Football Free Bets and Bonuses

Free Bets and Betting Bonuses from the Best Football Betting Sites

After years of trying out loads of different betting sites from around the world, taking advantage of thousands of pounds worth of free bets, we thought it was about time to publicise the freebies we feel are the best in the business.

Have a look at the ‘At a Glance’ summaries of each of the free bets or bonuses or carry on down the page to read a little about the types of free bet, any terms or conditions you should watch our for and – crucially – how to make the most of these bonuses.

Free Bets Information, Tips and Guidance

Free bets, like bookmakers, come in all shapes and sizes, and there are many factors which should be taken into account when assessing how good (or otherwise) a particular free bet offer actually is.

You should always ask the following questions when deciding whether to take advantage of a free sports betting promotion:

  1. How much is it worth?
  2. Is it completely free or just “free”?
  3. If it is a matched free bet, what percentage match is it?
  4. Are there any rollover requirements or are all the winnings mine for the taking?

So let’s look into each of those in a little more details.

How much is a free bet worth?

The bookie will almost always state explicitly the value (usually the maximum value) of the free bet they are offering new customers. They can range from £10 to a whopping £200 with some bookies and more or less everything in between.

Most free bets are “matched” in that you will need to place a real money bet with the bookie before you are credited with the free bet (more of which below). Note that you do not (always) have to opt for the maximum free bet amount. But to take full advantage it clearly makes sense to max out the freebies if you can.

Is the free bet completely free or just “free”?

Some bookies will offer a completely free – i.e. no deposit required – free bet, for instance occasionally some bookies will give new customers a completely free bet of £10 if they join.

But these no deposit free bets are few and far between and most bookmakers will now offer the aforementioned matched free bets whereby you must place a bet and then get rewarded with a free bet that comes as a percentage of the stake of your qualifying bet.

If it is a matched free bet, what percentage match is it?

Matched free bets can range from as little as 20% or even 10% to as high as 400%. The majority of bookies featured on this site offer matched free bets that are worth at least 100% of the stake of your first bet.

Are there any rollover requirements or are all the winnings mine for the taking?

Some bookies require you to bet through the bonus amount a certain number of times before you are permitted to withdraw your winnings, so always check whether this is the case before making your first deposit.

These requirements slightly lessen the chances of you seeing your winnings, but the way to play them is to use your free bets to back outcomes that you are confident will come in, rather than big odds outsiders.

Note also that hardly any bookies return the free bet stake with any winnings, so – for instance – if you place a £50 free bet on a team to win at odds of 4/5, you would receive just £40 if it comes in (rather than the £90 you would receive if you use £50 of your own cash as the stake).

Why do Bookmakers Offer Free Bets?

You might just think that bookmakers are just very generous types who like to share their wealth and make the world a more inclusive place… but you never see a bookie riding a bike and they don’t dish out freebies just for fun!

In much the same way that supermarkets have loads of Buy One Get One Free offers to try to tempt you into their store, bookies use free bets simply as a means of attracting new customers who they hope will turn into loyal (and active) punters in the future.

Of course, they have no way of stopping you simply joining up, using the free bet and then withdrawing any winnings and walking away to find another freebie. But the bookies we feature of this site keep the freebies coming in the form of betting offers, bonuses and promotions which are available to existing customers. These can range from enhanced odds offers to money back promos, additional free bets to cash bonuses, and we’ll be giving details of the best of them right here on this site.

We have decided – unlike many betting sites – to focus only on the very best bookies in the business, those which are safe, fair and secure, and who also offer attractive football betting offers and bonuses. So take a look around the site and see which bookies tickle your fancy.

Free Bet Offers: Things to Note

As with all betting offers and bonuses, there are certain things that you should be aware of so that you take advantage of the offer in question without missing out due to a technicality. In short: always read the terms and conditions of every offer you are planning to get involved with.

Here are some of the common terms that are worth looking out for:

  • Minimum odds for qualifying bet and/or the free bet once it has been credited
  • Rollover requirements whereby you might need to bet through a free bet a certain number of times before withdrawing any winnings
  • Match or market specific offers, so if you place a correct score bet when the offer states that only first scorer bets qualify, obviously you’ll miss out
  • In-play or pre-match bets are often specified in the terms, so make sure you get your bet on before kick off if that is required, or once the game starts if that is what is asked for
  • Mobile or not: some offers may only be available to customers placing bets on mobiles or tablets, whilst others may be only granted to bettors using the standard online version of the site.

Free Bet Offers Explained

Free bet offers come in all shapes and sizes, from the welcome free bets that all bookies worth their salt give to new customers, to additional free bets given to existing customers for betting on a particular match or market.

All the betting sites we work with at offer free bets to new customers, ranging from £10 to £200, but some go the extra mile to ensure that even once you have joined up, you can still take advantage of further free bets, which is darn nice of them!

How do New Customer Free Bet Offers Work?

  • For new customer free bets, simply sign up with your chosen bookmaker, make a deposit and place your first bet
  • Ensure that your qualifying bet meets the criteria set out in the terms, as sometimes there will be minimum odds or excluded markets
  • Your free bet – which will usually be matched at 100% or more of your stake – will then be credited to your account to use as you see fit (within the terms given)

How do Existing Customer Free Bet Offers Work?

