What is a ‘Good’ Odds Match?


There are times when odds matching software can’t be used to find the optimal bets to place when matched betting an offer. Typically for in-play bets or on new betting sites that have yet to be added to the matched betting tool.

Newcomers are often confused about what represents a ‘good’ odds match when having to find a bet without the help of an odds matcher. Sure, the calculator will show you a ‘Profit’ figure once the odds have been entered, but how do you spot a good match before arriving at that point?

This brief guide will help you learn to instantly recognise a good match, saving you valuable time. Remember, due to their risk averse nature, some bookies rarely provide competitive odds which would make a good match with the exchange prices. It may be difficult to find close matches at bookmakers such as this, and it simply means accepting a small reduction in profit (on a free bet or a risk free bet) or a small increase in qualifying losses.

What a good odds match means for matched betting

Below is a quick reference table to help identify an acceptable difference  between back and lay odds for the purpose of placing qualifying bets and using free bets. Remember, free bets and risk free bets should be placed at odds approximately over 4.0, aiming for a profit of 70 – 80% of the value of the free bet.

Qualifying bets, depending on the minimum odds permissible according to the terms of each individual offer, are usually placed at the lowest odds possible in order not to use up too much of your exchange balance. When faced with a choice of a qualifying loss of £1 on a bet with back odds of 3.0 or a loss of £2.50 with back odds of 1.5, you may decide to take the bet with the larger qualifying loss to maximise use of limited exchange funds. However, with sufficient funds, you can make use of your exchange balance to minimise the qualifying and loss and therefore, maximise the profit on the offer, so use this guide at your discretion.

Members of Matched Bets are advised a maximum qualifying loss within many of the offer guides in order to ensure long term value. Some offers are such good value that a qualifying loss of more than the ballpark 5% while the edge in others is so small that they should only be tried risk free ie with qualifying loss.

Follow these guidelines maintain your long term edge. Finding good matches may be difficult to come by on some offers but don’t let it put you off. Just move onto the next one and go back later to check for a good match. As long as you are attempting a few offers on most days your long term profit is assured.

The matches suggested below should see you make a maximum approximate qualifying loss of between £1 and £2.50 per £25 staked or a free bet profit (assuming odds over 4.0) of around 70 – 80% of the value of your free bet. These matches are based on using Betfair with commission of 5%. If you use Smarkets (2%) the acceptable difference between back and lay odds will be smaller.

Odds match reference table

Back Odds Range Lay odds Difference
Qualifying Bets
1.01-2.0 0.9
2.01-2.5 0.1
2.51-4.0 0.15
4.01-10 0.2
>10.0 Exact match*
Free Bets
4.0-6.0 0.2
6.01-8.0 0.4
8.01-10.0 0.6
>10 1.5

*What makes an acceptable qualifying loss depends upon the the trigger for a free bet. If you are backing and laying a horse at odds of 10.0 with a free bet coming your way should the horse fall gives a 10% chance or less of getting a free bet so the qualifying loss should be close to zero.

However, if on a football match you are backing a correct score of 2-0 at odds of 10.0 with a free bet won should the game end as a draw, you can accept a greater qualifying loss. This assumes there are two reasonably evenly matched teams playing and the odds for the draw are in the range of 3.0 – 4.0, because the likelihood of there being a draw and therefore you winning a free bet is between 25 and 33%. So in this instance an odds match of 10.0/11.0 will still be value, because you will get a free bet more often than is the case with the horse racing example.



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