Free bets might sound too good to be true, but new customers are often able to take advantage of these offers upon initially signing up for sportsbooks. You'll see various free betting promotions, from a high deposit match, to an outright match for a big first bet — or even a risk-free bet to start you off with a big chance to win.
There are other forms of free betting offers littered throughout the sports calendar as you continue your sports betting adventure. But if you're just starting out or are considering joining a new sportsbook by creating a new account, you'll want as much information as possible on the free bet offers and what exactly they entail.
Continue on for a more detailed description of the deals you can get, and be sure to check out our partner sportsbooks' free betting offers today.
We've already covered what a single free bet looks like in discussing FanDuel. Another book that has the exact same offer is BetMGM. Other sportsbooks might offer a big free bet in addition to other types of promos to get you going initially. Let's discuss the other types of free bets.
Free bets are commonly delivered to new users in the form of a deposit match. Usually, upon creating an account in these situations, the sportsbook will give you free bets to reflect a certain percentage of whatever you initially deposit. In the case of PointsBet, they actually go way over the top of your deposit total and give you a 300% deposit match if you put in $50 ($150 in free bets). That's an extraordinary offer.
For DraftKings, you can get a 20% deposit bonus, but only up to depositing $500, though there are up to $1,000 in total rewards available.
There are rare occasions when existing users either meet certain criteria to earn free bets — or, sportsbooks will run a promo where existing users can deposit and receive a match. These aren't nearly as common, so especially if you're just starting out, there's no need to worry about that. The same goes for instances where you get some kind of refund returned to you as site credit. New customers are eligible for these, but it's best to focus on the foundation of a free bet before getting into greater details and more nuanced scenarios.
It's a blessing and a curse, right? To be handed hundreds of dollars in free money to take the plunge into the sports betting arena, with the promise of going up a lot of money in a hurry. But so much looms on a single decision, particularly in the case of a single bet. Next, we'll discuss some strategies for how to deal with each free bet type.
This is sort of a miscellaneous category, yet one bettors should be familiar with nonetheless. These aren't offered to you as promotions for signing up, nor are they related to deposits. Rather, they have to do with betting on a certain outcome, and getting money back if it doesn't go in your favor.
Going back to FanDuel for prime examples of these money-back free bets, much of their "Promotions and bonuses" page is dedicated to these. You can bet a five-leg, multi-sport parlay, and get your money back if one of the legs doesn't hit. If your pre-game moneyline bet on an MLB team doesn't hit but they're leading during the "seventh inning stretch", you get a refund in the form of site credit.
FanDuel issues these refunds as site credit as a means of requiring users to spend the recouped cash on bets, with a time restriction in place before the funds expire. There are similar deals at other sportsbooks, but FanDuel seems to be the most frequent in offering those types of refunds. In summary, these aren't "free bets" when you initially wager. However, the sportsbook does give you a little leeway just for taking the risk.
There are certain stipulations or parameters that accompany free bets, and you simply have to keep an eye out for those. Sportsbooks that offer a free first bet for creating an account require a deposit. Without any known exceptions, you can expect to need a pretty high deposit figure just to get the ball rolling on your account.
Often, the free bets sportsbooks offer persuade new bettors to put tons into their account initially. For example, as of this writing, FanDuel offers a $1,000 risk-free bet. This incentivizes new users to fill their accounts with lots of money right away in order to reap the maximum bonus benefits.
Be mindful that there's probably a certain time frame (a la a certain number of days) in which you must place your initial free bet. You can double up really quickly and get off on the right foot, but it can hurt to lose a $1,000 risk-free single bet.
We'll dive deeper into how to manage this particular promo deal when you're first starting out, but just know that many of the sign-up deals are designed to encourage big deposits from new bettors. This is how the sportsbooks can retain customers, because if you're new to betting, it'll take a while to burn through the $1,000 you deposited to earn the matched risk-free single bet.
We'll now get more into the details of this type of sign-up bonus. Your first deposit gets a certain match percentage, and those become bet credits you can use going forward. In fact, Bet365 has a unique proposition, which can net you up to $100 in bet credits through a deposit bonus match. You can check out the full terms of that deal by clicking here.
In any event, you'll have a certain amount of days, once again, to claim the offer. This puts new customers on the clock to make an array of bets in short order, so it's important to dedicate enough time to researching everything before you put your free bets on the line.
How does this differ from the free single bet? Well, deposit matches just give you free cash to spend however you choose. They don't have to be on an individual bet. You can divvy up these deposit bonuses in any way you please into a number of different bets. That can be a big advantage, yet it can also be overwhelming, since your options are essentially limitless.
