Hi all MB’s out there, hope you had a great Cheltenham week last week and have recovered over the weekend?

I am still quite knackered. I was up at 5:30 every day last week to get into work early to get all my bets on (and then more throughout the day). It was manic to say the least.

Anyway, was it worth it? This year I’m afraid the answer turned out to be “no” but I don’t regret giving it a shot because as they say you’ve gotta be in it to win it! What will be interesting to work out is how much I could have roughly made with “Proper” matched betting as opposed to my no lay strategy, so that is what I am going to focus on here in my analysis.

I’m not going to go through a race by race round up as I did last year, because A) I haven’t got time, B) Doing that spanned 3 posts last year! and C) I think it would just depress me too much 🙂

So I’ll just go through day by day stats and write up a few notes of each day that were of interest.


Day one – Cheltenham Tuesday

Total Profit: £395

Total Free Bets: £310

Estimated Profit Normal MB: £230

It was a good start to the week. The big race of the day for my strategy was always the first one as that seemed to be where most of the offers were concentrated, and I managed to win on Bet365 with Summerville Boy for two free bets of £50! It wasn’t the best result netting me -£36 on that actual race but it certainly wasn’t the worst. I managed to spin the free bets up into some profit with a winner (Coo Star Sivola @ 5/1) and 3 places in the 14:50, another high priced place in the 16:10 with Midnight Tour @ 66/1 and a small win in the same race with Benie Des Dieux @ 4/1 at Bet365 for another £20 Free bet.

A quick note: On the Bet365 4/1+ free bet offer. I never realised how good this actually was. I only bet £10 each way on that last horse and I still got a £20 free bet on it (which I could also use each way). This is amazing! Most of the free bet offers are win only or on the win part only of an each way bet. The fact that if you can go each way gives you a nice safety net (if not laying off like I am at least) of getting your money back or more if the horse finishes in the places, plus the extra bonus of the £50 free bet if you hit a winner. I will be paying more attention to this offer in future. Also need to try (somehow?!) to keep my Bet365 account non-gubbed for as long as possible!


Day two – Cheltenham Wednesday

Total Profit: -£480

Total Free Bets: £187

Estimated Profit Normal MB: £140

Well day two was my best day for normal matched betting strategies last year (+£1022!) so it was almost inevitably going to be my worst this year, wasn’t it? The first race was won by hot favourite Samcro, which I stupidly left quite a big loss on. What’s more I went each way on pretty much all of the other horses but not on Scarpeta, which you guessed it came in 3rd at 33/1. So a big £236 loss to start the day, not ideal!

None of my free bets hit any winners throughout the rest of the day, which tells you all you need to know really but other races of interest were…

  • Coral were offering a crazy 7 places in the 14:50 Coral Cup, so I spammed a load of bets on that and got 3 placed horses so win a whole £1.50. Bleu Berry won @ 25/1. I backed Bastien, Barra and Le Breuil. Seems like I was close with the “B’s” but no cigar 🙁
  • I tried each way dutching the field in the 15:30 again like last year but the favourite Altior hosed up. 40/1 shot Gods own came 3rd which gave a small profit on the race though.
  • In the 16:50 Ladbrokes were offering extra places and odds boost so I backed 4 horses for, admitedly, far too big stakes (£25 each way) and none of them came anywhere, so I lost £200! It’s important to remember this is just called gambling, not matched betting. Although I technically had a slight edge on every bet, definitely don’t do this at home and I think I’ve learnt my lesson on doing too big stakes on this sort of bet.
  • Also just straight up bet on the William Hill odds boosts today, which all lost. Cheers William, you shrewdie!


Day three – Cheltenham Thursday

Total Profit: -£2.50

Total Free Bets: £245

Estimated Profit Normal MB: £182

A lot more huffing and puffing for nothing. Today was probably the pivot point in what could have been a really good week turned into a very mediocre one, as we’ll see below.

