Matched Betting Calculator

Created by Wei Bin Loo
Reviewed by Dominik Czernia, PhD and Steven Wooding
Last updated: Jan 18, 2024


With this matched betting calculator, you can easily calculate the optimal lay stake of matched betting. This matched betting calculator can also help you calculate the expected profit of practicing matched betting.

This article will help you understand what no-risk matched betting is and how to calculate its optimal lay stakes and expected profits. We will also demonstrate some real-life examples to help you understand the concept. The matched betting formula isn't that simple at all!

What is matched betting?

Matched betting is a betting technique that allows players to earn profit from free bets or other incentives offered by bookmakers, also known as betting houses, betting exchanges, and other matched betting sites.

Matched betting is not betting as it does not rely on probability or luck. This practice is entirely based on mathematics. The profit that you can earn from matched betting does not rely on whether an event will happen. Instead, you are betting on all the possibilities, and the profits you can earn are certain, and you can estimate them.

Without further ado, after understanding what no-risk matched betting is, let's discuss how to perform the relevant calculations on matched betting sites.

Matched betting calculator — How to calculate matched betting optimal lay stake and expected profit?

There are two types of calculation in matched betting, namely, qualifying bet and free bet. Qualifying bets are bets that you need to place to be awarded the free bets. As we are not earning profit from these bets, we need to make sure we lose as little as possible when placing those bets. Similar to free bets, we need to ensure we can extract as much value from these bets as possible.

Let's take the following information to calculate the optimal lay stake and expected profits for both the qualifying bet and free bet:

  • Back stake: $10
  • Back odds: 11
  • Lay odds: 11.5
  • Bookmaker commission: 2%
  • Exchange commission: 2%

The matched betting formula involves six steps:

  1. Determine the back stake.

    The back stake is the money you place to bet on something to happen. The back stake required will be stated on the bookmaker offers. For example, if the bookmaker says you will be awarded $10 free bets when you place $10 qualifying bets. Your back stake will be $10.

    This process is the same for both qualifying bets and free bets.

  2. Determine the back odds and lay odds on matched betting sites.

    The back odds are the odds you put your back stake on, while lay odds are the odds you put your optimal lay stake on. You will place your back bet on the bookmaker site, so the back odds are those stated on the bookmaker site. On the other hand, you will put your lay bet on the betting exchange, so the lay odds will be on the betting exchange. You can check out our odds calculator and moneyline odds calculator to understand more about this.

    In our example, our back odds is 11, and the lay odds is 11.5.

    This process is the same for both qualifying bets and free bets.

  3. Determine the betting commissions.

    The betting commissions are those charged by bookmakers and betting exchanges when your lay bet wins. In our example, the bookmaker commission and exchange commission are both 2%.

    This process is the same for both qualifying bets and free bets.

  4. Calculate the optimal lay stake from the matched betting formula.

    For qualifying bet, we can calculate the optimal lay stake using the following formula:

    optimal lay stake = (back odds / (lay odds – exchange commission)) × back stake × (1 – bookmaker commission)

    For our example, the optimal lay stake for the qualifying bet is $9.39.

    For stake-not-return (SNR) free bet, we can calculate the optimal lay stake using the following formula:

    optimal lay stake = ((back odds – 1) / (lay odds – exchange commission)) × back stake × (1 – bookmaker commission)

    For our example, the optimal lay stake for the free bet (SNR) is $8.54.

    For stake-return (SR) free bet, we can calculate the optimal lay stake using the following formula:

    optimal lay stake = (back odds / (lay odds – exchange commission)) × back stake × (1 – bookmaker commission)

    For our example, the optimal lay stake for the free bet (SR) is $9.39.

  5. Calculate the expected profits when your bet on the bookmaker wins.

    When your bet on the bookmaker wins, your bet on the betting exchange loses.

