A closer look at the value of sports betting bonuses and the factors to consider when claiming them.
Last updated: May 24, 2023
Operators utilize sports betting bonuses as one of their primary tools to attract new customers and keep the existing ones around. In theory, they should represent a win-win scenario both for the sportsbooks and the bettors, but is this the case in reality?
Healthy competition is always good in any industry, and sports betting in the USA is no different. We have witnessed the birth of new sportsbooks across the United States ever since the PASPA repeal that completely changed the gambling laws in this country.
The market gets larger every year, and even the more established operators need to stay competitive by creating different bonuses and promotions.
From a consumer perspective, these bonuses represent more funds to wager. As accurate as this statement is, it comes with some asterisks all bettors should know.
To properly take advantage of any bonus, you must be thoroughly familiar with all the details. Unfortunately, many punters are often not. Here, we bring you everything you need to know about betting bonuses, including their advantages and disadvantages.
*Except NY & NV. Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Additional terms apply.
Deposit match bonuses are still the kings of online bonuses across all gambling platforms, including sports wagering. As the name suggests, sportsbooks will match the customers’ deposited amount, doubling their funds and allowing them to place additional wagers with the extra. Doing so entices the bettors to make a bigger deposit to get a more rewarding bonus. At any gambling operator in any vertical, you will almost always find a 100% deposit match welcome bonus for new players to take advantage of on their first deposit.
As alluring as a bigger bonus is, you should never deposit money you cannot afford to lose. If your sports betting bankroll is solid and you can afford it, there is no reason not to go for the higher deposit and take advantage of the bonus, but never let the attractive bonuses take over your budget.
Always check the terms and conditions, as these usually carry a finite period in which you must use the bonus funds, or else they expire and disappear from your account. Factor this in when determining how much to deposit, so you land on an amount you can comfortably wager in the time allotted.
Matched deposit bonuses can come in very handy and are well worth taking advantage of as long as you follow the instructions from above. Few players will meet the rollover requirement in most cases, but plenty of new bettors kicked off their starting bankrolls through matched deposits.
The operators have expanded the range of betting offers to stand out, always trying to entice new bettors to wager on their platform and keep existing players happy. You will thus see most of them serving some super-value odds or offers bettors cannot resist. These will often look something like this:
These are just one-time offers that you should take advantage of whenever possible. Steph Curry averages 9.0 3-point attempts per game throughout his career, meaning there is massive value in backing him to score just one three-pointer at the sky-high +2000 odds as in the example above.
The only catch is that the sportsbooks limit these offers at a $1 or $2 maximum stake, but it is still worth taking advantage of because you risk nothing.
The second example includes $200 in bonus bets. Bonus bets are usually bound to the odds restrictions, meaning you can only place them on plus odds or odds longer than -150.
With these promotions, the stake you wager gets deducted, and you can only claim the potential winnings. Since no additional financial risks are involved beyond the original deposit, we suggest always going for the bonus bets when available.
The only slight con (if we can call it that ) with these offers is that bettors take them for granted because they have received them entirely for free, having a justification for placing baffling bets in search of unreasonably high returns.
Simply put, many punters do not treat these bonus bets as real money. If you use a different, more serious, and systematic approach, these profitable promos can quickly boost your bankroll.
While you only have one chance to take advantage of a lucrative welcome offer with one sportsbook (although nothing is stopping you from taking advantage of multiple welcome offers at multiple sportsbooks), there are also different types of bonuses for existing customers.
Most sports betting operators have at least some kind of ongoing specials, depending on the time of the year and which sports are popular, trying to tempt the players to make more wagers through these little extras. Here are some examples we see every year:
If you follow the sports and events bound to the offer and intend to place a wager on these, nothing should stop you from using this additional bonus.
However, if you are not a hockey fan and see the Stanley Cup Finals offer, you would be better off ignoring it. Sticking to the sport you have a profound knowledge of is much better than going for this kind of bonus.
If you are a bettor strictly focused on profits rather than entertainment, we only have cons in this department. To stay profitable in the long run, you should exclusively bet on singles, as described in our betting guides.
Doubles & trebles are also acceptable, but only if singles make the most of your wagering scheme. Parlays of four or more legs can only hurt your winning chances because of the simple math — the more games you have on a parlay, the higher the sportsbooks’ advantage in terms of the odds.
Most operators offer some incentive for parlays and teasers, i.e.:
The more legs there are on a parlay, the higher the bonus percentage is. While it sounds tempting, you should ignore the offer and focus on placing singles/doubles.
The terms and conditions of any promotion are the most underestimated thing in the betting world. You should never skip them. If you want to use any promotion, you must be fully aware of all its conditions.
These typically include the rollover requirements (if any), the sports and markets included in the promo, and the general terms, such as the bonus duration and minimum/maximum wagers. Bettors should opt in for the bonus only if they are satisfied with the conditions and confident in their ability to meet the requirements.
Sports betting bonuses represent a great way to boost bankrolls, but only if you know how to use them. The key is never letting them push you into decisions and place wagers you would not normally place. Always treat them for what they are — bonuses.
They represent something extra to add to the fun segment and will not make anyone rich in the long run. This is why the primary focus should always be on your predicting/analyzing skills.