Sports Betting 101: Best Sportsbook Bonuses

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Best Sportsbook Bonuses
Photo credit: Arizona Republic

Many online betting sites offer bonuses as a means to attract and retain sports bettors. This situation works to your advantage, because you can earn bonus money on top of potential winnings with the best sportsbook bonuses.

The only problem is that multiple types of sports betting bonuses exist with different rules behind each one. That said, where do you begin when trying to understand online sportsbook bonuses?

The following guide explains more on the different types of deals at legal online sports betting sites. It also answers common questions about many bettors have regarding bonuses.

Before getting started, though, we’d like to explain that online sportsbooks are the best places to find available bonus money. Retail sportsbooks don’t offer these deals, such as welcome bonuses, free bets, and risk-free bets. Some have VIP programs that reward you based on your betting volume. Again, though, you simply won’t find the type of offers that online sportsbooks have at retail locations.

Online Sports Betting Bonus Types

Again, the sports betting industry offers more than one type of bonus. Some deals match your deposit, while others amount to free bets. You should know how each bonus type works before depositing and pursuing it. This way, you have the best possible chance of getting free money and cashing it out.

Our Props.com team has chosen the best online sportsbook bonuses to discuss, including risk-free bets, deposit bonuses, and free bets. Each of these bonuses stand out because they can pay lots of money and are easy to understand. They also serve as lucrative welcome bonuses in many cases. As you may know, a welcome bonus is only available to first-time depositors.

Check Props.com often for the latest sports betting promo codes, sign-up bonuses, and other online sports betting promotions.

Pre-Launch Bonus Offers

When a new state is about to launch online sports betting, the top sportsbook brands will often extend pre-launch offers that reward bettors for signing up before the app actually launches.

Maryland and Ohio are both set to launch online sportsbooks by the beginning of 2023. Take a look at some of the pre-launch offers available in those states.

Note that these offers might appear differently outside of Maryland and Ohio:

Risk-Free Bet

Risk-free bets return your stake (w/ terms attached) when your initial wager loses. If you win instead, then you’ll just collect the winnings and move on. Here’s how a risk-free bet (a.k.a. no sweat first bet) offer works in a losing situation:

  • You sign up at FanDuel Sportsbook and get a risk-free bet worth up to $1,000.
  • You stake $200 and lose.
  • FanDuel gives you a $200 bet.
  • You now get a chance to re-wager the $200 and potentially win.
  • Most online sportsbooks only pay the winnings on a risk-free bet—not the stake as well.

The great thing about this deal is that it provides an opportunity to recoup losses from an unsuccessful first bet. The downsides are twofold:

  1. Many online sportsbooks provide risk-free bet offers in a lump sum. This means that you’ll have to wager the entire lost amount.
  2. If your initial stake and risk-free bet loses, then you’ve lost the entire starting stake.

Regarding the first downside, it’s better when online sportsbooks offer free-bet credits instead of a lump sum. A free-bet credit lets you wager in smaller increments (e.g., $100 spread out over 10 bets) and provides more freedom.

In either case, risk-free bet offers come with terms and conditions—like all bonus types on this page. One common term is rollover, which requires you to wager the bonus over a certain multiple. Here’s an example on rollover for risk-free bets:

  • Rollover is 1x (standard at many online sportsbooks) on a risk-free bet offer.
  • You lose a $150 risk-free bet.
  • You’ll need to wager at least $150 before converting the bonus cash to real money.
  • You have 7 days to meet rollover.
  • The bet must be placed at -200 minimum odds or greater.

Best Risk-Free Bet Sportsbook Promotions

BetMGM

FanDuel Sportsbook

Caesars Sportsbook

PointsBet

BetRivers

Unibet

Betway

Deposit Match

A deposit match bonus matches your deposit by a certain amount. Like risk-free bets, deposit match bonuses are commonly available as welcome bonuses. However, they can also be reload bonuses, which are available to existing customers (rather than just new bettors).

Here’s an example of a sportsbook deposit bonus:

  • Tipico offers a 100% Deposit Match up to $100
  • You sign up for a new account after reading the Props.com Tipico Sportsbook review.
  • You deposit a minimum of $100.
  • Tipico matches that deposit with $100 in free bet credits.

Not all online sportsbooks are as generous with the match percentages on deposit bonuses. For example, DraftKings Sportsbook offers a 20% deposit match bonus worth up to $1,000. Some online sportsbooks also require higher rollover, which can range from 2x to 25x.

Therefore, the quality of a deposit match bonus can vary greatly from one sportsbook to the next. We encourage you to carefully examine match percentages, rollover, and terms & conditions with deposit bonuses.

