Matched Betting Terms Explained

matched betting terms

When you first start matched betting, there may be a lot of terms and phrases which you don't understand. These terms may be familiar to someone who regularly bets online but many matched bettors have never placed a bet before and have entered an unknown world of terms such as 'ACCAs', 'Gubbing', 'Liability', 'Lay bets' and 'Mug Bets' to name a few.

The purpose of this article is to explain what these and more matched betting terms mean so that if you're new to matched betting, you have a reference point to revisit when you're unsure what a term means.

Let's get started.


Accumulators, or 'ACCA's' as they're also known are bets which contain more than one selection.

For example, if you think Man Utd & Arsenal will win their matches this weekend, you could place a bet on them both winning. If one fails to win, your bet loses.

Your can make money from accumulators through 'ACCA Insurance' offers from bookmakers. Generally, these involve you receiving a free bet if one leg of your accumulator loses.


This is the kind of bet most people are used to and are generally placed at an online bookmaker or in-store. Back bets are when you are betting on something to happen. For example, if you place a £10 bet on a football match finishing 2-1, you have placed a £10 back bet.


Betting exchanges are what matched bettors use to place their lay bets (see below). Betting exchanges are a vital part of matched betting as they allow you to ke out the risk factor from your bets by covering something not to happen as well as it happening.


Bookmakers are where you will place your back bets. Also, bookmakers are the suppliers of the free bets, bonuses and promotions from which you profit from when matched betting. It is vital that you keep your bookmaker accounts in good order so that you continue to receive as many offers as possible.


Free bets are usually given by bookmakers when you first place a bet with your own money. However, sometimes, bookmakers will give existing customers free bets randomly. You can also receive them if your bets loses or if a specific event occurs. Free bets are the bread & butter of matched betting.


We don't recommend gnoming but it is good to know what it is as you will no-doubt come across it being mentioned. 

Gnoming is running more than one account at a bookmaker so that you can take advantage of profitable offers more than once. When people do this, they generally sign up using the names of friends & family (with their permission) and give them a percentage of the profits.


Gubbing is when you have your bookmaker account restricted. There are various reasons why this could happen but you'll generally be sent an email when it does. Taking advantage of too many free bets and promotions takes value away from bookmakers and if they feel you are taking too much value from them they may either stop you from receiving & participating in promotions or stake restrict your account so that you can only bet small amounts. Being gubbed is unfortunately quite common amongst matched bettors but there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of a gubbing.


Lay bets are when you are betting on something not to happen and are placed on a betting exchange such as Betfair, Smarkets or Matchbook. If you placed a back bet on Liverpool to win, you could cover all outcomes by placing a lay bet on Liverpool. A lay bet would mean that you're betting on Liverpool NOT to win ie. Liverpool to draw OR lose.


The liability is the amount you stand to lose if your lay bet doesn't win on the betting exchange. As you are effectively acting as a bookmaker when placing your lay bet, you need to have enough funds in your exchange account to cover your bet if it doesn't win. Liability is not to be confused with your lay stake. 

Your liability should be covered by the return from your back bet with the bookmaker so that you return the same profit whether your back or your lay bet wins.


Liquidity applies to betting exchanges. As there is no bookmaker involved in betting exchanges, the funds are based on how much other people are betting. The liquidity is the amount that is available for you to bet on any given event. If the liquidity is less than your lay stake, you should not place the bet as it may only be partially matched.


Matched bettors take advantage of bookmaker promotions and tend to stay away from gambling. However, the bookmakers prefer the typical punter who simply places bets they think will win and these bets are called 'mug bets'. In order for you to look like a regular punter to the bookmakers and to decrease the chances of being gubbed, it is important you place the occasional mug bet. This can be small stakes on your favourite football team or a few hands of blackjack in the casino. You can lay your sports bets off to minimise the risk of losses but remember to place these bets when there are no free bets or promotions involved.


If you place a lay bet on the betting exchange when there is no enough liquidity, your bet may only be partially matched meaning that you haven't fully covered your back bet. Thankfully, most matched betting sites have partiallay calculators which will show you how much to lay again at the new odds in order to fully cover your bet.


A lot of the time, in order to receive a free bet, you must first place a bet with your own money. This bet is called a qualifying bet. You always lay your qualifying bets when possible to minimise the risk of loss by covering all outcomes. In reality, due to the difference in odds between the bookmaker and the betting exchange, you will generally make a small loss on your qualifying bet.


As mentioned above, the back odds at the bookmaker are generally slightly lower than the lay odds on the exchange. This, along with exchange commissions, mean that you will usually suffer a small loss when placing your qualifying bet. This loss is called a qualifying loss. You should make up your loss and make an overall profit when using the free bet you will receive by placing your qualifying bet.


Stake Returned (SR) refers to free bets when you get the value of the free bet back in the returns if your bet wins. Generally, you don't get back the stake with free bets but occasionally it can happen. You are more likely to get the stake returned when using a bonus although these usually come with wagering requirements.


Stake Not Returned (SNR) is the opposite to the above and is common with free bets. For example, if you had a £10 free bet which was SNR and placed it on a bet with odds of 2/1, you would receive back £20. If you were placing this bet with your own money or with a free bet that was SR, you would receive back £30 as your initial stake is included in the winnings.


The Starting Price (SP) generally refers to horse racing and greyhound racing and is the odds of any given horse/dog at the point the race starts. You may place a bet on a horse 2 hours before the race starts at odds of 4/1 but by the time it starts, your horse could have odds of 6/1. Some bookmakers run promotions where you will receive the SP if they are higher than the odds your originally backed your horse at. This can be a great way to earn additional profits.


An unmatched bet is when your bet has not been accepted by the betting exchange. This usually happens when there is not enough liquidity on the market you are betting on at the odds you have selected. Odds can change fast on the exchange and if you have done your calculations prior to the odds changing, you may not be able to have your bet matched at the original odds. If this happens, you may have to recalculate your bet at the current odds and suffer a larger qualifying loss or take a smaller profit.