£500 – No risk from free bets

If we told you that you could make £500 at no risk, in a short period of time, you’d probably think we were selling you a scam. The promise of free money sounds too easy and too good to be true, however, the growth of internet betting exchanges allow anyone with a basic knowledge of sports betting to make money at no risk from free bets.

How does it work?

Simple. When you open an account with an online bookmaker you will usually be offered a free bet ranging from £10 to £200 as an incentive to make a deposit and place a first bet. Once you have placed your first bet, the bookmaker will then deposit a matched bet into your account within 48 hours.

Of course, there’s risk involved in this process, as you may lose your opening bet, and be left with a free bet of the same value. You then risk losing your free bet on your next bet as you attempt to win back your lost money, which exposes you to further risk. This is where a betting exchange can be used to eliminate risk.

What is a betting exchange?

Betting exchanges, like Betfair and WBX, are betting forums that enable peer-to-peer betting. In other words, you bet against other members of the exchange, rather than playing against a bookmaker. One perk of this system is that you can place lay bets, or bets against a team or individual winning a sports contest.

Bet matching

Betting exchanges allow you to use lay bets to offset the risk on the bets you make at your bookmaker when qualifying for, and using, your free bet. The process involves placing a back bet on a selection at a bookmaker and then laying the same selection at an exchange to avoid a net loss.

Step 1


You deposit £200 into your new account hoping to redeem a £200 free bet. You then find a football match you want to bet on and see that Manchester United is playing Chelsea within the next week. You decide to back Chelsea at odds of 2.5 with £200 for a potential profit of £300.

Once you have backed Chelsea, you can go to a betting exchange, open an account and make a deposit. You can then open the match betting market for Manchester United vs. Chelsea and lay Chelsea for £200. This means that you will win £200 if Chelsea loses the match and be liable for £300 if Chelsea wins.

The odds at the exchange will sometimes be higher than at the bookmaker, so it is preferable to first hunt around for a match where the bookmaker’s odds on a team are roughly equivalent to the lay odds on the same team at an exchange.

If Chelsea wins the match, you will receive a £500 return from the bookmaker and incur a £300 loss at the exchange. If Chelsea loses you will win £200 off your lay bet and lose your back bet. Either way you will be left with your original £200 stake, along with the £200 free bet rewarded by the bookmaker.

Step 2

You now have to convert your £200 free bet into cash.

To do this you will need to place a back bet with your free bet at the bookmaker, looking specifically to lose your back bet and win your lay bet. You have to win your lay bet in order to convert you free bet to cash on the exchange.

Ideally you’ll want to place a bet on an underdog in a sports match. For example you could bet on Blackburn to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge the following weekend at odds of 8.0. Next, you visit the exchange and place a lay bet of £200 on Blackburn at odds of 8.0.

Whether the match ends in a draw or Chelsea wins, you’ll earn £200 off your lay bet at the exchange and ‘lose’ your free bet. The result is a £200 profit which you can withdraw immediately from your betting exchange account, or use for further bet matching.

If Blackburn upsets Chelsea, your free bet will win £1400, which will cover your liability at the exchange and result in a zero net loss on the overall transaction. In other words, even if the second stage of match betting falls foul of an upset, you still incur no risk or overall loss on your bets.

And repeat…

Once you’ve converted your first free bet into cash you’ll feel more confident about repeating the process. You can easily make £500 in a week, and there’s more than £2000 in free bets offered by reputable online bookmakers at any given point in time.

What’s the Catch?

There’s no catch attached to bet matching. Bookmakers actually benefit from this process as you will always be attempting to lose at the bookie and win at an exchange. Betting exchanges are not affected by the practice as they take a small commission off all wins on their betting markets. It’s literally a win, win, win situation.

There are some things you need to keep in mind, however.

Start small. Big lay bets mean big liability, and you will need to have enough money in your exchange account to cover any lay bet. The best idea is to begin working with small free bets, keep the winnings in your exchange account, and work your way up to the bigger free bet offers.

Odds differentials. Betting exchange odds are around 15% higher than the odds offered by fixed odds bookmakers. This can be a problem as you are looking to match bookies’ fixed odds to lay odds, and any difference will result in small losses on the exchange if your lay bets lose.

Take time to search the betting markets for matches where the exchange odds are close to, or equal to, those offered by your fixed odds bookmaker. It is also a good idea to back and lay an underdog, as this improves the chance of your lay bets winning, and when your lay bets win you’ll never incur losses.

Stick to team sports. If you bet on any sport that involves a single player you run the risk of the player being injured during the event. If you have backed/layed a player in a match where the opponent is injured and the win is forfeited, you will lose your exchange bet while your back bet will be refunded – resulting in an overall loss on the transaction.

Maintain focus. Don’t be tempted to bet with your money while you are bet matching. The idea here is to make a guaranteed profit without risk. You’re going to feel like you’re ‘winning’ as your bet matches come in, and this can tempt you to bet with this money. Rather convert and cash all your free bets, then take a portion of your money to bet with at a later stage.

If you want more information on betting exchanges or lay betting, don’t miss out on the guide to betting exchanges offered at our sports betting school.

Bet365 £200 Free Bet

  • Open your new account at Bet365
  • Place your 1st bet and Bet365 gives you your 1st free bet
  • Bet365 will then continue to give you more free bets as you punt up to £200

Bet365 is a 5 star rated Sportsbook. You can read the Bet365 Review to learn why.

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