Matched Betting Cheltenham Guide 2022
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The Cheltenham Festival 2022 was held on 15th – 18th March 2022, with great profits being had for matched bettors.
We hope you continue to find this guide useful as a reference for matched betting horse racing festivals (also see our guide to the Grand National Festival – April 2022).
A new guide for Cheltenham 2023 will be posted early next year.
If you’re looking to make some extra money during Cheltenham week, matched betting is a great way to do it.
In this guide, we’ll teach you how to profit from the bookmakers’ offers and free bets matched betting Cheltenham in 2022. So whether you’re a seasoned matched bettor or a complete novice, read on for all the information you need.
We are going to cover everything, from preparing your bookmaker accounts and bankroll, choosing your betting exchange and best matched betting site, right through to the strategies you will need to make the most of the amazing opportunities you will find at Cheltenham.
The Cheltenham Festival is running between Tuesday 15th – Friday 18th March this year. Learn all you need to now so that you can earn big matched betting Cheltenham this year.
What is Matched Betting?
Matched betting is a way to earn extra money online. It isn’t gambling, and instead, we take advantage of bookmaker promotions to lock in profits no matter the outcome of the event. Tax-free in the UK, it’s entirely legal and accessible once you pick up the fundamentals and practice.
If you are new to matched betting, then it may be helpful to read more on getting started with matched betting.
Suppose you are brand new to matched betting. You may not need as much preparation or have too many worries. In that case, it is perfectly fine to decide to stick to simple bet x get y offers (similar to the welcome offers you will be working on or have recently completed), in which case it will just be a much busier time but essentially more of what you are used to.
You will need to prepare and practice a few things for more experienced matched bettors and those who want just to get stuck right in. Then with a healthy bankroll, you can profit very well during the Cheltenham Festival.
We hope this guide will work to fully introduce you to all the main elements you need to consider as you start matched betting at the Cheltenham Festival for the first time. Good luck!
What is the Cheltenham Festival?
Cheltenham is without a shadow of a doubt the most important horse racing meeting for matched bettors and the single most profitable event of the year. The Cheltenham Festival is a huge festival running for four consecutive days, starting on Tuesday and ranging through to Gold Cup day on the Friday. This year it runs between 15-18 March.
There’s so much recreational money bet at the Cheltenham Festival that this means many many offers dished up and in general just more value all-round that’s been given away by online bookmakers.
As it’s such a big event with lots of matched betting opportunities hour by hour, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and/or lose track of what is happening. This, unfortunately, means that if you don’t prepare yourself a little, you could, due to mistakes, lose money or at the least not successfully take full advantage of matched betting at Cheltenham, which is a real shame.
In addition to your usual matched betting opportunities, common offer types of matched betting Cheltenham include extra places, 2nd place refund, 4/1 winner, 2nd to starting price (SP) Favourite, and fallers insurance.
How to Prepare for Matched Betting Cheltenham
It’s important to make yourself familiar with the schedule for the festival. If you aren’t aware of the schedule, you could lose track of what’s happening and the bets you intend to place.
Try to be prepared for what is coming and also fit that in with requirements for bets, such as placing them at set times before the start and also giving yourself time to ensure you can place your back and lay bets (with each way markets this can be several different calculations and bets).
Take two essential steps now:
- Sign up to Profit Accumulator, OddsMonkey or Profit Squirrel now (OddsMonkey have a fantastic extra places matcher which is really helpful for Cheltenham), as you will need a matched betting site to complete all the offers and it is worth familiarising yourself with how their sites work and what they offer (see our guide to the best matched betting sites).
- Sign up for the free matched betting course, so you are sure you know the basics of matched betting.
It’s a good idea to check ahead of time on the Cheltenham website for a full rundown. Maybe look at last year’s reviews or the calendar to give you a good sense of things (an awareness of usual race start times might also help you plan your time/commitment to the days of betting).
Matched Betting Cheltenham - Get Organised
Before the mayhem of the festival, it can be good to get your practice in now (in a way that doesn’t cost you money, of course). Remember that you are likely to be making bets on the day itself.
The odds for horse races can change very fast in the 15-30 minutes before the race begins, so if you are mentally ready, you will be in a much stronger position to maximise your profits during the festival days and as all the offers arise.
It makes a lot of sense to be as organised as possible for the festival. See below for some key areas you will want to think about
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Being Organised - Keeping Track of Matched Betting at the Festival
You want to be tracking everything now, a spreadsheet programme such as Microsoft Excel may be your best option, or if you don’t have excel, you can also use Google sheets which is online, and it’ll only take two minutes to create. It’s perfect for tracking all your results and profit, and it’s online, secure, and easily accessible.
It’s even more important than ever to know where your money is sitting and in what accounts and what withdrawals you’ve lined up or actioned. Always know exactly what’s going on, ensure you monitor how much profit you’re making and where your bankroll is.
