Risk-free bets are a great source of matched betting profit. Risk-free bets allow us to place a bet, safe in the knowledge that if it loses, we’ll get our money back as a free bet, bonus or cash.
When I first started matched betting, I didn’t make the most of risk-free offers. I would place and lay my risk-free bets at high odds hoping they’d lose, so that I would receive the free bet or bonus. Although my selections would lose the majority of the time, there were occasions where my risk-free bet won. This left me with a small overall loss and a guaranteed profit opportunity wasted.
I soon realised that risk-free bets should be treat in a similar way to free bets. By placing them at high odds and overlaying slightly, we can guarantee ourselves a profit on any outcome.
What should I place my risk-free bet on?
First of all, we need a risk-free bet offer and they don’t come much better than the Totesport welcome offer…
As always, it’s important that we read the terms and conditions thoroughly before getting involved. The Totesport welcome offer is pretty straightforward. All we need to do is stake £1.00 or more on any sport and if our bet loses, Totesport will refund our stake as a free bet, up to a maximum of £25.00.
I’ve always favoured football markets when doing welcome offers, but the horses are worth a look too, especially given Totesport’s horse racing roots. Just try to avoid the more obscure races and stick to the big ones.
I’ve opted to place my risk-free bet on a big Saturday race from Ascot which was shown live on ITV…
Obviously, we need back and lay odds that are fairly tight, but generally speaking, the higher the odds, the more profit we’ll be able to extract.
With that in mind, we can see at a glance that we should be placing our risk-free bet on Stradivarius.
Placing our qualifying bet
Now that we have decided to place our £25.00 qualifying bet on Stradivarius at Totesport, we just need to work out our Betfair lay stake.
You’ll notice on the matched betting calculator that there is an extra ‘Cashback’ field when using the ‘Risk-Free Bet’ setting.
This is where we can enter how much cash we expect to get back, should our qualifying bet lose. If you’ve read through my free bet strategy page, you’ll know that we’re able to extract approximately 75% of our £25.00 free bet as cash. We can therefore enter £18.75 as our ‘Cashback’ figure…
As you can see, by using the ‘Risk-Free Bet’ setting and entering the relevant figures, the calculator tells us that our lay stake should be £23.04.
So, all we need to do is click on the ‘9’ lay button and enter our stake of £23.04. It tells us that our liability on this bet is £184.32 and it’s good practice to check this figure against the expected liability on the matched betting calculator. As you can see, they are both the same, so we know we have entered the correct lay stake.
We’ll need to ensure we have enough funds in our Betfair account to cover the £184.32 liability as this is the amount we stand to lose at Betfair if Stradivarius wins. Don’t worry though, our potential Totesport winnings of £200.00 will more than cover it.
Let’s have a look at our resulting profit/loss for the two outcomes…
|Stradivarius wins||+ £200.00 – £184.32 = £15.68 profit|
|Stradivarius doesn't win||- £25.00 + £21.88 + £18.75 (extract 75% of £25.00 free bet) = £15.63 profit|
So, regardless of where Stradivarius finishes, we’ll make a minimum guaranteed profit of £15.63 on this risk-free bet offer. Given that this was a £25.00 risk-free bet offer, we’ve managed to extract just over 62% of it as cash.
When placing risk-free bets, we should be aiming to extract at least 60% cash.
Applying the strategy to any risk-free bet offer
Not only can we apply the above strategy to straightforward offers like the Totesport welcome offer, but we can apply it to any offer where a bookmaker is offering us something back if our bet loses.
On the first day of the Cheltenham November Meeting 2017, Coral offered money back as a free bet if our horse failed to win the 13:50. Using the risk-free bet strategy above, we were able to make a guaranteed profit of £14.36.
During the Cheltenham Festival 2016, 188BET offered 25% money back as a bonus on all Day 1 losses. By working out how much cash we could extract from the 25% refund bonus, we were able to make just over £60.00 guaranteed profit.
Always keep an eye out for any promotions where the bookmaker is offering you something back on your net losses or if your bet simply loses. By applying the risk-free bet strategy above, we can usually make a nice guaranteed profit with very little hassle!