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Risk-Free Bet Offers

Level: Next steps
Updated: January 21, 2021

Risk-free bet offers are a great source of matched betting profit. They’re a popular type of offer and pretty straightforward to do.

The great thing about them is that with the right strategy, you can actually lock in a profit, regardless of the outcome.

In this guide, I’ll explain what risk-free bets are and show you how they should be done to make some nice guaranteed profits!

What is a risk-free bet?

A risk-free bet is a bet that you can place, safe in the knowledge that if it loses, you’ll get all or part of your stake back. The refund can be paid in cash or in the form of a free bet or bonus.

It’s a popular type of sign up offer as the bookmaker knows it will appeal to new customers. If their first bet loses, they get to have another go.

Bookmakers don’t mind offering risk-free bets as they know there’s every chance a regular punter will lose both bets. You, on the other hand, can be ready to take advantage!

How do risk-free bets work?

When you place a risk-free bet and it loses, the bookmaker will credit you a refund.

If the refund is paid in cash, there’s nothing more to do. If, however, your refund is in the form of a free bet or bonus, you’ll need to convert it into cash by placing and laying the free bet or completing the wagering requirements of the bonus.

Either way, you’ll end up with some cash back in your pocket and that’s what enables you to make guaranteed profits from this type of offer.

The strategy is similar to that of a ‘Bet X, Get X’ type offer, you just need to tweak things a little. Instead of placing a straightforward back and lay, you need to overlay slightly. Don’t worry, all will become clear in the following example.

How to profit from risk-free bets

I’m going to walk you through a risk-free bet offer run by Coral on horse racing. This was a reload offer targeted towards existing customers.

Banner showing a risk-free bet offer from Coral

As always, it’s important that you read the terms and conditions of any offer thoroughly before getting involved. Here are the main points to note for this Coral offer…

  • Applies to first real money bet on horse racing within the promotional period.
  • Minimum qualifying stake of £1.00.
  • Maximum free bet of £10.00.
  • Free bet will be valid for 7 days.

So, there’s nothing too troublesome about this offer. Simply place a £1.00+ bet on horse racing and if it loses, your stake will be refunded as a free bet, up to a maximum of £10.00.

Step 1: Check the odds at Coral

Any horse race will do for this offer, but I always like to try and stick to high profile events where possible. So, stick to the big meetings and races, like those broadcast live on ITV, for example.

Here are the odds at Coral for a race that was eligible for their risk-free bet offer…

Back odds for Mildenberger at Coral
Back odds for Mildenberger at Coral

Step 2: Check the lay odds at the exchanges

It’s entirely up to you which betting exchange you use to lay your bet. Your decision will depend on the commission rate you pay at each exchange and the lay odds available.

Here are the lay odds at Betfair for the same race…

Lay odds for Mildenberger on the Betfair Exchange
Lay odds for Mildenberger on the Betfair Exchange

Step 3: Make your selection

With risk-free bets, the higher the odds, the more profit you’ll be able to lock in. Provided you keep your back and lay odds nice and close of course.

Higher odds obviously means a larger liability at the exchange though, so go for whatever suits you and your bankroll. There’s nothing wrong with opting for lower odds and a lower profit, if need be.

Looking at the odds above, Mildenberger is the standout choice at back odds of 6.50 and lay odds of 6.60.

Step 4: Place your risk-free bet

If your bet loses, Coral will refund your stake as a free bet, up to a maximum of £10.00. It therefore makes sense to stake £10.00 in order to maximise your profit.

So, you would stake £10.00 on Mildenberger at Coral.

Coral logo

Place £10.00 on Mildenberger @ 6.50 = Potential profit of £55.00

Step 5: Place your lay bet at the exchange

You can calculate your lay stake using my Matched Betting Calculator.

You’ll see that there is an extra ‘Cashback‘ field when using the ‘Risk-Free Bet‘ setting. This is where you enter how much cash you expect to get back, should your qualifying bet lose. This allows the calculator to factor in your refund and provide you with the correct overlay stake.

The amount you enter will differ per offer, depending on how the refund is paid and the terms of any free bets or bonuses.

Using straightforward matched betting, you can convert free bets into 80% cash. You would therefore enter £8.00 as your ‘Cashback’ figure for this offer as that’s the amount you should be able to convert your £10.00 free bet into.

Select bet type

Back Bet (Bookie)


Lay Bet (Betting Exchange)


Min £
Max £
Lay stake required: £
If back (bookie) bet wins
= £
If lay (exchange) bet wins
= £
Total profit: £

Optimal Underlay

Lay stake required: £
Exchange liability: £

If back (bookie) bet wins: £
If lay (exchange) bet wins: £

Optimal Overlay

Lay stake required: £
Exchange liability: £

If back (bookie) bet wins: £
If lay (exchange) bet wins: £

As you can see, the calculator tells you that you should lay £8.70 against Mildenberger.

Betfair logo

Lay £8.70 against Mildenberger @ 6.60 = Potential liability of £48.72

Let’s take a look at your overall profit/loss for each possible outcome…

Outcome Coral Betfair Free Bet Profit/Loss
Mildenberger wins +£55.00 -£48.72 £6.28 profit
Mildenberger doesn’t win -£10.00 +£8.26 +£8.00 £6.26 profit

As you can see, if Mildenberger wins, you’ll make a straight profit of £6.28, with no further action required.

If Mildenberger fails to win, you’ll make a small initial loss of £1.74. Don’t worry though, you’ll be able to make £8.00 cash from your incoming £10.00 free bet, which gives you an overall profit of £6.26.

So, you’ve managed to convert your £10.00 risk-free bet into 62.6% cash. With straightforward risk-free bets like this one, I always like to aim for anything above 60%.

Where can I find risk-free bet offers?

You’ll find plenty of risk-free bet sign up offers on my New Customer Offers page. Just hit the ‘RISK FREE‘ toggle at the top of the page.

I also post any profitable reload offers on the main blog page.

Most risk-free bet offers are straightforward, like the example above. It’s always worth keeping an eye out for variations though as the above strategy can be applied to any offer where you’re getting something back if your bet loses.

Bear in mind that the refund doesn’t necessarily have to be your complete stake. For example, take a look at this STS Champions League Final reload offer. If you placed a £40.00 bet on the match and it lost, STS would give you a £20.00 bonus. By entering £15.00 (75%) as your ‘Cashback’ figure, you were able to lock in a profit of £6.00+.

Final words

Risk-free bets are an absolute must for any matched bettor.

Your risk-free bets will lose more often than not, which means you’ll have that extra step of converting your free bet or bonus into cash. It’s a bit more leg work than some other offers but they’re simple enough and very profitable.

With plenty of sign up offers available and reload offers popping up all the time, get stuck in and start locking in those profits!

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Matt Kirman - Matched Betting Blogger

Matt KirmanMatched Betting Blogger

Since 2014, I’ve blogged over £50,000 worth of profit, and made it my mission to make matched betting accessible to everyone.