This kind of administration should go a long way to reducing the risk of stress from the festival and the multiple offers you will want to run each day, especially as you will know exactly where your profits are and within which accounts.
Being organised - ensure you have the bookmaker accounts you need
There are several high-quality bookmaker accounts that you want to get your hands on, and these ideally should be non-restricted accounts. When these are fully ready to utilise free bets available, you can use them for the more advanced offers and strategies (including relatively high amounts and numbers of bets).
A bet 365 account is pretty much non-negotiable for the Cheltenham festival. As industry giants, bet 365 will provide much value and lead to high profit; as a result, the value of the additional is going to come as a result of having a bet 365 account. If you haven’t already, do get your hands on this account now (and do their lucrative welcome offer).
Skybet, just like bet365, will offer some pretty good free bets during the festival and on top of this, they’re pretty competitive with the extra place/each-way bets.
Likewise, William Hill, Unibet, Ladbrokes and Coral are also great to have, as will also be the case for several other mainstay bookmakers (they are worth having to hand to gain the most profit from the festival).
Being Organised - Building up your Bankroll and High-risk Offers Before Cheltenham.
As we have mentioned, it’s good to have as much money as possible in both the leading bookmakers, exchange and in your bank account as an additional floating bankroll. This available money will mean that you can complete more offers.
In the run-up to the festival, it may be a good idea to avoid high-risk offers. Even though these offers can be the most profitable, they can also massively deplete and/or tie up your bankroll. In the lead up to the festival, it makes more sense to stick to more straightforward offers and consolidate.
If you have the funds, it might be wise to increase your bankroll in advance of Cheltenham if this is viable with your personal circumstances.
Being Organised - Deciding How Best to Take Value
When you first look at your matched betting site (such as OddsMonkey) on a festival day, there will be value to be found for the matched bettor all over the place in terms of tight matches on the extra place matcher and opportunities to get involved with the place market, price boosts, and free bet offers.
The temptation is there to just get on every single bit of value available (you might get on two extra places in the first race, four extra places in the last race and on several hefty price boosts, with a few free bet offers). However, the problem is that you can’t combine the liability across each of these horse races. On the face of it, it might look like you’re taking value and you’re gaining as much profit as you can but actually, you may limit yourself to the amount of profit you can make per offer/race as you’re not able to combine the liability.
Therefore, a good strategy is to target each race/offer individually, making as much profit as possible by combining the liability and not targeting races too far in advance. This all relies upon good admin.
Taking time off work for Cheltenham?
Some do take time off their normal jobs to focus on matched betting Cheltenham (and other large racing festivals). This can help you find all the time to place the bets at the right time and without distraction. Placing your bets simultaneously or at suspicious times may also increase the chance of you being gubbed by the bookmaker (account restricted as they perceive you are taking too much value and you aren’t seen as a typical ‘mug’).
One option is to prioritise certain days of matched betting at Cheltenham, but it’s a very personal choice. The more time, commitment and bankroll you can commit, the greater your profit potential. If you do only commit to a day or two, then include the first day, as this is when some of the best promotions are likely to run (and they may not continue across the whole four days!).
First and foremost, it’s helpful to take some steps to be ready for the festival (in the days and weeks before the festival). It won’t work to wait a few days before Cheltenham to look across your bookmaker accounts and then think about what you might do (not if you want to earn big!).
It’s best to ensure that you have the main accounts ready in advance. You have considered how much money you are willing to put into matched betting at Cheltenham and which accounts you may need to move money into (such as onto as many high-quality bookmaker accounts as you can).
Matched Betting Site and your Betting Exchange
OddsMonkey is great for Cheltenham, and you will need their Premium account for the festival (the free account won’t be enough). Follow this link and use the code “OM50” for a half-price deal for a limited time.
To make the most of the multiple opportunities throughout the festival, you need to find out the offers quickly and match your bets rapidly, so the tools and guides that you get from a matched betting service are essential, and OddsMonkey or Profit Accumulator (and Profit Squirrel) as another options are essential.
Best for a betting exchange is Smarkets (with their zero commission when using the OddsMonkey service, including lay betting integration). Still, Betfair or other exchanges can be used too for your lay betting.
How much money do you need for the Festival?
Quite simply, the more money you invest into this festival, the better for your profit potential. Given that matched betting is a return on investment technique, the more money you’ve got available to you and the more money you can put in then, the more money you can make.
For example, as is always the case with matched betting, you can’t expect to double your initial investment; for example, a £500 bankroll can’t produce a £500 profit! The more money you’ve got available to you, the better for your earnings, and the more high-quality bookmakers you have at your disposal, the greater chance of taking away a significant boost to your matched betting profits at the festival (as they have the best offers!).
