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Are Free Bet Offers Really Free?

Updated January 26th, 2021
Published January 18, 2021

You’d be hard-pressed to find an online sportsbook that doesn’t provide free bet offers of some sort. The term “free bet” is associated with so many different promotions it can be somewhat confusing, especially for new bettors.

If you’re wondering if free bet offers are worth looking for, the answer is yes. While these intriguing sports betting promotions do come with certain restrictions, they can still be a great way to bolster your bankroll.

This guide provides an overview of the different free bet promos available at online sportsbooks and betting apps. We explain how free bet bonuses work and outline some common rules and regulations you need to know. Plus, we share examples of the best free bet offers we’ve seen.

What Is a Free Bet Offer?

Free bet offers are one of the many ways online sportsbooks compete for your business. Like other bonus offers, these promotions provide a bit of extra cash for you to play with.

Everyone loves free things, and sports bettors are always on the hunt for extra value. Free bet promo offers of some sort are available at nearly every online sportsbook and betting app worth signing up for.

These bonus offers take many different forms, each of which is covered in detail below.

How Do Free Bet Bonuses Work?

You may receive a free bet when your wager loses in a certain way, when depositing to a sportsbook, when you place a certain amount in wagers, or as a bonus for signing up to a site. It all depends on the promotion.

Many free bet offers are accessible without entering a promo code, but you may need to opt-in to the promotion to receive your free bet credits.

Are Free Bets Really Free?

Sports betting promotions can help boost your bankroll and give you a better chance of beating the books. If you want to take full advantage of free bet offers, it’s critical to understand their rules and regulations.

You might be wondering: are free bet offers worth it? Are these promos really free?

The truth is that most free bet promos are not completely free. You’ll typically have to wager some of your own money before you can make any withdrawals.

We recommend you always read the terms and conditions before activating any sportsbook promotion. Here are some common rules and regulations you can expect to see with free bet bonuses:

  • Minimum odds requirements (typically -200)
  • Time limits for both the qualifying bet(s) and the free bet(s)
  • Wagering types are typically restricted to straight bets but may also include parlays
  • Bonus funds may be subject to rollover requirements before they can be withdrawn
  • Most sportsbook promotions are limited to one per household
  • Many free bet bonuses are sign-up bonuses, which are only available to new customers

Knowing how your sportsbook treats payouts on free bets or site credit is essential when considering promotions. In many cases, only the winnings from bonus bets are returned to your account – you won’t get back the free bet stake. Look for sportsbooks that treat bonus bets and site credit like cash, as this results in higher returns on winning bets.

Promotions vary widely and change frequently, so don’t forget to read the fine print!

Best Free Bet Offers

Our reviewers have spent countless hours evaluating the best online sports betting websites, and we check for the latest promotions on a weekly basis.

Check out the following top sportsbooks to find the best free bet offers:

Sportsbook Learn More
DraftKings Read Review
FanDuel Read Review
BetMGM Read Review
Caesars Read Review
PointsBet Read Review
FOX Bet Read Review
Golden Nugget Read Review
William Hill Read Review
BetRivers Read Review
Unibet Read Review

Types of Free Bet Offers

Sportsbooks offer a variety of free bet bonuses. Understanding the differences between them is important when deciding which free bet promotions are right for you.

Free bet offers fall into two broad categories: sign-up bonuses and recurring promotions.

Disclaimer: Promotions change frequently. The examples below were current at the time of writing but may no longer be available.

Free Bet Sign-Up Bonuses

In an increasingly competitive US sports betting market, sportsbooks offer lucrative sign-up bonuses to attract new customers.

Most sign-up offers result in free bet credits, but they differ in when and how the credits are awarded. Keep in mind that sign-up offers are only available to new account holders.

No Deposit Bonus

The only truly free bet promotion is a no deposit bonus. All you have to do is sign up for a new account and place your free wager.

Unfortunately, free bet offers with no deposit requirements are getting harder to find as the terms are highly favorable to the bettor.

Most often, you’ll see these free bets offered when a new sportsbook first expands to a new market. If sports betting is new to your state or soon to be legalized, you’ll want to keep a close eye out for these offers.

Example: Caesars Sportsbook

Check out our comprehensive guide to free bet no deposit bonuses here.

Risk-Free Bets

Risk-free bet promotions are among the most common sign-up bonuses offered by online sports betting sites. These offers are neither free nor risk-free, but you wouldn’t necessarily know it, thanks to some clever marketing.

As we explain in our guide to risk-free bets, these sign-up offers give you a second chance if your first bet loses.

Example: FanDuel

This FanDuel risk-free sign-up offer has one of the highest dollar figures we’ve seen. We also like that FanDuel treats site credit like cash. You won’t have to wager it all as a single bet, and payouts will include both the stake and the winnings. It’s easily the best risk-free bet bonus around.

Matched Bet Bonus Offers

We like to think of matched bet bonuses as buy-one-get-one-free offers. Often used as sign-up deals (known as deposit matches), matched bet offers require you to make a deposit and/or place a real money wager first. The sportsbook will then match the deposit or bet with a free bet up to a certain amount.

Example: BetRivers

Matched bet bonuses have an advantage over risk-free bets: you will receive a free bet whether your initial wager wins or loses.

Recurring Free Bet Offers

Recurring or ongoing free bet offers are available to any customer who opts-in to the promotion. You do not need to be a new account holder.

Occasionally, risk-free bets and matched bets are offered outside the realm of welcome bonuses, but here we will focus on other examples of ongoing free bet offers.

Money-Back Bets or Insurance Promotions

Sportsbooks are getting more and more creative with their promotions. A more recent development is the offer of getting your money back if your bet loses in a particular way. The refund will be in the form of a free bet credit. These are also known as insurance bets as they provide some protection when your team loses in overtime, for example.

Example: PointsBet

Many sportsbooks also provide what’s known as parlay insurance when you construct a parlay with a minimum number of legs. If just one leg of your parlay fails, you’ll get some or all of your initial stake back as a free bet.

Weekly Free Bet Promotions

Some sports betting sites offer weekly promotions that provide free bets when you risk a certain amount or bet on particular sports or events.

Example: BetMGM

For instance, BetMGM customers can opt-in to the Money Monday Club to receive a free $10 bet every week, so long as they placed $50 in qualifying real money wagers during the previous week.

Sportsbook Refer-A-Friend Bonuses

It pays to bring your friends into the action at several top sportsbooks. Refer-a-friend promotions typically provide free bet credits to both you and your friend. A true win-win!

All you have to do is provide your buddy with your unique invite link or referral code. Once they sign up, verify their account, and make the first deposit or place their first bet of a certain amount, you’ll each receive a free bet.

Example: DraftKings

The best part is most sportsbooks that offer refer-a-friend programs place no limits on how many referral credits you can earn.

The Bottom Line

Free bet offers are rarely free but taking advantage of promotions is key to beating the books and growing your bankroll.

Sports Betting Dime’s extensive set of guides to sports betting bonuses will help ensure you don’t leave any money on the table.

Have fun and enjoy the action out there!

 

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