If, What, Why, How…
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Article by Darren Hall.
I am sure you have all seen the “If” offers that a lot of the bookmakers offer to existing customers, you know the sort of thing….
But can you make a risk free profit from these types of offers?.
The easiest way to understand it, I think, is to think of it just the same way as a normal matched bet, but with a very restricted market for the qualifying bet, and only one market for the free bet!
Specifically, your ‘free bet’ will ‘win’ at the bookies, if the game ends 0-0. The amount it will win is equivalent to the stake you place for your qualifying bet. The most important thing to remember, is that, just like with normal matched betting, you should treat the two bets independantly of each other – each part makes it’s own profit or loss, and don’t try and think of too many combinations of outcome.
An important point to remember here is that both events must be mutually exclusive – it must not be the case that both can happen! Otherwise, you could end up winning at the bookie, for the qualifying bet, but having to pay out on the lay on the ‘insurance’/free bet part. As you won’t be receiving anything back from the bookie for this part (as your original bet won) you would end up down in cash. 0-0 insurance is great, as long as you back any other score (a game can’t end with two scores!).
A recent England offer was Paddypower would refund all losing first goalscorer bets if David Beckham scored anytime in 90 mins, in a particular England match. This could be guaranteed profitable only if the qualifying event i.e a correct score bet – did not have any chance for Becks to score, i.e. you could bet on 1-0 to the opposition, but not 2-1 (as Beckham could have scored England’s 1 goal). Then, as long as you’re sure how much you’ll make from the qualifier part, and how much you’ll make from the 0-0/Beckham part, you’ll be OK.
First things first – Is it worth doing?
Well the free bet portion is not very valuable, you can normally only make a couple of quid maximum on these types of bet, so you need to find a very good qualifier (preferably an arb but I’ve only ever found one or two in the last 3 months of matched betting!), to make it worth doing. Recently I made £20 on two of these over one weekend with Penalty Refund offers from Paddy Power – well worth looking out for.
So – Is my qualifier good enough?
To get a rough calculation of the profit on the 0-0 refund, you need to look at the odds for 0-0 on your exchange (ie, Betfair!). Divide the maximum refund by the lay odds for 0-0 and take off your commission (for example, by multiplying through the answer by 0.95) to get a good approximation.
Here’s an example:
Place a bet and get it refunded if the game ends 0-0. Maximum £30 stake will be refunded.
Say the lay odds available on Betfair are 8.
Then the profit from the 0-0 insurance will be roughly £30/8 * 0.95 = £3.56.
So you want a qualifier that loses less than £3.56 to make this worthwhile. You must also note that there may be wagering requirements on the bet refund. If this is the case, you should approximate how much this will cost you and adjust accordingly! Say your refund is given as an SNR bet, then you can reasonably expect to make 80% back, the true value of your refunded stake is £24 and the calculation become 24/8 * .95 = £2.85 profit
If you are satisfied that it’s worth doing then place your qualifying bet as normal – you now need to work out *exactly* how much to lay on the 0-0.
To do this, enter the true value of your refunded stake into the ‘back return’ section of the matcher spreadsheet. Enter your betfair commission, and the betfair lay odds for 0-0.
This will show the correct lay stake.
In my example, the lay stake is calculated as £3.02, meaning that if the game does not end 0-0, I get £3.02 *.95 = £2.87 profit from the bookies ‘insurance’ offer, and if it does end 0-0, I get my £30 stake returned, with a value of £24 (as it’s an SNR bet), but pay out £21.13 at betfair. Again, that’s £2.87 profit. This is in addition to any wins or losses generated by the qualifying bet.
All the usual caveats about odds possibly changing mid way through etc do apply, so please bear this in mind and only do this if you are confident you can get your bets on at the prices you are calculating for If you find an arb, there is no hurry to bet on the 0-0, but it’s some extra profit so why not.
OK here’s an example (fictional so I shall use Reading):
If Shane Long (Reading striker, so fat chance of that happening this season so I thought until the recent trip to Anfield) scores anytime in the match Paddy Power will refund losing single First/Last/Anytime Goalscorer, Correct Score and Scorecast Bets on this match upto £200
So you need to back and lay as close a match as possible on a qualifying selection (i.e. 1st/Last Goalscorer, correct score & Scorecast) that is mutually exclusive from the refund bet.
So for example you can chose the 0-0 scoreline as the qualifier bet, because both of the following can’t be true at the same time:
Score is 0-0
Long scores a goal
You could also pick any scoreline where it’s not possible for Long to have scored – so basically any scoreline that ends in nil for Reading, just go for the closest back/lay odds combination.
Once you’ve picked your qualifying bet, match it out for as little loss as possible – back/lay it so that you win/lose the same amount no matter what the result using the regular matched betting calculations.
After that, you then go on to lay the stake refund condition/outcome.
In this case you get a refund if Long scores a goal, so you need to LAY Long on the ‘To Score’ market on Betfair.
To calculate the lay stake, enter the refund amount as the back bet and put in ‘1? as the back odds
Back 0-0 @ 10 with £200
Lay 0-0 @ 10.2 with £196.69
This gives a £13.14 loss whatever the score.
Then Lay Long @ 4 with £50.63 on the ‘To Score’ market on Betfair.
So possible outcomes are:
Score is 0-0 or (any other scoreline where Long doesn’t score) = +£48.10 (from the winning Long lay bet) -£13.14 (qualifying 0-0 bet)
= £34.96 profit.
Score is anything else and Long scores =-151.90 (losing Long lay bet) -£13.14 (qualifying 0-0 bet) + £200 (stake refund from PaddyP)
= £34.96 profit.
Say in the case of a ‘refund if the scoreline ends 0-0? where you can back anything and get a refund if the score is 0-0.
Just look to back anything that is mutually exclusive with a 0-0 result i.e. TeamA to win, TeamB to win, any scoreline apart from 0-0, or any HT/FT result other than draw/draw).
Then lay the 0-0 result using the refund amount as back stake, 1 in the back odds field and the LAY odds on 0-0 as usual, let’s assume the lay odds for 0-0 are 10 and there is a £100 refund on offer.
BACK TEAM A 1-0 @ 6 with £100
LAY TEAM A 1-0 @6.2 with £97.56
A £7.32 loss whatever the outcome
Now LAY 0-0 with £10.05 at odd of 10.
So possible outcomes are:
Score not 0-0 = +£9.55 (winning 0-0 lay bet) -£7.32 (qualifying bet) = £2.23 profit.
Score is 0-0 =-90.45 (losing 0-0 lay bet) -£7.32 (qualifying bet) + £100 (stake refund from PaddyP) = £2.23 profit.
So you need to make sure the amount you lose on the qualifying bet is not more than the amount you will get back after the refund, then weigh up the potential gain for the time and amounts involved but other than that these are all good.
There is a video here showing the calculations on a real life example.
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