I’m guessing you’ve heard of Cheltenham Festival, and if you haven’t… you’re missing out! Cheltenham is like Christmas and Easter rolled into one for matched bettors. It’s one of the highlights of the matched betting calendar with bookmakers giving out tons of offers and free bets, making it a dream for anyone who knows how to profit from matched betting.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL FUN FACTS
- Cheltenham Festival is a world famous horse racing meeting that takes place every March, usually coinciding with St Paddy’s Day
- This year it kicked off on Tuesday, 12th March and ended with Gold Cup Day on Friday, 15th March
- 27 National Hunt (jump) races run at The Festival
- It’s most famous races are the Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, and the Queen Mother Champion Chase
- It’s estimated that over £500 million was gambled during Cheltenham this year
How I Attacked the Offers
First of all, I had to work out the most profitable offers that the bookies were giving. I used OddsMonkey to help do this more easily, looking at their Offer Calendar in particular.
I knew I only had an hour each day for lunch where I could place my bets and make some money so I used a spreadsheet to track what horses I’d bet on, at which bookmakers, and how much profit I was making.
Now let’s go through the Festival day-by-day highlighting which offers I took advantage of, and how much I managed to make.
The Best Offers of the Festival
Below are the main offers that I was able to take advantage of over the four days of racing. Some of these offers were better than others, some that were available every day, and others that were just one-offs.
SkyBet – First Race of the Day Cash Refund. Back a horse and if it doesn’t win get your stake returned as cash (up to £20).
Coral – Double Your Winnings up to £25 in Cash. Back and a horse and if it wins you get up to an extra £25 in winnings.
Paddy Power – Free Bet Refund if 2nd, 3rd or 4th. Back a horse and if it comes 2nd, 3rd or 4th, you get your stake back as a free bet (up to £10).
Paddy Power – Free Bet Refund if “ X” Wins. Back a horse and if Horse “X” wins, you get your stake back as a free bet (up to £10).
Betfred – Free Bet Refund if 2nd or 3rd. Back a horse and if it comes 2nd, or 3rd, you get your stake back as a free bet (up to £10).
SportingBet – Bet £10, Get £10 Free Bet. Bet £10 on the first race of the day, get a £10 free bet to use on a specific race later in the day.
SportNation – Bet £10, Get £10 Free Bet. Bet £10, get a £10 free bet to use on any other race that day (Day 1 only).
SportPesa – Back a Winner, Get a Free Bet. If your horse wins, get a free bet equal to your stake (up to £25).
Boylesports – Free Bet Refund if 2nd or 2rd to the Favourite. Back a horse and if it comes 2nd or 3rd and the favourite wins, get your stake back as a free bet (up to £20).
Cheltenham Day 1
The SkyBet refund offer was easily the best promotion of the whole week! You can essentially think of the cash refund as a free bet, meaning you could make £15 risk-free from this offer each day. Check out this guide if you want to go over how we make money from free bets.
On the first day I got lucky due to something known as Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG). Quite simply, SkyBet give you higher odds if the odds of your horse winning go up before the race starts. The horse I backed (and layed) went on to win getting me an extra £10 in winnings. £25 profit to start the festival… bosh!
The Coral offer cost me £2 as the horse I backed (and layed) did not win, and so I did not get any extra winnings, and the difference in odds between my back bet and my lay bet weren’t as close as I’d have liked. I ended up making this offer risk free in days 2,3 and 4.
The Betfred offer didn’t come off for me on day 1. Minus £1 in qualifying losses for that particular offer.
Both the SportingBet and SportNation Bet £10 get £10, earned me £5 and £6 respectively, including qualifying losses.
Day 1 Profit: £33
CHELTENHAM DAY 2
SkyBet was the best offer of the day yet again on the Wednesday. The horse I backed (and layed) went on to win, and I won another £10 in BOG winnings. £24 profit this time around.
The Coral offer didn’t come off again on day 2 as the horse I backed (and layed) did not win, however there were no qualifying loses as I increased my lay bet slightly to make it risk-free.
My first refund off came off with Betfred on day 2. Minus £1 in qualifying loses for that offer but a £10 free bet to use the next day!
I tried the Paddy Power refund offer as well, but the horse I backed didn’t trigger the free bet, resulting in a £1 loss.
I also tried the SportPesa “Back a Winner” offer. My horse didn’t win, resulting in a £2 qualifying loss.
The SportingBet Bet £10 get £10, earned me £5 including qualifying losses.
Day 2 Profit: £26
CHELTENHAM DAY 3
Day 3 ended up being the day where everything came in!
The SkyBet offer got me £14 – a great start.
The Coral offer finally came off making me £22 due to the £25 extra winnings coming in as cash.
I tried the Betfred refund offer again, but wasn’t as lucky as the previous day. £1 qualifying loss.
My £10 free bet from Betfred from the previous day did end up making me £8 though!
I tried the Paddy Power “if X wins” refund offer offer, and the named horse did end up winning giving me a £10 free bet to use on the final day. £1 qualifying loss.
The SportPesa “Back a Winner” came off, costing me £7 in order to get a £25 free bet which I used the next day.
The SportingBet Bet £10 get £10, earned me £6 including qualifying losses.
I decided to try the BoyleSports offer on a race where there was a heavy favourite. The favourite won and my horse came in 3rd, giving me a £20 free bet to use the next day with a qualifying loss of £2.
Day 3 Profit: £39
Cheltenham Day 4 - Gold Cup Day
I made £15, £12, and £7 off the SportPesa, BoyleSports, and Paddy Power free bets respectively to start the day well.
I made another £14 from the SkyBet offer – making me over £75 from this offer alone over the 4 days of the festival!
I didn’t have as much luck with the refund offers on the final day, with the Coral, SportPesa, Paddy Power and Betfred offers not gaining me any free bets. Combined qualifying losses of £5 for those 4 offers.
To finish the festival I also managed to make a rookie error, forgetting to use my final £10 free bet from SportingBet on the required race, meaning I missed out on about £7 profit, and instead had a £1 qualifying loss.
Day 4 Profit: £42
|Free Bet Value
All in all it was a great Cheltenham Festival, even if I only had an hour to spare each day. I could have made more money if I hadn’t made a couple of silly mistakes and managed to locked in even more profit with some of the free bets, but overall I’m very happy with the amount made in just 4 hours of matched betting!
The offers I’ve gone through in this post are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making money from matched betting. It’s the sign up offers that are the best place to get started, but it’s in the reload offers (like Cheltenham) where you can make a healthy side income every month. There are even some people doing it full-time over at OddsMonkey!
If you want to get in on the action, register now for free and start profiting!