Sports betting means different things to different people. Some get into it just for fun. Others find the idea of putting money on the line a thrill. Many find that betting on sports forces them to pay more attention to the games. Certain people only do it at select times, usually around a big championship-type event.
No matter the reason people dive into sports betting, though, they’re all ultimately there to do the same thing: win. And the best way to do that is to stack the odds in your favor. Research is a part of this process. As is studying odds and understanding the events in which you’re investing money. But there’s even more to it than this, too.
Leveling up your sportsbook experience is also about finding and then maximizing online betting bonus offers. These promotional extras can come in all forms, Most of the time, they’re a percentage of your first deposit, but they can be a specific number of free bets or access to certain odds, as well.
Not many sports wagerers give these freebies a second thought. They are part of the reason they join an online bookie, sure. But not everyone takes them seriously. They view it as found money—funds they can lay down on higher-stakes, long-shot bets they wouldn’t otherwise place.
This is not the way to handle your sportsbook bonuses. They can be more useful if you understand how to best deploy them—and how to choose them in the first place.
Smart bettors will focus on bonuses that are both recurring and come in the form of cash.
Many sportsbooks will offer a percentage of only your first deposit. Strive to do better than this. There are a ton of sites that will give you 25 to 50 percent on all subsequent deposits after your first one. These aren’t hole-in-the-wall sportsbooks, either. Big-name sites do this. All you have to do is poke around their promotional section to find out.
Equally important, it’s better to join sportsbooks that give you bonuses as money that can be spent towards anything. Some will only give you free bets that can be used on horse racing with certain odds. Others will limit use to the casino.
This is all fine and good if you’re planning to wager on horse racing or use the casino, but if you’re not, you want a cash bonus that can bet on any sport or event.
The last thing you’ll want to look for is promotional rollovers. This refers to how many times you’ll have to bet the money before it’s actually yours. If a sportsbook has a 10-rollover and you receive a $100 bonus, this means you’ll need to make $1,000 worth of wagers with that money before it’s eligible for withdrawals.
Smaller rollovers are, therefore, better. Most sportsbooks stipulate a 10- to 15-time rollover, but there will be those that have more extensive ones, including some that can rise up to 35 times. This information will usually be located in the fine print of the promotional section.
Every bet you make with your sportsbook bonus should be geared toward outlasting the rollover. There are a few different ways to accomplish this.
One method entails betting on heavy favorites again and again until the rollover criteria are satisfied. If you have a $100 in bonus money subject to a 15-time rollover, this would mean you’d look to place 15 separate wagers of $100 on the Moneyline of a team laying -500 or better.
That Moneyline is critical. Nothing in sports betting is a sure thing, but once you’re working with odds in the -500 or -600 and above range, the likelihood of your wager failing dwindles significantly.
Another popular approach involves building a high-payout parlay you deem extremely possible. Maybe you string together eight teams with a -500 Moneyline. Or perhaps you wager on three heavy favorites and one long shot you trust to win.
Whatever your bet slip looks like, the goal is to drive up your potential payout past 3-to-1. By doing this, a successful wager will give you more winnings to work with. Turning $100 in bonus money into a $500 payout, for example, would mean you have enough cash to cover half of a 10-time rollover. You could lose another four $100 bets, still have $100 leftover, and have satisfied five of 10 rollover instances. The more money you bring back on a singular bet, the more wiggle your room.
This method of betting with your sportsbook bonus requires its own section. While it is on the more complicated end, it can be highly effective.
Let’s say you’ve just joined a new sportsbook that offers a 100 percent deposit match on your first transaction. You take advantage of this promotion by putting $100 into your account, for a grand total of $200. Afterward, you then decide to peruse this week’s NFL odds and find yourself intrigued by the following point spread: New York Giants (+6.5) vs. Dallas Cowboys (-6.5).
Normally, you would pick one side of the coin, that of the Giants or Cowboys, and wait to see whether your decision pans out. With matched betting, you would play both point spreads. Yes, this means you’d throw money on the Giants at +6.5 and the Cowboys -6.5.
This no doubt sounds weird. But the logic winds up tracking. While your bet amount can vary, for the sake of this theoretical, let’s assume you use your entire bankroll, split evenly between New York and Dallas. That equates to $100 apiece.
Point spreads usually pay out -110, so your winning wager will net you a total payout of $190—your initial $100 bet, plus the $90 profit. Viewed in traditional terms, you will have just turned $200 into $190. But because you used $100 in promotional money to bankroll this wager, you’ve actually made $90.
Just continue to be wary of rollover lengths during this process. More extensive ones can make matched betting a chore. You also need to do your calculations correctly, because matched betting only works with two-outcome wagers (hence the appeal of point spreads and moneylines). Some people use software to help them. If you don’t have access, you can still search online for free matched betting calculators.