    We can calculate the expected profit when the bet on the bookmaker wins using the following formula:

    expected profit = bookmaker profit – exchange loss,

    where:

    bookmaker profit = back stake × (back odds – 1) × (1 – bookmaker commission)

    exchange loss = optimal lay stake × (lay odds – 1)

    For our qualifying bet example:

    • bookmaker profit is $98.

    • exchange loss is $98.59.

    • expected loss is $0.59.

    For free bet (SNR), we can calculate the expected profit using the same formula. The free bet (SNR) example is then:

    • bookmaker profit is $98.

    • exchange loss is $89.67.

    • expected profit is $8.33.

  6. Calculate the expected profits when your bet on the betting exchange wins

    When your bet on the betting exchange wins, your bet on the bookmaker loses.

    For qualifying bet, we can calculate the expected profit when the bet on the betting exchange wins using the following formula:

    expected profit = exchange profit – bookmaker loss

    where:

    exchange profit = optimal lay stake × (1 – exchange commission)

    bookmaker loss = back stake

    For our qualifying bet example:

    • exchange profit is $9.20.

    • bookmaker loss is $10.

    • expected profit is $0.80.

    For free bet (SNR), we can calculate the expected profit when the bet on the betting exchange wins using the following formula:

    expected profit = exchange profit – bookmaker loss

    where:

    exchange profit = optimal lay stake × (1 – exchange commission)

    bookmaker loss = $0

    For our free bet (SNR) example:

    • exchange profit is $8.37.

    • bookmaker loss is $0.

    • expected profit is $8.37.

What is no-risk matched betting? Is it risk-free?

Now that we have understood what matched betting is and its calculation, let's discuss if this practice is really risk-free. Please feel free to visit our risk calculator to understand more about this topic.

Yes, matched betting is indeed risk-free. This is because you are taking exposure on both sides of the event. For example, no-risk matched betting is when you bet that the Los Angeles Lakers will win, and you are also betting that the team will not win at the same time. One of the two events has to happen. By doing this, you are covering your back bet with your lay bet.

Hence, as long as you have free bets awarded by bookmakers or betting exchanges, you can always earn risk-free profits by doing matched betting. What's better is that this is 100% legal and all your profits are tax-free.

FAQ

What are back bets?

Putting a back bet is to bet on something to happen. For example, if you put a back bet on Team A to win, it means that you will win the bet if Team A does win.

What are lay bet?

Putting a lay bet is to bet on something not happening. For example, if you lay the bet that Team A will win, you will win the bet if the team loses or gets a draw.

What are back stake and back odds?

Back stake is the money you bet on your back bet on bookmaker sites. Back odds are the odds you put your bet stake on. For example, with a back stake of $10 and a back odds of 3, you will have a profit of $20 if you win the bet.

What are lay stake and lay odds?

Lay stake is the money you bet on your lay bet on betting exchanges. Lay odds are the odds you put your lay stake on. For example, with a lay stake of $10 and a lay odds of 3, you will have a liability of $20 if you lose the bet.

Can matched betting generate guaranteed profit?

Yes, the profit generated from the matched betting is guaranteed as there is no risk involved.

It is because you are betting on all the possibilities, and the profits you can earn are certain. You can estimate them with simple mathematics.

What is the optimal lay stake $10 qualifying bet with the same back and lay odds?

The optimal lay stake will be $10. You can calculate this using this formula:

optimal lay stake = ((back odds – bookmaker commission) / (lay odds – exchange commission)) × back stake

How can I calculate the optimal lay stake?

You can calculate the optimal lay stake in four steps:

  1. Calculate the back stake.

  2. Determine the back odds and lay odds.

  3. Compute the bookmaker commission and exchange commission.

  4. Apply this formula:

    optimal lay stake = ((back odds – bookmaker commission) / (lay odds – exchange commission)) × back stake

Wei Bin Loo
Bet type
Qualifying bet
Back stake
$
Bookmaker (Back bets)
Back odds
Bookmaker commission
%
Exchange (Lay bets)
Lay odds
Exchange commission
%
Results
Optimal lay stake
$
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