To start with, I said I’m willing to give it a bankroll of £1,000. Therefore, for me, the optimal bet size for a bankroll of £1,000 was around £2 each way (=total of £4 per bet).
I wanted to prove that the system works first before allocating more money into it. So for the first 2 months, I made about £400 from it which was a pretty good deal! That’s 20% return-on-investment (ROI). The Wolf of Wall Street would hire me without any second thoughts 😀
The next 3 months I made about £485 when staking around 35 a day (£3,200 in 3 months. So my ROI dropped to 15% which is not bad at all. In fact, it’s what I expected. Now that I have proven that the system works I can increase my stakes to £50-60 a day and make much more with the same effort.
This is the beauty of percentage-based profit.
However, some bookmakers like Bet365 have stake restricted me.
Which makes it hard to bet more than £6 per horse. It depends on the horse though, the higher the odds the lower the maximum stake. It’s a shame as Bet365 has really good odds.
But there are so many bookmakers out there I can take advantage of.
Deep-dive into each-way betting stats
The fact I was doing matched betting already had definitely helped to be able to access more than 20 bookmakers. But I quickly realised this was not really necessary. Although I placed bets with different bookmakers, most of my bets could’ve come from Bet365, Betvictor and William Hill. Here are my bets by bookmaker breakdown for May.
As you can see, 6 out of 10 bets come from either Bet365, Skybet or Betvictor. Usually, I find that Bet365 along with Unibet, Betvictor and perhaps William Hill can cover pretty much the majority of the bets.
I also find that in most cases, I just lose! My horse doesn’t even place. But in the few cases that the horse wins, it compensates and then some. This is the case with me as I prefer to bet on higher odds. Then if the horse ends up 2nd or 3rd (and it can certainly happen even at 41.00 odds) then I make good money from the place winnings too.
Having a losing streak of a few days can easily put off people, and understandably so. In fact, the whole month can be negative (as it happened with me in June when I was down 95 on horses).
Some people don’t like this. They prefer to stick to odds of 6.00-10.00. But from my experience, I make most of my profits from the >15.00 odds. The higher the better! Here’s a snapshot of my running profit back in May when I was actually tracking it (more on that soon).
As you can see, I went from £450 monthly profits down to almost £200 by the middle of the month. That’s scary sh*t! That was only temporary though and it’s important to understand this. Theoretically, you can be losing for some time if volatility shows its angry face.
The best way to protect against volatility is to lower your stake to half and let the maths do its magic. Usually, if I have a few bad days, I will drop my stake size to say £2 per bet until I am in profit again.
How to track each-way no-lay betting?
Tracking matched betting is easy. OddsMonkey provides a nice spreadsheet that I have followed for years. But each way betting is a different beast.
Here’s my monthly each-way tracking spreadsheet which you can copy for free (File -> Make a copy). Edit the red cells and all the information will be automatically calculated.
It requires you filling in the following:
- Rating (OddsMonkey)
- Paid out amount
It then goes to calculate the Green cells (total profits, average stake per bet, etc) but it also displays them in 3 useful graphs.
If you’re thinking that tracking each-way betting is a lot of work, you’re absolutely right! In fact, it takes more time to track your bets than place them! But in the beginning, I wanted to do statistics to be able to answer the following questions:
- What odds do usually make me the most money?
- Which bookmaker do I bet the most with?
- What is my average stake?
- How much do I bet per day/month?
However, I quickly realised that in 2 months I was tracking a very large amount of information which was enough to give me a good statistical sample. So after 2 months I stopped doing it and have claimed back a lot of free time.
Today I only write down my daily bets on my Colornotes app which looks something like this:
So I will place the bets on my mobile and copy the row from OddsMonkey to my notes app.
Then I will remove the row from OddsMonkey by clicking on the red button all the way to the right. That’s telling OddsMonkey that I’ve placed my bet so I don’t end up betting on the same horse twice.
All in all, it takes 20 mins a day to place all bets and about an hour a month to track my monthly profit. The way I track my bets now is very simple. I won’t even copy my Notes bets to any spreadsheet.
At the end of the month (or every 2-3 months really) I will track my bookmaker balances and sum it up. Compare this with the previous time I did it, and here’s my monthly profit! Make sure you also take into account the deposits/withdrawals during this period which I just write separately every time I deposit or withdraw just for reference.
This system is really simple and is the reason I now mainly focus on each-way betting to make my next £15,000!
Traditional matched betting
The traditional matched betting hasn’t completely died. There will always be offers to some extent in order to attract customers and keep them coming.
Some good remaining offers are:
- Bet365: Bet £25 Get £25 in-play (Football)
- Bet365: Back a 4/1 horse winner and get the same amount risk-free for the next race (ITV Races)
- William hill Golden Goal (if your team scores first you win no matter what)
- Betfred Bet 10 get 5 in play (Football)
- Paddy power Get 10 if the favourite wins on a selected races
One can easily make a matched betting income of £100 per month with the above offers. There are more advanced ones such as the “2-up you win” one. This is a very popular thread on the OddsMonkey forum and it’s a very profitable strategy.
The idea is that if your team goes up to 2-0 then your bet wins no matter what. At this point, you can either close your bet (lay on the exchange) or let it run and hope for a draw or lose, in which case you win both at the bookmaker and on the exchange.
So that concludes my matched betting income/journey for the past 3 years folks. Overall, I’m grateful for having the option to make good money from matched betting. A £500 extra income a month on the side certainly pay the bills. Now that I’m upping my stakes I aim for £1000-1500 a month. Will keep you posted!
Sometimes, I invest the profits to generate passive income. Your money can work harder than you can!
Cheers to the next 3 years of matched betting income!