Free Bets – How to Turn Them Into Profit

So the basics of matched betting simply involves extracting the value of free bets offered by bookmakers.

Let’s look at an example with Coral who offer £20 free bets for new customers. This is a brilliant example. The offer is place a £5 bet with your own money then immediately receive 4 x £5 free bets. Using matched betting strategies, we can immediately convert this into about £15 profit.

We can make a decent return from this offer and is typical of most matched betting offers. Literally at least 75% of your profits will be made from these type of bets. Once you’ve mastered how to convert the free bets into with drawable cash, you’ll be laughing!

Coral – Bet £5 get £20 in Free Bets – Make £15 Profit

Coral are one the easiest bookmakers to cash out free bets
Make an easy £15 from the Coral offer

The terms of the bet are fairly simple:

– New online and mobile Coral customers
– Deposits must be made by a debit or credit card (not Skrill or Moneybookers)
– Minimum bet of £5
– Offer not available through telephone betting or in retail shops
– Free bets must be used within 4 days or they will expire
– The first bet (qualifying bet) must be placed on odds of 1/2 (1.5) or over.
– The free bet will be credited on placement of the qualifying bet and must be redeemed online or on mobile or tablet
– The free bet stake is not included in any returns
– Cashout cannot be used on the qualifying bet or the free bets

There are other various general terms and conditions, but just general waffle such as for over 18’s only etc. etc. But hopefully the terms and conditions are reasonably straight forward.

Simply open an account online, use the promo code F50. You must place a bet of your own with odds of at least 1/2 (1.5). Then your free bet will be credited to your account and must be used within 7 days. If your free bet wins, the free bet stake will not be included.

Cashing out the Coral Free Bets

Step 1 – Open a Coral account

Open a Coral account here, and you will see a screen similar to the one above. Check the terms and conditions match to make sure there’s nothing out of the ordinary. Bookmakers can be a little sneaky occasionally sometimes and tweak their T&Cs to catch out matched bettors. This particular offer with Coral has been going on for many years now, with no major changes in the terms and conditions so you shouldn’t have any problems.

Sign up with Coral and deposit £5 by debit or credit card.

Once you are signed in, you will need to change the format of the odds from fractional (i.e. 2/1) to decimal (3.0). This makes odds matching much easier later. You will find the decimal link at the top of the screen on Coral’s website.


Step 2 – Open a Betfair account

A Betfair account will be used to protect you against any potential losses. We will explain how this works later, but for now simply open an account here.


Step 3 – Find an Event With Good Odds to Place a Qualifying Bet

It is here where we would recommend a more professional matched betting service, such as Oddsmonkey. This is because they have an oddsmatching tool that compares bookmaker odds where you place the bets, and exchange odds where you lay off the bets.

Matched betting can be done without using Oddsmonkey, and we will show you here. The problem is that it might take you a while to find some good odds, but by using the Oddsmonkey oddsmatching software, this will take seconds.

So, to find a good event to place your first bet, you need to find some good odds.


What Are Good Odds for a Qualifying Bet?

Remember, with the first bet we are placing (£5) we don’t want to lose anything or involve any risk. So whatever we will place our qualifying bet on, we will then place a lay bet with Betfair to protect against any risk. You should also keep the odds low to less than 3.0 to avoid requiring a large liability on the betting exchange, see below.


What is a Lay Bet?

A lay bet is a bet placed on a betting exchange like Betfair. It has the opposite effect of a bet placed with a bookmaker (back bet). A back bet and a lay bet effectively cancel each other out.

A back bet is placed at the bookmaker, you are BACKING something to happen.

A lay bet is placed at a betting exchange, you are LAYING off the bet, you are betting on something NOT to happen.


Examples of Back Bets and Lay Bets

FA Cup final – Manchester United v Arsenal
If the back bet was for Manchester United to win at the bookmaker, then the lay bet you would place would be for Manchester United NOT to win. The lay bet wins if the match finishes in a draw, or Arsenal win.

Horse Racing – Kempton 17:15
If the back bet was for the horse “Staffa” to win at the bookmaker, then the lay bet you would place would be for Staff NOT to win. The lay bet with the exchange wins if any other horse wins the race.

Essentially then, the lay bet is an opposite bet that covers all eventualities other than the outcome you selected at the bookmaker. The lay bet matches your bet and makes sure you don’t lose anything. If you win at the bookmaker, you have to pay out the winnings on the exchange. But if you lose your bet at the bookmaker, you win your get at the exchange.

The two bets cancel each other, hence the term “Matched Betting”

If you don’t win or lose anything then what’s the point?

Remember, this is just a qualifying bet we are placing here. We just place a lay bet to protect against any risk. But what this does is unlock the free bets.

In this article, we have found a good match between odds on the Leicester v West Bromich game tonight at 8:00pm for Leicester to win.


Step 4 – Placing the Qualifying Bet and Lay Bet

The essential key to finding good bets is making sure the difference between the back bet odds are lay odds are not too different. In this example for the Leicester and West Bromich game (Leicester to win), we found back odds at Coral of 2.0 and lay odds with Betfair at 2.02. This is a very close match. If say the back odds were only 1.9 or the lay odds where higher at say 2.1, then this would be a poorer match. Let’s look at the calculations in a little detail.


Oddswinners Bet Calculator

We briefly touched upon Oddsmonkey and their software earlier, not only do they make finding good events easy, but they also have an integrated bet calculator. However you can use the bet calculator over at WinnersOdds for free. We’ve attached some screenshots of how it looks alongside the selections over at Coral and Betfair.

