Sports Offer Strategies

Latest posts by Man of Mystery (see all)

Strategies covered:

% refund – Offers of the type “10% cash back on losing bets on Champions League matches this weekend”

Cash refund – Offers of the type “Bet £50 and get £15 refund if the bet loses”.

Refund if team loses – Offers of the type “Get 50% refund if your team loses, but no refund for a draw.”

Cashback on losses – Offers of the type 10% cashback on losses over a month

Extra percentage win – Offers of the type 5% extra winnings

Free bet if selection wins

Dutching – offers where you can back all outcomes

Total goals – qualifier for free bet is on total goals

100% book


These are offers which are for existing customers, and involve enhanced odds, refunds or free bets which may be SR or SNR, with or without a WR. The strategies below tell you how to make the most of each type of offer, and knowledge of how to cash out a refund if lose, SR or SNR free bet is assumed.

With refund offers the first thing you need to do is asses precisely what triggers the refund, and just as important, what does not. Go through every possible scenario, asking yourself what would happen if this was the result. You will see this throughout the strategies below.

Note that If type offers are dealt with in a separate post.

% refund

Risk category A or B Underlay.

Offers of the type “10% cash back on losing bets on Champions League matches this weekend”

Note that these are not cash back on overall losses over several bets – those are dealt with differently.

Each individual bet will result in a refund if it loses, but no refund if it wins. You therefore need to adjust your stake downwards at Betfair (underlay) to make use of the refund. The refund creates a situation where it is as though you were betting less at the bookie at higher odds than are quoted, so to make a profit from this sort of offer you need to find something which is an arb at the “new” odds.

Since you get a refund of losses it is as though you had placed a smaller bet at bigger odds, for example if I place £100 at 5.0 I win £400 if it wins but lose only 90 at the bookie with a 10% refund if it loses. This has the effect of raising the odds at the bookie – the formula for the raised odds is:

effective odds = [stake/(stake-refund)] x (decimal odds taken – 1).

so for the above example effective odds = [100/(100-10)] x 4 = 4.444

for a 20% refund it would be (100/80) x 4 = 5

There is a spreadsheet written by Howard Hutchinson Refund_Cash which does these calculations for you, so all you have to do is enter back and lay odds, stake at the bookie and the % refund. There are 2 sheets in this download – use the sheet called “Percentage Refund”. The other sheet, “cash refund” calculates the lay stake and returns for a refund if the bet loses, see below.

Refund of Losses

Risk category A or B Underlay.

If the refund is 100% this can be treated like a SNR free bet without a qualifier. Sometimes offers are for a smaller refund, such as place £50 and get £15 back of the bet loses. Lay stakes and profit for these can be calculated using the 2nd sheet on Howard Hutchinson’s spreadsheet (see above) entitled “Cash Refund”. The principle for working them out manually is exactly the same as for the percentage refund – just work out what percentage the refund is of the original bet first.

Refund if team loses

Risk category A Underlay.

Bet24 sometimes do these, eg:

Bet £12 on the winner of the chelsea v arsenal game and if your team loses get half of your stake returned , NO REFUND IF IT’S A DRAW.

This is how I dealt with this one, using a dutching strategy to cover all outcomes:

BACK Arsenal £12 at 4.5 at Bet24

LAY Arsenal £9.50 at 5.1 at Betfair

BACK Draw £2 at 3.6 at Bet365 (or at 3.7 at Betfair)

If Arsenal win:

£12 at 4.5 wins £42 at Bet24

£9.50 lay loses £38.95 at Betfair

draw bet loses £2

Total profit = £1.05.

If Chelsea win:

£12 bet on Arsenal loses but get £6 refund at Bet24

Arsenal lay wins £9.50 less commission = £9.02 (at 5%) at Betfair

draw bet loses £2

Profit = £1.02.

If Draw wins:

Lose £12 at Bet24.

Arsenal lay wins £9.02 at Betfair

Draw bet wins £ 5.20 at Bet 365 (or £5.13 at 5% commission at Betfair)

Profit = £2.22 if you backed the draw at Bet365 or £2.15 if your draw bet was at Betfair.

Basically what I have done here is underlay the Arsenal bet to take advantage of the refund if they lose. I’ve then backed the draw to compensate for the lack of a refund if the match is a draw. I used the “what if” figures at Betfair to calculate the best numbers by trial and error.

Howard Hutchinson has written a spreadsheet for this strategy Refund_Losing_Team

“If the sheet opens in “Read Only” mode, use Save As to rename the file.

It should then work ok for you.

Test drive the sheet and you may find that trading (Bet with the bookie and lay the same team on Betfair) the BIG ODDS of the outsider of the 2 teams pays best.

You will need to use the Adjust cell to adjust the lay stake to balance the profit or loss.

You may decide to bet and lay the outsider, but profit if the favourite team wins the game.

If Bet24 ever refund the whole stake instead of just half the losing bet stake, this strategy may pay very well if you trade the big odds of the outsider of the 2 teams.

