This article will look at what Qualifying Bets are in Matched Betting and how you can maximise your matched betting profits by minimising your qualifying losses.
What is a Qualifying Bet?
A qualifying bet is a bet you place at a bookmaker so that you qualify for some sort of free bet or other bonus that is being offered by the bookmaker e.g. Bet365’s welcome offer of bet €/£100 to get €/£100 in free bets.
You will usually make a small loss on your qualifying bets so your goal as a matched bettor is to keep your qualifying losses as low as possible.
There is no point in having a qualifying loss of €/£4 if you are only getting a free bet of €/£5 for placing your qualifying bet.
Most bookmakers will also require that the qualifying bet must be placed at odds over a certain level.
You will generally see that the minimum odds required for most free bet offers are between 1.20 and 2.00.
Sometimes, the bookmaker will also restrict the bet to a certain sport or event which makes it slightly harder to find a close match in odds.
How to find Qualifying Bets with low qualifying losses?
Using an Odds Matching Tool
There are a couple of different ways that you can find qualifying bets with low qualifying losses but the easiest way by far is to use an odds matching tool provided by one of the matched betting sites.
By using an odds matching tool, you can filter the results by the bookmaker and your desired odds range.
The odds matching tool will then provide you with a list of qualifying bets that you can use to qualify for your free bet.
See the example below for a qualifying bet for the Bet365 Sign Up offer.
As you can see from the screenshot above betting on Spain to beat Italy at odds of 3.75 then laying it at the betting exchange Smarkets at odds of 3.80 will give us the lowest qualifying loss according to the Odds Matching Tool.
You also have the option of clicking on the small calculator icon to the left of each result to see how much you need to lay at the betting exchange (see screenshot below).
Each qualifying bet in the odds matching tool is given a rating based on how much profit or loss you will make if you were to place the bets.
For your qualifying bets, you should aim to get a rating of at least 97% but below 100%.
If the rating is 100% or above, this means it is an arbitrage bet.
You should avoid placing arbitrage bets as placing too many of them will lead you to be gubbed by the bookmakers.
Manually finding Qualifying Bets with low Qualifying Losses
If you don’t have access to an Odds Matcher, then you will have to find qualifying bets manually.
To start, I would check what the minimum odds are to qualify for the free bet offer.
For example, if we look at the Bet365 welcome offer, the minimum odds are 1.20.
Once you know what the minimum odds are, the next step is to go to the bookmaker and look for sporting events that are as close to the minimum odds as possible.
This will help you keep your qualifying losses as low as possible.
At the time of writing this article, I was able to find a match between Croatia and Cyprus where you could back Croatia at Bet365 at odds of 1.30 and Lay Croatia at Smarkets for at Smarkets at odds of 1.33.
if we input the odds into a matched betting calculator (see below), we can see we will make a qualifying loss of £2.26.
This is slightly more than the qualifying loss we got using the odds matching tool but it still is a fairly good qualifying loss considering, you will receive a free bet of €/£100.
An alternative to Backing and Laying Your Qualifying Bets
A more advanced technique to use for your qualifying bets is to use a strategy called dutching.
This involves placing a series of back bets so that you make an equal profit or loss on all outcomes.
The benefit of using dutching for your qualifying bets is that you can dutch one event and qualify for multiple free bet offers.
If you want to learn more about dutching, check out our dutching guide.
As you can see from the above, it is much easier to find low qualifying losses with an odds matching tool but doing it manually has some advantages as a lot of matched bettors will be using an odds matching tool so they will all likely be using the same qualifying bets.
By doing it manually, you will stand out less to a bookmaker.