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Sports Betting Overview

Table of content

    Free Bets

    It’s no surprise that only the most experienced sports betting enthusiast has an opportunity to make a profit against the house in the long term.

    However, for the rest of us, there are more than enough opportunities to turn the odds in our favor in the short term. The easiest way to achieve this is to take advantage of the free sports bets and other risk-free offers and bonuses available to new sportsbook players. And most regulated online sportsbooks have free money offers that are custom made for new players to place the odds ‘in their favor’ temporarily.

    So with more sports betting sites coming online every day, you should understand the potential of the bonuses available to you. If you have an account at a real money online casino that offers sports betting today, you are sure to have come across a variety of free bet offers. These may be awarded when your bet loses in a certain way, when making a deposit to a site, or as a bonus for simply signing up to a site.These free bets can come in all shapes and sizes, and to take full advantage, it is good to have a real understanding as to how each of the free bet offers work. 

    In an industry where making a profit can be a tough task, taking advantage of these free bets can be the difference between beating the sportsbook and losing.

    How do Free Bets work?

    Free bets sound too good to be true. Do the top sports betting sites really offer free money to their players? The simple answer is yes. A free bet is an opportunity to place a wager without any risk, and receive a payout on the net winnings if you have a winning bet.

    The main difference between a regular bet and a free bet is that you can’t lose your stake when it comes to a free bet. One important note is that in most cases, you will not receive the stake amount along with your winnings if you have a winning bet - for example, with a “Bet & Get Free Bet offer” if you first bet $500 in cash, your account will be credited with another $500 bet that you can use. The rub though, is that when you bet the 2nd $500, for example,  to win $600, you’ll just get the $100 difference and NOT the full $600 amount.

    Free Bet offers are special in that they are advantageous for both the customer and the sportsbook.

    • The customer is more than happy, as they have these free bets to play with, with the potential to earn free money on the back of them.

    • The sportsbooks are happy as they provide a great way of attracting new customers to their site.

    As you’ll read below, free bets can come in a variety of ways. They might be based on making a deposit, or simply placing a bet. Generally, the free bet award will be minus your stake. For example, if you were to place a $100 free bet wager at odds of +200 and it won, you’d be awarded $200, but not receive the stake back as well. Occasionally, you might find a free bet where the stake is included – look out for these, as they can offer far more lucrative rewards.

    It always pays to read the terms and conditions of any free bet offers. It’s usual practice to only offer one per household (this is to stop the one gambler in the family opening multiple accounts for every other relative who lives at the same address). Age restrictions will be in place too.

    Online sports betting sites offer free bets to encourage new customers to sign up. You choose the sport, game, and bet you want to make, just like you would with a real money wager. If you win, then your sportsbook account gets credited winnings like usual. Sometimes you can withdraw these winnings straight away, but there are times when wagering requirements are attached to any winnings from a free bet. If there are, you may need to make some more bets with the winnings first; always make sure to familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions.


    How To Claim Free Bet Offers


    Most online sports betting sites don’t require you to use a promo or bonus code to use a free bet offer. Instead, you typically just need to sign up and meet any deposit or wagering requirements. 


    To claim a free bet offer, most sports betting websites require a bonus or promo code.

    Alternatively, you will need to make a minimum deposit before the free bet offer is credited to your account. However, the use of a bonus or promo code is one of the most popular methods utilized by online sportsbooks.

    Should an online bookmaker require a code, you will need to provide it during the registration process or when you make your initial deposit. This process all depends on the nature of the bonus you wish to claim. The promo code field is usually on the deposit or registration page. Once you locate the box, you enter the promo code that is associated with the free bet offer or deposit bonus before completing the registration or deposit. The bonus will then be credited automatically after that.


    Most importantly the way to claim a free bet will vary from site to site and be dependent upon the promotion. For example, if your free bet is on the back of an initial deposit bonus, the free bet might be allocated to your account immediately. The same prompt reward might come your way if you’ve won a free bet on the back of a loss. Other times you might have to enter a bonus code to claim your free cash. It’s always a good move to read through those terms and conditions first if you’re not sure – there is nothing more annoying than losing out on a free bet because you didn’t realize you had to enter an advertised bonus code.


    Bonus codes will usually come from the site itself, although in certain circumstances, you might find a bonus code offered by a third-party company.


    There are three main types of free bet offers, here is how to use them:


    • Sign up or no deposit bet: simply sign up and activate your account. You may sometimes need to click a link in your email, verify your identity, or claim the bet on a particular page.