I’ve left some of the calculations visible so that you can see how these bets and lays cover all 3 possible outcomes – Home Win, Away Win or Draw.

Good luck with that, Howard.”

A variation on this theme is an extra amount if you win, for example this offer from Bet24:

Bet a double of exactly £10 on both matches combined in one coupon (1X2, no handicap) and get £10 extra if you win.

It doesn’t matter that this is a double, because Betfair had an acca market for the matches concerned. If the extra winnings are equal to the stake, all you do is add 1 to your back odds and look for an arb. For doubles (as in this example) unless there are minimum odds specified it is usually best to go for the lowest possible odds.

Cashback on losses

Risk Category A Arbing/underlay

Bookies sometimes have offers of the variety 10% cashback on net losses over a period of time. As often happens there is more than one way to tackle this.

1. To guarantee a profit

If there is a limit to this and you have an account that will stand a large bet, the best way to tackle this is with one single arb. Suppose the maximum cashback is £25 (as was the case with Blue Square). You place a £250 bet on an arb, and underlay so that you lose less at Betfair if the bet wins. If there is no limit simply choose an amount you want to win or will be allowed to bet and use that.

If your bet wins – no refund, continue to arb for the rest of the month. If you get into a net losing situation at the bookie, repeat the above tactic.

If your bet loses, leave the account alone for the rest of the month, and collect the refund.

How much to underlay?

If you want an equal return either way, the way to tackle this is to put it into your spreadsheet as 2 bets, eg £225 as a qualifier/arb and £25 as a SNR (its a refund if lose, which is the same). Your best returns will be at odds over about 7, as for SNR free bets, but you will need plenty of money in Betfair for this. If your bet loses you will have to wait a month for your refund.

2. Arbing Strategy

Tying up a Coral account for a month for the sake of a few quid is not a sensible strategy for a serious arber. Most arbers will not try to match this sort of offer out for a guaranteed profit. They will simply find a low odds arb and lump on as much as possible using the usual underlaying tactics of no profit or loss if the bet loses and a profit for a win. If the bet wins they will continue to arb the account through the month, if it loses they may consider leaving the account dormant for a profit which amounts to the whole of the refund. On a £2000 bet on a short priced favourite with unlimited 10% monthly refund this would give a nice profit of £200 if the bet lost. If the arb was in the 1.5 price range, the guaranteed profit method would only return about £70 for the same sort of stake. The pro arber would probably make that and more from using the account for the rest of the month if his first bet won.

3. Darren’s spreadsheet.

Darren Hall has written a spreadsheet cashback to calculate your lay amounts over a series of bets for this sort of offer. Input the % of the refund, then add the bets as you place them and the sheet works out your lay stake for equal returns win or lose.

Extra Percentage Win

Risk Category B – Arbing

Occasionally you will get an offer which pays out an extra percentage on winnings – Stan James did this on the “Guineas” races when they paid out in guineas (£1.05 = 1 guinea), therefore paying an extra 5%.

To calculate the effective bet odds for 5% extra winnings:

new odds = (decimal odds at bookmaker -1) x 5% + decimal odds at bookmaker. eg at 4.0 the new odds would be 3 x 5% =0.15 + 4 = 4.15.

You then need to look for an arb with the new odds in order to make a profit.

Howard Hutchinson has provided a spreadsheet for this offer Refund_Guineas_to_pounds, and explains its use as follows:

The sheet includes an extra percentage on the Bet returns, plus commission deductions on the lay side of the trade. If there are any similar offers in future, the percentage added to the bet return can be amended at cell E4. If we stake for an equal profit or loss the extra 5% from Stan James in these 2 races means that we make a profit a couple of ticks nearer to the bet odds when compared to a normal arb. This sheet may help with any arbing in these Guineas races if Stan James offer some decent bet odds.

You can compare a normal “Bet with the bookie and lay on Betfair” trade with this normal sheet by putting the numbers into your normal spreadsheet or calcuator, or just set cell E4 to zero in the sheet above.

Free Bet if Selection wins

Risk Category B – Arbing

What these offers do is effectively increase the bookie price by the amount you can get from the free bet. If the free money equals your bet stake and is immediately withdrawable, this increases the odds by 1.0. Normally you will get a SNR free bet or a bet with a WR, so you have to factor this in. The basic idea is that by adding an amount to the odds in your spreadsheet you are overlaying the qualifying bet to give you some return if the bet loses. However, there is probably more value in these bets if you lay as little as possible so that you make nearly nothing if the bet loses, but get good value from the free bet if it wins. There is an example of an offer like this at Skybet in this post.


Risk category A dutching

Sometimes there is an offer where you can lock in a profit by backing all outcomes using a dutching calculator.

Example (offer from Bet24):

You can’t lose – Get £5 or £25 back!

Place a bet of exactly £20 on “Draw-no-bet” in one of the world cup play-off matches below and get a £5 bonus back if you lose. And if the match ends in a draw you will get back your £20 stake and an additional £5 bonus.