Just another note, the “Estimated Profit Normal MB” is simply roughly 75% of the free bet amounts, in case you were wondering. I am assuming that you would lose roughly that during finding suitable close matches on both the qualifying bets and then the SNR free bets. Now there is one other thing that came to mind actually which means this could have been a lot more and that is that because I wasn’t laying bets off, I wasn’t doing as many of the worse offers as I maybe would have otherwise. For example the Boylesports faller insurance + 2nd/3rd to SP favourite is worth hitting up every race if you find a close match, but if you aren’t laying off the bet then obviously it is harder to pull the trigger on that one. So maybe I left some “free bets” profits on the table with my strategy. However, it is worth remembering I was at work during Cheltenham and it would have been very very hard to get all of those backs and lays done, and keep track of it all, remember what free bets had triggered, and so on. I think if I took the week off, I would be far more likely to just do the offers properly like that and hit up as many races/offers as I could, but given my circumstances and time available, it was simply not possible to do that.

Races of note on Thursday:

  • 13:30 +£90 – Shattered love won which I’d left a small win on, and backed at 13/2 with Bet365 which triggered a £50 free bet on the 4/1+ offer and a £50 free bet due to their amazing bet £50 get £50 offer! They are my lucky bookie this week!
  • 14:10 – Absolutely gutted about this one. I was debating between lumping my £50 free bet on either Delta work @ 10/1 or Protek des Flos @ 16/1. For no other reason than the price was higher I went with Protek. I then watched Delta’s price crash into 6/1 and panicked and bet it with a Skybet £20 free bet and it duly won. So instead of winning £500 if I’d backed it with Bet365 I won a paltry £120 with Skybet! I know… Shouldn’t really complain about a winner but it felt like I narrowly missed out on a big win there.
  • 14:50 – Un de Sceaux was a short priced favourite here so I hit up the each way bets accordingly. I used my other Bet365 £50 free bet on Sub Lieutenant (£25 each way) @ 22/1 when was debating between that and Balko des Flos @ 14/1. Yet again, the horse I didn’t back won. Luckily I had backed it with Boylesports but only £10 each way and at 11/1. I calculate that coin flip decision cost me another ~£250 in profit! I made £67 on the race in the end.
  • From there on in it was losers all the way, I backed quite a few in the 15:30 due to a Sunbets free bet promo, William Hill price boosts and some each way arbs, all for a loss of -£140. The same in the next for -£80 and the last -£20 but got a £10 free bet with Betfred as Maldini was 2nd.

However, this wasn’t the end of the story, as I also did some “fun bets” just like I did last year with the Ruby Walsh bet, and I gratuitously included that in my figures last year, it is only fair to include any losses from similar bets into this years figures. However I will include them slightly separately to give you a fairer idea of A) What you might be able to make doing no lay offers, B) What you might be able to make as a pure matched bettor C) What you might be able to lose as a degenerate gambler 🙂

Anyway I lost £170 on some crazy inadvisable each way multiples with Skybet. One of them was the Ruby Walsh bet again but I stupidly forgot he’d fallen off and injured himself the day before! So unsurprisingly the stand in Jockey’s did not fare so well. The second bet was targeting all the extra place races on offer and I stand by this being a sound strategy, as I got 4 horses in the frame and didn’t make horrendous losses, so I’m pretty sure just one more would have landed me in profit.

I also lost another £170 on some more each way scalping, that was not even at Cheltenham! Again the issue was not the bets in this case but my stakes were far too big, I need to lower my stakes otherwise variance is going to bite me in the bum and empty my bank before it has a chance to recover. I’m going to make a much more organised effort in this area going forward and stick to a staking plan as well… will update more in the March update on this.

Total for the day include that then was: –£342.50


Day four – Cheltenham Friday

Total Profit: £420

Total Free Bets: £220

Estimated Profit Normal MB: £165

Finally a bit of respite and some winners!

