The Ultimate Free Matched Betting Guide [USA] – How To Start Today

You might have heard about matched betting from a friend, seen someone boast about their profits on Twitter, or stumbled across our simple matched betting intro.

However you’ve heard about matched betting, you’re in the right place to learn how you can get started today.

This guide is going to explain all the core concepts you need to know before walking you step by step through a practical example. We’ll close by pointing you in the right direction for your first bets.

It’s the quintessential “Matched Betting for Dummies” guide.

If you’re looking to make some risk-free income then this one page might just change your life.

Matched betting is only possible in a few states
It’s possible to earn money through matched betting in any US state that has legalised online sports betting. Currently, that is limited to New Jersey, New York, and Arizona only. Matched betting is coming to more states soon.

Read more: Matched betting in New Jersey.

Before I dive into matched betting, I want to share my own story with you. The internet is full of ‘get rich quick’ schemes and money-making methods that simply do not work. I hope my story acts as an inspiration to show that matched betting is different.

I first discovered matched betting in 2012, having searched “how to make money online” in about 100 different ways. Back then, I was a student at university in the UK and the regular costs of my social life were hitting my bank account hard. It’s a feeling that I’m sure is familiar with most of you reading this.

I have a healthy scepticism of any “get rich quick” scheme but something about using maths to find an edge with bookmakers intrigued me. Back then, there were very few online ‘guides’ such as this one, so it took months of research to build up my confidence.

Running a few ‘test runs’ and planning out my bets carefully, I happily discovered that matched betting can really work. Having to learn everything myself, there were a few costly mistakes (learnings!) but over the past 10+ years, I’ve earned in excess of $30,000 in profit and funded many months of extensive travel across the world.

It’s truly offered me a source of financial freedom in my twenties and thirties that few people can enjoy. Now being an ‘older statesman’ of the matched betting world, I want to share everything I’ve learnt so that others can find their own financial freedom.

Hopefully you’re excited to learn more and start your own matched betting journey.

What is ‘Matched Betting’?

As sports betting online becomes more popular across the USA, we are seeing plenty of sportsbooks launch. The gambling industry is highly profitable for businesses, who’s main challenge is simply getting as many people to place bets with them as possible.

To incentivize new and existing customers to gamble more money, they offer promotions and bonuses that grant ‘free bets’. These are digital vouchers that allow you to bet on any sporting event without risking any of your own money.

Matched betting is a science-based strategy used to earn bonus bets from sportsbooks, which we can then convert into real profits.

The way we earn bonuses and convert them to cash is through a technique called ‘dutching‘. It’s a concept that involves betting on all of the possible outcomes of a sporting event. When you are betting on every possible outcome of an event, you are able to balance out your bets so you get the same financial result regardless of the outcome.

Whilst this might seem confusing at first, it’s important to understand that matched betting is simply a mathematical way to guarantee a profit whenever a sportsbook gifts you a risk-free bet.

Answering Your Matched Betting Questions

There are three questions that I get asked by everyone I’ve ever introduced to matched betting. Naturally, most people are confused about how a risk-free way of earning money could even exist. Surely there must be a catch.

Is matched betting too good to be true?

This guide is completely free. I’m sharing all of the core concepts you need to start making money from matched betting today. You don’t need to part with any of your own cash to learn the ‘secret sauce’.

In fact, there are three reasons that I originally trusted matched betting:

  1. You can read all our guides for free on MatchedIncome where you can test your understanding and work out what would happen if you started matched betting. Without involving any real cash, you can start by ‘Paper Trading’ real world example. I’ll show you how to paper trade later in this guide.
  2. We only use reputable, government legislated websites to matched bet. These sites have to follow strict rules around gambling, set out by federal and state governments. You are never risking your deposits or winnings with unregulated or shady companies.
  3. Learning how to matched bet is the hard part. Once you understand the basics, everything becomes easy. However, a lot of people don’t get over this initial hurdle, mainly because they haven’t found this guide yet. That’s their loss, and your gain.

The worst case scenario here is that you read this guide and decide not to do anything about it. You lose an hour and gain nothing.

The second worst case scenario is that you read this guide and try out matched betting with a couple of sportsbooks. You earn yourself $100 before deciding matched betting isn’t for you. No more effort needed and you’re $100 better off than you were.

Is matched betting actually risk free?

When we’re matched betting, we cover every single possible eventuality in a sporting event. So, no matter which team wins, which player scores more points or which horse comes first we’ll know our profits before the event has even started.

Gambling is the process of betting on a specific event to happen, then winning money if your prediction comes true.

In contrast, there are no ‘tips’ or ‘guesses’ in matched betting. We do not care about the outcome.

The number one rule of matched betting it to always avoid any form of gambling. That means you don’t need to watch the games or even know how the sport is played.

All of this removes any concept of ‘chance’ in matched betting. We plan our bets carefully and receive the same profit regardless of the result.

However, it would be wrong of me to suggest there is no risk in matched betting. There’s one major risk – human error. Human’s aren’t perfect and we all make mistakes at times. Often as a result of rushing or failing to check things properly.

We guard against that risk by taking things slowly and double checking every bet. By following these two rules, you remove every little bit of risk from matched betting.

What are my potential earnings from matched betting?

That’s the whole point of reading this page, right? We want to make some money. It might be to pay off some bills, afford a holiday, or simply have some more cash in your emergency fund. Whatever the reason, how much would an average matched bettor make?

Well, there are 2 primary methods of earning money from Sportsbooks. Each one being very profitable:

Introductory OffersThe most lucrative time for Matched Betting is when opening new accounts. If you live in a state that support online sports betting, you can comfortably earn over $4,000+ just from signing up to sportsbooks.
Ongoing OffersWe can also take advantage of ongoing offers and events, putting in a few hours of effort each week. From this, we can earn more than $1000 each month as a side income.

On top of Sportbook offers, you can also learn how to take advantage of Casino offers and make $5,000+ from those.

Finding all of the Sportsbook and Casino opportunities available is difficult. That’s why we recommend signing up to a matched betting service who’ll do the heavy lifting to find profitable opportunities and explain exactly how to take advantage of them. Get a free trial of ProfitDuel to learn more.

Matched Betting Terminology

Matched Betting in the USA is comparatively simpler than in other parts of the world. Without the presence of major betting exchanges, there are only a few different ways we can put money on events.

Whilst you don’t need to understand sports to earn money from matched betting, you will need to get to grips with betting terminology.

Odds

Odds are expressed as either a positive or negative number. Positive odds indicate the amount of money that can be won on a $100 bet. Negative odds indicate the amount of money needed to win a $100 bet.
e.g Odds of +200 mean you have a $200 profit if that bet wins

Moneyline

When you are betting on who will win the game outright.
e.g New York Yankees to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates

Points Spread

A points handicap given to a team that helps even out the betting market. The winning team would need to win by more than the points handicap for your bet to be a winning wager.
e.g New York Yankees (-2.5) to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates

Over/Under

Where you bet on whether the total number of points scored in a game will be over or under a certain number.
e.g Over 10.5 in New York Yankees vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Vigorish (‘vig’)

Represents the bookmakers profit on a particular bet. When you bet on both sides of an event at the same sportsbook you won’t win all of your original money back. The amount you lost is considered the sportsbook’s ‘vig’.

Dutching

The process of betting on the two possible outcomes of an event at two different sportsbooks.
e.g New York Yankees to WIN at Sportsbook A and Pittsburgh Pirates to WIN at Sportsbook B

Bankroll

The amount of money you have available for matched betting. This should be separated from your general access funds, and all bets should be tracked to ensure no money is forgotten about.

Some states do have betting exchanges (for example, New Jersey has Prophet Exchange). The main difference here is that instead of betting against the bookmaker, you’re betting against other people. This means you can also bet against an event.