Again, when just starting out, it's best to stick with the primary types of bets rather than overloading the brain with too many different scenarios. Digging through any individual game's matchup page shows all kinds of player, team and game props that you're better off avoiding at the start.
If you're a diehard sports fan and feel you have a good grip on a specific sport, you can mix in some parlays with single-game bets if you so desire. Just appropriate the amount on each bet accordingly with the odds. That is, if you're betting on a three-leg parlay for an NFL game, your odds of winning are far less than betting on a single game point spread.
Bet far more of your free bet balance on single-game outcomes, and wager only a little coin on the parlays, because if they hit, you'll reap some serious rewards. It's a calculated risk that you can take and one of the major perks of having a new account, but again, it's not worth doing if you only have one matched bet to play with.
Keep an eye out for these on sportsbooks' main pages. They'll often be scrolling across the top as a sort of advertisement, and it can be easy to overlook them, since most of the time, offers and promotions geared toward new users take the lead. If you do happen to spot something that caters to existing users, be sure to go to the main landing page so you can read through the terms before deciding whether or not to take on the free bets.
When you find a bet for free as an existing user, the funds for it are often delivered in the form of a new deposit bonus. Bettors who are experienced can use this opportunity to bolster their bankroll by wisely distributing bets over single-game scenarios, providing a soft boost to their account. However, if a bettor is way up on the house, it can be tempting to take these newly acquired funds and bet big on one ticket. That's not the most advisable course of action.
If you've had an account open for a while and aren't in the red, it's unwise to take this change in circumstance as an opportunity to "get rich quick." Look at your sports betting as a series of investments. It doesn't make a lot of sense to steadily build up your funds over a period of time, then suddenly become a lot riskier when presented with the deposit bonus option.
Another way sportsbooks try to get existing customers to earn free bets is by placing a series of wagers that will eventually result in free bet credits given to the account. DraftKings does this often, dangling a task in front of the customer such as, "Place four or more $5 bets and earn a free $5 bet." Sometimes these promos are referred to as "missions." If you complete the mission, you get the money, but have to spend it at some point.
The vast majority of promos for existing users require you to "opt in" most of the time. That means just clicking on the main page where the promo is located and hitting a giant push button with "Opt In" or words to that effect on there. Be absolutely sure to do this. Otherwise, you'll miss out on the bonus at hand. You don't want to go into certain bets thinking you're promised a free one down the road, only to be disappointed that you failed to click the button. Your account should allow you to monitor progress on your missions, so check in on that to make sure you're on track to hit the free bet target.
Single free bets will often require you to bet on something that has a minimum odds threshold. It behooves you to explore your options here. The closer you can get to betting on a slim favorite, the better your payout will be. Promos will probably require you pick a bet with -200 odds or longer.
That right there already narrows your options considerably. Point spreads are usually not a bad way to go when mulling your free bet offer. The spread gives you a greater margin for error as opposed to picking an outright winner, and would provide a better payout than betting on a favorite's moneyline, unless the matchup is closer to a "pick 'em."
Picking a spread also keeps things simple. It's one of the primary bet types and perhaps the most popular to wager on overall. If you are only beginning sports betting, it can be dangerous to complicate the free bets by digging too far into granular prop bets. It's also not too wise to spend a bonus like this on parlays. First of all, many sportsbooks won't allow such a thing, and it also makes it more difficult for you to win by nature.
With regard to individual free bets, do your research as much as possible. Stick to the sport you know best. Look into advanced stats, how teams or players are trending, key injury information, and then, to give yourself some breathing room, take a spread, or a prop with an alternate spread that's -200 or better in terms of potential payout. The amount of days you're given to bet can feel like a time crunch, but in reality, you should bide your time until you feel absolutely confident in placing your first bet on something you feel most certain about.
For deposit matches, new customers should evenly distribute bets so you have more ways to win right away. The more cracks at the plate you have, the more likely you are to win. That way, you're getting money back that you can actually cash out with if you so desire, as opposed to spending the funds as site credit. If you can help it, don't put all your eggs in one basket on the first bet.
When it comes to deposit matches for existing customers, it's worth putting in the money and raking in the extra credits if you can help it. Betting for free is always fun, but just make sure you don't get too in over your head with bet credits to the point that you're betting far more often than you're used to, or that it's causing you to be riskier than normal.