In the first big race (for offers at least) I was roughly even on the winner Farclas but had a big each way bet on the 50/1 Sayo which came 3rd, resulting in a decent profit of £216, plus another £170 in Free bets. This set up nicely for the day which went roughly like:

  • 14:10 – Used up a few free bets and scored a couple of places for £32 profit
  • 14:50 – Betfred and Tote were offering 2nd/3rd place refunds on this race none of which triggered, but I randomly backed the 40/1 winner with Ladbrokes (it was actually 33/1 but I used their “boost” feature which is awesome as it instantly creates a value bet/arb if you pick the right horses!). The only downside was this was one of my lowest stakes of the week so it turned what could have been a big win into a modest one of £190 profit.
  • 15:30 – Hit this race hard with some William Hill boosts, a Genting £10 refund offer, used up some Netbet, Boylesports and a Bet365 £50 free bet on 33/1 Djakadam which came nowhere 🙁 (actually 5th so not that bad but useless in terms of betting). I also backed the winner Native River with Bet365 @11/2 thinking I’d get a £50 free bet, but their 4/1+ offer only covers your first bet which was Djakadam, so in a way I messed up there but also made a profit by backing the winner anyway of £185.
  • 16:10 – I probably should have quit while I was ahead at this point but steamed in with more Will Hill and Ladbrokes odds boosts, a chunky each way arb with 188 bet, what I thought was my £50 free bet with Bet365, and an attempt at a Betfair 3/1 winner offer. None of them came anywhere and to make things worst one of my biggest winners last year Pacha du Polder won the race at a chunky 25/1. I really wish I’d read last years notes more carefully as sure I’d have backed the thing just out of loyalty if nothing else! Oh well! Loss of -£172 in total.
  • I pretty much called it quits on the last two not wanting to spunk even more profit away, so a few cautious bets ended in -£36 over the last two races.

However, yet again I did some other random bets and ended up losing another £60 on those.

Total for the day include that then was: £360


Final Round Up

Total Profit: £332

Total Profit/Loss inc. Betting: -£67.50

Total Free Bets: £942

Estimated Profit Normal MB: £706

Highlight: Pulling some profit back on day 4

Low light: None of the William Hill bet boosts (that I caught a hold of) won for the whole week!


It’s tough to see the figure there having put so much effort into it, but honestly, with a few slightly different decisions this could have easily been a decent profit again. And really, for the amount of work, that £706 figure doesn’t actually sound so great either especially compared to the £332. Maybe that is just the gamblers fallacy/regret in me talking and it most probably is, but ironically I don’t actually regret doing it the “no lay” way because I feel like I’ve learnt a lot over the course of the week. Big takeaways are:

  • Staking is key for the each way scalping. I was going in way to big on certain bets then really small on others, and there wasn’t much logic in this. I will set up a proper staking and tracking spreadsheet going forward to keep me in line, and also properly track my progress with this as at the moment I have no real idea if this has been winning or losing me money.
  • Apart from the first race where there are many offers flying about, maybe it is best to do proper Matched betting on the rest of the day, because it is harder to cover all horses and you are just opening yourself up to potential big losses by not laying off.
  • Read the notes from both this year and last year before next years Cheltenham! I went into it blind and didn’t make any use of the information I produced myself from last year, which was a bit silly really.
  • I would say lay off the crazy multiple bets I did with Skybet but honestly I think they are actually great value so are worth doing! (Maybe just reduce stakes next year)
  • Maybe take Cheltenham off work next year ,if possible, and I still have enough decent healthy accounts to make it worth it!?


So there you have it!

As usual I have given you the warts and all story of how matched betting/gambling as a side hustle can be… no point in sugar coating it!

Once again, I would thoroughly encourage all Matched Bettors to not follow what I do but to stick to the tried and tested way of grinding out the free bets and taking the profits where possible, and don’t forget (as if you could by now!) that OddsMonkey(<– affiliate link) is the best site to help you do exactly that.


So that was me… how was your Cheltenham my fellow MBs!?