    •  Matched bet: you will need to sign up to the sportsbook and make a deposit, sometimes you may also be required to wager some or all of that deposit first.


    • Risk-free bet: sign up and make a deposit, you’ll get your initial stake back if your bet doesn’t win.


    Once again, always remember to check the terms of each sportsbook’s offer as there may be some small differences with each.


    If you are on a sports betting site that doesn’t require a promo or bonus code, you need to gloss over the promo code field that is usually optional. Please take note that you’ll still need to opt-in for the free bet or deposit offer to receive the bonus. This rule usually entails clicking on the “Deposit Now” or “Opt-In” button on the bonus or promotional page.


    A promo or bonus code is essentially a coupon. However, instead of offering a discount on your purchased goods, it allows you to receive a better bang for your buck. Any time you sign up to a new site (or even better, thinking of signing up to a new site), your first port of call should always be to the ‘Promotions’ page.


    This is where you’ll find all of the offers available, including the welcome package as well as any ongoing promotions and loyalty schemes.


    Types of Free Bet Bonuses


    It wasn’t so long ago that free bets were almost unheard of. In the early days of online gambling, customers were simply pleased that online sportsbooks were there. People couldn’t take advantage of the offers because there were none. However, as competition within the industry has grown, sportsbooks have developed a number of ways of attracting new customers with free bet offers.


    You can treat yourself to a variety of free bet bonuses and promotions at some of the best sports betting sites in the industry. To help you find the best types of free bet bonuses at reputable online sportsbooks, we will cover some free bet offers.


    Some are more attractive than others, so be sure you know the difference.


    Risk-free Bets


    There is nothing more rewarding than a risk-free bet. Like many of the offers available, these are usually reserved for new customers at a sportsbook. They will require you to make an initial deposit and then place that first wager. 


    If the bet wins its business as usual and you’ve made a fine start with your new account. If the bet loses, the ‘risk free’ part comes in. At this point, the sportsbook will refund your stake in the form of a free bet. You’re now free to place another bet. Effectively with this type of bonus offer you are freerolling with your first bet.


    Risk-free bets can be an excellent foundation of matched betting profit. This type of free bet will allow you to place a bet knowing if you lose, you’ll receive the money back in the form of a free bet, cash prize or even a bonus. However, a risk-free bet will require you first to make a deposit and place a bet with your money before a risk-free bet will come into effect. 


    For instance, most sports betting sites will offer a $10 risk-free bet promotion. However, you will first need to wager $10 of your money. Also, your bet needs to be on minimum odds of 2.00 or higher.

    Should you lose your $10 bet, you will receive $10 as a bonus back into your account only if you meet the wagering requirements. 


    The bonus amount you receive must then roll over a couple of times at 2.00 odds of higher before you can withdraw it.


    In most cases, the free bet award will not include your stake you win. Always check the terms and conditions as there will usually be deadlines for both placing the initial bet and then placing the second bet (if the first one should lose). 


    With generally shorter deadlines, aim to place short term wagers instead of heading to the future markets.

    A good example of a risk-free bet is the one offered by FanDuel Sportsbook, where they’ll give you a free bet of up to $500. And if your bet loses you are protected risk free.

    If you're looking for a Caesars no deposit bonus, you can snag one for the sportsbook right now for $1,250.


    Deposit Bonus

    At an online sportsbook, a deposit match bonus works exactly like a deposit bonus at a real money casino. Once you sign up for a new account and make a deposit, the online sportsbook will match your deposit, usually up to 100%. Similarly to the matched bet bonus is the matched deposit bonus. 


    This time the size of the free matched bet is based on the size of your initial deposit (as opposed to the size of the first bet).


    In both of the above cases, you might find more stern playthrough requirements due to the greater generosity of the offer. Most online sportsbooks’ playthrough requirements are only one time. This is great if you want a bonus with feasible wagering requirements that will allow you to cash out in a short amount of time.


    Cash-back Free Bets


    One of the most interesting developments in bonuses and promotions is the introduction of money back bets if a wager loses in a certain way. Here’s some good examples of these free bet offers:


    • Back a baseball team and they lose in extra innings.

    • Bet on a basketball team and they lose in overtime.

    • If a bet on a soccer team fails due to a goal being scored after 80 minutes.

    • Place a soccer wager on a selected market and have the game finish without a goal.


