Should you sell your soul to the devil if he offers you life or riches? Sounds tempting but you that in the end, he will do terrible things with your soul for all eternity and the only thing you got in return was a short life of pleasure. Claiming a sportsbook bonus is now as great as it sounds but not as useless either, used correctly it can be the best thing that happened to you.
Benefits of Online Bonuses
The most common of bonuses is the first deposit and the following deposit bonuses. You get 100% from your initial deposit and then on something like 50% for every deposit made. The benefit is that you get some “free money”, right? Well, not exactly.
Sportsbooks are not in the business of throwing away free money in the hopes you will wager it all and lose it. Although they refer to it as “free bonus”, “free money” and such, these bonuses will not make part of your full balance, instead the bonus balance is handled separately and can only be used once your initial balance is exhausted.
Its greatest benefit is that when you burn your initial deposit the bonus works as a backup, helping you re-build your balance once more. But that is how you should think of it, a back-up just in case your account breaks down. You will never see a penny from it.
*If you are a complete beginner we suggest to read Sports Betting for Dummies 101.
4 Facts You Should Know About Betting Bonuses
1. You cannot withdraw the balance of the bonus, it is only there to work as a backup. The only thing you can withdraw are the winnings from the bonus and even these might have a limit.
2. There is always a wagering condition. Also called play-through conditions, the player is required to wager many times his bonus in order to be able to withdraw any funds. Bet365 for example requires for the deposit + bonus to be wagered 3x before any withdrawal can be made. The industry standard goes from 1x to 5x, hovering more around the range of 2x. Anything more than that is a steal, do not deposit with that sportsbook.
For example, if you claimed a £100 (which is the typical amount we suggest to claim for beginners) you now have a balance of £200 pounds. You need to wager £600 pounds with a 3x play through, win or lose, in order to be able and retrieve funds. This way sportsbooks make sure you are betting on a consistent basis and most likely become an addict to sports betting.
Wagering conditions are one of the most important of aspects to understand. When you claim a bonus you are signing a contract to bet for a long period of time with that borrowed money. Only those who are planning to bet for at least a full season should claim a deposit bonus.
3. Check the TOS for betting system´s ban. Some sportsbooks are very much against betting systems, and with all due respect, betting systems are the path to making big profits in sports betting. We use them, we follow tipsters who use them and turn £20 into £1,000 in a week, but still we find scary warnings from sportsbooks that treat to freeze an account and forfeit all winnings if they suspect you have followed a betting system.
So what to do? As we said, we follow betting systems and so do long-experienced tipsters. The trick is to not follow a consistent system the whole time, we mix single bets in between a systems and even through in different systems between systems.
That sounds confusing, so please check-out the Betting Buddha account on Twitter to understand what we are talking about. You will see that he tweets about “Inplay Challenge #3”, “Weekly Challenge #7” and “Double Betting Challenge”… all mixed-up. That way whatever program tries to figure out a pattern on your staking will fail to identify anything.
Following a system and ditching the rest can actually be more profitable, for example we have established that just by following the Betting Buddha´s challenges up to bet #4 (not the whole 10) you can make more profit than if you take all of his bets along the day. But it is necessary to do so to disguise your strategy.
Tipster betting a smart way to begin for first timers who have to go through the learning curve or just do not have the time to analyze games for hours.
4. Do not lower your stake to the bare minimum to comply with play-through requirement. If you thought you could out-smart the system, you failed to read the TOS section. Let´s say you claimed a bonus, made a big win and that´s all you want. To cash-out you take a series of small bets wagering the bare minimum to lose as little as possible while the wagering requirement is reached.
This practice is banned, so stick to a stake size for a correct and healthy bankroll management.
What Sportsbook Bonus is the Best?
The best betting bonuses are the ones that offer the least play through conditions.
Enhanced Odds are some of the best bonuses, no conditions attached, just a higher payout for the same bet you can make at another lower paying sportsbook. While Bet365 offers 1.4 odds for your typical bet, Pinnacle or Bet Chris might offer 1.6 odds, and that is a huge difference. With 1.4 odds you need to win 3 out of 5 bets to end in profit, while with 1.6 odds you need to win 2 out 3 bets to end in profit.
Free bets generally let you cash out to a max of £100 with high wagering requirements. Those are fun and free, but hard work to claim so little. We are not saying you should refuse them, just that they aren´t that big of a deal. Sportsbooks offer them to lure you into their service, hopping you will fall in love and make a large deposit.
Always aim to a 2x bonus requirement. You only need to double your bet amounts to withdraw any winnings.
Lookout for fishy terms. Always read the terms and conditions first, some of those are very tricky. One example would be the free money bonuses, those award free real money to bet with no deposit requirements at all. £25 pounds in free bets is quite normal, and who would refuse a freebie? The cash is how much you can withdraw from any winnings + the play through conditions.
The Best Sportsbook for Beginners
Well, we don´t know for sure but one sportsbook that has been very appealing to us has been Pinnacle Sports.
Pinnacle is not the most popular sportsbook, that would be Bet365, Betfair or William Hill. But it is still a very good and honest one with better odds in offer than the before mentioned betting sites. Why? Because it does not have the branding power of the others so it attracts experienced bettors by offering better profit opportunities.
Note: Pinnacle claims to be the preferred sportsbook of experienced bettors, and other online articles claim it is not for the average bettor. But let us explain the why of the claim, and the why we say it is perfect for newbies.
The rookie bettors all go to the flashy Bet365 or Betfair, because that is all they know in the market. These sportsbooks offer terrible odds but better promotional conditions, like 2x play through after claiming a first time bonus and numerous other offers. In contrast Pinnacle offers very little promotional offers and requires a 5x play through bonus. Rookies tend to cash out after one week of betting, Pinnacle is more of a long term investment.
We know we said upstairs “not to claim bonus offers with more than 2x in their requirement”, but we are suggesting Pinnacle not taking bonus offers into account, but the more realistic profit opportunities of better odds. In short, you make more money from better odds than bonuses.
What is really awesome about Pinnacle is not their enhanced odds, but their learning center, with full descriptions of betting systems. This makes them very open towards strategies while other sportsbooks neglect them in their TOS.
Another point in favor, they allow sports betting arbitrage. Arbing is the practice of taking two opposing bets from two different sportsbooks, no matter the end result of the match you will see a profit from the different of the two bets (the winner will always make more money than the loser bet). Most sportsbooks are against sports arbs but not Pinnacle, which is very forward in its acceptance.
Conclusion: Pinnacle Sports is the best sportsbook for beginners because it offers the best odds and it is very open towards betting systems, plus it offers the best learning material for bettors.