The Qualifying Bet

Do you remember why taking advantage of bookie free bets and bonuses seems risky at first? That’s because a qualifying has to be placed with your own money before you can get the free bet.

But what if you were to place a bet on a selection with a bookie and lay the same selection with Betfair? The two bets would nullify each other, creating a risk-free situation.

Let me explain…

Let’s say you want to take advantage of Totesport £10 free bet offer, which by the way is a perfect offer to start matched betting with. You open an account with Totesport and deposit £10 on it; also deposit £30 on your Betfair account.

Next you have to find a selection that has similar odds on Betfair and Totesport (I’ll explain why it’s important and how it can be done later). Bear in mind that the majority of bookies require that the odds of the qualifying bet are at least 2.0.

Suppose that there is a soccer game between Inter and Barcelona tonight and the odds for Inter are 3.3 on both Betfair and Totesport. You place a £10 bet on Inter with Totesport. This bet can potentially win £23 and return its £10 stake. To nullify the effect of this bet, you also place a £10 lay bet with Betfair, which has a liability of £23.

In case Inter wins the game, you will have £33 in your Totesport account, since you’ll have won £23 and got the initial stake back. In Betfair, however, you will have lost your liability of £23, thus you won’t have gained or lost anything.

If Inter doesn’t win the game, you will lose your £10 stake on Totesport, but your lay bet with Betfair will win £10, thus you won’t gain or lose anything regardless of the outcome of the game (OK, you’ll have to pay £0.50 in Betfair commission if the lay bet wins).

By placing these seemingly useless bets that nullify each other, you can meet the requirements for getting a £10 free bet from Totesport without any risk whatsoever.

Unfortunately Totesport won’t let you withdraw the £10 free bet; you will have to place a bet with it. Yet it’s possible to easily cash in such free bets, so keep reading this tutorial to find out how.

It’s crucial that you understand this step of matched betting. If you didn’t grasp it, reread this chapter until you understand everything (or ask a question below).

Next: Free Bets vs. Bonuses

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan July 5, 2012 at 7:53 pm


Can you please explain in detail the calculation if the lay bet wins. Why, when laying a £10 bet would you only win £10 if the odds are 3.3?

Sorry if it sounds stupid, just can’t get my head around it, or maybe I hae misread the guide.

Thanks for the great guide.


admin November 28, 2012 at 11:43 pm

No problem, matched betting can be a confusing concept to grasp at first. Just think of a normal bet but the opposite way around.

When you lay a bet your lay stake is what you stand to win and the liability from the bet is what you stand to lose

If you lay £10 at odds of 3.30, you could potentially win you lay stake of £10 if successful but lose £23 if you aren’t


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