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How to use free bets for sure bets in 2020 & beyond

The sports betting landscape has changed dramatically over the last two decades with the arrival of online sportsbooks. Today, players can place bets on these digital sportsbooks even while on the go. This means you’ll never lose any opportunity to make money from your favourite team or the most profitable markets.  

However, one feature that makes online sports betting attractive is the availability of amazing promos and bonuses. Free bets are among the most common bonuses offered by sportsbooks who want to attract new players.

While most bettors rush to use their free bets on the first game they see, it’s possible to maximise your free bet through matched betting. Using free bets on multiple sites simultaneously has always been a common way to turn your bet into a sure bet.  

This risk-free technique turns your welcome offer into guaranteed profits. If you are about to sign up to an online sportsbook, take time to learn how to use your free bets as a sure bet.   

What does a free bet mean?

First things first; what is a free bet? In the simplest terms, this is a bet of a specified value where the bookmaker offers to pay the stake. Most online sportsbooks and bookmakers offer these packages to all clients who open new betting accounts with them.

The beauty of this offer is that you get an opportunity to place a bet without risking your money. If you win, you will get only the winnings because you didn’t have any stake. This offer is now standard in the UK betting industry as bookmakers compete to sign up more players.

Maximising your free bet with matched betting

If you have received a free bet, you can maximise it by using a matched betting strategy. It is a risk-free strategy that mathematically guarantees a profit from free bets offered by bookmakers.

The technique ensures you make a profit from free bets and other incentives offered by online sportsbooks. By the application of a mathematical equation, this technique removes the risk from your bet.

When getting started with matched betting, you need to understand these two terms:

  • Backing bets: This is a traditional form of betting where you pick the winner. If your bet wins, you’ll get the profit. These types of bets are available with all online bookmakers.
  • Laying Bets: This is a new form of bet where you bet against a particular outcome.  For instance, you can say, “Crystal Palace will not win.” If the Eagles lose or draw, you win the bet.

How matched betting works

Matched betting works by using a lay bet to cancel out any risk that you have with your back bet. In essence, you cancel out the risk on the ‘back’ bet by betting against yourself at the same odds using a lay bet.

By backing and laying against the same result, you remove all risk of loss and this is the gist of a matched bet. You have every outcome covered which guarantees you cannot lose your bet.

When you receive your qualifying free bet, you shouldn’t be excited to use it on any match. If you want to make a guaranteed profit, you should use the back and lay method.

When placing a bet, there’s a small percentage charged by the betting exchange and this is mostly 5% on winnings. If you win from a matched bet, this means you are left with up to 95% of the free bet amount as profit.

This is how it works:

  1. Find a bookmaker offering a free bet. (For instance, £25 free bet if you deposit and bet £5)
  2. Find a betting exchange where you can now place your lay bet.
  3. Find a good game to use your free bet on. The best game should have closest odds on the back bet (bookmaker) and the lay bet (offered by the betting exchange).
  4. Always switch to decimal odds on either site for easier matched betting.
  5. Let’s say Arsenal has back odds of 2.0 to beat Leeds on the bookmaker. Let’s say the lay odds are at 2.02.
  6. Place your bet of £25 on Arsenal.
  7. Go to the betting exchange and use the calculator provided to know how much to lay. Consider your back odds (2.0), lay odds (2.02), and a stake of £25 and the lay commission (5%). You’ll get your lay stake, in this case, £25.38. This means you need at least £25.89 to afford laying this qualifying bet.
  8. If Arsenal wins on the bookmaker’s site, you’ll win £25 and lose £25.89 on the exchange site. If Arsenal draws or loses, you’ll also lose £25 with the bookmaker but win £24.11 profit on the Exchange minus the commission.
  9. There’s a qualifying loss of 89p which is a negligible amount to help unlock a free bet.
  10.  Repeat the same process again now with a bet featuring higher odds.
  11.  You can then cash out and play any other time.

This free bet strategy might look complex on paper, but when you start doing it practically, it starts making a lot of sense.