Despite what the title says, it's not really betting. There's no gamble - I've got every eventuality covered; there's no risk because whatever the outcome, either my back bet or my lay bet covers the cost of the other (all except a few pence, referred to as the qualifying loss). In fact, matched betting is actually pretty boring. To be successful, you need to know where all your money is - which means keeping meticulous records; it's like really, really boring accounting.
Anyway, having raised £14 from the first promotional offer, having chosen bets that completed within just a few hours, it wasn't long before I was ready to move onto the next offer.
This time, I chose Paddy Power. Paddy offers 3 x £10 free bets to (new) customers who place a £10 qualifying bet. At five-to-eight on a Thursday evening, there's not really much sporting action to choose from, and Paddy's odds aren't particularly great, but my first (qualifying) bet was:
PaddyPower: Inter Milan vs Sparta Prague, £10 for the draw result at 3.4
Betfair: Bet against the draw result £9.32 at 3.65
This immediately unlocked 3 x free £10 bets on the Paddy Power website.
While I should have been choosy about which sports to place these bets on, in order to maximise the profits, I'm not playing this game for the "long term". I've no interest in "protecting" these accounts; if the bookies don't like what I'm doing and ban me after taking the free bets, I'm not much bothered (some people spend a lot of time trying to make their betting accounts look like they're a "regular joe" to get repeat offers and thus the opportunity to make more money over the long term).
So with my three free bets, I went for:
PaddyPower: Southampton v Hapoel Beer Sheva, £10 on an away win at 6.50.
Betfair: Bet against Hapoel Beer Sheva, £8.15 at 6.8
PaddyPower: Partick v Celtic, £10 on the draw at 6.5
Betfair: Bet against the draw, £8.15 at 6.8
PaddyPower: £10 to win on OutSam at Cheltenham (next day) at 7.50
Betfair: Bet against OutSam, £10.20 at 7.4
As it turns out, Inter won 2-1 so I lost the initial £10 bet at Paddy Power, But over in Betfair, I won £9.32 (£8.85 after paying commission). So the free bets cost me £1.15 to unlock.
The Southampton game ended in a (surprising) draw. So that free bet at Paddy lost. But over in Betfair, the lay bet returned £8.15 (£7.74 after commission)
Celtic thumped Partick by 4 goals to 1, meaning another free bet was lost. Which in turn meant another win over at Betfair, to the tune of £8.15 (£7.74 after commisson).
OutSam fell in the 1.30 at Cheltenham, so PaddyPower were unlikely to pay out on that one - free bet or not. Which means that over in Betfair, I ended up with another £10.20 (£9.69 after commission).
So adding that little lot up, it comes out at 9.69 + 7.74 + 7.74 = £25.17
Let's not forget that it cost £1.15 to qualify for the free bets, so total made on this sign-up offer was 25.17 - 1.15 = £24.02
Out of a maximum possible £30 (the Paddy offer was for £30 in free bets) that's a 24.02/30 * 100 = 80% return. Really good matched bettors aim for a 75% - 80% return. To be honest, I'd be happy with 70% or less - after all, it's not like I'm spending any time looking for decent matches/returns; just to churn through them as quickly as possible.
So to date, I've had £14.51 from Coral and £24.02 from PaddyPower; that's £38.53 after just two sign-up offers. Not a bad start....