Free bets are one of the main advantages of gambling on sports online. But are they all they seem to be? What’s the catch? Are free bets really free? These are all natural questions a thinking mind has when first encountering free bets offers online.
In this quick guide we’ll show you what free bets are, how they work, why you might think about taking advantage of them, and how to claim free bets when you see them. We’ll also give you a list of the best free bets deals on the web if you do decide to go for it and claim one.
What is a Free Bet?
A free bet is exactly what the name suggests – a bet which the online bookmaker gives you at no cost to you personally.
While this much is clear, there are actually a couple of different types of free bet offers, and it’s worth knowing the difference between them before deciding which is best for you.
Free Bets No Deposit – This is a no strings attached free bet given to you by the bookie without any need to deposit your own cash. These are relatively difficult to find and you should snap them up wherever you find them.
Free Bets with Qualifying Stake – The second kind of free bet bonus is when the bookmaker gives you a free bet after you make a qualifying deposit and first bet. These are much more common and most of the free bet promotions and deals you will find online are this type.
Obviously, it is best to get a free bet no deposit required if possible. That said, they both end up being much the same once you understand some of the terms and conditions surrounding these deals.
What’s the Catch?
Common sense and the fact there are no poor bookmakers in the world will tell you that online betting sites don’t just hand out money to anyone who signs up and let you walk away with it.
Free bet bonuses always have terms and conditions attached to them. While individual offers will vary, they will almost always have the following elements in the terms and conditions:
Minimum Deposit – This will be your first deposit and qualifying bet.
Qualifying Odds – The first bet will have to be placed at certain odds. Bets on heavy favourites are unlikely to qualify.
Play Through Rates – Once the free bet has been issued and the bet is settled, you will have to bet the bonus amount a certain number of times before you can withdraw it. A great deal would be x3 play through requirements. Again, these bets will have qualifying odds.
Maximum Wins – Not all free bets have maximum win amounts, but some do. This is the total withdrawable amount you can win on the back of a free bet.
Whatever way you look at it, a free bet is still a risk-free proposition and even if you don’t manage to make the play through requirements before you can withdraw it, say when you lose one of the three bets you are required to make, you will still have a lot of fun along the way and if you don’t like taking chances there is no point in betting to begin with.
Why Do Bookmakers Give Free Bets?
Free bets are a promotion tool the online sportsbook uses to attract new punters. It’s really that simple.
Depending on how familiar you are with online betting, you might have noticed there isn’t exactly a short supply of online bookies to choose from. Since more come online every day, bookies have to fight it out to win their share of the punters, and this leads to an advantageous situation for you as a sports bettor.
To put it simply – bookmakers want to give you a risk-free way to try their products and services instead of their competition.
Other Sportsbook Bonuses & Offers Explained
There are other types of bonuses offered at sportsbooks online, and the free bet isn’t the only game in town. Some of the other offers available include:
Enhanced Odds Bets – You might have seen these while scrolling down your Facebook timeline or on TV before big sporting events. Enhanced odds bets are introductory offers which allow you to enjoy much better odds than everybody else is getting.
For example, if Manchester United are 2/1 on to beat Chelsea at most bookies, an enhanced odds bet might offer you a 10/1 payout or even greater on the same bet.
There is usually a maximum amount you can cash out on enhanced odds bets and you will have to deposit and bet a certain amount to qualify. Still, they are a nice way to check out a bookie without much risk.
Free ACCAs – An ACCA is betting slang for an accumulator, and these bets usually pay out huge money if you manage to win them. The thing is, you won’t win them often, since you have to correctly predict the outcome of multiple events.
For example, a football ACCA might involve you guessing the outcome of four or five English Premier League games on any given Saturday. Nailing all five will be extremely difficult, but it has been done and bookmakers generally cry themselves to sleep when someone gets it right.
You have to get really lucky to win ACCAs, but you can win hundreds or even thousands of times your money when you do. Free ACCAs should always be snapped up when you see them, although again there will be some sensible limits set on how much the bookie will let you take him for if lady luck does show up.
You can use a free bet calculator to show you how much you stand to win when ACCAs are added up.
Risk-Free Bets – The meaning of these should be pretty obvious from the name. While a free bet is a risk-free bet by nature, there is a specific type of bet called a risk-free bet, and it works slightly differently than a simple free bet.
Basically, a risk-free bet will involve you making a bet of a certain amount, and the deal on the bookmaker’s side is that if you lose you will be given the money back to bet with again.
Most of the time you won’t be able to withdraw the returned bet amount until you have met play through requirements. That said, this is a great way to get your feet wet at an online bookmaker and you can be sure if at least two bets for the price of one.
Best Odds Guaranteed – These are actually quite common nowadays and the best online sportsbooks all offer a promise that if you find better odds elsewhere, they will either match or beat them.
Best odds guaranteed offers are usually on horse and dog racing, but you will increasingly see them on football, too. Check out any bookie you are considering betting with long-term and make sure best odds guaranteed are a feature.
Is it Better to Actually Make a Deposit?
As stated previously, most free bets offers will actually require you to make a deposit. That said, there are some reasons why making a deposit might actually be better:
1 – Test the payment methods. Every online sportsbook will offer a range of methods to deposit and withdraw funds. You will want this process to be as fast and hassle-free as possible. The best way to find out is to make one.
2 – Free from Terms and Conditions. Some people choose to turn down free bets and just deposit their own cash and bet so as to avoid terms like play through requirements. We see no real reason to do this since your own deposit won’t likely be subject to those terms anyway, but this is a personal choice some punters make.
3 – The Excitement Factor. It’s undeniable that having skin in the game and feeling the immense roller-coaster highs and lows is all part of the fun of betting. Having a stake in the outcome makes everything more exciting, and free bets offer can take away from this somewhat. Yes, they offer a risk-free way to bet, but some would argue the fun is in the risk to begin with.
How to Claim Free Bets
You will have to check at the individual sportsbook in question to discover the specific way to take advantage of their free bet bonus, but most commonly you will need to:
1 – Register a new account.
2 – Make a qualifying deposit and bet.
3 – Wait for the bet to be settled.
4 – Accept the free bet offer. This will usually appear as a notification in your account.
The free bet might be one single bet or several bets totaling the offer amount.
It’s quite a straightforward process. There may be some variation from bookie to bookie, but it will almost always be claimed like the above.
Free Bets Toplist
Check out the following free bets offer at our approved online sportsbooks: