Matched Betting in Canada: How Does it Work, Tips & Strategies

Matched betting is a popular strategy seasoned punters use to make a profit online. The technique involves betting on games with two possible outcomes and backing each outcome with a different bet. When done correctly, matched bets guarantee a profit regardless of the outcome. Note that matched betting isn’t always available as it requires sportsbooks with a free bet bonus.

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What Is No-risk Matched Betting and How Does It Work?

No risk matched betting is precisely what the name suggests, a betting technique that involves no risk on your end. To match bets perfectly, you need to claim a sportsbook bonus, such as a free bet, welcome bonus, or other deal. Once you have the bonus, you can make a back bet with the sportsbook and a lay bet with a betting exchange.

Matching bets involve elaborate calculations to avoid mistakes. The stake you place on the back and lay bets determine your profits. Betting exchanges also take a small percentage of your winnings, so you should ensure everything is accounted for.

Here's an overview of how no risk match betting works, but first, we need to define a few terms:

What Is a Back Bet?

A back bet is a traditional wager placed to back a specific outcome. An example is backing Team A to win against Team B or to cover the point spread. If the team you back win, then you win the bet. If the team draws or loses the match, you lose the bet.

What Is a Lay Bet?

A lay bet can be defined as the opposite of a back bet. It's a wager against the back bet. If you lay Team A, you're betting on the team not winning. You can only win if the team draws or loses the match. If they win, you lose the lay bet.

What Is a Lay Commission?

You'll use a betting exchange like Betfair when you lay a bet. The betting exchange charges a small commission (like 5%) deducted from the amount you win if your lay bet goes through.

What Is a Liability?

Liability is the amount you stand to lose when you make a lay bet.

For instance, if you bet $25 on a match with a 3.0 odd and win, you'll make $75 ($25 x 3.0). However, your initial stake is $25, so your profit will be $50 ($75 - $25).

The $50 is a liability for the bookmaker. In lay betting, you become the bookmaker. However, you won't lose money when matching bets.

How Does No Risk Match Betting Work?

Now that we've defined the key terms in matched betting, let's explore how it works.

To leverage matched betting in Canada, you must sign up for a gambling account with a sportsbook like 888Sport, Sports Interaction, or another trustworthy bookmaker. Make sure the bookmaker has a free bet bonus (such as “Bet $10 Get $25 Free Bet").

You must also sign up for an account with the betting exchange. Once you have both accounts, it's time to find your matched bets. First, make the required deposit to qualify for the free bet or welcome bonus. Next, find an event to place a back bet with the bookmaker. Go to the betting exchange to make a lay bet on the same event and wait for the match to be played. 

If your back bet wins, you’ll get paid by the bookmaker and lose the liability on the betting exchange. If the lay bet wins, you’ll lose the deposit you placed with the bookmaker and win the stake placed on the lay bet.

Either way, you’ll qualify for the free bet bonus, which is where you stand to make a profit. After the initial game is settled, go to the bookmaker and use your free bet bonus to place another back bet on an event with higher odds. Lay the same event in the betting exchange. With this new bet, you won’t suffer any losses because the free bet bonus isn’t your money.

If you win with the bookmaker, you’ll lose the lay bet liability with the betting exchange. If you lose with the bookmaker, you’ll win the lay bet stake.

You need to bet twice to leverage matched betting. The first bet is to qualify for the free bet, while the next is to guarantee your profit. You also need to choose events with higher odds for the second bet.

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Examples of Matched Betting

You need examples to understand how matched betting works. Here's an example of matched betting and how you can use it to make a profit legally in Canadian sportsbooks:

First Bet:

  • Bookmaker A offers a welcome bonus: Deposit $25, Get $25 Free Bet
  • Sign up and deposit $25 with Bookmaker A
  • Sign up with a Betting Exchange
  • Find an event Team A vs Team B on your Bookmaker
  • Bet the $25 on Team A to win against Team B on Bookmaker A (let's assume the odds are 2.0)
  • Lay a bet on Team A not winning using the Betting Exchange (let’s assume the odds are 2.02 and the lay commission is 5%)
  • Use a matched betting calculator to determine how much you need to wager for the lay bet. You can use a free online calculator. The lay stake will be about $25.38. That’s the amount needed to bet on the Betting Exchange and the amount you win if your lay bet goes through.
  • The calculator will also determine the lay liability, which is the amount you pay if your lay bet loses. For our example, the lay liability is $25.89. This is the amount you must have with the betting exchange to place a lay bet and the amount you lose if your lay bet fails. 

If Team A wins, you’ll receive a payout of $50 ($25 x 2.0) with Bookmaker A. Your profit is $25 (if you subtract the initial $25 deposit).

