Sportsbook giving you a free play bet as a bonus?
Learn about the best way to use it.

What is a Free Bet Bonus?

A free bet is a type of bonus issued to you by your sportsbook. These are commonly earned via a loyalty reward, or through a deposit match bonus.

A free bet is a wager where if you win, you are awarded the winnings, and if you lose, you are not penalized. Keep in mind that the sportsbook will never credit the risk amount, meaning that once you place your free bet, the amount risked is gone whether you win or lose.

Strategy: Longshots or Huge Favorites?

We can see from these four examples, the higher the odds, the greater the expected value. In the long run, putting your free bet on greater odds will yield greater profit.

Rollover Requirements

It is common practice for your sportsbook to issue a minimum rollover requirement before you can withdraw your funds. Lets say your sportsbook issued you a free $50 bet, with a 5x rollover requirement. In order for you to cash out the winnings from this bet, you would have to risk $50 x 5 = $250.

Minimum Odds Requirement

Some bonuses are accompanied with a minimum odds requirement. Why do sportsbooks do this?

Well, let's say you were issued a $500 dollar free bet and you decided to take a huge favorite at -500. Odds are very high that this favorite will win, and if they do, you would win a risk free $100.

Sportsbooks prevent this strategy by issuing a minimum odds requirement. This will vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, but is often in the neighborhood of -200. For you two in your free bet in the example above, you would not have been able to place a bet that has odds worse than -200. Pay careful attention to this when using your free bet.

Do Not Push!!!

Before placing your free bet, read the terms and conditions of your sportsbook. Some sportsbooks will grade your free bet as a loss if the bet pushes. If this is the case, do not bet on any event where a push is possible. For example do not bet spreads with whole numbers such as -3, or a total of 49. Instead find a wager where you can use half numbers, such as -2.5 or a total 49.5.

Free Bet vs. Risk-Free Bet

Amateur bettors often mistake a free bet vs. a risk-free bet.

A free bet, as explained above, is a bet issued to you by your sportsbook. If the bet wins, you collect the payout; the original stake, however is gone.

A risk-free bet on the other hand usually involves a deposit match bonus. If you place a wager, and it wins, you collect the payout and the original stake. If the bet loses, the sportsbook will refund the stakes of the bet into your account.

They are similar in nature with subtle differences. Risk-free bets tend to have more restrictions and requirements. Always read the terms and conditions of any bonus before placing your bet.

Circles Off

To hear more about optimizing free play bets, check out Episode 6 of the Circles Off Podcast with betstamp co-founder, Johnny, and betstamp co-owner, Rob Pizzola.