How do Free Bets Work on DraftKings?

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What is a Free Bet?

DraftKings — being as generous as they are — is one of the sportsbooks that does a great job offering users a bunch of different promotions as a reward for using their app. 

One of these types of promos that they offer is called “free bets.” Free bets are promotional giveaways that DraftKings will offer to users in the form of a bet up to a certain amount of money in which DraftKings will cover the stake, or risk, of the bet.

What this means is that users can place a bet without needing to worry about the bet size being removed from their bankroll in the sportsbook. 

These free bet promotions aren’t just for new users either — DraftKings will reward users who frequently use their app with free bets.

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How do Free Bets Work on DraftKings?

Generally, DraftKings will offer a free bet in relatively small increments, typically between $10-$25, or more depending on how much money the user bets with DraftKings. 

The main difference with free bets, though, is how the payouts work. For normal bets, if your bet wins, the amount of money you get back into your account is your stake + your profit. So, if you risked $10 on a +100 bet and it wins, you would get $20 in your account ($10 stake + $10 profit).

For free bets, though, you only get the profit of the bet back into your account if your bet wins. So, using that same example of a $10 bet at +100 odds, you would only get $10 in your account because there was no stake. 

So, it is for this reason that, with all else equal, free bets are worse than regular cash bets. Though it’s hard to complain when they are free!

Can Free Bets be Withdrawn?

No, free bets are not able to be withdrawn for cash. With that said, if your free bet wins then you would be able to withdraw those winnings as cash. 

As with any promo on DraftKings, it is important to check the terms of the free bet to see if there is an expiration date or any other types of restrictions. 

How to Use a Free Bet: Free Bet Conversion Strategies

The best way to maximize value with a free bet is to place it on some sort of longshot betting opportunity that has longer odds. I understand that initial thoughts would be to place this bet on a heavy favorite to ensure that your bet wins, but that is not a good strategy to maximize the amount of money you can make with free bets.

The reason for this is that you do not get the stake back on a free bet, as mentioned earlier. For example, the Bills are heavy favorites in their matchup against the Titans (-450 odds at DraftKings). If you had a $100 free bet and placed that on the Bills moneyline, you would only profit $22 if they won. Sure, you had a winning bet, but you only turned a $100 free bet into $22. That is not the best way to maximize potential winnings moving forward. 

Let me break down the math in even further detail to illustrate the point. 

Keep in mind that the formula to calculate positive expected value (EV) is this: Expected Value: EV = Implied Probability x Payout x Stake.

  • -500 odds, $25 free bet expected value = 5/6 x 1/5 x $25 = $4.17
  • -200 odds, $25 free bet expected value = 2/3 x 1/2 x $25 = $8.33
  • +200 odds, $25 free bet expected value = 1/3 x 2 x $25 = $16.67
  • +500 odds, $25 free bet expected value = 1/6 x 5 x $25 = $20.83

I know this looks intimidating, but the spark notes version of the above is that the longer the odds, the higher the expected value of the free bet

There is also a way you can convert a percentage of that free bet into real cash by hedging your bets and placing a wager on the other side of the bet. Luckily for you, OddsJam has a free bet conversion tool that will provide you with opportunities such as this.

Please refer to the screenshot below. 

In the top right of this screenshot, I have specifically filtered the page to show opportunities on DraftKings where I can convert a free bet into cash. Then, the page will show you all of these opportunities, sorted by percent high to low.

For this exercise, I will use the top betting opportunity to explain how it all works. As you can see, the play is on the Marlins -4.5 at +625 at DraftKings, and the other side of the bet is Cubs +4.5 at -700 at BetMGM. Let’s pretend that I have a $100 free bet in this scenario.

The free bet conversion page has a calculator that will do all the math for you. Here is what everything means.

Free Play Amount: This is the dollar amount of your free bet. In this example, it was $100.

Free Play Line — Run Line: Miami Marlins -4.5: This is the bet that you will place your free bet on at DraftKings.

Hedge Line — Run Line: Chicago Cubs +4.5: This is the other side of the bet that you will place (not using a free bet).

So, if the Marlins side wins, you would win $625 (keep in mind you don’t get your stake back with a free bet), and you would lose the hedge bet of $546.88.

Your profit would be: $625 – 546.88 = $78.13.

If the other side wins, the Cubs side, then you would profit $78.13. Because there was no stake on the free play amount, your profit remains at $78.13.

So, all-in-all, no matter what happens you would have converted this $100 free bet into $78.13. 

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