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Author: Chris
Latest update:March 16, 2024

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In-play matched betting refers to betting when an event has started. Live betting is popular at bookmakers and exchanges alike.

in-play football

Bookmakers offer in-play odds on all major sports. Betting exchanges also offer live markets with the option to lay in-play bets.

What do in-play matched betting offers involve?

Place an in-play bet at a bookmaker, then lay the same selection at the exchange to qualify for a free bet.

In-play matched betting is different from placing bets before an event starts. You need to consider several factors.

Placing in-play bets

In-play betting differs from pre-match betting because in-play bets are not immediately placed. There is a five to ten second period before a bet gets confirmed, as the odds are always moving.

If the odds change while you place an in-play bet, you’ll have two options. Either accept the changing odds, or reject and wait for a better odds match.

In-play odds

The majority of in-play markets offer poorer odds compared to pre-match odds. It is still possible to find a close odds match, especially on football match odds.

Live sports betting odds move fast. The action is unpredictable. A goal scored in football would make matched betting very difficult. Sore, wait until half-time to place your football matched bets, as the odds will be more stable.


In-play betting is less predictable than pre-match betting. So, prepare to react to changing odds.

Expect to re-calculate your lay stakes to reflect the moving odds. But, lay at the exchange immediately after your bookie back bet gets confirmed.

Never lay first. Always wait for your back bet confirmation at the bookie.

If lay odds change

You may be in a position where you’ve placed a back bet. You’re about to confirm the lay, then the odds move. Well, don’t panic.

If the lay odds decrease, the exchange will adjust your lay at the lower odds and your liability gets reduced.

If the lay odds increase and your intended lay goes unmatched, then cancel the old lay bet. Go to Trickybet calculator and recalculate the lay stake that will now be lower.

In-play matched betting offers

Bookies like to run in-play offers as live betting is a fast-growing market.

Bet365 and Unibet are two in-play markets leaders.

Bet365 in-play offer

Bet365’s regular reload offer is the football in-play promotion. Place a pre-match bet, you’ll then receive an in-play free bet.

The value of the free bet depends on your customer profile. I usually receive up to £25.

Bet365 free in-play bet offer

Bet365 in-play qualifying bet

Place a pre-match back bet (up to £25) at Bet365. The qualifying bet has no minimum odds requirement, but I usually bet at odds of Evens or above (2.00+).

Then, lay at the exchange for minimal qualifying loss.

Bet365 in-play free bet

You have now qualified for a £25 in-play Stake Not Returned free bet.

Wait until half time, then use match odds, correct score, or over/under goals markets. Select the free bet in the betting slip and click “Place Bet”. As with all live betting, there’s a short wait for bet confirmation.

Then, lay off the free bet at the exchange. As a rule of thumb – lay 60-70% of your back stake.

Unibet in-play free bet club

(This is a historical promotion, information for reference only)

Unibet used to run a weekly free bet club for in-play bets. Here is a good strategy for this offer:

  • a). Opt-in to this promotion on the “Special Offers page.
  • b). From Monday to Sunday each week, place five £10 in-play bets at odds of Evens (2.00) or higher on football, cricket or tennis.
  • c). You will then receive a £10 in-play free bet the following Monday.

Hints: Use Saturday Premier League football for qualifying bets. Wait until half-time on a Saturday at 1545 to 1600hrs to find 5 close odds matches.

Look for a back and lay odds match of 0.1 to 0.15 margin, i.e. 2.0/2.1, 3.0/3.15.

Back £10 at Unibet and lay around £9.50 for each selection. This will result in Â£2.50-£3.00 of qualifying losses to gain your £10 free in-play bet, which makes this offer worth £5+ each week.

Other in-play offers

Other bookies like Betfred and Coral often run offers on live betting events. Keep an eye on the respective promotions pages.