In this post we are going to explain “What is a free bet?”, “How can you get it?”, “Why a free bet is important for matched betting?” and “Is a promotion’s bet a risk free bet in matched betting?” As you probably already knew, when we are talking about matched betting, we are talking about maximising the value from these free bets. So, naturally, we are going to answer the main question: “How can we take advantage of free bets?”
What is a Free Bet?
A free bets is actually free cash, is a reward given by casinos or bookie under certain conditions to a specific purpose, such as a welcoming bonus when you chose to sign up with them. Being a free bet you are comfortable with the idea of losing because you know that you are not losing any pound of your own money. This kind of takes the emotionality out of equation in betting, which is great for being consistent in applying your betting strategy – in this case, following a sign up offer guide.
Bookmakers offer free bets in a various way, as “Bet & Get” sign up offer, “Acca refunds”, “Free cash if your team loses”, and more. The offers will vary in value depending on each bookie or casino conditions. One of the most know sign up offers is ‘Bet x to Get Y’ -which will return your stake or a part of it as a free bet when your bet is settled.
The betting sites don’t mind taking losses on free bet offers because their strategy relies on long term returns of their investment. And is quite profitable because most of their users are non punters or matched bettors.
How is a Free Bet working?
From matched betting perspective, is like laying a qualifying bet. Use your preferred oddsmatcher to find a suitable sport event (we would recommend for our free bet odds above 5.0 for maximising your profit). Then, back that event at your bookmakers (obviously which offered the free bet promotion) using the free bet as a stake, lay it at your favourite betting exchange market and wait for the profit.
As mentioned before, normally a free bet comes as a token which is non withdrawable and in most cases will be shown in your bet slip. 90% of the time your free bet will be a ‘stake not returned’. which means that you only get the winnings back and not the free bet stake itself. Any free bet winnings can be withdrawn without any restrictions – except casino offer which normally has wagering requirement attached. To find out more about this topic click here.
How can You Take Advantage of Free Bets?
Well, isn’t too hard because the free bet offers will always be here as bookmakers are constantly competing with one another for your time and money. This is one of the reasons why we believe that matched betting isn’t going away too soon. You can find more than 15+ sign up offer on our welcome offers page. We created these FREE step-by-step guides explaining what you need to do and how can you take advantage of free bets offers from bookmakers such as : Bet365 (£100 free bet), SkyBet (£20 free bet), Coral (£20 free bet), William Hill (£30 free bet), Paddy Power (£40 free bet), Betway (£30 free bet), Unibet (£50 free bet), MoPlay (£30 free bet) and many more.
Things to Consider on Free Bet Offers
Are couple of things you should consider before you can take advantage of free bets offers or casino bonuses:
a. Always check the terms
We can’t strongly express how important is to always check the free bet terms and conditions. Even if we cover those requirements in our guides (such as a minimum odd is 2.0, needs to be place only on specific markets, etc), sometimes the offers can changed from the time we put those guides together. So, always remember to check T&C of your new customer offer or reload offer.
Usually, any welcome free bet offer has a set of requirements attached to it. It can may need to be placed on a specific sport, event or market or it may need to be placed at minimum or maximum odds, it may have a short expiration period, etc. Sometimes, even if you missed the conditions with your qualifying bet, are bookmakers which will reinstate your free bet as a gesture of good will. However, they are not obliged to do it and in 100% you can’t really do anything about it.
For a better clarity, let’s take an example – the Coral sign up offer, where they’ll give you £20.00 in free bets if you first bet £5.00. As you noticed (in small prints) are a series of key free bet terms:
Credited as 4 x £5 free bets.Valid for 7 days.Stakes not returned -as is the case in 90% of the casesNo cashout available.
Checking each free bet terms & conditions can be seem as tedious, but you are avoiding being gutted when you realised that you actually are not going to qualify for your free bet. We’ve repeated this, but is really important to check any new customer, reload offer, casino bonus t&c before you decide to take advantage of it by matched betting.
b. Always go for higher odds (5.0+)
At Everyday Betting, we always advise our users to go for odds above 5.0 for their free bets. In comparison, qualifying bets need to be placed at low odds to reduce the amount you loss during the qualifying stage. However, bear in mind that the higher the odds will imply larger bet liabilities at your exchange markets. That’s the amount of money you need to have in your exchange account to cover your lay bet loss if your free bet wins.
Now, are cases when you don’t have enough exchange funds to go for the most profitable options straight away. Most of matched betting beginner will tell you that happened to them, especially when they rushed into big free bet offers, such as Bet365 – £100 free bet. There’s nothing wrong with placing your free bet at lower odds if you need to, or to underlay. You’ll just make a smaller profit. For more information about lay betting, please see What is Laying Betting & Underlaying and Overlaying Explained in Matched Betting.
c. To maximise your free bet profit chose close back and lay odds
Another good way to take advantage of free bets is to maximise your profit from it. To do this you should choose the back and lay odds as close as possible. The closer the odds, the more value you will be able to squeeze from your free bet. Let’s take an example, the 2020 Premier League match between Burnley and Chelsea on which we used on of the 4 free bets from Coral offer. (4 x £5 free bets)
Using our favourite oddsmatcher provider, Oddsmonkey – this match was picked as a good opportunity for laying on Burnley by OddsMonkey’s Oddsmatcher – and our own matched betting calculator, we got the following liabilities and profits for each of the 3 outcomes. Also, we used Smarkets due to a lower commission: only 2% compared to Betfair’s 5%.
SelectionBack OddsLay OddsLiabilityProfit/LossBurnley5.505.60£18.55£3.95 profitDraw4.334.70£13.16£3.49 profitChelsea1.571.70£1.19£1.66 profit
As you can see, with our calculations, we’ve just confirmed the reliability of the Oddsmatcher to pick Chelsea as the best option. Our £5 free bet profit is £3.95. As a matched bettor, you would want to maximise your profit as much as possible. To achieve this, we need to be able to see how much we would extract from the free bet value.
So, if we divide our profit by your free bet stake we will get: £3.95 / £5.00 = 0.79 (79%). Anything between 70% and 80% is considered acceptable (we would advise to try and aim for 80% if you can). Sometimes you might have to go a little lower, it just depends on the bookmaker’s odds and terms. An example, would be having to use your free bet in play – so aiming for 70 -75% is fine for this type of offer.
Now we know what a free bet is, how we can take advantage of it, what we need to consider when we chose our free bet offer, and what value we should aim for when we are converting the free bet in withdrawable cash.
Remember, to always check the terms and conditions of your welcome sign up offer, free bet reload offer and any other type of bonus out there. As a matched bettor, your life will be easier if you have the right tools and definitely, are money to be made from any considerable free bet offers. If you found our article “What is a Free Bet? Take Advantage of Free Bets” useful please share it with your friends or if you think we missed something, please leave us an comment below.