What is Mug Betting and do I have to do it?
In this post, we will explore mug betting and matched betting. Nothing divides opinion more in matched betting than mug betting, so it is worth looking at.
Given that placing mug bets is in complete opposition to matched betting, many question whether you should bother doing it.
A discussion of mug betting is linked with gubbing. Gubbing means severely restricting your bookmaker account and losing promotional offers, reducing your ability to match bet. See our full post – What is Getting Gubbed.
Some claim that by throwing in the odd normal (non-matched) ‘mug-like’ bet, the chances of this happening reduce since you are less likely to appear suspicious to bookmakers. However, many others claim that mug betting doesn’t help nor achieve the aims it hopes to.
Those starting out in matched betting often ask what happens after welcome offers and what the future holds to keep their accounts open to retain regular profit, such as through reload offers. It’s important to know where mug betting sits in all this and to look in more depth at what mug betting seems like for a matched bettor and whether the efforts are worth it.
We’re going to cover:
What is Mug Betting?
Mug Betting is quite simply carrying out bets that look no different to the usual bets carried out by regular punters (those who are not matched betting), i.e. ‘Mugs’.
These bets do not ‘take value’ from the bookmaker and in the long run, have minus EV (expected value).
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Why Mug Bet?
Once you get beyond your first welcome offers, and the amount of matched betting activity you have underway increases with the money you are earning, you have to face the increased possibility that you are gubbed. Bookmaker accounts may become stake limited, closed or you could be banned from any future promotions.
Accounts can be restricted or closed with little warning (though full account closure is a lot less likely and your non-promotional funds should be secure) and your free bets removed.
An example below shows you the kind of email you may regretfully receive.
Does Mug Betting Work?
There’s little doubt that bookmakers monitor account activity and customer behaviour, whilst checking for any suspicious activity or patterns in betting. It may, for example, seem suspicious if picked up by a bookmaker for a British account to start betting on games in Chinese League One or to bet on close matched games consistently.
Suspicious activity for bookmakers may involve any of the following, with repeat transgressions having a larger effect:
- Betting only on promotions
- Excessive use of price boosts
- Betting on obscure (and geographically distant) sports/leagues and events
- Arb betting (100%+ matches) and bets that offer little value to the bookie (close matches)
- Deposits into accounts only for the value to trigger promotions
Many believe that an effective way to reduce the risks associated with matched betting (which will always involve attempts to find value of some sort) is to place mug bets.
The idea of mug betting is quite simply to reduce the chances that these restrictions happen to you, by appearing more like a regular punter.
It’s worth noting that taking some sensible precautions – such as avoiding those triggers listed above – around patterns of betting behaviour (even whilst taking value and matching your bets) may be helpful. These steps would not necessarily involve placing mug bets, but rather they could involve keeping a consistent pattern to betting on mainstream sport, betting at consistent levels (for example always keeping your 2up bets at £50 / under £100) and other sensible steps.
You may also want to consider using a VPN with matched betting, which is often done by those who are multi-accounting.
Some matched bettors, once they have finished with welcome offers for their accounts, go on to arb bet, which is only viable with accounts you do not fear losing, and sometimes mug betting may be run to prolong how useful the accounts remain. You can also do ‘sharbing’ which makes use of actual physical stores.
Maintaining Healthy Bookmaker Accounts
Trying to maintain healthy bookmaker accounts aims to ensure ongoing profit going forward.
But should mug betting be a part of these efforts?
It’s believed that the more mug like you are perceived as by the bookmaker, the more likely you will receive reload offers and promotions on an ongoing basis, such as reloads and the less likely you will be gubbed.
The other extreme is that you are identified as only taking value from the bookie (you are not valuable to them) and you, therefore, may become restricted.
Bookmakers are likely running algorithms to identify suspicious patterns and if your behaviour suddenly alters you may be flagged, as well as when you consistently are only betting with promotions.
What's the difference between Mug Betting and Value Betting?
Value betting is ‘normal’ betting and entirely different from matched betting, it’s aimed at predicting the correct results, gambling and winning profit. Sportinsights.com define value betting as “betting when you regard the risk: reward ratio as being heavily in your favour. And that can often mean betting the underdog“.
Mug betting is carried out by matched bettors purely to try to make themselves look like as much like a normal punter (or ‘mug’) as possible, by placing the occasional normal bet.
Mug bets are not placed with an attempt to win money, but rather they accept a minimal qualifying loss with the only positive outcome being the fact that a bet has taken place (you should still match them but as they are not utilising promotions there is normally no scope for profit).
Many feel that the effort in doing this is wasted, with such attempts to keep your bookmaker accounts healthy being ultimately pointless. Let’s explore that further and look at whether mug betting works.
Summary - Does Mug Work?
Mug betting - Final Thoughts
We hope this information has been helpful. Whether you decide to mug bet or not for matched betting, it’s most definitely worth considering taking some of the steps we’ve covered, in order to maintain bookmaker account health, especially if you’re looking to conduct matched betting in the longer term.
There’s limited evidence and reason though for you to spend too much time on carrying out mug betting, as your time is best spent on getting value and achieving consistent profit through matched betting.