Have you ever opened your sportsbook or casino account and found a free bet waiting for you?

If you have then you’ll know what a nice surprise it is. After all, a free bet means you don’t have to dip into your digital wallet to place a bet or play on a casino game.

Yet, it’s not always clear how to best use one of these freebies. After all, it’s very easy to waste a free bet on a few spins, or place a bad bet that means your funds evaporate in seconds…is there a way to improve your chance of free bet success?

This article aims to show you the best ways to improve your odds.

The 3 most common types of free bet you may receive

Deposit match

A deposit bonus or deposit match acts as an extra reward when you put some of your own money into your betting account.

Let's say you add $50 to your account. With a 100% deposit match, the casino or betting site might add an extra $50 to your account, so you'd have a total of $100 to play with. While it may seem like a gift from them, really it’s to encourage you to play more.

There are usually some rules you need to follow to be able to use that bonus, so make sure to read the fine print!

Free cash (or no deposit bonus)

This is where the betting site deposits money in your account in return for you completing a desired action, sometimes just for registering with them. However, the likelihood of receiving one, or the amount you get, may depend on where you open your account.

A no deposit bonus in the UK, for example, may be more modest these days thanks to recent regulation changes that restrict bonus offers and spins.

Matched bet

In this case, the betting site or casino would offer to match your bet up to a certain amount.

For instance, if you place a bet of $20, they might match that with an additional $20, effectively giving you a $40 bet. This is usually after you make an initial deposit and placing a qualifying bet, as per the terms and conditions specified by the betting site or casino.

3 ways to use your Free Bet

  • Aim for high odds

When using your free bet, it's smart to choose bets with higher odds. Since the free bet stake isn't returned, placing it at high odds can help you maximize your profit without the danger of you losing any money.

Of course, this depends on how much your balance is. If you’re starting off from zero, then opting for low odds might be a smart way to start off and increase the chances of adding to your balance.

Then later, when you already have funds in your account, you can switch to longer odds to try and grab a large win.

  • Use a matched bet to guarantee a small win.

A matched bet is a technique often used in gambling where a player takes advantage of the free bets and bonuses offered by bookmakers.

It involves placing both a back bet (betting for a specific outcome) and a lay bet (betting against the same outcome) on the same event. By covering both possibilities, the bettor can ensure a profit regardless of the outcome, effectively cutting out the risk.

For any matched bet, try to keep the back and lay odds as close as possible. The closer the odds, the more cash you can make from your free bet. It's a good practice to ensure that the odds are similar on both the betting site and the betting exchange.

Let's look at a couple of examples from the 2020 Community Shield match between Arsenal and Liverpool to illustrate this better.

Low Odds Example:

  • Back Odds for Liverpool: 1.67
  • Lay Odds for Liverpool: 1.70

High Odds Example:

  • Back Odds for Arsenal: 5.00
  • Lay Odds for Arsenal: 5.20

Here, you can use a betting calculator that recommends specific lay stakes to ensure you secure a profit regardless of the match outcome.

A win-win!

3.Go for accumulators

Accumulators are a nice way of building up the odds by banding several outcomes together into one bet.

A popular option is to select five football games with low odds to accumulate a decent payout should it come off. In sports, it’s good to pay attention to previous results and athlete injuries to get an idea of the probability. Also, remember to compare odds to other bettors to make sure you’re getting value.

When done well, an accumulator gives you a fighting chance of bumping up your balance – and making the most of your free bet!


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All betting odds are correct at the time of publishing and are subject to change.

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