Calculating Your Lay Position With a Bet Calculator


Using the Hedging (Lay / Bet) Calculator for Qualifying Bets

Using the qualifying bet calculator is quite straight forward. In this example we found back odds of 2 with Coral and 2.02 with Betfair. The back stake is £5. The standard lay commission with Betfair is 5.0%. There is 0.0% back commission with bookmakers.

This gives us two figures below:

Lay stake – this is the lay bet you need to place with Betfair
Profit /


The Calculator and Bet Explained

If Leicester win, the bet wins at Coral, we will make £5 profit over at Coral. We would have deposited £5, but won £5 on the winning bet. However, as we placed a lay bet with Betfair, we would lose £5.18 (the lay liability). This produces a net loss of 18p.

If Leicester do not win – i.e. if the match finishes a draw, or West Brom, then we have lost our £5 at Coral, but we would have won our lay bet at Betfair. After Betfair’s commission, you would have £9.82 in your Befair account. This has a net loss of 18p.

So, as you can see it really does not matter how the event actually turns out. No matter how the match ends, we have covered all outcomes of the game and losing just a few pence. The only thing that changes is where the money goes. If the bet wins, the winnings stay with the bookmaker, otherwise the winnings move to Betfair, the betting exchange.

The great thing now, is that by only spending 18 pence, we have unlocked £20 worth of free bets.

Once you are happy that you have found a good close match for an event that produces a low qualifying loss, simply place the bets with Coral and Betfair. We have attached screenshots of what you would expect to see at both websites. You will need to make sure you have enough money at Betfair to cover the bet winning.


Placing the Back Bet with Coral

Placing a back bet with Coral
When you make a selection with Coral, a bet slip will appear on the right. This is where you place your bet


Placing the Lay Bet with Betfair

Betfair exchanging and laying off a bet
Placing the laybet with Betfair is quite straightforward. You need to make sure you select the PINK selection for a lay bet. Then place the lay stake in the backer’s stake box.


Step 5 – Cashing out the 4 x Coral Free Bets

If you’re completely new to matched betting, you might want to wait until the first bet has settled before moving on. We would actually recommend this so you can see what happens with your balance at the bookmaker and exchange, depending on the result. This should at least give you some confidence with the next step.

Selecting an Event with a Good Match and High Odds

For free bets, the bet stake is not included in the winnings. What this means is that we must pick higher odds to maximise the returns we get from the free bets. Be careful not to select really high odds above 10.0 otherwise we will require a large amount in the betting exchange to cover any winnings that might happen with the bookmaker.

Realistically you would want to select something with odds of between 4.0 and 8.0. The higher odds you will select the more likely you will be to make a higher profit, however.

In this example, we have found a reasonably good match between Coral and Betfair for the horse Anastazia to win the 16:10 race at Yarmouth. The odds are a little high, if we waited around for a little longer we could have probably found some better odds with a closer match. This is the main reason why we recommend Oddsmonkey so much, it can be a pain in the backside finding close matches. Nevertheloss, the back odds with Coral are 8.0 and the lay odds with Betfair are 8.6.

The Stake Not Returned Bet Calculator

Oddswinners have a slightly different calculator to the one used above, used for free bets. This Stake Not Returned Calculator will calculate the profits you will make when placing free bets that are laid off on the betting exchange.

For our example, this is what the Stake Not Returned calculator looks like:

As you can see, by using these free bets on this race, we will make a guaranteed profit of £15.59, no matter whether the horse finishes first or not.

We should then place our bets with Coral and Betfair. You will note that Coral splits the £20 into four free bets, you can use these on separate events if you wish but we have found it easier to actually place the four bets on the same thing. There is no difference between this and placing one £20 free bet.

When making the selection with Coral, you need to select “Free Bet” from the betting selection. This is an example of how it looks:

Image to show free bets on Corals betslip
Make sure you select your free bets with Coral


Here is our Selection with Coral

Coral horse racing, used to cash out our free bets
The horse we selected with Coral has odds of 8.0


Laying off the Free Bets with Betfair

Here we laying off the free bets at Coral. Because the odds of 8.6 are quite high, we need a little more funds depositing

As the odds are quite high in this bet, the funds required in our exchange must be much greater to cover the bet liability. This is what we pay out on Betfair if the bet wins at Coral. But no matter what happens, the net profit of position of £15.59 remains the same.


Step 6 – Wait for the Bets to Settle and Withdraw the Profits

At this moment in time, there is nothing more you can do with these bets and just let them settle. If the bets win at the bookmakers you should withdraw the cash. If the bet loses, then the profits will end up at the betting exchange.

It might sound a little crazy but matched bettors typically prefer bets to lose. This is because if the bet wins, the person would have to withdraw the money to their bank, which takes a couple of days, then this is usually transferred back to the exchange to cover the liability for the next betting offer. By losing the bet, it means the profits simply accumulate in the betting exchange.



This was quite a large article to read through we’re sure, but we hope you have grasped some of the important basics of matched betting and how to cash out the free bets.

Unfortunately for a lot of people, this betting strategy takes a few times before it comes second nature. But the good news is that there are hundreds of sign up offers like this ready to be cashed out. You can find a complete list of bet X get Y offers here.

Finally, and we’ve mentioned it a couple of times but we highly recommend Oddsmonkey for a professional matched betting solution. They offer a full suite of matched betting calculators and oddsmatching tools that make your life so much easier. For the sake of paying £14.99 per month, not only will you make money faster, but you will have access to daily offers. These daily offers will help you generate a decent part time income each month.