Best Deposit Match Bonuses

Tipico

Free Bet Bonus

A free bet obviously sounds similar to a risk-free wager. But this offer differs because it doesn’t require you to lose before kicking in. Instead, a free bet will pay winnings minus the stake on a successful wager. Here’s an example:

  • You receive a $50 free bet from a sports betting site.
  • You wager on a team with -125 odds.
  • The bet is successful and pays $40 in profit.
  • You receive the $40 profit, but not the $50 stake.

Online sportsbooks normally require that you wager a certain amount before receiving free bets. They also typically provide this bonus offer in the form of bet credits. Here’s another example:

  • Betfred offers a “Bet $50, Get $250” deal.
  • You make your first deposit at Betfred after reading our Betfred review.
  • place the $50 qualifying bet.
  • Betfred awards you with $250 worth of free bet credits.

Just like other deals on this page, a deposit free bet requires that you meet terms and conditions. Again, free bets only pay winnings and don’t return the initial stake. Other terms may include rollover on winnings, a time frame (e.g., seven days), and minimum odds (e.g., -160).

Best Free Bet Bonuses

DraftKings Sportsbook

Betfred

WynnBET

Other Bonuses At Online Sports Betting Sites

We’ve discussed the best bonuses available at legal online sportsbooks, but these deals are only the tip of the iceberg. You can find plenty of other offers available throughout legal sports betting, including the following sportsbook promos.

Odds Boosts

An online sportsbook may provide odds boosts on certain bets and markets. Boosted odds bonuses typically revolve around a game of the day or specific market. They reduce the bookmaker’s juice (vig) and give you a better chance to win money on one side. But the catch is that wagering limits are lower to counteract the enhanced odds.

Here’s an example on how odds boosts work:

Initial line

  • Texas A&M +6.5 (-110)
  • Auburn -6.5 (-110)
  • Original juice: 4.76%

Boosted odds line

  • Texas A&M +6.5 (+160)
  • Auburn -6.5 (-175)
  • Updated juice: 2.10%
  • Texas A&M is now paying $70 more for a winning bet.

Parlay Insurance

A parlay bet normally requires that you hit all legs to win the wager. With parlay insurance, though, you can hit all legs except for one and still win the bet. Assuming you miss one leg, an online sportsbook will either award the winnings as cash or a free bet.

Referral Bonuses

Some online sports betting sites entice you to refer friends to them through referral bonuses. A referral sportsbook bonus rewards you for each friend sent to the given betting site. For example, you might receive a $100 risk-free bet for sending a buddy who deposits at least $50. These deals are especially common after online sports betting launches, when a sportsbook is trying to gain market share.

Loyalty Program

A loyalty program (a.k.a. VIP program) rewards you for your loyalty and continued betting action. It can offer deposit bonuses, free bets, risk-free bets, cash prizes, and more. These programs can even extend to a sportsbook’s other gambling verticals, such as casino games and poker (when available).

Specific Sport Bonuses

Bookmakers sometimes offer specific sport bonuses to encourage more action in certain markets. For instance, a site might feature a free bet just for NBA games. In this case, you’d get a free wager after placing a qualifying bet on an NBA contest. These offers can cover many markets, including the NFL, MLB, NHL, and college sports betting.

Our Online Sportsbook Recommendations

Best Sportsbook Bonuses FAQ

What is a sportsbook bonus?

A sportsbook bonus is a reward for depositing and betting with an online sportsbook. These betting bonuses can come in many forms, including a sign up bonus, free bet, or risk-free bet offer. Such sports betting promotions are typically available to any market/state that a bookmaker serves (e.g., NY, PA, TN, VA).

Can I withdraw a sportsbook bonus as cash?

Yes, you can eventually cash out a sportsbook bonus offer after meeting terms and conditions. The T&Cs vary from deal to deal and bookmaker to bookmaker. Generally speaking, though, you must meet rollover, minimum odds, a time frame (a.k.a. 14 days), and qualifying bet amount. You’ll be able to withdraw the bonus money once you’ve satisfied all T&Cs.

What is a sportsbook bonus promo code?

Some online sports betting sites require you to use a promo code (a.k.a. bonus code) to qualify for deals. Sportsbook bonus codes are usually a snippet of letters and numbers (e.g., FREBET50). You enter sportsbook promo codes during the registration or deposit process. The best sportsbook bonus codes result in deals worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Are sportsbook bonuses worth it?

Yes, sportsbook bonuses can be worthwhile under the right circumstances. However, terms and conditions play a large role in the attractiveness of sportsbook promotions. Friendly terms (e.g., low rollover, higher minimum odds) improve your chances of cashing out.

Can I claim different bonuses at different sportsbooks?

You can claim different bonuses at various online sportsbooks. This is part of the beauty of living in markets with multiple betting sites, such as NJ, NY, PA, TN. You’re perfectly entitled to use a FanDuel and Caesars Sportsbook promo code in New York.