If you live in a legal sports betting state, then chances are that you have seen or heard a sportsbook ad where they mention risk-free bets. Sportsbooks have many types of welcome offers, but risk-free bet offers are the most common.
You could be on Spotify or watching TV, and then an ad comes on saying that if you sign-up for a particular sportsbook, your first bet is risk-free. While this sounds too good to be true, it’s surprisingly true.
Below I go over what a risk-free bet is, the best offers, the best risk-free betting sites, and some risk-free betting strategies.
What Is a Risk-Free Bet?
A risk-free bet is a bet where if you lose your bet, you get something back in return. This could be a site credit or a free bet.
Site credit or cash risk-free bet offers are best for the customer as customers get their initial stake in addition to their winnings on winning bets. Free bet risk-free offers are not as good for bettors, as you only get your winnings back on winning free bets and not your stake.
For example, if you use a $100 free bet on a +200 money line underdog and it wins, you only get $200 back. However, if you have site credit and you bet $100 on a +200 money line, you receive your $100 stake back in addition to your $200 in winnings.
That is why I personally prefer to use the term risk-reduced bet, as it is not completely risk-free, but your risk is significantly reduced.
Best Risk-Free Betting Sites
- Free-Bet Risk-Free Bet: With Twinspires, If your risk-free bet loses (no odds restrictions, must settle within seven days), you get up to $1,000 to use as a free bet. If your free bet wins, you only get the profit and not the stake. You cannot
- Up to $1,000: Your risk-free bet is insured up to $1,000.
- Generous Existing User Promos: Along with BetMGM, Twinspires provides a plethora of promotions for its existing users. These can be free bets, like with its NCAA Live Bet promo or parlay insurance.
- Cash-Back Risk-Free Bet: If your risk-free bet loses, you get up to $1000 back all in site credit. This is the best form of a risk-free bet as you get your stake back on winning bets.
- Up to $2,000: Your risk-free bet is insured up to $1000.
- Many Betting Options: FanDuel has more betting options than most apps.
- User-Friendly App Interface: The FanDuel app interface is easy for customers to use.
- Free-Bet Risk-Free Bet: If your risk-free bet loses, you get up to $1000 to use on one free bet. If your free bet wins, you only get the profit and not the stake as well.
- Up to $1000: Your Risk-Free Bet is insured up to $1000
- Generous Existing User Promos: Unlike many apps that only offer promos to new customers, BetMGM offers generous promos for existing customers. These can be deposit bonuses, risk-free bets, and profit boosts.
- Search Bar: BetMGM has a search bar that makes it easy to find the bet that you are looking for.
- Live Streaming: Some sporting events have live video streams on the BetMGM app.
- Free-Bet Risk-Free Bet: PointsBet is offering a two part risk-free bet offer. The first is a $500 risk-free bet on any standard fixed odds bet, and the second is a risk-free shot up to $1500 on their exciting PointsBetting style of wagering. Think of it as a spread bet on steroids. Check out our full review for a more detailed explanation.
- Splitting Free Bets: PointsBet allows users to split up free bet credits into multiple free bets.
- Generous Existing User Promos: PointsBet offers existing users arguably the best bonuses for legal sportsbooks. The only negative is that they are more likely to limit how much you can receive in promos than other sportsbooks if you are only betting promos.
- Free-Bet Risk-Free Bet: If your risk-free bet loses, you get up to $500 ($250 in NJ) to use on one free bet. If your free bet wins, you only get the profit and not the stake as well.
- Many Betting Options: Unibet offers betting options on each game more than most apps.
- Search Bar: Specific bets are easy to find in Unibet’s search bar, which is located conveniently at the top of the app.
How To Pick the Best Risk-Free Betting Sites
- Cash-Back vs. Free Bet: Cash-back risk-free bet insurance is better for the bettor as they get their stake back on winnings. For free bets, bettors only get winnings back on winning bets and not the initial stake.
- Highest Dollar Risk-Free Benefit: In a theoretical world where bettors have a large bankroll, bettors should look for Risk-Free offers with the highest maximums. A $500 risk-free offer has more value than a $100 risk-free offer.
- Good Odds: Bettors should look for risk-free betting sites that offer the highest payouts for their preferred risk-free bet. When making a $100 bet, the difference between +110 and +100 is $10.