How do you deploy your money for Cheltenham
For Cheltenham, it’s important to ensure your bankroll is distributed to the right areas. You can’t have your money all in your betting exchange, nor can you have no money available in your exchange! Likewise, it’s no good waiting until the days of the festival and then trying to deploy/target bookmakers’ promotions and bookmakers.
- Pre-define precisely how much money you want to use at the festival now and stick to it.
- Some matched bettors allocate as much as £10,000 to the festival, but it certainly doesn’t have to be so large; sums such as £500, £1,000 to £5,000 are perfectly reasonable.
- We recommend approximately fifty per cent of your bankroll for the start of the festival be already in your betting exchange. Though this may appear to be a large amount, you will need this for the multiple lay bets and liability from the various and numerous offers you are running.
- With bet 365 being such a key bookmaker for the offers that will arise, it makes sense to allocate as much as 20% of your bankroll here, so you are ready to exploit their pricing and favourable odds right from the get-go.
- For the final part of your bankroll, it makes sense to keep this at your disposal in your bank account (or perhaps in an e-wallet) or in some of the other more prominent bookmakers. This final 30% should be ready to be distributed to whichever bookmaker it needs depositing in as quickly as possible, and remember, it’s nearly always easier to deposit than withdraw!
- If you have money tied up in multiple smaller bookmakers, consider withdrawing some of this money before the festival so you can use it for your bankroll. If you are below the minimum withdrawal amount, deposit a small amount and then withdraw the whole balance once that payment settles.
So if you have a £5,000 bankroll, then a good suggestion would perhaps be to place £2,500 into the betting exchange, £1,000 to bet 365 account, which represents 20% of the bankroll and £1,500 being available (30%) to be deployed for your remaining bankroll at the festival.
How Much can you earn at Cheltenham Matched Betting?
The answer to this very much depends upon how you approach it, the scale of your strategy/approach, your bankroll and which offers come up and that you target.
There is the option for the festival of conducting just the usual standard matched betting, as this will be fruitful compared to an average week of offers (so with a fair bankroll, it’s perfectly reasonable to earn several £100-£150 per day with this approach and perhaps £500 by the end of the festival). However, you will not make anything like £500 a day from the Cheltenham festival just from targeting these free bets.
The primary value of the festival lies within the bookmakers’ place markets. There is so much recreational money at the Cheltenham Festival from so many betting people that bookmakers can afford to lower their value margins, especially with the bookmaker’s place market, making the extra places offer so enticing during the festival.
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Use both OddsMonkey and Profit Accumulator?
As both services have their advantages and differ somewhat (in terms of the offers they provide), many in the community have gone down the route of signing up to both of them for matched betting Cheltenham.
This doesn’t, of course, stop you from cancelling one or the other once the festival is over.
Another option for matched bettors is to sign up for Profit Squirrel’s Lifetime VIP service. This can be the ideal option for matched bettors and a specific individual who wants to make money with matched betting but doesn’t feel they have the time to dedicate to it.
Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) - Price Boosts and the Festival
BOG is a promotion run by bookmakers, essentially giving you the best price available with your bets that you place with them. So if you’re backing a horse to win, bookmakers will offer excellent value price boosts, which will minimise our matched betting qualifying losses or even make some bets completely neutral or positive value.
BOGs are often run by most of the larger bookmakers at the Cheltenham Festival; just look into the terms and conditions. You may be able to combine these with other offers simultaneously for an effortless advantage.
Also, see – our Guide to Price Boosts.
Top tip – on the day of the festival, for the most part, many bookmakers will apply their best odds after 10 am. If you are looking to use the boost from the best-guaranteed odds to receive a little bit more profit, then it makes sense to consider placing your bets with those bookmakers after the designated start time of their BOG promotion!
Extra Places Offers and Strategy
If you do decide to go for extra places as part of your strategy for the festival, then you want to find a tight match on the extra place matcher, back the win each way with a bookmaker, lay the win on the exchange, and lay the place market on the exchange. Your matched betting service will provide you with all the details you need to find the right bets and place your extra places offer bets at Cheltenham.
The promotion can be won if the horse lands in an extra place position that the bookmaker pays out. This is because usually, for example, they would pay out on four places standard, but in this race, they’re paying out on five places, so they’re paying out on an extra place. We can win big since covering our bets at the exchange would only cover the standard four places, and if the horse lands in that fifth place (which is covered by the bookmaker but not covered by the exchange), that’s where we can hit a big profit.
Of course, a 100% match on the extra place matcher would be a positive expected value. It’s almost certainly a positive expected value; you’ll get a free bet on the horse landing in fourth or fifth, and you would simply lose no money if it didn’t. Whereas an 85% match on the extra place matcher probably will not be the positive and expected value, you will have a higher qualifying loss and a smaller extra place profit. So it’s best to aim at the odds matcher for at least 90%.
