1 Apr

Sportsbook Free Bets – The Naked Truth

Free Sports Bet Promos – How do they work, and are they really worth it?

Free Sports Bet Promos - Are they Really Worth ItFor potential customers in Indiana, the availability of multiple online sportsbooks is a boon all around. It provides variety and choice, without the standard limitations of distance associated with land-based gambling establishments. For the companies that host the state’s online and mobile sports betting operations, it means meeting the demanding requirements of a competitive promotional campaign, on top of expansive sports variety and competitive lines.

The more aggressive a sportsbook’s promotional line-up, the more customers they can expect to attract. That’s great news for bet-happy Hoosiers, who stand to benefit the most from widespread competition in the market. One of the most eye-catching promotions you’re likely to find is a “free bet” bonus, but are they really as great as they sound?

The Truth About Free Sports Bet Promos

Any experienced sports bettor has surely seen their fair share of promotional offerings, including the famous ‘free bet’. Free bets can come in all shapes and sizes, backed by a variety of user fulfillment terms. If you don’t have a good understanding of these terms, you may think you’re getting a better deal than you really are.

Generally speaking, any free bet is a good bet. The difference is that some offer far more advantages than others. For example, in all my years of online betting, the worst free bets I’ve come across are those that turn out to be nothing more than a practice run. Win or lose, it was worthless.

I haven’t seen anything like that here in Indiana, but you get my point. Some promos really are better than others. The key is understanding how to tell the difference. That’s what we aim to teach you today. We’ll do so by covering the different types of sportsbook free bets, how they work, the pros/cons associated with each, and how to claim them.

The Different Types of Sportsbook Free Bets

There are four different types of free bet promotions you are likely to come across at any given online sportsbook. One thing they all have in common is that they’re generally offered to ‘new members only’. You may occasionally find them available as special or seasonal promotions for existing members, but those are few and far between.

I’ve listed each type below, with a brief description. Choose any one to learn more about the standard terms that apply, or just keep scrolling to learn more about each one in turn.

    1. No-Deposit Free Bets: Free trial offer for new members only; no deposit required.
    2. Risk-Free Bets: Free trial offer for newly registered members; first deposit required.
    3. Bet Match Bonuses: Free bet matching a registered member’s first real money bet with a bonus bet of equal size.
    4. Money-Back Free Bets: Get your wager back as a free bet if you lose under special conditions.

No-Deposit Free Bet Sports Bonus

These are the most highly sought after promotions in the digital sports betting community. A no-deposit free bet bonus is exactly what it sounds like; a ‘try before you buy’ kind of deal, where a free betting credit is awarded to new members before making that first deposit. It’s essentially giving you a chance to win some money, with absolutely no risk or prior obligation attached.

Why would a sportsbook go to such lengths, giving away money for nothing? Because they know getting a bettor’s foot in the door is the first step (quite literally) to acquiring a loyal customer. However, free bets with no deposit are pretty rare, and if you do come across one – and happen to win some money using it – there are going to be strings attached.

For starters, you can’t simply withdrawal the winnings and walk away. You’ll probably need to complete wagering requirements on the amount you won. You’re also going to need to make a deposit, place at least one bet, and verify your identity. It’s all part of the state-mandated KYC (know you customer) protocol.

Make sure you read over the terms and conditions of the promotion for complete details, including what wager types and odds are eligible for use of the free bet, and the requirements for claiming your winnings, should your pick come in.

Risk-Free Sports Bet Promotion

The whole concept of gambling is that you’re risking something of value in hopes of winning something of greater value – in most cases, money. The idea of a “risk free” bet is that you’re able to remove the risk factor entirely, which makes this promotional offer ultimately appealing to just about anyone. Here’s how it works…

Once you sign up a new member account, you’ll have to make a deposit. Then, you’re invited to make your first bet, out of your own money, but with no risk involved. If you win the bet, you get paid, and that’s the end of it. Good job – you won! If you lose, however, the sportsbook refunds the amount you lost in the form of a free bet. So you’re getting your money back to try betting again. Here’s where the terms and limitations come in.

The free bet is not cash, but rather a credit that can only be used to place another bet. The bet you make must meet specific odds restrictions, such as -200 or longer (nothing -201 or better). You’ll need to check the exact terms of the bonus to see what the odds restrictions are. Also, in 99% of cases, if you use the free bet and win, you will not receive the bet amount back. You only receive the amount won. There may also be a short expiration date on the free bet, so look for upcoming matches, not futures bets.

Again, it’s vital that you take a moment to read over the promotion’s fine print. Free bets are far easier to take advantage of when you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Sportsbook Free Bet Match Bonus

Match bet bonuses are the most common variety. It’s a simple double-up program. When a new member makes their first deposit, the sportsbook will offer a free bet matching the size of the user’s first wager. So if you place an initial wager of $40, once that bet is settled, the sportsbook will give you a $40 free bet. If your first bet is only $10, you only get a $10 free bet.

Sportsbooks love to offer these promos for two reasons. First of all, by requiring an initial deposit, it ensures the customer has a vested interest in the service (and is therefore more likely to stick around and keep betting). Second, because the free bet is equal to the customer’s first eligible wager, it encourages members to place a larger bet.

A free match bet could be closely compared to the risk-free bet promo detailed above. Both give you an opportunity to try again for free, should your initial bet lose. But in this case, the free bet is awarded to you whether your first bet wins or not.

