Unmatched & Partially Matched Bets

Matched betting generally involves placing a back bet with a bookmaker and a lay bet on a betting exchange. Back bets with bookmakers are usually accepted within a second or so unless the odds change from the time of adding your bet to the bet slip to when you confirm your bet. However, lay bets work slightly differently as they need to be matched. If there is not enough liquidity on the market you are betting on, it’s possible that your bet may be unmatched or partially matched. It’s important to understand what to do in these situations as if left uncorrected, it’s possible you could end up losing money.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at what unmatched and partially matched bets are and what to do if you bet doesn’t get fully matched right away.


Put simply, the liquidity is the amount of money that is available for you to place on a bet at certain odds.

If we look at the ‘Over/Under’ market from Betfair below, the liquidity is displayed underneath the back odds and lay odds.

If we were to place a back bet on ‘Over 4.5 Goals’, the maximum stake we could place is £25 and if we were to lay this bet, the maximum stake would be £85.

liquidityPartially Matched Bets

A bet may be partially matched if you place a bet with a stake greater than the current liquidity. For example, if you placed a bet of £50 on ‘Over 4.5 Goals’, £25 of it would be matched, leaving the remaining £25 unmatched.

When all the liquidity is taken at the current odds, the odds for that bet will likely drift to where there is liquidy. For example, if you placed the bet mentioned above, the odds may change to 5.8.

Should this happen, you have two options.

  1. Leave your bet partially matched and hope that the odds shorten to 5.6 again with liquidity, at which point the remainder of your bet will be matched. This is a risky option as the odds may not return to 5.6 and your lay bet will be less than originally planned.
  2. Place an additional lay bet at the new odds of 5.8. This is usually the better option as your lay bet will be fully matched. You can use the matched betting calculator on MatchedBets which has a partial match feature.

partial lay

The image above shows us how we can use the calculator to place an additional lay bet at the new odds to fully match our bet. As we can’t place the remaining £25 lay bet at odds of 5.6, the calculator has determined that we must place a £24.57 lay bet at the current odds of 5.8.

Always remember to cancel the unmatched part of your bet before placing an additional lay bet otherwise this bet may be matched as well should the odds shorten again.

Unmatched Bets

Your bet may be unmatched if none of your original stake was matched at the odds you selected. This can occur when the odds are changing fast such as in the run up to the start of a horse race or in-play during a football match. If the odds drift from the time you make your selection on the exchange, enter your stake and confirm your bet, it’s possible your bet will be fully unmatched.

Resolving this situation is a bit simpler than with partially matched bets as you simply have to enter the new odds into a matched betting calculator and place a lay bet with the new stake which the calculator determines.

Whenever placing a bet on a betting exchange, always ensure that your bets have been fully matched before leaving the site.

Interested in learning more about matched betting? Sign up to MatchedBets.com today for 14 days for just £1.

By Matchedbets Experts


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