This section helps you decide which free bets to go for. As free bets come in many different shapes and sizes, we’ve put together a guide to help you understand how each type works. If there is one thing that punters love and adore it is free bets. There are various types of free bets and bookmakers are constantly updating their offer with various bonuses and promotions which in one way or another constitute a free bet.
The most common types of free bets include what is known as Deposit Bonuses, Matched Free Bets, a No Lose First Bet, and other promotional offers such as Money Back Specials and Best Price Guarantee.
Furthermore, whenever there is a popular event coming up such as the football World Cup, the NFL Super Bowl, the NBA Finals, Tour de France or Wimbledon, bookmakers are offering their punters special event related free bets.
There are several reasons why punters love free bets and some of these include the possibility to play with someone else’s money, in this case, the bookmaker’s, the chance to place a riskier bet at higher odds and thus dramatically increase your winnings, or an opportunity to safeguard your bet against a loss by backing the opposite betting outcome.
Let’s take a look at these various types of free bets and the advantages that come with them.
Free Bets Offered As A Deposit Match Bonus
What you deposit is matched as part of the free bets promotion. You don’t need to bet anything. It’s quite hard to find free bets like these, and are usually only found in casinos. If you do find one though, take advantage by depositing the full amount and then spreading your bets over multiple markets instead of just one that is usually required for matched bets.
A matched bet is the simplest and most common of the free bets. When you place your first bet, your bet is “matched” with a free bets bonus from the bookmaker. Matched free bets are usually 100% up to £X amount. So for example, with a £25 matched bet, what you bet is matched 100% from the bookie and you get £25 free.
Matched free bets are usually 100% up to £X amount. So for example, with a £25 matched bet, what you bet is matched 100% from the bookie and you get £25 free. Occasionally smaller bookies have lower offers like a 50% matched bet, but they usually require a bigger initial bet. For example, a 50% matched bet up to £25.
In this case, you would have to bet £50 to get the free £25. For both offers get you a £25 free bet, but in the first, you don’t have to bet so much in one go. All matched free bets usually have a minimum odds limit that you have to bet on in order to claim your free bet – usually at 1.5 – 2.0 (½ – evens).
Matched Free Bets are similar to Deposit Bonuses as they are directly tied to the punter’s original deposit. In the case of the Matched Free Bets, however, the bookmaker matches the punter’s original bet completely up to a specific maximum.
This means that if a bookmaker has a policy of a free matched bet up to £200, a punter can get a free bet of maximum £200 if he meets the requirements prescribed by the betting operator. For example, if a betting enthusiast places a deposit of £50 and meets the predetermined requirements, they will get additional £50, as a free bets bonus, to play with courtesy of the bookmaker. However, if the player deposits £300, he will only get the maximum £200 offered by the bookmaker.
This category of free bets is also more often than not tied to a wagering requirement which stipulates that the punter should meet a minimum odds threshold and comply with the minimum number of betting propositions on his ticket. Furthermore, most bookmakers specify a minimum deposit which also has to be met and this is usually in the range of £10 to £20.
Matched Free Bets are usually given whenever a new client opens a new account with a bookmaker or as an ongoing promotion for popular competitions such as the English Premier League or the Champions League.
Risk Free Bet Promotions Or No Lose First Bet
This type of bet is fairly new and is only offered by a few sportsbooks. We like this type of bet as it is a nice simple offer that makes betting more fun, especially for beginners who aren’t used to the free bets promotions.
With a risk-free bet, you can make your first bet normally, and if you lose it, you get the money refunded up to £X amount. So a £25 risk-free bet would entitle you to £25 in free bets if you lost £25 on your first bet. These bets can sometimes have a minimum odds limit that you have to be above if you want your bet to be risk-free – usually 2.0 (evens).
Bookmakers usually reserve their best promotional offers for new clients and the No Lose First Bet is exactly that type of bonus. With it, new clients can be sure that even if they lose their initial wager with the betting operator, they will still be able to try their luck again with exactly the same deposit, but this time the wager will be on the bookmaker, as the betting operator will cover the full deposit.
Many punters prefer to be given a deposit bonus or a matched free bet, but when all things are considered it becomes obvious that the No Lose Free Bet option is equal or even superior (with the right betting provider) to those two. This is because, with this offer, a punter is basically given the same chance to play a betting ticket for free just like in the two aforementioned offers.