    In all of these cases, your free bet award will be without the initial stake, so you’ll only receive the winning portion should your free bet win.


    At some sportsbooks, like FanDuel, you’ll also find insurance bets which work in a similar way. These promotions work with parlays with a minimum number of selections. If one leg of the parlay lets you down, you’ll receive your initial stake back as a free bet.


    Advantages of Free Bets


    The best advantage to claiming free bets at online sportsbooks is you’ll be able to test drive the sportsbook to ensure it’s fitting and reliable before making your initial deposit. You will also discover which sporting events and betting types are available on the sports betting site. Apart from not having to spend your hard-earned money first, another advantage is you can place a bet absolutely risk-free. Furthermore, even if you do have to spend your money first, you can still be awarded a risk-free bet should you lose.

    Last but not least, another advantage is you can prolong your betting experience by increasing your bankroll. Essentially, this allows you to make more bets than usual, which could lead to being more profitable.


    If you incorporate these free bets effectively into your betting strategy, instead of the sportsbooks having the edge, you can turn it around and have the odds in your favor.


    Disadvantages of Free Bets


    It seems strange to talk about disadvantages when it comes to free bets. However, at times you have to be a little careful, especially when around lesser well-known sportsbooks. For example, you might find a free bet offer where there is a huge playthrough requirement. 


    This could effectively mean that you’ll be tied to placing an impossibly large number of bets (sometimes within a short time scale) to clear the free bet funds. In these instances, the sportsbooks will have more than got their money back through the juice gained by placing all of these additional bets.


    Apart from the terms and conditions, you will also notice that free bets offer little value or the amount you’ll receive in your account. Most free bet offers tend to range between $5-$10 as a no deposit free bet. If you find a higher offer, you will usually need to make a deposit first to receive the free bet credits in your account.


    Also, most free bet offers come with restrictions that we’ll discuss in-depth.


    Free Bet Restrictions


    Every sportsbook promotion, whether it’s a no deposit free bet or a deposit bonus, will have a variety of restrictions you will need to know before you claim the offer. Unfortunately, this means you will need to comb through the terms and conditions to find out what you can and cannot do with your bonus.


    Luckily for you we have compiled a list of typical restrictions to make your free betting life easier :


    • No splitting: Most of the free bet offers at sports betting sites cannot be split in any way. For instance, should you receive a $20 free bet, you will only be able to make a single bet of $20. 


    • Also, you are limited to one betting market.


    • Restricted odds: Free bets are also restricted by odds. Essentially, this means you will need to look for specific odds for your free bet to qualify. Even the best free bet offers require you to place a wager on odds no lower than 1.5 to meet the requirements.


    • Maximum win: Most free bet offers have restrictions on the amount you can cash in. For instance, a no deposit free bet offer will have a cap of around $200 that you can cash-in once you meet the playthrough requirements.

    • Time-sensitive: Most free bet offers will be available for a limited time. Once you register for a new account and claim the promotion, it may only be available for seven days before it expires.

    Sports Betting Apps With Free Bets


    1. DraftKings Sportsbook


    Bonus: $50 free bet + up to $1,000 on deposit


    After completing the registration process, just make a deposit of as little as $5. DraftKings will credit your account with a $50 free bet credit. You can use it to place bets like normal, but the amount of the credit itself isn’t withdrawable.


    You’ll have 30 days to use it up after it’s credited. Winnings will be yours to keep, but the amount of the free bet won’t be included in any returns. While you can get it for a small initial outlay, you might want to take advantage of the generous deposit bonus as well.

    2. BetMGM Sportsbook


    Bonus: up to $1,000 bonus


    For the risk free bet, you have to make a minimum deposit of $10 to qualify, but the offer is good up to $1,000. If your bet loses, you’ll get credited back in free bet credits up to the max of the offer. Once credited, you have seven days to use it.


    The weekly free bet requires an opt-in after you’ve signed up. If you bet $50 in real money during the prior week, you’ll be eligible for a $10 free bet. For both offers, the amount of the free bet credits aren’t redeemable for cash.



    3. Caesars Sportsbook


    Bonus: $1,100


    Caesars Sportsbook has been getting plenty of attention for its massive welcome bonus.

    You can get a bonus of up to $1,100 in first bet insurance. Place your first-time wager of up to $1,100, get it back in the form of a free bet if you lose. You’ll typically see the credit within two days, and it must be used within 30 days from there. 


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