There is nothing like getting a £10 free bet that cost you just 50p (and often less) due to laying your original qualifying bet off at the betting exchange.
Matched betting a free bet then always guarantees you a profit. Once you’ve been matched betting for a while though it can cross your mind as to whether it might be worth your while punting (gambling) this free bet for a potentially large profit rather than matched betting it for a smaller guaranteed profit (which is most often between £7-£8).
Our thoughts on punting a free bet
As you know we are not ones for gambling. However, would be recommend ever punting a free bet, or in other words, gambling it with the potential to make much higher profits that if you had laid off the free bet at an exchange? Well, it depends...
There have been times we’ve received a free bet but forgotten about it (it happens!), or we forgot that we only had a day to use it. We’ve then realized logging into a bookmaker account that we need to use it by midnight that day but have left it too late and can’t find any decent matched betting opportunities that would give us a profit extraction of 70% or more. Now my wife in this case will always opt to take the guaranteed profit, even if the profit extraction is low. She doesn’t care, she’d prefer to make £3 guaranteed than taking the risk of making nothing from the free bet. Myself on the other-hand will sometimes opt to punt it. May be it’s a guy thing, I don’t know. I don’t get the chance too often but have done quite well from it when I have punted them. I will also tend to punt in-play free bets if I can’t find a decent odds match during half-time as well. (Again, my wife in this instance will still take the smaller guaranteed profit every time).
Where my wife and I will both agree to gamble a free bet is when the free bet has to be done on multiples (accumulators/accas). Although it’s possible to lay multiples off it is a bit more time consuming and faffy than doing a standard single free bet. Some weeks we busy at work or have other things going on, so if we get this kind of free bet my wife will let me use it on a accumulator. This is actually also good to do sometimes anyway because it helps to keep a good betting profile at the bookmaker.
So basically my recommendation would be in most cases to always guarantee yourself a profit from a free bet – but to give yourself a break once in a while (e.g. if you remember a free bet at ten o’clock at night that is about to expire) and punt it. My wife’s opinion would be to tell you to be more organized so you don’t forget the free bet in the first place! 😉
(Don't ever gamble or punt on the qualifying bet. That's just daft!)
A little experiment...for interests sake
Whilst writing this post I thought about looking back via our matched betting spreadsheet tracker to check just how many of our free bets ended up winning at the bookies over the past couple of years. I thought it would be really interesting to know if I’d have made a higher monthly profit punting them than I would have done laying them off through matched betting. I started trying to do this but realized it would take me a huge amount of time to check all the bets even from the last couple of months. Instead I have decided for now to add a new column to our matched betting tracker, ready to start recording for future free bets, whether they won at the bookmaker and what the profit would have been if I hadn’t laid the bet off and punted the bet instead. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of months. Will matched betting the qualifying bet and then punting the free bet turn into a new money making strategy for us ?!
(Just to clarify - I am continuing matched betting as normal but just noting what would have happened IF I'd done the exact same bet but not laid it off).
What results am I expecting?
To be honest I am not complexly sure, but there is something telling me that punting free bets (after matched betting the qualifying bets) could be a great new strategy. This could especially be the case with bookmakers who give Best Odds Guaranteed on horses.
My wife on the other-hand thinks I'm wrong and thinks that in some months there will be a greater profit but over the long-term that it will end up with a lower overall profit than matched betting does. She will always take guaranteed profits over potential profits, every time!
If anyone is interested in joining my little experiment please let me know! Drop me a message via email to email@example.com with the subject ‘Little Experiment Recruit’ or send us a message on Facebook so we can keep in touch. The more ‘data’ we have the better.
If you have just started matched betting via our guide and/or are doing lessons with us and are interested in joining us on this experiment then please feel free. For now keep laying those free bets on the exchange for guaranteed profits – but watch this space for a potential new betting strategy coming your way!
(To be clear – we are not recommending you to gamble your own money ever and we are not recommending at present to gamble your free bets – only to record what would have happened IF you had gambled the free bet instead. If you think you have a gambling problem please visit BeGambleAware.)