Finding Bets for Matched Betting

July 8, 2011

Finding a selection with similar odds in both Betfair and the bookie can take some time. In fact, it is probably the most time-consuming part of matched betting. It is like gambling – you can get lucky immediately or spend long time skimming through the odds. However, there are a few things you can do to make this step easier.

So your goal is to find bets which have similar odds in the bookie and in Betfair. It’s great if the bookie has higher odds than Betfair, but it happens very rarely. Use our matched betting calculator to see how much you lose because of discrepancies in the odds and decide if that’s OK with you.

Here is my advice on finding the best matched bets:

  • Look at soccer games first – you can often find great opportunities there.
  • There are good opportunities in tennis as well, however, problems may arise if a player gets injured; if possible, use soccer instead.
  • To find soccer bets more easily, go to Betfair, click ‘All Sports’, ‘Soccer’,  ’Coupons’ and select one of today’s coupons (either the in-play coupon or one of the time-specific coupons). You will now have the odds of plenty of soccer games in a single window. The same can be done with other sports.
Of course, there are other sports that are good for matched betting as well. However, some of them require some extra attention, so I will cover them in more detail.

Horse and Greyhound Racing

Matched bettors are often confused about betting on horse and greyhound races.

In these races you can often find letters SP instead of the regular odds. SP stands for Starting Price, and basically it means that the actual odds of a selection are not calculated yet. When you place a bet at the Starting Price, you don’t know what the odds of your bet are. Obviously SP is useless for matched betting as you have to know the odds precisely.

Several bookies almost always use SP odds for horse and greyhound races; they only show numerical odds a couple of minutes before the start of the race. In such bookies you should use other sports events instead.

It’s also easy to get confused with the multiple markets that are available for the same race, so always double-check if you’ve opened the same market with a bookie and Betfair.

Another thing to consider is that the odds in Horse and Greyhound races are extremely volatile, especially in the last 10 minutes before the race. While that often yields great matched betting opportunities, you have to  act very quickly in these markets; don’t use them if you’re inexperienced or have a slow internet connection.

However, there are many advantages of using horse and greyhound races for matched betting. These races happen regularly, usually there’s a race in every ten minutes. As the odds are volatile, there are plenty of excellent  matched betting opportunities.

Moreover, horse and greyhound races don’t last long; winnings are usually credited to your account within twenty minutes after the race was scheduled, whereas it takes about two hours after the kick-off in soccer. And even the favorites win rarely in such races, thus your money is more likely to end up in Betfair (which is very convenient).


Matched betting on tennis may look tempting at first as there are plenty of games throughout the day, but there’s an inherent problem with it.

Occasionally tennis players get injured while they’re playing and the game cannot be finished. The problem is that Betfair and bookies often have  different policies regarding such cases, which may result in loses.

For example, you’ve backed player X with a bookie and laid the same player with Betfair. The first set is won by player X, but player Y gets injured in the second set. According to Betfair rules, the lay bet is not cancelled and player X is deemed winner. The bookie, on the other hand, may cancel the back bet as the match is never finished. Consequently we lose all our liability in Betfair and get nothing with the bookie. Moreover, we don’t even qualify for a free bet with bookie.

To avoid such problems read bookie’s T&C’s and see if the bookie treats injured players the same way Betfair does.

Suspended Bets

Another similar problem is suspended bets. Suppose you’ve placed bets with both bookie and Betfair, but the event gets suspended in the middle because of weather conditions or technical difficulties.

Many bookies cancel any bets on such events, but Betfair suspends them for three days. If the event is finished within three days, Betfair does not cancel such bets, but the market is suspended at that time.

So we can lose just like when tennis players get injured. Our bet with bookie doesn’t win because it’s canceled, but our Betfair bet loses. There is only one really good solution to such problem if the event is in-play. Once the market is open again, place a back bet to minimize our eliminate loses.

The last such occasion known to me occurred during Formula 1 race, in  which the market was suspended due to disqualifications and some matched bettors lost money.

As a precautionary measure avoid placing bets with unreasonably high odds, as such bets have huge liabilities.

I really hope I didn’t intimidate you. These things happen extremely rarely.

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