Enhanced Odds Offers v Free Bets
The gambling industry is one of the most lucrative and therefore competitive in the world. The sheer number of bookies out there means they are constantly competing to both gain new customers and keep their current customers happy. As well as offering better value, advertising and improving their websites, betting companies compete by offering special offers. These generally take the form of enhanced odds and free bets.
In the big wide world of betting, knowing the relative strengths and weaknesses of enhanced odds and free bets arms you with another string to your bow to make profit. We’ll begin by defining what each term means.
Enhanced Odds Offers
At their most basic enhanced odds are offers where bookmakers offer a bigger price on an event or selection. For example, a horse may have its odds changed from 4/1 to 6/1 to win a particular race. All the major bookmakers offer these sort of enhanced odds in their shops and on their websites/mobile betting sites every day and there really are some very good deals to be found.
There are two main types of enhanced odds that you will come across. The first type are offers that bookies offer their current customers – the customers of some bookies for example are able to take advantage of at least some of the firms’ enhanced odds no matter how long they have had an account.
The others are enhanced odds used as a sign-up offer or welcome bonus. These offers, only available to new customers, generally include bigger odds increases but you have to read the terms and conditions. Many of the firms that offer such sign-up offers pay winnings at the original odds and pay the winnings for the enhanced odds portion of the bet as free bets. In the example of the horse above that means you’d get 4/1 paid out in cash and 2/1 paid as free bets (this is not necessarily a negative but you should always understand the offer you’re taking).
Free bets are wagers placed with a bookmaker in which you don’t risk your own money. Again, they are most often found as sign-up offers when you first join a new betting site. These can be basic matched offers (e.g. bet £10, get a £10 free bet) or, as is often the case these days, the free bets on offer can be multiples of your initial bet (e.g. bet £5, get 20 in free bets).
There are always various terms and conditions surrounding what you can do with the free bet, most often a minimum odds threshold. As there’s no risk to your own money, if the bet loses then you only lose the free bet token.
However, as you’re not staking your own money you will only be paid the winnings, the ‘stake’ is generally not returned. So if you put a £10 free bet on a horse to win at odds of 4/1 you will have £40 returned total and not the £50 you would get if you staked your own money.
Some betting sites offer stake returned free bets but these invariably have wagering requirements before you can withdraw the bonus value and any winnings.
Using Offers to Profit and Which is Better?
In your lifetime as a punter, free bets and enhanced odds bets may only make up a small portion of the betting that you do, but that does not mean they are unimportant, far from it. There is plenty of profit to be made from utilising these offers and it is always worth checking out the promotions that the bookies you use have and keeping an eye on any standout offers from firms where you don’t currently have an account. We’ll generally highlight all of the best offers, odds, promotions and free bets right here so be sure to check back regularly.
It is difficult to say that enhanced odds are better than a free bet or vice versa for a couple of reasons. Firstly you have to examine the terms and conditions of competing offers to see which is giving you the best value. Secondly, the two offers are often used at different times by different types of customers.
The secret is to compare your outcomes on a given bet assuming you used either a free bet, or the available odds enhancement, as sometimes a bookie that offers an enhanced odds offer will also allow you to choose a free bet instead.
For example is a bookie offers a £20 free bet for a £5 paid bet but as an alternative you may get an odds enhancement where a selection is priced at 6/1 instead of 8/11, maximum stake £5, with a £20 free bet if you lose. For argument’s sake we will use the same individual game for all bets, even though in reality you couldn’t.
With the free bet, if the bet wins twice you would be just over £18 up, if the qualifying bet loses but the free bet wins you would be around £9.50 up whilst if the bets win and lose the other way round you would be £3.50 in profit. Naturally, with both offers, if both bets lose, you are £5 down.
If you take the enhanced odds offer and your first bet wins you are £30 in profit – a much better result than had you taken the free bet. If that first wager wins there is no subsequent freebie but if it loses, then your second bet wins you are, as in the first instance, £9.50 up.
Of course, in reality you may well place your free bet on something at significantly higher odds which could lead to a big win you wouldn’t get on the enhanced odds offer. However, of course, any bet at high odds is less likely to win and this is why, alongside the maths of the example above, we increasingly feel that enhanced odds offers are better than free bets. With enhanced odds you are invariably getting the reward of a winner at long odds with the risk of placing a bet on a short-priced favourite.
It may not always work out of course and some people will still prefer free bets but given the choice, check the offer, compare the bets you want to place and see which you think will offer the best return.
What is clear and totally undeniable though is that BOTH enhanced odds and free bets can be brilliant and if you are not taking advantage of these offers you are missing out on lots of extra value and potentially lots of cash and excitement too.