Free Bets – What to do with them

On many occasions we will be getting Free Bets from bookmakers throughout the season.
They will word the terms of their offers, as Ladbrokes have done in the example below, to make it look like you’ll be getting your money back

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This is misleading as what they actually mean is “We’ll give you a free bet, where stakes aren’t returned!”

So what do we do with these free bets? Is it best to to try and find a big priced winner, stick them on a short priced selection, or something else?
Well look, what we want here is to get as close to getting our money back as possible.
A free bet with no means of withdrawing any money is nothing but a the potential of money.
Bookmakers love giving out free bets and its easy to see why.
They are most likely seen by punters as “bets to nothing” as they cannot lose their money, and hence often wasted.
Or worse still the free bets are not even used – As they will almost inevitably have a short expiry date a number of punters will simply forget or not realise they haven’t used them before they are gone, and its 1-0 bookmaker.

So first and foremost, they must be used.
But what on?
Well firstly lets say that the strategy of using all free bets on selections of Even money shots is utilised.
What kind of results would you expect to see?
Well for the sake of argument, lets assume that you’ve found something that has a 50% chance of happening, and is therefore a “true” even money shot. The likely odds you’ll be getting will be around 10/11 to allow for the bookmakers margin.
You bet 10 x £10 free bets on these 10/11 shots and on average, you’ll be winning 5 out of 10 (as per our 50% chance).
So you’ll be getting back £9.09 x 5.

Or £45.45.

Remembering the stakes aren’t included as they are free bets.

Overall that accounts to around a “45% cash out rate”. Or in other words you’re looking at getting only 45% of the free bets value.

Even if you could find these bets at Even money or you’re good at spotting value and you get 11/10, you’re still only looking at 50-55% returns.
That’s not good enough and clearly betting these at short odds in NOT the answer.

So what about longer odds?
Lets look at 4/1 shots. 4/1 if it represented as true chance percentage is 20%, or 1 in 5.

So if we take the same example above and bet 10 x £10 free bets at 4/1, on average we could expect to win 2 from 10.
These two winners settled at 4/1 would give us a return of £80.

Much better – we’re not looking at a return of 80% from our free bets.
However its not as simple as just backing 4/1 shots, as finding 4/1 shots that have a genuine 20% chance or better is no easy feat, and so using freebets in this way is always going to be a little hit n miss.
The solution I therefore run with the majority of the time, is to “liquidate” the free bets using a method called “underlaying”.
Nothing to do with carpet I assure you.

We just use a simple calculation to back and lay an outcome to guarantee a return of around 65-75% on any free bet.
This involves “matching” a price on the bookmaker site to lay price on Betfair (or most likely – Smarkets) the closer the prices are the more money we’ll be able to “cash-out” from the free bet.

To make the most from this type of bet you need to back an outcome at as high odds as you can afford to. The bigger the back odds the bigger your liability at betfair. This liability is never at risk…but it does mean you need a large balance in your betfair account.
I use the “oddsmatcher” tool at Bet72.com to both find bets that I can apply this technique to, and also to work out the lay stakes for selections I’ve found manually.

As a matchdayprofits member you don’t need to worry about doing all the groundwork on these as I’ll be sharing exactly what I’m doing with my free bets so you can simply copy my exact bets.
Often prices will fluctuate though so I think its good to know how to “cash out” the bets for yourselves.
Here’s my strategy explained in a short video: