In matched betting terms, a qualifying bet is a bet that you place to unlock a free bet. When placing a qualifying bet, the idea is to match it at the exchange with a lay bet that is as close to the back odds as possible. In doing so you minimise the qualifying loss that you will incur and maximise your profit from the free bet.

The First type of qualifying bets that you will come across when matched betting will be in relation to bookmaker sign up offers, where you will place a qualifying bet and then receive a free bet, usually after your qualifying bet settles. Once you have been matched betting for a while, you’ll be making qualifying bets for reload bonuses, which work in much the same way.

Coral Calculator Example

Qualifying bets will nearly always be placed using your own funds and thus we call it  a normal bet. This means that you get the stake returned if it wins. With free bets the stake isn’t normally returned and we call this an SNR Bet.

Coral Calculator SNR Example

There are some exceptions to this and different calculations would need to be performed and this would include

  • 1st Bet Refunds
  • Enhanced odds offers where additional winnings are paid as free bets.

How to Calculate a Qualifying Matched Bet

To make sure that your qualifying bet is evenly matched, so that you lose the same amount regardless of the result, you will need to work out how much to lay. There are 2 ways to do this:

Yesbets Premium - Automatically finds the markets with the closest odds on the bookmaker and the exchange and tells you the amount to back and lay and respective profit. You can try this for free with 2 bookmaker offers. Watch a video of us earning £15 profit in 5 minutes.

Use a Matched Betting Calculator - You can find the odds yourself on both the bookmaker and the exchange and enter them into the calculator along with your stake. It will then tell you how much you need to lay in order to match the bet evenly.

Coral Matched Software

How to Place Your Qualifying Matched Bet

  • Once you know the back and lay amounts, you need to do the following
  • Enter your stake at the bookmakers - Check odds are still the same
  • Enter your lay stake - Check the odds are the same and there is enough liquidity to get your bet matched at the odds you want
  • Confirm and place your back bet
  • Confirm and place your lay bet

As long as the odds haven’t changed, you will have matched your bet successfully

Useful Links

  • What to do if your bet is unmatched
  • Partially matched bets

How Much Should You Look to Lose on a Qualifying Bet?

This will depend on how lucrative the free bet is that you are trying to unlock. The more valuable the free bet is, the more you can afford your qualifying loss to be. If the odds are exactly the same at the exchange and the bookmaker you would stand to lose between 2-5% on your stake and this is a good benchmark. So with a £5 qualifying bet, you would lose between £0.10 - £0.25.

Below is a screenshot of the expected loss that our odds matching software found for the Coral signup offer bet £5 and get £20 in free bets. This is to unlock £20 in free bets, that you would expect to make £15 from.

Coral Offer - Qualifying Loss

You can see that a couple of the top results show us making a profit. This is because they are arbs. We discuss arbs in more depth here.

Tips For Placing a Qualifying Bet

  • Find a close match to minimise your qualifying loss
  • Pick large events if you can. Stay away from obscure markets, as this can stand out like a sore thumb to bookmakers
  • Avoid taking Arbs. Bookmakers don’t like these, if you continually take them you will likely see your account get limited
  • If you haven’t done any matched betting before stick to football markets, as the odds don’t move as quickly and there is normally a lot of liquidity in the betting exchanges
  • Always place your back bet first and then your lay bet
  • First bet refund and enhanced odds sign up offers need to be calculated differently

What Happens Once You Have Placed Your Qualifying Bet?

This will depend on the type of free bet that you are trying to unlock. If it’s a bookmaker sign up offer that gives you a free bet bonus, you wait for the market to settle and then place your free bet. If it’s a reload offer you may have to hope that you have triggered an event that will provide you with the free bet, for example your horse finishing second.

Coral £20 Free Bets

Useful Links


Scroll to top