In some cases, instead of matching your first bet, the promo will match your entire first deposit. Or, you might receive a match of up to a specified amount. For example, a match bonus valued at $50 would award you $50 worth of free betting credits when you a) make a deposit of $50 or more, and b) place cumulative (one or more) wagers totaling $50.

As always, reading the fine print associated with the promotion is critical. The terms will include everything from expiration dates to eligible lines, and the universal stipulation that you won’t get the free bet back for a win. Only the profitable portion of the winnings are paid.

Money-Back Specials

Money-back free bets are special promotions that award a free bet when certain conditions are met. A bet has to lose in a certain way in order to qualify for the cash-back free bet. These promos may be offered in a variety of ways, but are especially common in encouraging parlay bets.

In the case of money-back parlays – also known as “parlay insurance” – you’ll need to make a minimum number of selections to qualify, with the usual minimum being 5. By standard betting rules, if you make a 5-leg parlay, all 5 selections must be correct to win. Anything less, and you lose the bet. With parlay insurance, if just one leg of your bet loses, you get your wager (capped at a certain amount) returned as a free bet.

Money-back specials may also be used to promote the opening of a sport’s new season, or an upcoming playoff series. Below are some common examples of conditional cash-back free bets.

You receive your wager back as a free bet credit if…

  • …the team you bet on loses in overtime.
  • …the soccer games you bet on ends in a 0-0 tie.
  • …your Super Bowl pick loses after the other team comes back from a 10+ point deficit.

There are always qualifying conditions that must be met when placing the corresponding bet, as well. You may need to bet a minimum amount of money, or the promo may only apply to certain types of bets, like moneylines, or on longer odds, like +200 or more.

If your bet qualifies, and you lose the bet under the conditional requirements, the amount you wagered is returned as a free bet, up to a specified amount (i.e. bonus is capped at $25, $50, or maybe $100). Once more, always read the fine print so you know what’s expected of you to qualify for and redeem any free sports bet promos.

Pros, Cons, and Best Free Bet Offers

Now that you get the general idea of how a sportsbook’s free bet promotions work, and what types of promos are out there, let’s talk brass tacks. Are they really worth claiming? Do the pros outweigh the cons? And of the four types described above, which one is the best offer to look out for?

Pros & Cons – Is It Worth It?

Free bets are, well… free. Not everything in life that’s free is worth taking, but a free sportsbook bet? If you’re going to be wagering on your favorite sports anyway, you might as well stretch your dollars as far as you can. Just know that free bets aren’t free cash money for you to bet with. It’s not like wagering your own money. You have to follow the requirements in selecting bets with long enough odds, and whatever other stipulations they throw your way. But the fact is, if you follow the terms of the promotion, and you get lucky enough, you can profit from them.

The whole idea behind any sports betting strategy (any gambling strategy at all, for that matter) is simple – “minimize the risk and maximize the reward”. To place a free bet minimizes your level of risk. If you win that bet, you’re piling on additional profits. So yes, aside from the potential annoyance of placing free bets on sports and lines that fall within the terms of eligible criteria, and making sure to do so before a promotional period expires, free bets are (almost always) worth taking advantage of.

Most free bet promos come with wagering requirements (WR) of some sort. When you get free money, you have to bet it one or more times before you can actually keep it – or keep the winnings from it, as the case may be. That’s not a bad thing. It’s perfectly normal. However, some sportsbooks are far more generous than others when it comes to WR completion. The lowest you’ll find is 1x WR, meaning you must place bets equal to the amount of the free bet. When the WR is 1x, you’re already completing that requirement by default. When WR is 2x or higher, not only do you have to place the initial bet, you have to place additional bets out of pocket, or out of the winnings (if any) from the first bet placed. Thus, the only time a sportsbook’s free betting promotion isn’t really worth it is when the wagering requirements are outrageous. This can become especially difficult when a short expiration is tacked onto the terms. As I’ve said time and again, it’s imperative that you read the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

What are the Best Free Sports Bets?

Every sports fan is different. Some of you are handicappers, analyzing a game or sport from every possible angle, keeping an eye out for lines shifts across multiple sportsbooks to get the absolute best odds. Others are avid sports fans who love the added thrill and excitement of watching a game when you have action on it. Most of you are probably something in between those two extremes. The type of bettor you are will determine what you find most appealing in a free bet promotion.

All in all, I believe no-deposit free bets are the most alluring option for the average punter. Free money to bet with, with absolutely no prior obligations – you really can’t go wrong there. As for the highest value, however, I believe BetRivers has the rest of Indiana’s mobile betting market beat. BetRivers Sportsbook is offering a 100% match up to $250 on a new member’s first deposit. Not the first wager, but the first deposit, with a minimum deposit of just $10 to qualify. The bonus money only has to be wagered through 1x before all winnings from the bonus are eligible to be withdrawn. Best of all, you can place any size or type of bets, on any sports, so long as the odds are -200 or longer. You can read more about this promotion and other features of the BetRivers Sportsbook here:


Legal Indiana Sports Betting in 2021

BetRivers is licensed and regulated on a state level by Indiana to operate legally. It offers a wide range of sport betting options – every popular game is covered. Mobile options are also covered for an “on-the-go” experience. Our editor pick for safe and legal betting in 2021.

Visit https://In.BetRivers.com