You can lock in a small profit, just tweak this as you or think the outcome may be, here it is weighted just in France’s favour.

BACK France £20 at Bet24 at 1.75 (Draw No Bet Market)

BACK Ireland £9 at Betfair at 3.35 (Match Odds market – 5% comm.)

BACK Draw £3 at Betfair at 3.2 (Match Odds market – 5% comm.)

France win = +£15 at Bet24 / -£12 at Betfair = / No Bonus = +£3

Ireland win = -£20 at Bet24 / +£20.10 from Ireland Back at Betfair / -£3 from Draw Back at Betfair / £5 bonus from Bet24 = +£2.10

Draw = -£20 at Bet24 / -£9 from Ireland Back at Betfair / +6.27 from Draw Back at Betfair / £5 bonus from Bet24 plus £20 stake back = £2.27

For more information about dutching see this post.

Total Goals

Risk category A dutching

Some of the William Hill BOGOF offers had qualifiers on the Total Match Goals market. Most of the options do not quite match the total goals market at Betfair.

To match this out you can back 6 or more goals and lay over 5.5 on Betfair, or back no goals and lay 0-0.

Sometimes the best match up is to back Total Goals 2 and then LAY 0-2, 2-0 and 1-1 in the CS market.

Example – Boro / Man City game

BACK 2 goals @ 3.5 (£20)

LAY 1-1 £8.41 @ 8.4

2-0 £1.61 @ 44 (to lay less then £2 on Betfair see below)

0-2 £8.22 @ 8.6

Loss = £2.64 for the free £10 bet

1.Put the Betfair odds into a dutching calculator and a stake of £1

2.Calculate and this will give you a “Return if any selection wins” to get the “average” lay odds, 3.88 in this case.

3. Calculate appropriate lay stake based a on 3.5/3.88 match, just feed £20 as the stake and 3.5 / 3.88 as the back/lay odds into the regular matched betting calculator, £18.24 in this case.

4. Replace total stake in the dutching calculator with £18.24 to arrive at how the lay stakes should be split.

This is an excellent dutch calculator:…alculator.html

Note that you cannot back eg. over 2 goals at the bookie and lay 2 goals or more on Betfair, as if there were 2 goals both bets would lose, but you can back under 2 goals at the bookie and back 2 goals or more (use a dutching calculator) at Betfair.

Laying with a stake of less than £2 on Betfair

There is a video illustrating this procedure here.

In this example, I imagine that I want to lay a horse for a stake of 50 pence, at the current market price of 2.5.

Step 1 – Click the ‘lay’ box of the horse of your choice.

Step 2 – In the ‘price’ side enter ‘1.01? (assuming the price is more than that) and in the Stake box, enter £2 – press submit.

Your bet will not be matched, instead it will be listed in your “My Bets” tab as unmatched

Step 3 – Change the ’stake’ add your intended stake amount to the existing £2 – so enter £2.50 and press ’submit’.

You will now have 2 unmatched lay bets for 1.01- one for £2 and one for 50 pence.

Step 4 – in the 50p bet, change the odds to those currently available to lay – 2.5. Click cancel on the £2 bet @ 1.01. Press submit.

Backing with a stake of less than £2 on Betfair

In this example, I imagine that I want to back a horse for a stake of 50 pence, at the current market price of 5.5.

Step 1 – Click the ‘back’ box of the horse of your choice.

Step 2 – In the ‘price’ side enter ‘1000? (assuming the price is less than 1000!) and in the Stake box, enter £2 – press submit.

Your bet will not be matched, instead it will be listed in your “My Bets” tab as unmatched

Step 3 – Change the ’stake’ add your intended stake amount to the existing £2 – so enter £2.50 and press ’submit’.

You will now have 2 unmatched bets for 1000 – one for £2 and one for 50pence.

Step 4 – in the 50p bet, change the odds to those currently available to back – 5.5. Click cancel on the £2 bet @ 1000. Press submit.

If you use trading software you will be able to do this by entering the 50p stake and submitting it – the software will do precisely the procedure above (back or lay) automatically.

100% Book

Risk category B Arbing strategy

Sometimes bookies advertise a 100% book as an offer. Basically this means that there is no profit margin for the bookie from this book. Betfair is almost 100%, so unless the prices on all outcomes are very similar to Betfair, the 100% book has good arb potential.

Read more about book percentages here.


Risk category D Multiples strategy

Offers of the type “refund if one leg loses” are dealt with in the Betfair multiples section.

Occasionally a bookie will offer extra winnings or enhanced odds on a multiple. There is a video on laying multiples here.

Please note that this method does NOT work for horse racing because horse racing multiples on Betfair are settled at SP. There is a strategy for tackling horse racing multiples in the Horse Racing Strategies section.

Our AI articles are NOT written by a real person and are provided for entertainment only. They may contain content which is inaccurate but we are hoping our AI bot, Rose, will become better over time. The AI category is the ONLY section of that has zero human input.

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