What is a Matched Bet and How can They Work For You?
When it comes to betting online and offline there’s one key difference – the offers.
The sheer wealth of available promotional offers and bonuses mean that players have every opportunity to benefit when they partner with sportsbooks and bookmakers online.
Due to the number of ways the companies advertise these offers, it can sometimes be difficult to understand how they work cause you to miss out on a potentially good offer.
Matched (or match) betting is the most popular type of offer and simply means that the bookmaker will “match” your deposit or first bet with a free bet.
A Look at Matched Betting: How does it Work?
As mentioned above, one of the most commonplace online promotions is the matched free bet, and is arguably the easiest to understand for beginners.
How the Matched Bet Usually Works
When you claim a matched bet online, your chosen bookmaker or sportsbook will match your bet up to a certain percentage and value.
The most common matched free bet you will see is:
- Matched to 100%
- Value to £25
The promotions vary, but the matched percentage can be 50%, 100%, 200%, and in 2017 300% matched bonuses are popular as well.
50% Matched Free Bets
These are actually less common and less desirable as you only get a bonus of 50% on your first bet. A free bet offer like this can be popular with American Sportsbooks. You’ll also find that the matched amount can be higher as the bookmaker only has to pay out 50% on top of it.
For example, you may see an offer: Free 50% Matched Bet up to £50. This means that the bookmaker only needs to credit your account with £25, rather than the £50 it would with a 100% matched bonus.
100% Matched Free Bets
Until recently, this type of free bet was the most popular. It’s simple and easy to understand. There usually aren’t many terms and conditions, and your initial bet is simply doubled.
An example of this type of free bet is: Bet £25, get £25 free.
200% and 300% Matched Free Bets
As online betting has become more competitive, 200% and 300% matched bets have become popular. While you usually don’t get a bigger free bet, the barrier to claiming is is usually lower.
So for example, you may see the offer: Bet £10, get £20 free. The free bet that you get is around the same as a 100% matched bonus, but you only need to bet £10 to claim it.
The same goes for the 300% matched bonus. A common offer we see is the: Bet £10, get £30 free.
Both these types of offers are great for new users who don’t want to bet more than £10 for their first bet.
How Much Can you Get With a Matched Bet?
Matched bets usually range from £10 all the way to £200.
The following amounts are available from different bookmakers in 2017:
The smaller free bets are often easier to claim. Larger ones can often have more terms and conditions attached or be 50% matches. This means that you’d have to bet double the free bet amount to claim it.
Also, remember that the amounts quoted are the MAXIMUM free bets. There can sometimes be a minimum bet required to claim, but you can often turn a £20 100% matched bet into a £10 100% matched just by making your first bet £10 instead of £20.
How to Claim a Matched Bet
To claim a matched bet welcome offer, you either need to:
- Deposit and bet the required amount.
- Deposit the required amount then roll over the bonus once you bet it.
The former option is often referred to a deposit bonus.
Special Requirements for Matched Bets
As will all free bets, matched bets come with some terms and conditions.
Minimum Odds on First Bet
The most common requirement to claim a free matched bet is a minimum odds limit to your first bet, so you can’t just bet on anything. i.e. you can’t make super easy first bets to claim the free bet.
The common minimum odds you’ll see are:
- 1.25 (1/4)
- 1.5 (1/2)
- 2.0 (1/1 – evens)
So these aren’t massive odds, but they cut a bit of risk for the bookmaker.
Some matched free bets require you to roll over the free bet amount a certain number of times (usually 2 to 6) before you can withdraw it.
This is an extra layer of protection for the bookmaker. You have more chance of losing the winnings, plus it puts off people referred to as bonus abusers. These are people who join bookmakers just to claim the bonus and don’t continue betting after.
We don’t really like bonuses with rollover requirements as they are harder to keep, plus it takes more time to get your money out as you have to make numerous bets with the free bet amount.
Matched bets are very popular and probably the best free bet option for most people. If you’re looking for the best free bet, we advise you to look for one with:
- No rollover requirement.
- Minimum claim odds of 1.25 or 1.5.
- 200% or 300% match bonus.
These are some of our recommended free bet offers: