The second most popular offer you can get from bookmakers, alongside deposit bonuses, are free bets.
Free bets are a great way to earn more money from sports betting. Of course, that is not a given – you can also find yourself with a negative balance after using a free bet offer.
This article outlines the main factors you need to pay attention to when claiming a free bet promotion.
What is a free bet?
A free bet is a sports bet that you place using the bookmaker’s money. Online bookmakers regularly provide opportunities for players to participate in free bet promotions.
The main difference between a free bet and a regular bet is that free bet stakes are not included in any returns. Here’s an example:
Placing a $10 regular bet on odds of 2.50
If the bet wins => you get your stake multiplied by the odds back into your wallet => $10 * 2.50 = $25 winnings that consist of your original $10 stake and your $15 profit
If the bet loses => you lose your stake of $10
Placing a $10 free bet on odds of 2.50
If the bet wins => you get only the winnings of $15 back into your wallet (without the $10 free bet stake)
If the bet loses => you technically don’t lose anything from that bet because the bookmaker gave you the money to place the bet with
A normal bet will either see you winning $15 or losing $10. A free bet will either see you winning $15 or losing nothing.
This is the essence of free bets – you don’t risk a part of your bankroll. Instead, you can only increase it in case you place a winning selection using a free bet.
It must be noted, however, that usually bookies require you to place a qualifying bet with your own money in order to subsequently receive a free bet. While it’s true that every now and then bookmakers will just grant you a small amount like $5 as a gift for using their services, most of the time you have to fulfil a specific condition to qualify for the promotion.
What to look out for before claiming a free bet?
Most of the crucial aspects of deposit bonuses are also valid for free bets. If you still haven’t read that article, make sure you do as it contains invaluable things to pay attention to before claiming a bonus.
Here’s a list of links for each factor which is relevant both for a sports betting deposit bonus and a free bet offer:
- If it’s a welcome bonus, you can only claim it once
- Is your country eligible?
- Certain deposit methods are ineligible
- Is there a bonus code?
- There is a maximum bonus amount condition
- Only one bonus per household / IP address is allowed
- All bookmakers have fraud departments which inspect the bets you make
- General terms and conditions apply
Apart from those, there are specific elements unique for free bet promotions. Let’s examine them one by one.
What is the free bet promotion?
Each promotion states how much you will get and in how many free bets. Here are some examples:
- Bet $10 Get a $10 Free Bet
- Deposit $20 and Get a $10 Free Bet
- Bet $10 Get $30 as 3 Free Bets of $10 each
- Get £50 in Free Matched Bets
You need to be completely aware of three primary things – how many free bets you are going to receive, what is the monetary value of each, and what exactly do you need to do to receive them? Continue reading for the specifics of each of these.
There is a qualifying bet condition
As I’ve mentioned before, make sure you read the full terms and conditions of every sports betting promotion before you participate in it, from top to bottom. All the information you need to know regarding the bonus you’re about to receive is there.
Before crediting your betting account with a free bet, bookies require you to make a bet using your own money that satisfies a predetermined criteria. This bet is called your qualifying bet. Less popular are promotions that require you to deposit in order to get free bets. Analogically, such deposit is referred to as your qualifying deposit. In such cases, you need to check what is the minimum deposit amount and whether there are restricted payment methods meaning you won’t receive the bonus if you use them.
Let’s focus on the qualifying bet. The main things you need to pay attention to are:
- What is the minimum stake?
- What are the minimum odds on which you have to place the bet?
- Does the qualifying bet need to be on a specific sports event, or do you have complete freedom of choice?
- Within what time frame can you place that bet?
- If your bet is void, cashed out, or placed using another free bet, it won’t count as an eligible qualifying bet and you won’t receive your free bet prize.
- Do you receive your free bet/s upon placement or upon settlement of your qualifying bet/s?
- Do you need to place just one qualifying bet or a series of multiple qualifying bets in order to claim the free bet/s?
All of the above conditions need to be satisfied if you wish to enjoy the free bets that follow. The terms and conditions section for every free bet offer contains the answers to these critical questions.
Below you will find the two crucial aspects of using the free bet itself followed by a specific example of the terms and conditions for such a promotion.
Free bet usage conditions
The free bet or multiple free bets you get must also satisfy a few conditions. They are identical to three of the rules in place for qualifying bets:
- How much time do you have to place the free bet?
- Which are the eligible sports betting events and markets?
- What are the minimum odds?
It’s simple – just make sure you adhere to the instructions set in the bookmaker offer’s terms and conditions and you will be able to enjoy many free bets.
Free bet promotion – an example
Taking into consideration the aforementioned typical conditions of a qualifying bet and a free bet, here is an example of a classic free bet offer:
Bet $50 pre-match on this Wednesday’s Champions League game between Liverpool and Barcelona and get a $50 free bet to use on live betting during the game.
This is the headline of the offer. You may see the promotion on a bookie’s website if they make it available to the general public or you may receive a personalized email with it. In any way, this is just the primary message from which you understand the main points of the offer.
In the T&C’s section of that promotion you will be able to see the additional key details and what you need to do in order to claim the bonus. Here’s an example of what these rules may look like:
- In order to receive the $50 free bet, you must first place a qualifying bet.
- A qualifying bet is a $50 pre-match bet on the Liverpool v Barcelona football game, scheduled to take place on 24 November 2019, on minimum odds of 1.60 (3/5).
- After you place a qualifying bet, you will instantly receive a $50 free bet which will be credited into your sports betting account.
- The free bet may only be used in-play on the Liverpool v Barcelona football game, scheduled to take place on 24 November 2019, on minimum odds of 1.40 (2/5).
- You can’t cash out a bet placed with a free bet
You see that this promotion has very strict rules – you need to place your bets on a specific game, on specific minimum odds. Some bookies may also restrict particular betting markets.
Other free bet promotions have much more lenient conditions – for example Bet $10 Get a $10 Free Bet with no games or odds restrictions. The only thing that usually is always present is a time frame in which you need to use the free bet.
Free bets and other bonuses
At some bookies you are able to claim a free bet offer while rolling over a deposit bonus. The free bet offer will count separately in such cases and won’t contribute in any way towards the deposit bonus wagering.
Other bookmakers will not offer you any free bet promotions until you have completely wagered an already active sports betting deposit bonus in your account.
Free bets – it hardly gets better than this
Free bets are a great tool to increase the income you generate from shrewd sports betting.
Just like deposit bonuses, there are terms and conditions you need to satisfy in order to get the best out of free bets. Unlike deposit bonuses, these terms and conditions are often much simpler when it comes to free bets.
In any case, you have to familiarize yourself with them before taking action. Failing to plan is planning to fail. Be prepared and take full advantage of all free bet offers every time one of your bookies offers you such.