- User-Friendly Interface: For any betting app, bettors should look for an app that has an easy-to-use interface. Nothing is worse than having a tough time finding your preferred wager because the app you are using is poorly designed.
Risk-Free Betting Tips & Strategies
Maximize Your Risk
In an ideal world where you have an unlimited bankroll, you should bet the maximum allowable risk-free amount and use it on an underdog. To quote Eminem, “you only have one shot, do not miss your chance to blow.”
Mathematically, if you use your risk-free bet on an underdog and that underdog loses, you get a free bet. However, if that underdog wins, you get a large sum of money. With the free bet, you should use it on an underdog again as you only get the profit of the free bet and not the stake.
Use Another App To Hedge Your Risk-Free Bet
For risk-averse bettors with small bankrolls like myself at the beginning of my sports betting journey, they should look into hedging their risk-free bets with another app (arbitrage).
As a condition of risk-free bets, betting apps typically nullify risk-free bets if you bet on all outcomes. However, if you use another app to bet on the other outcomes of a bet to guarantee a profit, then they won’t know.
For example, if you think the Knicks will cover a -5.5 spread against the Magic, you could bet $200 risk-free on the Magic and then bet $200 on another app on the Knicks. If the Knicks cover, you lose $18.18 but get a $200 free bet. If the Magic cover, then you lose $18.18.
For bettors with a higher level of risk tolerance, this is not a good strategy as you aren’t maximizing your bonus. However, for bettors with a low level of risk tolerance, this is a cheap way of acquiring free bets.
Benefits of Risk-Free Betting
If you don’t have much of a sports betting bankroll and you open up a betting account with a risk-free bet offer, you could significantly increase your bankroll. If your initial bet wins, then you have a potentially large profit. If your bet loses, you can potentially win big on your free bet that you get in return.
Great For Bets You Feel Good About
Occasionally, bettors find a bet that they feel really confident about that they would like to bet more money than usual on. Risk-free bet offers are good for this as your risk is mediated if you are betting more than usual.
Even a caveman would make money most of the time on risk-free bets because of the math involved. Sportsbooks aren’t expecting a short-term profit on risk-free bet offers. They offer risk-free bets as a way to get customers on their app to build brand loyalty, so long-term you will give your profits back to the sportsbook.
How Can I Bet Without Risk?
You can bet without risk by using arbitrage if you are risk-averse, but ultimately you are limiting your potential earnings.
Your best way to use a risk-free bet is on something risky as the risk-free bet insurance kicks in when you lose. With this strategy, you either make a large amount of money, receive most of your initial investment back, or the least likely outcome is you lose your initial deposit by losing both bets.
How to Sign Up For a Risk-Free Bet Online
How to sign up for a risk-free bet depends on the app, so you should always look at the terms and conditions before signing up. In general, here are the steps to making sure you get a risk-free bet:
- Set up an account: To set up an account, you submit your personal information. To verify your identity, they might need a photo of your ID.
- Opt-In: Some sites require you to opt-in for your risk-free bet.
- Place your bet: Your first bet will be what counts toward the risk-free bet promotion.
- Collect your winnings: If you win, your account balance will update with your win.
- Use your free bet: If you lose, you typically must use your free bet within seven days.
- Withdraw: If you like the app, you should keep some money in it, but at least withdraw some of your winnings to use for other risk-free offers to build your bankroll.
Where Can I Legally Risk-Free Bet Online?
Current Legal Online Betting States with Risk-Free Betting
- New Jersey
- Rhode Island
- Washington D.C.
- West Virginia
- Louisiana (coming soon)
- New Hampshire
- New York (coming soon)
Choose More Than One Risk-Free Betting Site
When picking among risk-free betting offers, bettors should pick the betting site that offers the best odds on the bet that they are looking to place.
For example, if you wanted to bet on Illinois’ money line against Nebraska, you should find the site with the most favorable odds. Some sites may have Illinois at +450, while another site with a risk-free offer may offer Illinois at +500. If you bet $200 on Illinois and they win, by using the site with the best odds, you will make $1000 instead of $900.
Additionally, another reason to shop around for risk-free offers is to place multiple risk-free bets in order to fully maximize your edge from all of the risk-free betting promos. If you place several longshot risk-free bets, you eventually are likely to have a big win.