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Risk-Free Bet Offers

Level: Next steps
Updated: November 24, 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 you can lock in a profit no matter the outcome with the right strategy.

This guide will explain what risk-free bets are and show you how to use them to make some nice fixed 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 as a free bet or bonus.

It’s a popular sign-up offer amongst bookmakers as they know it will appeal to new customers. If a customer’s 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!

Risk-free bets are ‘risk-free’ in terms of the mathematical process we use when matched betting. Take your time when placing bets to avoid human error, and always bet responsibly.

How do risk-free bets work?

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

The refund may be paid in cash, in which case 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 fixed profits from this type of offer.

The strategy is similar to a ‘Bet X, Get X’ type offer, only with a slight tweak. Instead of placing a straight 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 horse racing risk-free bet offer run by Coral; a reload offer targeted towards existing customers.

Coral

As always, you must read the terms and conditions of any offer thoroughly before getting involved. Here are the main points to note for this Coral offer.

  • The offer applies to your first real money bet on horse racing within the promotional period.
  • Minimum qualifying stake of £1.
  • Maximum free bet of £10.
  • The free bet will be valid for 7 days.

So, there’s nothing too troublesome about this offer. Place a £1+ bet on horse racing, and if it loses, Coral will refund your stake 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.

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 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.

Betfair

Step 3: Make your selection

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

Higher odds mean a larger liability at the exchange, 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.

Considering 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.

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 an extra ‘Cashback‘ field when using the ‘Risk-Free Bet‘ setting, where you enter how much cash you expect to get back, should your risk-free bet lose. It allows the calculator to factor in your refund and provides you with the correct overlay stake.

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

Using straightforward matched betting, you can convert a free bet into around 80% cash. Therefore, you would enter £8 as your ‘Cashback‘ figure for this offer as that’s the amount you should be able to make from your £10 free bet.

Select bet type

Back Bet (Bookie)

Advanced
%

Lay Bet (Betting Exchange)

%

Min £
Max £
Lay stake required: £
Bookie
Exchange
Cashback
Total
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 to 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.

OutcomeCoralBetfairFree BetProfit/Loss
Mildenberger wins+ £55.00– £48.72£6.28 profit
Mildenberger fails to 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 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 determine the percentage 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 some risk-free bet sign up offers on my ‘New Customer Offers‘ page. Just hit the ‘RISK FREE‘ toggle at the top.

I’ll also post any risk-free bet offers, for existing customers, on my ‘Reload Offers‘ calendar page as when they’re announced.

Most risk-free bet offers are straightforward, like the example above. It’s always worth checking for variations, though, as you can apply the strategy 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 entire 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 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+.

Final words

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

There’s more leg work involved than some other offer types through needing to convert refunds into cash. Still, 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!

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Matt Kirman - Matched Betting Blogger

Matt KirmanMatched Betting Blogger

Since 2014, I’ve blogged over £60,000 worth of profit, and made it my mission to make matched betting accessible to everyone.