The “risk-free” bet is one of the most popular sportsbook bonuses offered to new players. While the term “risk-free” sounds great, the reality is that the bet is not entirely without risk. There are definitely some things you should know about risk-free wagers. There is no question that risk-free bets can be very appealing to many players and they can be profitable, but there are some important things you need to know before you make your risk-free bets.
What is a Risk-Free Bet?
The first thing to answer is exactly what is a risk-free bet? These bets are basically bonuses offered to new customers. If you place a bet and it wins, that is great news and you won your bet. If your first bet loses, then you get credit for your loss. This credit can be a free bet or bonus cash. The amount of your credit is normally equal to the amount of your wager, up to a point. There are limits to the risk-free bet, but you will usually see risk-free bets offered from $100 to $2,000, although there have been instances of huge $10,000 risk-free bet offers.
Let’s take an example from FOX Bet. They are currently offering a $500 risk-free bet bonus. You sign up for an account, make a deposit and then your first bet is risk-free, up to $500. If the bet wins, then you get a win as normal. If the bet loses, then you are given a free bet up to $500. That free bet will need to be used within seven days.
Not Entirely Risk-Free
While the risk-free bet sounds great, it is not really risk-free. For example, let’s say you lose a $500 NFL bet and then get your free bet and you lose that $500 free bet as well. You are now out $500, because you suffered two losses. There are some sportsbooks that will give you site credits instead of a single free bet and that would be better, as you don’t have to wager everything on a single wager equal to the first. It is important to read the fine print of risk-free bonus wager requirements, as sportsbooks are different in their rules.
Let’s say you sign up at PointsBet and get a $500 risk-free bet. You wager on the Dodgers at -200 so you place a $500 bet to win $250. If the bet wins, you collect $250 to add to your $500 starting bankroll and now have $750 in your account. If your Dodgers wager loses then you are out $500 but you get a free bet of $500 that you can use on your next wager. Keep in mind that if you have another -200 favorite that you like and you want that $500 to go to that wager you would be wagering $500 to win $250. If that bet wins you win $250 but it doesn’t make up for your $500 loss. And if you lose that second wager, you are out your original $500 and you are $500 in the red. It is rare for two big favorites to lose, but it does happen.
Risk-Free Bet Strategies
You can do a variety of things with risk-free bets. You can play a couple of big favorites like the example listed above and hope that you don’t lose the first one or if you do, you wager enough on the second game to make up for your loss. You could just play even-money bets and hope to win at least one of your bets, preferably the first one. Another option is to just go for broke and bet the $500 on a parlay and hope it hits. If not, you hope to win your second wager to get your money back.
Risk-Free Bets vs. Bonuses
The risk-free bet is a good option if you are confident you can win one of your first two wagers. The bonuses where you are given bonus money when you sign up are actually risk-free, but the drawback is that you have to wager that bonus money before it truly becomes yours and available for withdrawal. It would be great if you can find a bonus with a 1x or 2x rollover requirement, but many times you’ll see 5x or 10x or even 20x rollover requirements. If you can find a small rollover requirement then the bonus is great, but if it gets into multiple rollovers, the bonus really isn’t worth talking about.