matched betting: cheltenham diaries part i
A horse… Yesterday
Ah the life of the matched bettor! As I’ve mentioned before I very much dip my toe in and out of this particular side hustle and with Cheltenham on this week my toe is very much dipped in, along with the rest of my body, my head and every waking thought going through my head along with it all. What fun! 🙂
Just a quick note before we move on, I am short of time so won’t be taking my time to explain many of the terms here, if you are confused then apologies but feel free to just ignore this or ask any particular questions in the comments.
On the Oddsmonkey 1 forum it is a buzz of offers and chat, and many people have said they’d taken the week off of work to really hit it hard. While I think that is probably a bit over the top, I still want to make hay while the bookie offers sun is still shining so I was up until 2am on Monday night putting my bets on for Tuesday 2
There are so many in fact that to lay them off would require a large bank in the exchange, or you might end up backing and laying the whole field which makes the lay part completely pointless. So it was because of this I decided to run a no lay experiment to see if I could make the same or hopefully more over the course of the 4 days.
The maths say that over the long term you will make more by not laying off any bets because every time you lay you are losing between 2% and 5% commission to the exchange. The variance of your bank will be massively increased, i.e. you will get periods of lots of losers and then all of a sudden hit winners and be in mega profit for a while, before reverting to the mean, and so on, and so on… Most matched bettors do not do this because they don’t want to gamble, don’t want to risk losing their bank, want to take a guaranteed profit on every offer, and want to smooth out the returns/earning curve. Which totally makes sense!
But for this week I thought I’d give the no lay thing a try. The benefits are thus:
- Should in theory mean more profit. Although 4 days is probably not long enough to smooth out any of the increased variance and I could win less or even in theory lose money, I am hoping for a bit of luck along the way. Yes I realise this is essentially the gambler in me, but it’s Cheltenham week FFS 😉 – I want to feel like I have some skin in the game in these races.
- Less money needed in the exchange. Well in fact I guess in theory you don’t need any money in the exchange if you aren’t laying at all. Although if dutching a whole field you might need to back a few on the exchange so always worth having some in there of course.
- Less work. By not laying off I don’t have to run the calculator each time, go to the exchange and place the lay bet.
- More fun (TBC) – I did pure matched betting last year and it was in all honesty a bit boring watching the races knowing that whatever happened I would have a guaranteed loss of X or guaranteed win of Y. I like the thought of having some ups and downs over the week (although could regret this on Friday if it’s mostly downs!). I don’t think prospect theory really works on me for some reason 🙂
Just to be clear I am not advocating anyone else do this! I just thought I’d give it a go and write up my results here.
best cheltenham bookmaker offers
(None of the links here are affiliate ones, FYI)
I am going to assume that you know how best to hit these offers already, but the usual “Matched Betting” way to do it would be to just back and lay a horse as “Normal” and accept a small qualifying loss, then hope the free bet part of the offer is trigged. You then use that free bet to back another horse in another race and do a “SNR” back/lay (Stake Not Returned) bet on a fairly high odds horse (or other sport, if allowed) to guarantee yourself some money.
Anyway, in order of what I’d say are the best offers…
- Stan James – Just log in via this link every day and receive £5 free to put on whatever you want (takes about 2 hours to credit so make sure you do this in the morning well before any racing starts!)
- Sun Bets – BELTER Promo – Bet £10 in the first race of each day and receive 2 x £5 free bets to use for the rest of the day.
- Grosvenor – Double the odds first race – What a great offer, just pick your horse and receive double the odds, on the first race, every day. If you’d done that on the winner of Tuesdays race it would have been 80/1!!!
- Betway – Free bet on 1st and last race if you lose – Max £10 bet/free bet. Just bet in the first and last race every day and if you lose you get a free bet up to £10!
- Skybet – Free bet if horse is a loser 1st race – Similar to the above but it’s for the 1st race every day only, and the Max free bet is a tasty £20 here.
- William Hill – High 5 Plus offer – First race of the day only (every day) – They will pay 25% winnings (£100 max boost, as free bets) if your horse wins by 5 lengths or more. Also if another horse wins by 5 or more they’ll refund your losing bet with a free bet. (£25 max refund).
- Betstars – £50 refund if 2nd or 3rd – A good offer because it’s such a high value bet. It’s only on 1 race per day so click the link to check which ones! (I wussed out and laid this one FYI, a £50 bet is too high for me to risk losing!)
- Betfair Sportsbook – 3/1+ winner offer – Back a winner at 3/1 or higher and get a free bet of the same stake (max free bet £25). Must be on the live ITV races, every day.
- Paddy Power – 2nd place money back offer – If your horse is second they’ll refund your stake. This is valid for the first 5 races every day. (£20 max refund). This only just about squeezes on there because PP are a decent bookie and many of you will already have an account (I would have thought) and I am using it to help me dutch the field in the 1st race.
- Boylesports – 2nd or 3rd place to SP favourite. I would only use this if you need to cover a horse if using a dutching the field strategy (like I am on the first race each day) as the chances of the SP fav winning AND you picking the horse that comes 2nd or 3rd seem quite slim, but it’s one of the better “crap” offers out there.
Honestly there are tonnes tonnes more but they all just look shit. Faller insurance, 2nd place offers and so on, the chances of you hitting them and the qualifying losses I’ve seen on offer just aren’t worth the ballache IMHO.
This is just the cherry picked ones of the bunch that I think are worth it, if you know of any other decent offers I’ve missed please let us know in the comments below. And if you haven’t signed up for Oddsmonkey yet then the forum is probably worth the subscription fee alone this week as there is loads more info than I can possibly write up here, so go check it out, especially if you are already signed up and haven’t done so yet!
There are also tonnes of really great sign up offers (most of which I have already done so cannot partake in) which offer things like enhanced odds. If you haven’t got all the accounts already look out for Paddy Power ones in particular who seem to like offering 6/1 on 1/4 shots which is a pretty amazing offer! Check out the free bets page on Oddschecker (an odds comparison website, also very useful for matched betting) for a comprehensive list of offers available for new customers.
Well, I was going to update with my first day results, but am out of time and need to get back to betting (oh and what’s that other thing? Oh yea, work!) 🙂
So will post an update of results for Days 1 and 2 tomorrow, and the a wrap up after Friday, but hopefully I’ve got the main info you wanted above out (kind of) in time… 🙂
Good luck fellow Matched Bettors, for the rest of the week, and let me know how you’re getting on in the comments below!?
- This in an affiliate link. Oddsmonkey is the matched betting software I am using to find matches and offers for this side hustle. Having tried a few different ones out there, I found to be a far superior product in pretty much every way to everything else I tried. Check it out if you are new to matched betting, there are loads of great tutorials to get you going and you can try it for free. ↩
- Managed to get this down to midnight last night though now my process is more efficient and past it’s initial teething stage… score! ↩