The beautiful thing about matched betting is everything is based on mathematics.
If the maths shows we’ll make a profit, we take the bet. If it doesn’t we don’t.
When it comes to multi bets – the strategy is slightly different, but the underlying concept is exactly the same.
This is how myself and many other matched bettors make thousands every year (or month!) doing simple matched betting with multis.
In this article I will explain exactly how we figure out if a multi is profitable, and how to use those bets to guarantee we always make money in the long run.
Multis Is All About ODDS
There is one rule you need to understand about odds, and that is the odds always play out in the long run.
When you go to the roulette table at the casino, there is an option there to bet on black or red.
This is considered a 50/50 bet.
After all, there are only red and black numbers on the roulette wheel, right?
You bet on black, and there’s a 50% chance you win, and a 50% chance you lose.
This is one of the most popular bets at casinos, because it’s simple, and people think they have a decent chance at winning.
However, here’s the big misconception: The odds are not 50/50.
Think about it.
Why would a casino offer a game with 50/50 odds?
Since we know the odds always play out in the long run, that would mean if $100 million is bet on black/red over time, the casino will win $50 million and lose $50 million. In other words, they break even.
Do you think casinos can furnish those enormous buildings and buy all those machines and have such nice restaurants and bars and performers and give away cars every week just by breaking even?
No, casinos are much smarter than that.
On the roulette wheel, there is a number that most people forget about.
That number is zero.
See it there, hiding in the corner?
The thing about zero is it is neither black, nor red.
It is green.
Therefore if during a roulette spin, some people bet on black and some people bet on red, and the ball hits zero, neither of them win.
The house wins it all.
This is known as the house edge, or the odds being in favour of the house.
The odds are not 50/50 at all. That pesky green zero makes the odds closer to 49/51, so if $100 million is bet on that roulette table over the long run, the customers will win $49 million, and the house will win $51 million.
$2 million dollars won just from that pesky zero.
And the casino knows this is guaranteed, because the odds always play out in the long run.
How does this apply to matched betting?
Bookies are no different to casinos. The odds are always stacked in their favour as well.
That’s why you never see 50/50 odds at a bookie.
If there are two perfectly matched teams playing each other, the odds for each team should technically be 2.0.
But they never are. They’re usually 1.94, or 1.96.
That extra 0.4 or 0.6 is the bookie’s version of a green zero on a roulette wheel.
It gives them a house edge, so the odds are in their favour, and they always win in the long run.
The reason you need to understand odds, and whose favour they are in, is because when you start matched betting with multis, it is all about odds.
This means you may experience some variance in the short term, because it’s possible for odds to not play out in the short term, in the same way that while flipping a coin, it’s technically possible for you to flip heads 100 times in a row.
But even if you flip heads 100 times in a row, or 200 times in a row, after a million flips, the results will still be almost exactly 50% heads and 50% tails.
The odds always play out in the long run.
Our Multi Strategy For Guaranteed Winnings
When we matched bet on multis, our goal is the same as the casino:
We need to give ourselves a house edge.
We do this by using a metric called Expected Value, or EV.
If we can work out a bet with a positive Expected Value, it means the odds on that bet are in our favour and we should take it.
If the EV works out to be negative, we should leave that bet and find another one.
How do we calculate EV?
The formula is as follows:
[Amount won x probability of winning] – [Amount lost x probability of losing]
(Don’t worry, we have a calculator to do it for us!)
Your friend offers you a bet: Flip a coin, and if heads, you will give him $1, if tails, he will give you $1.
Since we know the chance of winning and losing is both 50% (assuming the coin is fair), and the amount to win or lose is both $1, the calculation is relatively easy:
[$1 x 50%] – [$1 x 50%] = 0.5 – 0.5 = 0
In this case the EV is zero, meaning you will not win nor lose.
However, let’s say your friend says he will give you $2 for every heads, but you still only give him $1 for every tails.
[$2 x 50%] – [$1 x 50%] = 1 – 0.5 = 0.5.
In this case, the EV is $0.5, meaning if you were to flip the coin an infinite amount of times, you will win 50 cents on average per flip.
Keep in mind, this is only guaranteed to play out over the long term.
It is very possible you will flip the coin ten times, and every time it lands tails, meaning you will lose $10.
However, if you flip the coin a million times, the possibility of you losing is non-existent. The odds will play out and you will win on average 50 cents per flip or extremely close to it.
As my old math teacher used to say, probability is not a theory, it is a law, and the law of probability can never be beaten.
How To Calculate EV For A Multi
To calculate EV for a multi we require four things:
- The stake
- The bonus available and the expected retention %.
- Back odds for each leg
- Lay odds for each leg
Simply plug these into the calculator I have available here, and it will spit out the EV.
For example, let’s say we’re playing this multi from Tab NZ:
In this multi we place 3 legs, if one leg loses, we get a $50 bonus bet.
Let’s say we’re going to bet on this game:
And we’re going to take the following 3 legs:
- Man City to win: 1.33
- Over 1.5 goals: 1.15
- Over 7.5 corners: 1.40
We also need the lay odds for each of these legs.
Usually we can find them in Betfair – for example – we know the lay odds for Man City to win are 1.41:
If you cannot find the legs in Betfair, you can simply estimate them.
A good rule of thumb is lay odds are 10% to 15% higher than back odds.
Once we have all this data, we can punch it into our calculator:
Our calculator tells us the bet has an EV of $6.98.
This means if we place 100 of these multis, we’ll make a profit of $698.
If we place 1,000 of them, we’ll make $6,980.
So should we place the bet?
In my experience, anything over an EV of $5 is usually worth taking (the reason we don’t take everything over an EV of zero is because it’s best to leave yourself a margin of error).
Why Does This Work?
The reason this strategy works is because of the bonus bet.
We know we can turn every bonus bet into guaranteed cash with basic matched betting.
This allows us to slightly tilt the odds in our favour, moving our bets from slightly EV negative to slightly EV positive.
That small tilt is like our green zero on the roulette wheel.
It means over the long run the law of probability is on our side, so it’s impossible for us not to profit.
Want to learn more?
The above article is a lesson from my course Simple Bets. Hundreds of Kiwis have used Simple Bets to build themselves a second income through matched betting. Learn more about the course here.