Qualifying Bet Guide

Free bets are one of the most common types of new customer offers used by bookmakers and normally take the form of a bet £X get £Y offer e.g. Coral: bet £5 and receive £20 in free bets. In order to make our profit from matched betting on free bet offers there are to two steps to complete.

  1. Place a bet a ‘qualifying bet’ in order to get our free bet.
  2. Place a bet using our ‘free bet credits’ to generate our cash profit.

In this guide we are going to look at the qualifying bet part of the matched betting strategy.

Find Free Bet Offers:

First up you will need to find a free bet offer. You can find the full listings of all the ‘free bet offers’ by clciking here. The offers have been listed from easiest to hardest, although once you have done a few of the easier ones you can do them in any order you wish.

In order to guide you through the free bet offer process we will use the Coral Bet £5 Get £20 offer as our example. 

Check the Offer T&C’s:

Before you dive in and start the offer it is always advisable to check the terms and conditions that apply to the offer. The offer guides list the main important information, however some bookmakers periodically change them, so it is always worth double checking.

At the top of each guide you will find important information about the offer as shown below for the Coral offer.


Coral Important Offer Information

  • Deposit: £5
  • Qualifying Bet: £5
  • Stake Returned: No
  • Minimum Odds: 1.5
  • Free Bets: 4x £5 free bets
  • Expiry: Must be used within 7 days

Qualifying Bet Statergy:

To qualify for our £20 free bet we must deposit and stake £5 with Coral. This £5 bet is our ‘qualifying bet’.

Once you have opened your account with Coral we need to check what the minimum requirements are for our qualifying bet. The guides on the MBC site will provide this information as shown below for the Coral offer. 

What Should I Bet on?

Once you have setup your account and completed your initial deposit you will need to find something to place your bet on. 

You can bet on any sport you like, however to keep things simple it is best to go for football or horse racing and stick to the major games or races where possible. Remember we can get more free bet opporunities from bookmakers through reload offers so we dont want to pop up on their radar by placing bets on obscure events.

Low Odds Selection:

For our qualifying bets we want to look for games where there are low odds available that are the same or greater then the minimum odds requirement for the offer (1.50 for Coral), as this will minimise our qualifying loss in order to get the free bet.

As you can see from the table below the lower the odd (and relative closeness between bookie and exchange odds) the lower our initial qualifying bet loss.


 Bookie (Back) Exchange (Lay) Profit/Loss
1.50 1.50 -£0.18
3.00 3.00 -£0.34
10.00 10.00 -£0.48

Finding Your Bet:

Finding a good match or race to bet on requires a bit of leg work on your side. When doing your matched betting make sure there are some good sporting fixtures taking place that day or within a few days.

An alternative to doing this would be to use an odds checking tool like OddsMonkey which will do the leg work for you when hunting for your qualifying bets and free bets.

Once you have found a match that has the correct odds you will need to place the two parts of your bet.

As an example I have found a game between Newcastle and Chelsea.

As we can see the odds of a Chelsea victory on Coral are 1.53 so we place our £5 bet on Chelsea to win.

Next we need to check the odds on Betfair. Here we can see that the lay odds for Chelsea are 1.55

Calculating Your Lay Stake:

So now you have found a bet with low, similar, odds, we need to enter the information into the matched betting calculator to find our required lay stake to enter on Betfair.

In the calculator we enter the follwing information:


  1. Bet Stake = £5
  2. Back Odds = 1.53
  3. Lay odds = 1.55
  4. Lay Commission = 5% (Betfair)

Once we have entered this in the calculator we can see that our required lay stake is £5.10.

You can also see that we will make a qualifying loss of £0.15. Dont worry about this as our profit is in the free bet where we aim to retain 75% of the bet as cash. So for Coral that should be around £15.

Now we need to place our lay bet on Betfair. To do so we click on the lay odds selection (pink) that we need. In this case 1.55 as shown below.

On the right hand side you will see the betslip where we type in our lay bet of £5.10 in the box labelled ‘Backers Stake’


You have now placed both sides (back and lay parts) of your qualifying bet and made a small loss of £0.15. Now it is time to turn our free bets into a guarenteed profit! 

Because we have placed a back and lay bet we have covered all outcomes for the match. So win/lose/draw we have made a small ‘qualifying loss’ of £0.15 to get our £20 in free bets.


Using Your Free Bet