Whether you are looking for an occasional extra weekend bet or regularly searching for matched betting offers, free bets form a big part of sports betting.
With tons of offers across all the biggest bookmakers, free bets give you the chance to get more value betting with the same stake.
For new customer offers, see our guide on sign-up offers. But you don’t just have to be a new customer to make the most of the many free bets being offered across the market.
Free bets are promotions offered by bookmakers, which allow you to place an extra bet once you have placed a qualifying bet.
It’s important to note that, in most cases, a bookmaker will not give you a free bet for nothing: free bets usually require a certain bet to be placed first. Once this bet is made, your account will be credited with a free bet on top of the bet you have already placed.
For example: If a bookmaker is offering a £10 free bet on a certain match, you will likely have to place a £10 bet first – ensuring it matches the required criteria. Once it has been placed, you will be credited with your free bet.
Free bets are also non-withdrawable, so they must be used only to bet and cannot simply be taken out at as cash.
Every free bet is different and comes with its own terms and conditions. But, across all cases, there are key characteristics that make free bets slightly different from a regular wager.
Firstly, if you win your free bet, you only collect the winnings – and not the stake back itself. A free bet is traditionally only one transaction, too. By this, we mean you cannot take a £20 free bet and place several smaller bets to total £20. It would have to all be staked on one particular selection.
Like free bets offers themselves, terms and conditions will vary across every offer and bookmaker, so it is important to familiarise yourself with the key aspects of your free bet promotion. Offers are usually dependent on specific events and odds. For example, qualifying bets can commonly only apply at a minimum price of 1/2 (1.5).
Cash out: Another rule that tends to apply universally across the betting market is that free bets cannot be cashed out. This means once you place your free bet, that pick will either win or lose and you will not be offered the chance to cash the bet out before the end of the match or
Additionally, free bet offers may require you not to cash out your qualifying bet. So if you bet £10 and immediately cashed out, you would no longer qualify for a free bet offer.
Being awarded a free bet is not always an instantaneous process – but this is no cause for panic. Some free bet offers will require you to ‘opt in,’ although you won’t receive your free bets as soon as you do this.
In some instances, you will be credited as soon as you place your qualifying bet, while others may see you credited after the settlement of your bet.
Another example is Sky Bet’s in-play free bet offer, which requires you to bet in-play in the first half for you to receive your free bet in the second half of a match. However, Sky Bet can actually award you the free bet as soon as you place your original stake.
Another crucial piece of information regarding free bets is that, generally, they do have an expiration date i.e. it can disappear if you don’t use it in time.
For most bookmakers, the standard expiration date on a free bet is seven days. For others, it can be 30 days, although it varies across offers so this is another reason to be sure of your terms and conditions.
Again, though, Sky Bet stands out in the market in this department, having now removed expiry dates from all their free bets.
To give you a feel for the types of free bets that exist – but also show you offers you can take advantage of right now – here are a few examples of the free bet offers currently out there in the market.
Available for all new customers, 888sport offers a 100% up to £150 welcome bonus. This means if you were already planning on betting on a long-odds selection or accumulator, victory would earn you more money with 888.
Enter the promo code: 150Bonus when making your first deposit to claim this offer.
The minimum bet is £10. The full deposit amount must be wagered at least once with cumulative odds of 1.5 or greater. Wagering must be cleared within 60 days.
With bet365, the more teams you pick, the greater your enhanced odds.
To qualify for this offer, you simply need to make a minimum deposit of £5 (up to £100).
To release your bet credits, you must fulfil the following conditions; you must claim this offer within 30 days of registering your account and at least one selection of at odds of 1/5 (1.20) or greater.
New Customers Only
This promotion is only available to individuals aged 18 years and over who have registered as new customers of Sky Betting and Gaming.
New customers must place a minimum of £5 as their first bet on a single or each way bet on any Sky Bet market at odds of 1/1 or greater.
Only your first bet with Sky Bet counts towards this offer. Any subsequent bets will not be eligible.
You must bet a minimum of £5 in a single bet. An accumulation of smaller stakes will not count.
Your free bets will be credited as three £10 free bet tokens.
This offer is not subject to expiry.
There are numerous free bets offers available throughout the market, similar to the above, so be sure to take advantage of the best ones while always double checking the terms and conditions.
Bookmakers will usually have a ‘promotions’ page for both new and existing customers – but you can also find the best offers right here on BetCompare.