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 Bonuses usually have to be rolled over a certain number of times before they can be withdrawn.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 an old Betsafe welcome offer from start to finish.

Betsafe Welcome Offer

If you’ve not yet tackled any of the bonus welcome offers, this type of offer is a perfect starting point. Just sign up with the bookmaker, 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 this particular 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 this welcome offer, we 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 old 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!

Next strategy guide

Money Back Offers »
Previous strategy guide

« Risk-Free Bet Strategy


  1. Jack B

    This was very informative,my only question is where you get the match odds chart from and how to read it.

    1. Matt

      Which Match Odds chart are you referring to Jack?

  2. Jack B

    The one which seems to reflect a summary of the odds at betfair with three different odds on the left with back all in blue above and three different on the right with lay all in pink above them

    1. Matt

      That’s just a screenshot of the market taken from Betfair.

  3. Jack B

    Thanks Matt. Is there a site where one can practice what we have learned before getting into actual betting.

    1. Matt

      You could practice using a spreadsheet or old fashioned pen and paper. Instead of placing any bets, you could make records and keep track of things that way until you feel confident enough to do things for real.

  4. Jamie

    I’m a matched bettor for over 2 years now, with over £2.5k profit and haven’t really done any of these bonuses

    1. Matt

      It’s never too late Jamie. There are quite a few welcome offers that involve bonuses.

  5. Emzy

    I’m relatively new to the wagering MB’s and don’t fully understand it.

    If Man Utd had of won, and then having to bet again before I can release the funds, would the £111/£114 loss on the exchange not mean your only going to lose money? As you said if Utd win, we would need to place £300 more to release, meaning spending more in the exchange to lay??

    Sorry if I am missing something really obvious, just I want to make most of these offers, thanks

    1. Matt

      Hi Emzy.

      If Man Utd win, we win £111.00 at Betsafe and lose £110.99 at Betfair.

      We would have retained the full value of the bonus and made a tiny profit of £0.01.

      That’s also £60.00 worth of the £360.00 required rollover staked, meaning we would only need to place a further £300.00 worth of bets to complete the rollover.

      If our bookmaker bets keep winning, we would need to keep funding our exchange account to cover the further lay bets.

      Hope that helps.


  6. Jibrill

    Hello Matt,

    In the first place thanks for this blog. Please I really need some clarifications. I don’t know if I’m missing something out.

    But before that, where do I get the spreadsheet to practice matched betting?

    Secondly, with reference to Jamie’s contribution dated on march 6, 2018, how is it possible to do matched betting without using bonuses. I thought matched betting is about taking advantage of both free bet and bonus. Pls can you educate me on that if there is another way out as mentioned by Jamie.

    So this is where I get confused, I’m assuming the total amount you deposited to both account is approximately £51. 30 in betsafe and 21 in betfair.

    Now if you win at betfair, we only get £57 which is £6 profit from the total deposit.

    But you said if man Utd don’t win, we will have successfully transfered the *remaining* £25.49 of our bonus straight into our exchange account. How’s that possible and how/where did you get that remaining bonus from after losing all your bets at betsafe or how can you transfer bonus to your exchange account?

    Is there something I’m missing out? Thanks.

    1. Matt

      Hi Jibrill,

      I would recommend setting up your own spreadsheet so that you can have everything where you want it. You just need somewhere to keep track of the offers you are doing and somewhere to track the cash going in and out of your various accounts.

      I think Jamie means he hasn’t done any of the bonus offers, so he’s probably made those profits from free bet and reload offers.

      Yes, I think you’re getting confused with things. It might be worth reading through the guide again. Which method are you referring to, the standard lay method or the underlay method?

  7. John

    Hey, I’m new to matched betting as well, and was just wondering on average, what percentage do you gain as profit from a single bonus bet?

    1. Matt

      Hi John. Bonuses usually come with wagering requirements, so it really depends on those. As a general rule though, we can usually extract more from a bonus than we can a free bet. I would say 80%-95% depending on the terms.

  8. ayoub

    Hey brother, this was so explained, love it!

    My question is what about the offers where the bookie asks to do accumulator bets for the wagering requirement?

    1. Matt

      You would need to select events that don’t overlap and lay each leg sequentially. You can use my Sequential Lay Calculator to work out your lay stakes for each leg. Depending on the terms, for multiple bets you can usually stick to doubles or trebles.

  9. Charlie

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the explanation regarding bonus rollover strategy as I’ve so far avoided sign up offers with wagering requirements.

    Re the above example, I understand if Man Utd win, we’d need to place £300 worth of bets before being able to withdraw the bonus…and if Man Utd don’t win, £25.49 of the bonus will be transferred to the exchange account, however, in this scenario, would we still need to place bets £300 worth of bets to be able to withdraw all funds from the bookie’s account?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Matt

      Hi Charlie. If Man Utd don’t win, we’ve lost our £30.00 deposit and £30.00 bonus from our Betsafe account, so there are no funds left requiring rollover. We win £55.49 at Betfair, giving us our profit of £25.49.

  10. Charlie

    Thanks Matt.

    Does the same apply to the sign up offers with wagering requirements? i.e. after initial deposit to trigger the bonus, if the back bet loses there is no further wagering requirement at all…whereas if it wins, the deposit and bonus value has to be wagered numerous times, as per terms e.g. another 5 times to wager both six times, prior to being “free”/able to withdraw funds.

    I’ve avoided such sign up offers due to confusion and not knowing whether they are worth doing.


    1. Matt

      Hi Charlie. Yes, I think you’re getting confused. This Betsafe offer is a bonus offer with a wagering requirement. But the wagering requirement only applies if your back bet wins. If you have no funds in your bookmaker account, there are simply no funds to wager.

  11. loreno

    Hello everyone and happy new year.

    I would like to know if there is a secure strategy to lose a rollover. Thank you.

    Loreno (from Rome)

    1. Matt

      There’s no guaranteed way of losing a rollover Loreno. Even if you go for something with long odds in the hope that it loses, there is always a small chance that your bet will win.

Post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *