There are many different types of free bet promotions offered by different bookmakers, some are great that you can profit from in the long run while other may sound good but are hardly worth your while.
As bookmakers are vying for your custom and competing against fierce competition in the market from other bookmakers they come up with all kinds of promotions to lure you in to bet with them.
The free bets are usually offered as some form of consolation for a losing bet on a specific outcome in the match. It could be for a draw, a player to be sent off or a 0-0 score line and there are many more. If your bet doesn't win and the free bet criteria is matched then you will receive a free bet which is usually the amount of your stake, usually up to £25; though some bookmakers do offer higher stakes.
These promotions are offered as a type of compensation if your bet doesn't win and just betting this straight with your bookmaker won't win you money in the long run unless you are a great football punter.
To profit from these bets you can lay your bet on the exchanges for the same amount or very near the same amount and if your bet wins or loses you will break even or near enough. If you bet loses and the free bet criteria is met then you will have earned a free bet from the bookmaker and broke even again on your bet with the bookmaker and the lay bet on the exchange, so you will have earned a free £25 bet!
To make this kind of bet profitable in the long run you need to make sure you can lay the bet off on the exchanges as near to the price or better than the bet you have placed with the bookmaker.
These free bets are usually restricted to the more difficult betting markets like the first goal scorer, double result and correct score markets. The correct score markets on the exchanges tend to have highest liquidity and there are often situations where you lay bets at the same price as you have placed with the bookmaker. You can use www.oddschecker.com to compare the prices as any profitable situations are hard to spot manually and they generally don't last before the bookmaker or exchange prices change as punters are quick to take advantage.
A typical scenario could be a 1-1 draw refund bet offered by a bookmaker, if you bet doesn't win you will receive a refund as a free bet to your original stake if the match finishes 1-1. You check oddschecker and you can see that the bookmaker stands out on a 2-0 score line at 12-1 that you can lay on the exchanges at the same price. You place a £25 bet with the bookmaker at 12/1 and then lay the same bet on the exchanges at the same time. If the match does finish 2-0 you will have made £300 from your bookmaker but paid out £300 on you exchange bet so you have broken even.
If the match finishes 1-0 you will have lost you bet with the bookmaker but you will have won £25 on the exchanges so you have broken even minus any exchange commission on a winning exchange bet. If the match finishes 1-1 then it is the same end result as a 1-0 score line but you will have earned a £25 free bet as you have met the free bet refund criteria.
Now you have your free bet you need to maximise the return on it by betting it at the best possible price that you can lay back on the exchanges and then you will end up with it as real cash. You will need to bear in mind that your free bet doesn't include your stake so don't think about sticking it on Man City at home at 1/5 as you'll only end up with £5 if they win! Look to Oddschecker again for a big priced bet that you can place with your bookmaker and lay off on the exchanges.
The horse racing markets usually offer the best opportunities to get a bigger price with a bookmaker than on the exchanges. It could even be possible to make more than you £25 if you can get on a couple points bigger.
It is important to only go for the promotions that offer the best chance of a free bet being met:
One of the most common free bet refunds is the 0-0 'bore draw' refund. There is a reason why they are so popular with bookers as the odds of a 0-0 score line are usually around 12/1. You would expect to get the refund once in every thirteen attempts and once you factor in exchange commission it makes these kinds of bets look very poor and not really worth considering.
A 1-1 score line is usually around a 6/1 chance in a competitive match which is a lot better than 'Bore Draws' and should make you a small profit long term if you choose the right matches.
These kinds of bets can be great value free bet refunds. You need to check out the anytime scorer markets for the actual odds of the player to score, if it is a key player the odds could be below 2/1. Key players like Aguero and Suarez have been included in previous promotions and the popularity of these players in the exchange markets will force their prices down to competitive prices you can lay.
These refunds can be great value as the odds of a Red Card are usually around the 3/1 mark.
This is another great refund bet, slightly better chances of happening than a red card refund, good value and worth taking advantage of.
There are many other types of football free bets you can take advantage of. In the 2014 World Cup many bookmakers were refunding stakes on England if they were beaten or if they didn't win which proved to be very fruitful.
It's possible you can have several of these free bet refunds on the same match with different bookmakers covering different eventualities that gives you multiple chances of triggering one or more free bet refunds.
If you want to guarantee a profit you can even lay the refund trigger and adjust your staking slightly in case your bet does win with the bookmaker as you refund will not trigger.
Though you're never going to make huge amounts of money limited to £25 stakes you can certainly add to your betting bank risk-free and enjoy watching the match with effectively free bets.20 Oct 2014
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