Betting Guides

Betting Guide: Deposit Bonus, Free Play, Promotions Strategies

Let’s Maximize those Bonuses and Promotions.

Every sportsbook offers promotions.  These promotions vary, but the objective is to get you to deposit and to foster loyalty to their brand.  Most sports bettors lose money overall and the promotions for these bettors speeds up the process as they are emotional, undisciplined, and excited over receiving house money or free bets.  When used correctly, bonuses and promotions can help a disciplined sports bettor weather a storm and decrease the leverage of their position sizes (bets).

Let’s start by telling you what not to do.

Don’t #1:  Over-Deposit the Promotion

For example, a sportsbook offers a 100% Deposit Bonus up to $500.  You deposit $1,000 with the sportsbook.  How much do you get from the sportsbook?  $500.  You receive nothing extra from the sportsbook for going over the amount specified in the promotion.

The only way you could possibly benefit is that extra money will help you reach the rollover limit to cash out winnings.

Generally speaking, the best way to approach each promotion is to find the promotion that fits the amount you plan to deposit and take the maximum you can get.  You will want to distribute your money across multiple sportsbooks, so do not get attached to one sportsbook or feel that the deposit limit is not necessarily high enough.

If you have $3,000 that you have allocated for betting on sports.  You can put $250 into a sportsbook that matches up to $250 and then put $1,000 into a sportsbook that matches 100% up to $1,000.  Spread your money across different sportsbooks so that you can line shop effectively.

Don’t #2:  Fail to Read the Terms & Conditions for the Bonuses

Sportsbooks generally have similar Terms & Conditions, but the bonuses have standard terms and conditions.  The best known condition is the Rollover.  The Rollovers vary per promotion and per sportsbook.

Here’s an example of how a Rollover works.

You deposit $500 with a 100% Deposit Bonus with a sportsbook.  The sportsbook gives you the extra $500.  You might think that you can bet one game, win, and then cash out.  However, sportsbooks are aware that this is something that may happen and that their promotions may be abused.  So they impose a Rollover.

If you get $500 and accept a 100% Deposit Bonus, you will have $1,000 in your account.  This is quite great, but the condition is that if you receive that Deposit Bonus, you must make 7x the amount of your Deposit Bonus in wagers before being able to withdraw your winnings.  So this means that you will need to bet through $3,500 of wagers to be able to withdraw winnings.

However, there is another way to define Rollover and you have to check the Terms and Conditions.  Sportsbooks will define Rollover as Deposit + Bonus multiplied by the Rollover figure.  So, if you deposit $500 and accept $500 deposit bonus money with a 7x Rollover, you would need to play through $7,500.  Read the Terms and Conditions.

You must watch for a condition for Free Play that places a time limit for how much you wager.

You may receive a promotion of $300 Free Play that must be used within 30 days of deposit, you must go through the Rollover amount in this time frame to withdraw profits.  This means for a Rollover of 12x, you have to play through $3,600 of wagers to get the profits.  Read through the terms and conditions for these sorts of promotions and see if the sportsbook will pro-rate the winnings or if the bonus money will just be removed from the account entirely if you do not Rollover the Free Play in the time frame.

Not all wagers are valid.  Check terms and conditions.

You might be tempted to bet on an extremely heavy favorite at -8000 odds with all of your bonus money a few times to get through the rollover.  However, this may not qualify as a wager that counts toward the promotion.  There may be constraints on the odds of wagers that count toward the rollover.

Don’t #3:  Misunderstand the Promotion

You will see terms like Deposit Bonus, Free Play, Free Bet, Cash Bonus thrown around a lot.  You have to look up what the actual terms mean before you jump into a promotion.  What a term means with one sportsbook could have a very different meaning with another sportsbook.

Don’t #4:  Obsess over Meeting Rollover Requirements

If you only care about beating Rollover requirements rather than using deposit bonuses as a tool in the toolbox, you will be sorely disappointed.  Sports Betting is a grind of an investment, it’s a high risk investment, but it’s not necessarily fast money.

Let’s Get to the Dos

Do #1:  Weigh Out Promotional Options from the Same Sportsbook

You may have multiple promotional options available to you.  A choice you may have is Reduced Juice that would drive odds down and requires zero rollover OR a deposit bonus that has a rollover.  The impact of reduced juice is quite significant, how?

With standard -110 spread and total odds, if you engage in a flat betting strategy, you’ll need to win 52.38% of the time.

However, reduced juice would improve your margin of error.

At -108 spread and total odds, if you engage in a flat betting strategy, you’ll need to win 51.92% of the time.

At -105 spread and total odds, if you engage in a flat betting strategy, you’ll need to win 51.22% of the time.

It may seem like .5% or 1% is not much, but it could have an immense benefit.

How much you intend to put into each sportsbook will vary based on your own needs and the promotional benefit to you.

Do #2:  Be Smart About the New Players First Bet Promotion

This is a promotion intended to get you to bet stupidly, if you are undisciplined.  Here’s how it works:  You deposit your funds and if you lose your first bet, you get the money refunded.  In many cases, there’s no rollover.  If you win, you can keep your winnings and there’s no rollover requirement.

Check to see if there is a maximum payout and odds on the first bet as well.  As much as you may want to go for broke with this bet, do not do that.  You will probably want to pick an underdog that you see winning a particular game.

Betting futures with this first bet is not a terrible idea, but it is better for a promotion where the promotion is that there is a Fixed Amount to Bet that is completely free as opposed to a refund that issued by the sportsbook.  It is also better to make a futures bet with a fixed amount free bet that is issued to you as an already existing customer.

It’s common for this promotion to have zero rollover, so your own success with your first bet is basically your deposit bonus.  Be smart about this first wager.  You’re going to go bigger than usual with it as far as wager amount, it will be the only wager with that sportsbook where you bet well over your flat betting strategy.

Another approach is to hedge the free First Bet with a sportsbook with a bet at another sportsbook, one with reduced juice.

For instance, you have $1,000 for a Free Bet, if you lose, you get refunded that money.  You can bet one side with that Free Bet and then bet the other side at another sportsbook.  It’s a Free Play that becomes a sure thing.  Your objective could be to actually win with your hedging bet at the other sportsbook and collect the winnings there.

Sportsbook A:

Sportsbook B:

Let’s use this Notre Dame vs. Illinois game as an example.

You have a first Free Bet (refundable) at Sportsbook A and you decide to place $900 on Notre Dame +165.  If you win, you collect $1,485 in profits.  You lose, you win nothing, but you also lose nothing.

At Sportsbook B, you put $963.95 on Illinois to win at -185.  If you win, you collect $521.01 in profits.

If Notre Dame wins, you are $521.05 ahead.  If Illinois wins, you are $521.01 ahead.  You get the bonus, but it is just allocated into a different account.  Plus, usually there is no rollover for Sportsbook A’s promotion and you can even have it count toward Sportsbook B’s rollover or it wipes out the entire bonus entirely with Sportsbook B.  Regardless, you end up ahead, even if you “blow up” one of your accounts.

Do #3:  Spread Your Money Across Different Sportsbooks

Consider the benefits of spreading your money across different sportsbooks.  You should have accounts with at least 5 sportsbooks so that you can improve your odds (improves your ROI), you can get the best lines (.5 to 1.5 points matters), and you get as much promotional bonus money as you can to maintain a diversified approach.  It is a strategy that can make a $1,000 overall bankroll into a $2,000 overall bankroll.  Yes, there are rollovers, but if you in the upper third of bettors, you can find a way toward profitability.

The best way to approach this is to determine what your overall bankroll is before you deposit anywhere.  Then, you will want to find the reputable sportsbooks who will issue out the promotions that you will want.  Then start dividing up the funds to maximize your overall pool of funds.

You will wager looking for the best lines across your set of sportsbooks and then wager the games that you find an edge.  You are not going to just go to one sportsbook, you are going to use your diversification approach to improve your returns and chances of winning.  Your percentage wagered should be flat and will be based on the amount that is in your account, not your overall holdings across accounts.

Use bonuses as a tool, not as a get rich quick scheme or some greedy opportunity.  Sportsbooks are betting that the juice that they take from every wager will beat out your ability to maintain a deposit bonus.  Think of yourself as a sniper, don’t chase action or returns when conditions are not right.