Exchanges make little difference when there’s only 2 outcomes, but are very useful when there are 3+ outcomes as we still only need to place two bets to cover all outcomes. That’s one FOR the event at a Sportsbook, then one AGAINST the event at an exchange.

Dutching – An Example

There’s no better way of understanding matched betting than working through a real example. So, it’s time we dive into a real-world example of how dutching between 2 sportsbooks works. I’m going to pivot away from the New York Yankees and instead head to the NBA.

Let’s bet on the Atlanta Hawks vs Boston Celtics.

My first Sportsbook is Bet365 who have the Atlanta Hawks +2.5 at odds of +250. That means our bet wins as long as the Atlanta Hawks either win, or lose by 2 points or less. Betting $100 would return $250 profit.

My second Sportbook is Borgata who have the Boston Celtics -2.5 at odds of -250 (expressed as fractions here ‘2/5’). That means our bet wins as long as the Boston Celtics win by 3 points or more. The exact opposite of our first bet.

In order to balance out the first bet, we can’t just bet $100. We need earn the same amount as we would lose if our first bet loses. To win $100 at odds of -250, we need to place a $250 bet.

Let’s have a look at those two together:

Matched Betting Qualifying Bet Example

We can see that both bets balance each other out. Whatever the outcome, we earn our money back.

Doesn’t seem very profitable at this point. In fact, it’s often hard to find odds that are so good. It’s common to make a small ‘qualifying’ loss on these bets of around 5% of our stake.

I’m not here to help you lose money.

Remember, we are betting with the purpose of claiming sportsbook bonuses. These, we can turn in to real cash.

Using Bonus Bets To Guarantee Profit

The secret sauce of matched betting comes when sportsbook’s are incentivizing people to bet with them. There are plenty of examples, though I’ll just share one here:

When we bet just $1 of our own money, we get a huge $200 in Bonus Bets.

Think of Bonus Bets as fake money. They can only be used for betting, so they have no cash value until they’re placed on a betting market. A little bit like a coupon for a free McFlurry at McDonalds is useless until you want to buy a McFlurry.

This leads me on to a core matched betting lesson.

When betting with a free bet, you don’t receive your free bet value back as cash money.

When we put on the previous bet at +250, we received $350 back in cash. That was our $100 stake plus the $250 in profit from the bet winning. Let’s visualise that:

Whether we are placing a cash bet, or a bonus bet, our profit remains the same but the amount of cash returned to our account is different. We need to take this into account when combining the two major concepts.

Bonus Bets + Dutching = Magic

I’m going to show you what happens if we place the same matched bet on the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics as before. However, this time we have a $100 Bonus Bet at Bet365.

Matched Betting Example - Bonus Bet Profit

It’s the moment to get excited. Whatever happens in the game, we will win ~$70.

Let’s have a look at the things that have changed compared to our original matched bet.

  1. With our bet at Bet365, we lose nothing if that bet loses. Remember it’s ‘bonus’ money not real money.
  2. We’ve adjusted our stake at Borgata to balance the fact we don’t receive our stake back with the free bet.
  3. Both the outcomes balance out. It doesn’t matter what happens in the game itself.

Remember that Bet365 and Borgata can be replaced by ‘Sportsbook A’ and Sportsbook B’. All that matters is you’re using a Bonus Bet at one of the Sportsbooks.

You’ll have noticed that we placed a $100 Bonus Bet at took home a $70 profit. We would normally expect to earn 70% to 80% of the Bonus as profit.

Bonus BetExpected Profit
$50$37.50
$100$75
$200$150
$500$375
Profits can be huge, especially with larger Bonus Bets

Now that you understand the fundamentals of matched betting, I’m about to make things 10x simpler for you.

Matched Betting Calculators

I’ll be honest, the math is confusing. You might be reading this thinking “I have no idea what just happened”.

You wouldn’t be alone. It took me years to understand everything that was happening with these calculations.

Fortunately, you don’t need to know the math. As long as the concept is clear, you can get started.

What you need, is a Matched Betting Calculator.

