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 lock in a profit no matter 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 may be paid in cash or in the form of a free bet or bonus.
It’s a popular type of sign up offer amongst bookmakers as they known it will appeal to new customers. If a customer’s first bet loses, they basically 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 your free bet into cash or complete the bonus wagering requirements.
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.
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.
- Maximum free bet of £10.
- Free bet will be valid for 7 days.
So, there’s nothing too troublesome about this offer. Simply place a £1+ bet on horse racing and if it loses, your stake will be refunded as a free bet up to a maximum of £10.
Step 1: Check the odds at Coral
Any horse race will do for this offer, but it’s always best 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…
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 likely 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…
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 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 with back odds of 6.50 and lay odds of 6.60.
Step 4: Place your risk-free bet
If your risk-free bet loses, you’ll want the maximum free bet refund of £10. So, you would stake £10 on Mildenberger at Coral…
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 risk-free 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 a free bet into around 80% cash. You would therefore enter £8 as your ‘Cashback‘ figure for this offer as that’s the amount you should be able to convert your £10 free bet into.
As you can see, the calculator tells you that you should lay £8.70 against Mildenberger…
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…
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 cash from your incoming £10 free bet, giving you an overall profit of £6.26.
You can divide your profit by your risk-free bet stake to work out the percentage that you’re converting into cash…
£6.26 ÷ £10.00 = 0.626 (62.6%)
62.6% cash is pretty good. With straightforward risk-free bets like this one, I 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 my main blog.
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 had placed a £40 bet on the match and it lost, STS would have given you a £20 bonus. By entering £15 (75%) as your ‘Cashback’ figure, you were able to lock in a profit of £6+.
Risk-free bets are an absolute must for any matched bettor.
There’s a bit more leg work involved than some other offer types with refunds needing to be converted into cash, but they’re simple enough offers 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!