Five Things You Should Know About Advantage Play
August 18, 2016
Skilled punters use bookmaker offers for profit by loading the odds in heavily in their own favour and thanks to matched betting, anyone can make money armed with these five things you should know about advantage play.
In it’s basic form, matched betting exploits bookmaker offers to make a guaranteed profit from sign up offers, deposit bonuses and event specific promotions such as bet £20 get £10 free and similar. However, betting sites give away millions of free bets with money back offers and while they can’t always guarantee a profit from the normal method of matched bets, they provide a great opportunity to make money in the long run
What is advantage play?
The main reason bookmakers beat the punter is because they have the odds stacked in their favour.
If the true odds for an outcome is 10/1, the bookmaker might offer 9/1. This means the punter will win on average 1 time in eleven. If he bets £10 each time, he’ll lose his stake 10 times = £100 and win once, winning £90 from the bookmaker for an overall loss of £10.
You can use special offers to swing the betting in your favour and while you won’t win every time, you will make money in the long term just like the bookie normally does when having the edge.
Which offers can you use for advantage play?
There are loads – varying from money back offers, bonuses on winning bets and price boosts.
Money back offers will refund your stake in the form of a free bet in the event of a condition set out in the terms. For instance, you might be offered a free bet if the result of a football match is a draw. You’ll have to place a qualifying bet at a small cost and will only receive a free bet if your bet loses and the game ends in a draw.
Lets say you place a £25 qualifying bet with the chance of receiving a £25 free bet. The free bet can be converted into £20 real cash by matched betting. Find a qualifying bet at a cost of £2 on a selection that doesn’t involve a draw and you have yourself the equivalent of 9/1 bet on the result being a draw. Around 28% of football matches are drawn, that’s around two in every seven or 5/2 in betting terms.
Some winnings bonuses can be also be exploited by taking a small loss on the qualifying bet for the chance of a bonus if the bet wins. Calculate the risk in the same way and bet when the odds are in your favour.
Price boosts are fairly straight forward and can sometimes guarantee a profit if big enough. More often they provide opportunities to place risk-free bets, where you lose nothing if the bet loses and make a profit if it wins.
How do I know when the odds are in my favour?
To calculate the odds you are receiving, divide the amount you expect to retain for the potential free bet or bonus and divide it by the cost of placing the qualifying bet(s). This will give the decimal odds which is the norm for matched betting.
In the above example, £2 risk for £20 return is 20/2 = 10. To make it a fraction, deduct 1 and place it below the line eg 9/1.
It’s more difficult to know the true odds for the bookmaker’s criteria, however you can use their own odds in many cases. You’ll want to play when the odds are heavily loaded in your favour so the 3% to 5% bookmaker edge becomes insignificant.
There are lots of stats sites that will help you get a picture of the true odds or you can leave it to the expertise of the team at Matched Bets to advise when to play and when not to play.
What stakes can I bet at advantageous odds?
Bookmakers will limit how much you can stake on price boosts which will be explained in the offer terms and conditions.
The stakes you risk on the money back offers and bonuses are determined by finding close matched bets. While the offers have a maximum stake that will qualify for a refund, laying off at the betting exchange means the real stake is the qualifying loss.
Wins are therefore limited by the size of the refund but the adage “little fish are sweet” has never been so true.
Is it only sports betting that offers advantage play?
No. Although online casinos have mostly clamped down on advantage play with restrictive wagering requirements, there are still opportunities to exploit casino bonuses.
No deposit bonuses are an obvious example and while you’ll mostly bust out any winnings when trying to complete the rollover, it costs nothing to take a shot at winning a few hundred. Occasionally casinos will drop bonuses with positive expected value. They don’t guarantee everyone will win due to game variance but they will pay off for most in the long run.