Bonus Rollover Strategy


Difficulty: Medium Read time: 8 mins

Bonuses work differently to free bets and risk-free bets but they’re still pretty straightforward. They can take a little more time but it’s still free cash and there are so many offers available. In this bonus rollover guide, I’ll show you how to tackle bonus offers and more importantly, how to maximise your profits!

How do bonuses work?

Generally speaking, free bet stakes are not returned and bonus stakes are returned.

This means that if you place a free bet on something and it wins, you would receive the winnings, but not the free bet stake itself. With a bonus, if you place it on something and it wins, the bonus stake would be returned along with your winnings.

That may sound great, but there’s a catch. Bonuses usually have to be rolled over a certain number of times before they can be withdrawn. This is often referred to as the rollover or wagering requirement.

The rollover is complete once you’ve either met the rollover requirement or lost all of your bookmaker funds into your exchange account.

It’s easy to moan about rollover requirements but it’s still free cash and it’s really not that difficult to do!

How to do a bonus offer

To illustrate how to tackle a bonus offer, I’m going to take you through the Betsafe welcome offer from start to finish.

Betsafe Welcome Offer

If you’ve not yet tackled any of the bonus welcome offers, this is a perfect starting point. Just sign up with Betsafe, deposit £10.00+ and they’ll then match your deposit as a bonus, up to a maximum of £30.00.

The boring but important stuff

It’s important that we read the terms of any offer thoroughly, but this is particularly true for bonus offers and I cannot stress that enough. Failure to understand the terms of a bonus offer can lead to costly mistakes.

Rollover requirements tell us how many times our deposit and/or bonus needs to be rolled over before we are able to withdraw our profit. For the Betsafe welcome offer, we need to rollover our deposit (£30.00) + bonus (£30.00) six times (x6), so £360.00 in total.

Always make sure that your bankroll is big enough to complete the offer in the event that your back bets keep winning. Winning streaks do happen and if you run out of funds before you’ve completed the rollover, you’re in trouble!

To prevent us from placing our bonus at extremely low odds, the bookmaker will usually specify the minimum odds at which we must place our rollover bets. If we do not place our bets at odds of 4/5 (1.80) or greater, we could be eating into our bonus without getting any closer to withdrawing it!

It’s important that we meet the rollover requirements within the specified time frame. For the Betsafe welcome offer, we’ll need to meet the rollover requirement within 30 days, otherwise we could lose our bonus and any winnings generated.

The majority of bonus offers, like this Betsafe one, are straightforward but it’s worth keeping an eye open for any unusual terms that can make things a lot trickier. This includes having to place our rollover bets on multiple bets such as trebles or accumulators. Occasionally, a bookmaker will specify a maximum stake for your rollover bets too, which can slow things down a fair bit.

Low odds or high odds?

There’s no right or wrong answer here. Both options have their pros and cons…

Odds Pros Cons
Low Shouldn't eat into our bonus as much as high odds Increased chance of a winning streak meaning we may have to complete the entire rollover
High Increased chance of losing our bonus straight into our exchange account May eat into our bonus more than low odds and if our bet wins we'll have more funds tied up at the bookmaker

It’s just a matter of personal preference. It’s great when you place a bonus at high odds and it loses. Your lay bet wins and you’ve managed to transfer your bonus straight into your exchange account in one bet!

Of course there’s nothing to say you can’t find a losing bet at low odds, it’s just less likely.

My personal preference is to find something with tight odds that I don’t think will come in.

I’ve opted to place my deposit and bonus on a match between Liverpool and Man Utd, the odds for which are as follows…

Betsafe Back Odds
Back odds for Liverpool v Man Utd at Betsafe.
Betfair Lay Odds
Lay odds for Liverpool v Man Utd at Betfair.

Having crunched the numbers using my matched betting calculator, placing our bonus bet on Man Utd rather than Liverpool or the draw, enables us to retain more of our bonus…

Selection Back Odds Lay Odds Bonus Lost Bonus Retained
Liverpool 2.70 2.82 £4.45 £25.55
Draw 3.30 3.40 £3.86 £26.14
Man Utd 2.85 2.90 £3.00 £27.00

There’s also a good chance that Man Utd won’t win the match, which would see our bonus move straight into our exchange account!

Standard lay method

If you’re new to matched betting, you’ll probably feel most comfortable using the standard lay method to begin with, which is the same method used for most qualifying bets.

We can calculate our lay stake using my matched betting calculator. We can use either the ‘Qualifying Bet’ setting or the ‘Free Bet – Stake returned’ setting. The maths are the same for both settings, they just display the outcomes a little differently…

Calculator for standard lay bet
Enter the back stake, back odds and lay odds into the calculator to find out how much we need to lay at Betfair.

As you can see, the calculator tells us that our lay stake should be £60.00…

Man Utd Standard Lay Betslip
Enter the lay stake from the calculator at Betfair.
Man Utd Standard Lay Bet
Potential profit or loss at Betfair for the possible outcomes.

Let’s have a look at our potential profit/loss for the possible outcomes…

Outcome Betsafe Betfair Bonus Lost
Man Utd win + £111.00 – £114.00 – £3.00
Man Utd don't win – £60.00 + £57.00 – £3.00

So, regardless of the outcome, we’ll lose £3.00 from our £30.00 bonus. If Man Utd win, we’ll need to place another £300.00 worth of bets before we are able to withdraw our bonus. If Man Utd don’t win, we’ll have successfully transferred the remainder of our bonus (£27.00) straight into our exchange account.

Underlay method

Underlaying is always my preference when it comes to laying bonus rollover bets. The beauty of this method is that if our bonus bet wins, we retain the full value of the bonus. So, without sacrificing any of our £30.00 bonus, we’d be £60.00 of the way through the £360.00 rollover requirement.

If our bonus bet loses, we’ll have lost slightly more of the bonus, but the good news is that our profit has moved straight into our exchange account and we don’t need to rollover any more funds.

We can calculate our underlay stake using my matched betting calculator. I’ll use the ‘Qualifying Bet’ setting again and we’ll need to click the ‘SHOW ADVANCED’ tab…

Calculator for underlay bet
Enter the back stake, back odds and lay odds into the calculator to find out how much we need to underlay at Betfair.

As you can see, by clicking the ‘UNDERLAY’ tab, the calculator tells us that our underlay stake should be £58.42…

Man Utd Underlay Betslip
Enter the lay stake from the calculator at Betfair.
Man Utd Underlay Bet
Potential profit or loss at Betfair for the possible outcomes.

Let’s have a look at our potential profit/loss for the possible outcomes…

Outcome Betsafe Betfair Bonus lost
Man Utd win + £111.00 – £110.99 + £0.01
Man Utd don't win – £60.00 + £55.49 – £4.51

So, if Man Utd win, we’ll have retained our full £30.00 bonus plus a penny profit. We’ll then need to place another £300.00 worth of bets before we are able to withdraw our bonus.

If Man Utd don’t win, we’ll have successfully transferred the remaining £25.49 of our bonus straight into our exchange account.

The match was actually drawn 0-0, so placing our initial bonus rollover bet on Man Utd would have worked out very nicely indeed.

That’s pretty much all there is to it. As long as you make sure you read the terms thoroughly and don’t rush things, you’ll have it cracked in no time!

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