How do Bonus Bets Work?
All intro bonus bets are profitable promotions in terms of positive expected value, but it is possible to lose your first bet, lose the bonus bet returned from it, and all of a sudden be staring at zeroes in your account.
Most sportsbooks allow bonus first bets up to a certain number. For FanDuel, Caesars, and several others it’s around $1,000.
To take full advantage of the expected value from this promotion, let’s say a bettor deposits $1,000, earning a bonus bet up to $1,000. So to take complete advantage, the bettor places all $1,000 on the Bengals to cover the spread in the Super Bowl at -110 odds. If the Bengals cover, the promotion is over and the bettor has taken full advantage. It worked out perfectly because the bettor risked $1,000 to win $909.09. Since the bet won, the bettor now has $1,909.09 in the account.
If the $1,000 initial bet loses you would be refunded $1,000 in site credits on FanDuel, for example. However, you would need to bet through all $1,000 before it’s possible to withdraw.
If the return is not in site credits but is in the form of a bonus bet, it gets more complicated, as explained in our next section.
Do you get Your Stake Back With Bonus Bets?
With the original bet made with your own cash, you do get your stake back if you win the bet, meaning the $1,000 stake plus the $909.09 winnings. If you lose and get refunded a bonus bet as the return, you do not get your stake back on bets made with that bonus bet token. This makes them inherently worse than cash.
So in the event that you lose, you are given a $1,000 bonus bet. Say you bet that on the Celtics to cover the spread at -110 odds.
If the Celtics cover, you win the bet but do NOT get your stake back. So after losing the initial bet and winning $909.09 from the bonus bet, your account will have $909.09, which is less than the $1,000 deposited in the first place. Of course, if the bonus bet loses as well, you’ll be down $1,000 from the promotion.
Bonus Bets Strategies:
In order to truly guarantee profit and have a risk-free start to build your bankroll, you need to have several sportsbook accounts and ideally find an arbitrage opportunity.
Keep an eye on the OddsJam arbitrage page to find those opportunities, but it’s also possible to use two promos or odds boosts at once to create risk-free profit due to the more favorable odds being offered in the promos.
That way you can guarantee a small profit through arbitrage, and if the initial bet outcome loses you get the bonus bet or site credit back in return.
Even without arbitraging the bet, you can bet both sides of a wager. Worst case you lose the vig (juice), but hopefully the side that the promotion is on loses and you get the bonus bet or site credit back while making a profit on another sportsbook. You can use the OddsJam Low Holds betting tool to find betting opportunities with zero to small amounts of vig.
Check out also our guide on how to fix Sportsbook Geolocation.