Matched betting calculators take the hard work out of earning profits. They just tell you how much money to stake on each outcome.

All you need to do is input the odds of each event happening and how much you’re betting. ProfitDuel have the easiest calculator available right now, although you will need to sign up for their (highly recommended) free trial to access it.

Using this calculator, I can easily adjust the following variables:

  1. Bet Type – Whether my primary bet is to qualify for a bonus, or if I’m using bonus funds.
  2. Bet Stake – How much my primary bet is, or how much of my bonus funds I’m using.
  3. Odds – Entering the odds of each event happening. The 2 bets combined must cover all possible outcomes.

Having a calculator like this means you don’t need to be good at formulas or math. Just plug the right inputs into a calculator and it does all the hard work for you.

Paper Trading – Prove The Theory

You’ve been reading a lot of information about how matched betting works. It sounds exciting. It sounds almost too good to be true.

Before you do anything else, it’s important you become comfortable that the theory simply works.

By playing out various different scenarios and understanding how the math works out, you’ll be able to reduce your chances of making mistakes to virtually zero. Remember, matched betting is risk free as long as there is no human error! 

We call this Paper Trading.

PaperTrade Framework - MatchedIncome

I highly recommend you load up two Sportbook websites and test out these fundamentals with real, live numbers.

When in any doubt, go back to basics and write down exactly what will happen in each scenario!

Finding Opportunities with ProfitDuel

It’s absolutely possible to take everything you’ve learnt from this matched betting guide and start making a profit today.

However, there are a few things you might struggle with:

  1. Best Bonuses – Finding all the Sportsbooks and getting access to the best bonuses they offer.
  2. Terms & Conditions – Not all bonuses are as simple as the example outlined in this guide.
  3. Maximising Profit – We accept a small qualifying loss, as well as a percentage of our bonus as profit. These can be improved by choosing bets with the right odds.
  4. Support – If you’ve made a mistake, or just need help, it’s very useful having a community who can support you.

That’s where a matched betting service comes in. They’ll save you time, increase your profits, and provide community support.

The most useful element of a service like ProfitDuel is the Dutch Matcher. It’s a tool that automatically crawls sportsbook websites and returns the best matched to increase your profits.

You don’t need to go hunting for the best dutching opportunities, they’re presented right in front of you.

I wanted to find a qualifying bet that resulted in me having no qualifying loss. Within just a few seconds, I was presented with three options at different Sportbooks. Powerful.

The ‘Dutch Matcher’ from ProfitDuel

Nothing in life comes free. ProfitDuel costs $99 per month, which is quite an expensive way to kick off a ‘profit-making’ activity.

However, they have a free trial that allows you access to their tools for 7 days so you can easily earn enough to pay off the ProfitDuel fee for a couple of months.

The other advantage of a free trial is that you lose nothing if you cancel in 7 days.

Top Service
ProfitDuel

ProfitDuel makes the process of matched betting quicker, simpler and more profitable. They provide useful tools for identifying the best bets, along with a growing community of members who can help you whenever you get stuck. We've been a member since they first launched.

Features

  • Easy to use bet-finder tool.
  • Detailed guides for beginners.
  • Facebook and Discord communities.
  • Highly lucrative casino offers.

What’s Next?

This 3,000-word guide is your kickstart into the world of matched betting. I hope you’re now:

  • Seeing matched betting as a genuine profit making opportunity.
  • Understanding the concept of dutching to bet on every outcome.
  • Knowing how to take advantage of bookmaker offers for guaranteed profit.
  • Paper trading your first matched bets.
  • Signed up to the ProfitDuel free trial.

Matched betting changed my life by giving me the freedom and funds to travel the world. This is the start of your journey to fulfil whatever goals you have in your life.

About The Author

Website | + posts

David has been matched betting for over 10 years, with experience profiting from bonus bets in the UK and Australia. He's made over $30,000 from just a couple of hours each week and funded travel across the world. He struggles to understand why matched betting isn't more popular when it's the perfect side hustle.

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