No-deposit Free Bets
This type of offer is quite rare and is when you get a free bet just for opening an account with a certain bookmaker. It’s a great way to start betting without any risk but the amounts are usually quite small – between £5 and £10 of free bets is what you are awarded. Sometimes there is a rollover requirement or minimum odds as well, so you can’t withdraw winnings straight away.
Structured Free Bets
With this type of bonus, you are rewarded for subsequent bets as well as your first bet.
Staged Matched Bets
These can come in two forms. Let’s say that the offer is a 5 stage match bet. You will either see “free bet matching total of your first 5 stakes” or “matching average of your first 5 stakes”.
The first offer is the best as you can get a free bet of say £25 after making five £5 bets. This is good for those who don’t want to bet £25 in one go to get the standard matched bet.
The second offer is harder as the free bet you get is only on the average stake you make. This means that to get the £25 matched after five bets, you have to bet £25 each time!
Bet X. Get X Free Bets Offers
Sometimes you will see an offer with something like bet £10, get £20 in free bets. These are actually matched free bets but are offering a bigger bonus, usually 200%. The rules will be the same as a traditional matched bet. This type of offer can sometimes be just referred to as a bonus, for example, a 200% bonus. However, these are not deposit bonuses as you have to bet an amount first in order to claim the offer.
Hidden Free Bets
There are often offers hidden in other formats. Take enhanced odds, for example. If you bet on a game with double odds, you are essentially getting 50% of in free bets.
Free Bets With Money Back Specials
With the Money Back Specials, a player is given the chance to get his deposit back if his betting ticket meets certain criteria. This money back special can usually be seen in accumulator bets in which the higher the number of betting selections and cumulative odds is, the greater the chances that you will get your money back.
This type of free bet comes in the form of what is popularly known as cashback and it can not only enable the client to get his money back, but it can also enable him to increase his original deposit several times, provided he meets the criteria set by the bookmaker.
Let’s explain this through an easy to understand example. Let’s say a bookmaker offers its clients the chance to get their money back if they get all betting selections right, except for one. In this case, the bookmaker would usually stipulate that if the cumulative odds of the successful betting selections are higher than a predetermined odds minimum (for example 29/1), then the punter will be eligible to get his deposit back.
Furthermore, if the cumulative odds of the successful betting selections are even higher (for example higher than 59/1) the punter will get double his initial deposit. This means that punters are encouraged to include more betting selections with higher odds with this money back special.
Free Bets Offered As Part Of Event Specials
Whenever there is a big or popular event coming up in a bookmaker’s calendar, you can expect to see a lot of free bet offers. This is because of the fact that these big events are usually very profitable for betting operators due to the huge influx of bets and as such bookmakers are able to offer a lot more free bet offers than they normally would. This, in turn, increases the number of their clients and generates even more profit for them, while also keeping their clients more than satisfied.
Almost all big events in world sport are accompanied by one type of free bet offer or another. For example, during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, many bookmakers offered a £10 to £20 free bet for all punters willing to include a betting selection from the World Cup on their ticket and provided they met other criteria.
The Benefits of Free Bets
Free bet offers are beneficial to both punters and bookmakers. Punters get the chance to play with someone else’s money, while bookmakers use this fact to lure clients who would normally opt for another, more convenient bookmaker.
Betting enthusiasts are often torn between one of the biggest decisions they have to make – to go with the safe betting propositions at lower odds and with eventually smaller, but safer winnings or to go with higher odds and higher potential winnings, but at the risk of losing the betting ticket because of those more difficult betting selections.
Free bets promotions alleviate this dilemma instantly. Punters can compile their safe betting ticket and then back it with their own money, but use the free bet offer given by the bookmaker to make that riskier betting proposition. Of course, free bets are not endless, but considering that there are tons of betting operators online, a punter can easily switch between bookmakers and use the perks of having multiple accounts on an almost weekly basis.
Bookmakers also see free bets as hugely beneficial to their businesses otherwise they would have stopped offering them a long time ago. In fact, one of the first things that punters look for when choosing where to open their betting account are the welcome bonuses and the potential promotions that a bookmaker would be willing to offer them in terms of free bets. So free bets are a win-win scenario for all parties included hence their popularity.
This is because in this day and age most bookmakers offer pretty similar odds and the only thing which can differentiate one from another is the types of free bets bonuses and promotions they offer to their clients.