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Playing Free Bonus Money While Arbing

As you proceed through the setup process already outlined in this section of Sports Arbitrage Guide, you should be accumulating freebets and bonus money from the bookmakers you join. This free money is one of the best sources of easy profit you can have when you get started arbing, so do your best to take full advantage of them. Working your way through the major sportsbooks, you should easily be able to add more than a couple of thousand dollars to your bankroll just through matched betting and rolling over your bonus money.

If you encounter any contradiction between advice given here and requirements set out in terms and conditions, you should always follow the terms and conditions first. Some bookmakers have bizarre requirements. If the conditions for a bonus seem too convoluted, too difficult or completely confusing, it may be best to avoid claiming the bonus altogether.

Playing 'Stake Not Returned' Bonuses

As explained previously, SNR bonuses do not return the stake involved, only the winnings. So in order to turn your freebet into real money, you can't just arb like normal, you have to factor in the fact that the original stake is not returned. Since this complicates the maths a little you don't want to have to rush through the calculations when trying to place an arb, and you also don’t want to be stuck placing only a $25 freebet on one side of the arb when you could place a few hundred on it..

As such, I tend to leave my freebets to the side until a quiet period, and then manually look for the best odds to use my freebet on. Rather than rushing it, simply use a slow period to turn your virtual money into real money.

In order to best do this, you want to find the widest range of odds that you can practically use, and match those odds up with a complimentary set of odds at another bookmaker – like an arb, you want to cover all possible outcomes, but with a freebet it is not absolutely necessary to have an arbitrage situation as far as the numbers go. That being said, the rules of determining the winners of the bookmakers from both sides of the matched bet must be the same much like an arb..

Having an arb situation is better because you will make more money, but an arbitrage scenario is not necessary. Because the arbitrage side of it isn't necessary, this practice is commonly called Matched Betting.

Matched Betting

Matched Betting involves using your free bet on the underdog in the widest ranging pair of odds on both sides of the same event. You want the highest odds possible, versus the lowest odds possible. The aim is to use the coverage created by using the freebet while trying to lose the 'fake' bonus money at one bookmaker, while converting it to 'real' money at another bookmaker.

So for a simple example let's say you have a $50 free bet to play with. Now, you are looking for a pair of opposing odds with the widest range possible.

You would ideally find odds of around 10.00 for which you want to use your freebet on the Underdog.
You then find odds of 1.11 on their competitor at another bookmaker on the Favourite team.

The odds in this example provide a slightly negative return for a normal arb, but are great for claiming SNR bonuses!

You place your $50 freebet on the odds of 10.00, to possibly receive $450 if it wins:
($50 x 10.00 = $500) – $50 = $450

You have basically insured and covered a bet on the favourite up to a value of $450.
So you might as well place that very bet!

We work out how much to place on the favourite by dividing the total amount you are covered for by the odds of the favourite.
($450 ÷ 1.11) = $405

So now you should place a matching bet of $405 of real money on 1.11.

Now, if the favourite wins your return will be:
($405 x 1.11) = $449.55 (a profit of $45.55)

Likewise, if the underdog wins, you lose your covering bet, but your return will still be:
($50 x 10.00) - $50 - $405 = $45.00 (a profit of $45.00)

The end result is to turn a virtual $50, into a completely real $45 without any real risk of losing it.

Any other method of using the freebet will either risk losing it completely, or provide a lower return.

You need to be able to run through all of the maths for each possible bet combination that you can find. You really want to find only two complimentary odds to do this because 3-way bets will really reduce your potential profit.

So you need to find situations where you can bet on long odds with your freebet, and then cover all other possible outcomes at another bookmaker in one single bet. You then need to work through the simple maths just like in the example above.

How much will the freebet pay out if it wins? This amount insures your matched bet up to that amount, so how much can you bet to optimise for the most guaranteed profit? If you can guarantee keeping 80% or more of the total freebet, then that isn't too bad at all.

Matched Betting (SNR Bonus) Recap:

  1. With the bookmaker at which you hold the bonus, find the highest possible odds on a two-sided event that you will be allowed to use your freebet on (find the underdog).
  2. Find the lowest possible odds covering the opponent at another bookmaker (find the favourite).
  3. What are the total winnings if the underdog wins?
    'underdog winnings' = ('underdog odds' x 'freebet amount') - 'freebet amount'
  4. Divide the winnings amount by the odds of the favourite to determine how much to bet on the favourite.
    'favourite bet' = 'underdog winnings' ÷ 'favourite odds'
  5. If the favourite wins, your profit will be:
    'favourite bet' x 'favourite odds'
  6. If they underdog wills, your profit will be:
    ('freebet amount' x 'underdog odds') - 'freebet amount' - 'favourite bet'

Playing 'Stake Returned' Bonuses

The strategy for claiming SR bonuses is even easier simple really, and comes down to 'arb as usual'.

SR bonuses function like real betting money and can be played as you like, but will be deducted from your total balance as you request a payout.

The worst case scenario with a SR bonus offer is to win too much money in to your account. With the majority of your bankroll stuck in one account, you won’t have enough funded books to allow you to continue arbing the rollover requirement. The consequences of this scenario are simply that you will have to withdraw and forfeit your bonus money – not a real loss, just a shame to miss out on the free cash.

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