However, you’ll lose the lay liability of $25.89 with the betting exchange. This gives you a net loss of $0.89 ($25.89 - $25), also known as a qualifying loss. It’s the loss you must first suffer to qualify for your free bet bonus.

If Team A doesn’t win, you’ll lose the $25 bet deposit with Bookmaker A but will win the $25.38 lay stake with the betting exchange. The exchange will then deduct a 5% commission, leaving you with $24.11. As you can see, you'll still be at a $0.89 deficit ($25 - $24.11).

However, Bookmaker A will reward you with a $25 free bet, which you’ve qualified for after placing your first bet. 

Second Bet:

  • Now go back to Bookmaker A and find another event to bet on. This time, choose an event with higher odds.
  • Let’s assume the back bet with Bookmaker A is 5.0 and the lay bet with the betting exchange is 5.2.
  • Use the matched bet calculator to determine the ideal lay stake and calculate the potential liability.
  • For our example, the lay stake for the second bet is $19.42, while the potential liability is $81.56.
  • Now bet the $25 free bet on Bookmaker A, and lay a bet with the betting exchange.

If you win with Bookmaker A, you'll receive $125 ($25 x 5.0). Since the $25 bonus isn't paid out, your profit will be $100.

However, you'll lose the $81.56 liability to the betting exchange, leaving you with $18.44. You can subtract the qualifying loss of $0.89, which leaves you with a $17.55 net profit.

If you lose with Bookmaker A, you’ll have lost your free bet and nothing more. However, you’ll win the $19.42 lay bet stake with the betting exchange. The betting exchange will take their 5% commission, leaving you with $18.44.

You can then subtract the qualifying loss and remain with the same $17.55 net profit. Match betting allows you to nullify the risk of losing a back bet by placing a lay bet. The strategy also guarantees a profit no matter the outcome of the event. The challenge is to find the ideal events and odds. 

Key Takeaways

When looking for matched betting in Canada, stick to reputable sportsbooks. Make sure the sportsbook isn't harsh on matched bets, and avoid creating multiple accounts with the same bookmaker, as this is a red flag. Use a betting exchange instead. Take advantage of free matched betting calculators and odds finders to save time on the calculations.

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Disadvantages of No Risk Matched Betting

Matched betting is an exciting strategy because it guarantees profit regardless of the outcome. It works perfectly on events with two possible outcomes, like point spread, totals (over/under), and prop markets.

However, like most strategies, no risk matched betting has pros and cons. Here are the top disadvantages of matching bets:

  1. You Risk Being Blocked

Bookmakers are interested in making a profit, so they won't take lightly any strategy that guarantees them losses, which is what matched betting does. With matched betting, you stand to win cash every time, leveraging free sportsbook bonuses.

Most bookmakers don't appreciate or accept matched betting and will block your account from their platform if they notice it. You should therefore mix in some natural bets.

More importantly, review the terms and conditions to determine what the sportsbook considers unfair use. 

  1. Doesn’t Suit Beginners

You shouldn't go straight to matched bets if you're new to sports betting. It takes time, skill and elaborate calculation for matched bets to work.

You'll need to find reputable sportsbooks with the ideal bonus and zero wagering requirements. You must also find the ideal two-way events and odds that can result in a profit.

Using a betting exchange can also prove problematic for new punters, and the mathematical skills required to match bets are no simple feat.

  1. Goes Against the Betting Spirit

When all outcomes are covered, and you're left with guaranteed results, it takes away the spirit of betting. Betting is supposed to be fun and exhilarating.

You’re excited by the prospect of your team winning and making you a profit. Matched betting is still interesting because you get to make money.

However, the experience can quickly become dull and all about mathematics instead of enjoying sports events. It can suck some of the fun out of the experience because in-play developments don't affect the bottom line. 

Is Matched Betting Riskier than Normal Betting?

No. Matched betting is no riskier than normal betting if you do it properly. The math has to be right for you to cover both outcomes. Mistakes in the math can leave you vulnerable to potential losses.

If you’re looking for matched betting opportunities in Canada, stick to licensed sportsbooks and events with two possible outcomes. You can use it with the moneyline, spread and totals (over/under) betting markets. Learn how matching works and the calculation involved in covering both outcomes.

You should also stick to sportsbooks that accept such strategies. If the bookmaker strictly forbids matched betting, avoid using it because you'll be blocked from all websites the operator runs.

Other than being blocked and potential mistakes in the math, matched bets have no risks. If anything, the strategy takes away all risks from betting to guarantee you a profit regardless of the results. Choose bookmakers who operate legally in Canada.

Matched Betting Tips & Strategies

Matched betting makes you profit, but you need other tips and strategies to maximize your opportunities.

First, sign up with a credible sportsbook and betting exchange and take your time to understand how matched bets work.

Next, shop for the best betting markets and lines to exploit lucrative odds. The best tip for matched betting is to bet on the favourite early on one bookie and wait until late to lay. Bookies usually adjust the odds as more people bet. If people pick the favourite team a lot, the bookmaker will adjust the odds to encourage people to choose alternate results.

You can take advantage of the best odds for the favourite and wait to leverage the best odds for the underdog later.

However, each game/event is unique. Here are some tips for matched betting in the NBA, NFL, and NHL: 

Matched Betting for NBA Games 🏀

NBA games usually have two possible outcomes for the moneyline bet; winner and loser. It's the best sport to look for matched bets on the moneyline. You can bet on the favourite with your bookmaker and then wait to place a lay bet with the betting exchange later. There are several weekly NBA events, and nearly all bookies feature odds and markets on basketball games.

Matched Betting for NFL Games 🏈

NFL matches offer the perfect opportunity to match bets, especially in the spread markets. Sometimes, you can win with both the back and lay bet. For instance, you can back the favourite to cover a spread of -3.5. Later, the bookmaker may adjust the spread for the underdog to +4.5. In such a bet, if the points difference is 4 at the end of the game, you’ll win on both slips.

Matched Betting for NHL Games 🏒

NHL games are popular in Canada and have opportunities for free matched bets. You can find matched bets on the totals (over/under) market, which is one of the most lucrative in hockey betting. Most bookies will maintain the betting line (over/under 5.5, 6.5, etc.) but will adjust the odds. You can monitor the changes to match your bets at the right time.


How long does matched betting take?

Matched betting only takes a few minutes to complete. You'll need to register an account with a bookmaker and a betting exchange website. Once you've verified your accounts. Deposit money on both platforms, so you can be ready to place a bet. An hour is enough to set up everything, and working out the math takes less than 10 minutes.

Can I win good money from matched betting?

Yes. No risk match betting can give you huge returns because it eliminates the possibility of losing. Your stake and the odds ultimately determine how much you'll make. If you understand the math and have a huge bankroll, you can make good money matching bets. You should probably keep a low profile not to raise suspicion with the bookmaker.

Does matched betting always guarantee a profit?

Yes. If everything is worked out properly, matched betting should deliver a profit each time. Note that matching bets require a free bonus from the bookie, which isn't always possible. You'll also need to sign up with multiple bookmakers to leverage such opportunities. However, you’ll make a profit each time you match bets.

How do I know if the sportsbook supports matched betting?

Sportsbooks won't come out in the open to support matched betting in Canada or any other country. If anything, most bookmakers are against all betting strategies that create an unfair advantage. Guaranteed profit each time may be unfair, especially if you're leveraging bonuses. Nonetheless, if the bookmaker doesn't state they prohibit such antics, you have the green light to try matching bets.

How do I find matched betting games and odds?

Finding matched betting opportunities shouldn't be a problem. You can leverage free online odds finders and calculators to help you find matched bets and work out the math. The challenge is to find sportsbooks with the ideal free bet bonus without playthrough requirements that will derail your prospects. You can manually review games when researching/learning how matched betting works.

Can I match bets with different bookmakers?

Yes. It's possible to find opportunities for match betting with multiple platforms. You can back the favourite to win with one bookmaker and bet on them to draw or lose with another. The second bookmaker plays the role of a betting exchange. However, you're much better using an exchange instead of another bookie.

Does wagering affect how matched betting works?

Yes. You won't enjoy matched bets as much if you receive a free bet bonus with steep playthrough requirements and maximum cashout limits. The playthrough requirements must be fulfilled, meaning you'll need multiple bets. However, you can match each bet to avoid losses. Make sure you read through the terms and conditions to find free bets without wagering.

How much money do I need to get started?

If you're trying matched betting for fun, you can start with as little as $50. You need around $500 to make good money matching bets. Don't get carried away. Create your betting budget and stick to it. You should also withdraw and deposit funds to your account to create a normal pattern. Bookies will suspect your account if all you do is win and withdraw.


We positively end our guide of matched betting in Canada by recommending it to punters. If you're looking to increase profitability on Canadian bookmakers, take some time to learn matched betting and how it works. We hope you found enough information to help you make the first step.

Matched betting has the potential to generate money but requires time and accurate calculations. Like everything else, you must put in the hours and find the ideal sportsbooks, bonuses, games, odds, calculators, odds finders, and more. Stick to legitimate bookmakers with a valid gambling license, top security features, 24/7 customer support and quick payments. You should also review the terms to avoid violating the bookmakers policies.