Use a general rule of 80-20 when it comes to single bets and parlays: spend 80% of your money on single-game outcomes, and 20% on parlays. Even that's being a little aggressive and pushing it, but hey, fortune can favor the bold. As long as you hit on some of those single-game tickets, it should compensate for any smaller losses you take on a parlay.
Common mistakes for new customers on single free bets: 1) betting on a sport they aren't experts in since, after all, it's free; 2) going with a heavy underdog for a higher payout and losing; 3) Going for a prop bet that's a 50-50 shot with no margin for error, as opposed to a spread.
Avoid those three frequent errors with your single bet. As for the bet credits or first-deposit free bets, avoid falling into the trap of turning those into one free bet. There's no need to skew your funds heavily toward one betting ticket. Free bets in which you have to place a certain number of wagers in order to qualify generally aren't worthwhile. They're time-sensitive promos, and can drive up a bettor's action, triggering bets on games that wouldn't normally be placed.
Relatively new customers can be susceptible to getting sucked into this phenomenon, and even if you have a ton of credits to play with from a deposit match, don't feel pressured to fulfill these free bet obligations. You'll likely have enough promos and free bet cash to play with, or a matched free bet offer that dwarfs whatever you stand to gain from the aforementioned "missions." Bottom line: the rewards don't often pay off enough to justify your scrambling to meet the required criteria for a free bet offer.
We've covered this at decent length in prior subsections, yet it bears repeating: stay away from parlays on single bets, and don't spend all your deposit match funds on them. Refer to the previous 80-20 ratio recommendation.
The key, though, is not to bet all that money on a single game, but rather spread it out. Say you have $100 to play with to keep the math simple. Maybe go with $20 on four separate contests, and then submit four different parlays at $5 apiece. That's more of a hedging, balanced and smart tactical setup than taking the plunge with one $20 parlay and two $40 bets on individual matchups, or one big $80 wager on one game.
Are free bets worth it? For new customers, it's safe to say a free bet is always worth exploring, but it's key to read the fine print and what's required of you before you place a bet. Whether it's a minimum odds threshold, a time limit, each free bet offer has a certain element of urgency. This can be a pressure cooker for new bettors.
Deposit bonus incentives and matches are the best way to go when signing up for a new account. They're the least time-sensitive, the least specific in terms of how you're required to wager, and make your overall sports betting experience a fun initial voyage.
To go back over a point from the previous section on what not to do with free bets, make sure you're being logical, as opposed to emotional, when using them. Free bets by their nature are tailor-made to go after the emotions. The heightened expectations and ecstatic anticipation of getting off to such a big start on the house.
The flip side of that is taking the loss, which can trigger the need to "chase losses." That's another way of saying bettors will feel the need to compensate for whatever they just lost by getting it all back quickly to move forward and keep stacking profits. This is where the danger zone looms. Free bets aren't to be carelessly spent. Perhaps even more so than a bettor's own money, they must be deployed with caution and only after looking into all the possible major matchups in the sport a novice bettor feels they know best.
There are a variety of these, but a free bet is essentially what it sounds like: a sportsbook gives you a certain amount of money to spend on a bet. If you lose, it's on the house. If you win, it's the same with any other bet, you collect the winnings plus the perk of hanging on to the initial bonus you bet with.
Pretty straightforward here. What's left to understand is the varying forms of free bets you'll see and how you need to be diligent to discern which of these promotions is best based on their terms.
Sportsbooks offer a big free bet to you when you first sign up or create an account, but it's often with a catch: the bigger your initial deposit, the bigger the "risk-free" bet.
There is always risk when you bet on sports, but what sportsbooks mean by "risk-free" is you get a big bet on the house to start out. If you lose, it doesn't cost you anything, but if you win, you can double up your money really quickly.
At most sportsbooks, you can't. You must deposit a specified amount of money in order to unlock the free bet promotions.
Our partnerships with all the major sportsbooks offer a compelling combination of deals that can get you going. Some sportsbooks such as DraftKings and Unibet provide not only a deposit bonus, but also a multi-hundred-dollar single first bet to start you off.
Scroll to the top of our free bets offers page and decide which deal is best for you. If you're seeking more guidance on how to spend those free bets, what types of bets there are and anything else to know about betting in general, visit our "How to Bet" hub, which provides guidance to beginning bettors and also advice on how to navigate what can be a relatively overwhelming terrain in this burgeoning industry.
Yes, sportsbooks will offer free bet promos to existing users. However, there are two common stipulations, either: 1) The user must make a new deposit to unlock a bonus; or 2) The sportsbook creates a "mission" where the user must place a certain number of qualifying single bets to unlock a free bet.
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