When done correctly, matched betting is a very low-risk way to make a tax-free income from home in the UK.
However, things can – and do – go wrong.
The biggest source of panic for most matched betting novices is dealing with unmatched, partially matched, and misplaced lay bets on the Betfair Exchange.
Even experienced matched bettors will have to deal with these issues at some point too.
If left uncorrected – you could end up losing money.
But fear not.
Because I’m going to show you how to fix all three problems in no time at all. 🙂
Problem #1: Completely Unmatched Lay Bet
A completely unmatched lay bet occurs when you submit a lay bet and NO part of the lay bet is accepted by the market.
For example, here I have submitted a £2 lay bet on Real Madrid at lay odds of 2.3:
And the entire amount remains unmatched.
Unmatched lay bets occur when there’s not enough liquidity in the lay market to fulfil your bet.
This happens because there’s no one on the ‘other side’ of the book (the ‘backers’) willing to oppose your wager.
Before you submit your lay bet – ensure that the lay liquidity is significantly GREATER than your lay stake.
This will avoid having to deal with unmatched bets most of the time.
You can view the liquidity for a market by checking the value in £’s beneath the lay odds.
For example, here you can see that the lay liquidity for Arsenal at lay odds of 1.58 is £12,908:
This means that any lay bet up to the value of £12,908 will be matched immediately and in full (unless the market moves as you place your bet).
High profile football matches generally have a lot of liquidity and so make the odds very stable.
Making them perfect for matched betting purposes. 🙂
Sometimes, in fast-moving markets, the lay odds may drift out in a split second and you won’t get matched in full – or at all.
This is common in horse racing markets close to the ‘off’.
If there’s quite a bit of time before the event goes in play, there’s a chance that the odds may come back in again and you’ll get matched.
But if they don’t – your unmatched bet will be cancelled automatically going in-play.
You can tell Betfair to keep the unmatched bet once the event starts – but this is a terrible strategy because you may never get matched.
Don’t take this gamble.
Fix the problem immediately using the following method.
If your lay bet is COMPLETELY unmatched.
First, cancel it:*
Now, look at the lay odds where there’s enough liquidity available to match your lay bet in full.
Update those lay odds in the matched betting calculator.
Make sure the rest of the information is correct.
The calculator will output the updated ideal lay stake for you.
* It’s absolutely CRUCIAL that you cancel the unmatched lay bet first – otherwise it could end up getting matched and thus leave you exposed to a potential loss if the selection then goes on to win.
Problem #2: Partially Matched Lay Bet
A partially matched lay bet means that only part of the lay bet has been filled by the market.
This will happen if you submit a lay stake that’s greater than the liquidity available at those lay odds.
For example, there’s £5 in liquidity available here to lay PDRM at lay odds of 1.81:
I’ve submitted a £10 lay bet on PDRM.
£5.40 has been matched.
And the other £4.60 hasn’t:
Make sure that the lay liquidity is greater than the lay stake that you’re about to submit.
It’s also a good idea to avoid obscure football matches and sports where there isn’t much betting action going on.
Because it makes getting matched harder.
And you may have to ‘burn’ through several ‘tiers’ of lay odds to get your entire lay stake matched.
Partially matched lay bets happen to everyone at some point.
The ‘quick fix’ is to simply cancel the unmatched part of the lay bet and match it at the next odds bracket.
However, this doesn’t evenly hedge your position with your bookmaker bet.
Meaning that you’ll lose more money if the bookmaker bet wins due to the disproportionate lay liability.
You can avoid this by following these steps:
- CANCEL the unmatched part of the lay bet using the Betfair Exchange bet slip;
- Open the matched betting calculator;
- In the ‘Back Stake’ box, enter the full amount that you’ve already placed with the bookmaker;
- Enter the back odds for your bookmaker bet;
- Enter the CURRENT lay odds that you’re trying to match the remainder of your lay bet at into the ‘Lay Odds’ box;
- Tick the ‘Include Part Lays’ box;
- Enter the lay stake amount ALREADY matched into the first ‘Lay: £’ box;
- Enter the corresponding lay odds for where you’ve already been matched;
- Click calculate;
- The ‘Should Lay’ figure displayed in the ‘Standard Match’ box is the amount you’ll need to lay at the new odds to cover your bookmaker bet in full.
Let’s use the same PDRM example above.
Now, you wouldn’t be placing a lay bet without a corresponding back bet to cover you.
For this example, I’ve assumed that I’ve placed a £10 back bet with my own money (qualifying bet) on PDRM at back odds of 1.80:
On to the lay bet.
£5.40 has been matched at lay odds of 1.81 and £4.60 remains unmatched.
I cancel the unmatched part:
Now, I need to figure out how much I need to lay at odds of 1.82 to ensure an equal return no matter the outcome.
I open the matched betting calculator.
I tick the ‘Include Part Lays’ box.
I enter the amount ALREADY MATCHED into the first box – along with the lay odds.
Which is £5.40 at lay odds of 1.81:
I now enter the CURRENT lay odds where there’s enough liquidity to match the remainder of my lay bet (1.82) into the ‘Lay Odds’ box:
I click ‘calculate’.
The calculator tells me that I now need to lay £4.79 at lay odds of 1.82:
This will cover the remainder of my £10 back bet.
And I’ll make a qualifying loss of around 30 pence no matter the outcome.
Problem #3: Misplaced Lay Bet
Layed the wrong selection?
Then you’ll need to fix this ASAP.
Otherwise, you could end up losing both your bookmaker stake and your lay liability!
Always double check your work before placing your bets.
Pay particular attention to the information you’ve entered into the calculator and the selection you’re backing and laying.
There are two ways to fix this.
Choose option #1 if you have no other bets on the same market with Betfair.
Choose option #2 if you DO have other bets on the same market that you need to keep.
Option #1: The Cash Out Button
Clicking the ‘Cash Out’ button on the Betfair Exchange will hedge out ALL of your bets on that market for an even profit/loss.
Only use this option if you have one active bet in that market.
For example, I’ve placed a £2 lay bet on Concordia Chiajna and I want to cancel it:
I simply click the ‘Cash Out’ button.
This cancels my lay bet for a £0.03 loss:
Option #2: Back the Same Selection on the Betfair Exchange
You can place back bets on the Betfair Exchange using the blue squares.
To cancel a single lay bet, simply back the selection for the same amount that you layed it for.
For example, I’ve mistakenly placed a £2 lay bet on Celtic at odds of 1.21 and I want to cancel it:
To do this, I back Celtic for £2.
I initiate this process by clicking the blue back square for Celtic:
I then place a £2 back bet on Celtic at odds of 1.2:
Due to the difference between the back and the lay odds, I’ve locked in a small loss of £0.02 (if Celtic win):
Conclusion: Solving Other Matched Betting Problems
The above three strategies will solve most of the matched betting issues that you’re likely to run into.
However, I also suggest making use of a high-quality matched betting forum to help you with any other problems that you may encounter.
Because the people who post there generally tend to know what they’re talking about.
Thus minimising any further issues caused by following bad advice.
I’m happy to help too. 🙂
So, feel free to leave any questions below and I’ll get back to you ASAP.