Familiarising Yourself with Extra Places Before the Festival
Hopefully, things are starting to make some sense, but matched betting on horses and each way – extra place strategy can feel quite complicated when you first start.
Therefore, If you are looking to make as significant a profit as possible from the festival, then as we have explained, doing Extra Places is vital.
So it’s worth familiarising yourself more with the offer, and it’s also worth looking at our revising the basics of horse race betting, including placing some practice bets before the week of the festival on some horse races (matched bets and mug bets).
Why Extra Places are Even Better to Run at the Festival
You’re going to be getting tight matches and high matches on the extra place matcher during Cheltenham. This is different to what you would find under regular horse racing meetings (where the matches are only coming up in the last few minutes). You will have a more extended period of time to get on high matches throughout the day, which certainly has a positive expectancy.
Though the Extra Places strategy is an excellent one, you won’t win most times, and therefore the slight qualifying losses can add up (though, if done correctly, it should still be profitable long-term).
At the festival, you are much more likely to find multiple high matches (which is almost undoubtedly a positive expected value). The qualifying losses will be minimal in relation to the extra place profit. So you will have many excellent opportunities to put as much money as you possibly can on that horse (matched bet).
Cover the Whole Field with Extra Places?
If you have the accounts available to you and the opportunity presents itself (it won’t do it in every horse race). You could choose to get on every single horse or target every single extra place every single runner in the race! Still, in some races at the Cheltenham Festival, it’s highly likely this opportunity and this scenario will pop up.
This approach would guarantee a profit, and although it can take several hours to cover the field if deployed well, it’s highly profitable. You want to make sure (if you’re targeting this strategy) that your accumulative qualifying loss from covering every horse in the race is smaller than your smallest potential extra place profit (from one of the runners landing in an extra place).
Should you Just Focus on Extra Place Bets at the Festival?
The most considerable profits and the most significant opportunity lies within the bookmakers’ place market, but this doesn’t mean we should wholly disregard free bet offers and price boosts entirely. These offers can still nicely supplement profits, and the price boost, as we have seen, are often inflated during the festival, so they can be worth exploiting.
However, always consider how much money will be tied up at the exchange relative to your bankroll! If you’re going to be using price boosts with a bookmaker and you’re going to be putting a significant amount of money through these boosts, laying it off on the exchange will then tie up a considerable amount of exposure/liability at the exchange. It’s crucial, therefore, that we combine liability. This requires less bankroll across markets, and we can do this when placing multiple offers on the same market.
Mug Betting and Cheltenham
There is much debate in the matched betting community on whether it’s worth doing, and many believe it might not be worth doing. Mug betting is the process of placing matched bets only to appear that you are a regular punter (or ‘mug’) with a slight qualifying loss. The aim is merely to help the health of your account.
However, to avoid losing your account, it is (as we have discussed) probably worth signing up early and making some mug bets. You probably want to place a few mug-like bets if you are opening new accounts shortly before the Cheltenham Festival. This could be an excellent way to practice your horse racing betting (especially the more complicated each-way bets).
There won’t be much point mug betting with fringe bookmakers who are unlikely to have offers (or offers worth doing anyway), so the big bookmakers will be best.
Don’t assume to completely ignore small bookmakers at the festival, as their promotions during Cheltenham might be worth doing and exploiting them without worrying about losing them.
A Word on Combined Liability
Combined liability is a super important tactic to be aware of and can make a big difference to profit potential due to the practicalities of your betting exchange bankroll.
It’s easy to get confused by combined liability but experienced matched bettors (even though they will have relatively high bankrolls) use this technique to their advantage. This means they do not need as high a bankroll in their exchange as you may think, allowing them to complete these extra places offers.
This is why if you are going to be throwing a lot into the festival, it’s worth familiarising yourself with how this technique works since combining liability specifically at festivals like Cheltenham is such a great thing to do.
A word on Adverse Conditions/Risks
Horses withdrawing in a race is rare, but if too many horses withdraw from a race, a bookmaker may either change the number of places they’re paying out on or otherwise change their terms and odds.
There is, of course, every incentive for these horses to compete in the festival, so the more significant threat to look out for is adverse weather conditions around the Cheltenham area leading to horses dropping out and therefore running your extra places action.
We hope the guide has been a helpful introduction to matched betting Cheltenham in 2022.
Matchedbettingfaqs.com has further help on getting started with matched betting; this includes beginner’s guides, tips and advice posts and advanced strategy guides. We also review the best matched betting sites. There is also a free email matched betting course for beginners.
- To join OddsMonkey, simply click here (trial available).
- To join Profit Accumulator, simply click here (trial available).
- To join Profit Squirrel, simply click here (trial available).
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