  • Simply follow the guidelines of the specific offer
  • Usually this involves placing a real money, pre-match bet on a specific football match (or other sporting event), ensuring you meet any requirements such as minimum odds
  • Your free bet will then be credited to your account, though sometimes only if your qualifying bet loses or some other event happens

Free Bet Terms and Conditions to be Aware of

All free bets have terms and conditions so that both parties – you as the bettor and the bookie themselves – know where they stand. The excellent football betting sites we work with are all highly trustworthy and, as huge reputable betting brands you can be sure that the T and C are there purely to explain and clarify the offer, never to catch you out or trick you.

However, terms and conditions, like small print, instruction manuals and Facebook statuses of annoying people you keep meaning to defriend, rarely get read in full. A quick glance, a brisk skim and most people pile into the offer. As said, because all the online bookies we offer free bets with are top notch betting sites, 99% of the time that will be fine and you’ll get the free bet just as you expected.

However, even with bookies that are 100% trustworthy, the fact is that if you don’t stick to the terms of the offer then you probably won’t get your free bet, bonus or enhancement. Naturally that’s very annoying and the easiest way around that issue is to skim the terms just thoroughly enough to understand what you have to do, without going to the lengths to discover that people from Moldova aren’t eligible and bets on Peruvian horse racing don’t count.

That’s what this page is really all about – the key terms and conditions you should look out for when checking the bookies’ information. Here we tell you the main things to look out for when claiming a free bet and also explain what exactly some of the terminology means. Generally speaking if you’re aware of the following free bet essentials you’ll almost certainly never miss out on a free bet again and the time you’ll save by not having to read every line of the T and C will be well spent ditching that girl from school who keep posting pictures of her ugly children!

Key Terms and Conditions of Free Bets

  • Time Limits – most free bets and bookmaker welcome bonuses have time limits and these can include the time from when you join to when you deposit, when you first bet, when you claim the free bet and also, most commonly, from when the free bet is granted. You usually get at least seven days at every step of the process – plenty of time – but check with the site you are joining to be sure.
  • Odds – most, but not all sites, have minimum odds for the qualifying bet and/or the free bet and any wagering requirements. Some sites will also have maximum odds which again can apply to the free bet, the qualifying bet, or both.
  • Wagering – generally speaking stake not returned free bets don’t have any wagering, other than of the actual free bet itself, whilst stake returned free betsnormally have a term that states the value of the free bet (and/or qualifier too) must be wagered a certain number of times prior to making a withdrawal.
  • In-play Bets and Market Exclusions – many free bets exclude in-play betting, bets that are cashed out or closed early and certain enhanced odds markets. Certain markets may also be excluded, though this is less common.
  • Cash or Free Bets – many betting sites offer enhanced odds instead of a free bet when you first join but the bonus payout is often in free bets, not cash. This also often applies to money back betting offers and other ongoing promotions for existing customers.
  • New Customers or Existing – it’s usually clear if a free bet or offer is for new customers only but this is worth checking, whilst some sites may class you as an existing customer if you have used their other products, such as the casino, or partner sites.
  • Free Bet or Offer Code – some free bets will require you to place a certain code in when you register, whilst some will be added automatically. The code, where applicable, will always be in the terms and conditions.

Whilst that may seem like a lengthy list, many of the factors are obvious and not all will apply at every bookmaker. Ultimately free bets cost the bookie money but they are great marketing and a good way to get new people to their site. Check the terms and conditions for the basics and you have a great chance to make some money but miss something simple like a minimum odds requirement or a time deadline for claiming the free bet and you’ll be kicking yourself!

What are Stake Not Returned Free Bets?

Stake NOT returned free bets are the most common type of free bet around and – unlike the potentially more attractive stake returned free bets – you do not receive your free bet stake as part of your payout, you only get the profit.

For example, say you are using a £25 free bet you have earned to back Manchester City to beat Bayern Munich at odds of 3/1. If City do the business and your bet comes in, if you have placed the bet with a bookie whose free bet offer is stake not returned, you will receive a payout of £75. If, however, your bookie has a stake returned free bet offer, you would also receive your free bet stake along with your winnings, hence a total payout of £100.

While many people therefore prefer to opt for stake returned free bets if they can help it, it should be noted that most such offers have wagering requirements that must be fulfilled before you withdraw any winnings. Conversely, the majority of the bookies offering stake not returned free bets don’t require you to bet through more than once before withdrawing, so really it’s swings and roundabouts.

Instead, we like to focus on the quality of the bookmaker in question, and – rest assured – on we only work with betting sites we have extensively used ourselves and whom we trust in terms of the fairness of their procedures and the security of customers’ financial and personal data. Of course, we do like them to be generous with the free bet offers too, but often it is the ongoing betting offers and bonuses which really separate the wheat from the chaff.

Back to the matter in hand, and not so long ago (well, around 2004), most bookies would offer stake returned free bets and usually with no additional wagering requirements attached. But bookies have become more clued up in recent years and they have put more resources into their ongoing betting offers in order to retain customers, rather than putting all their eggs in the free bet basket (as customers would often take the free bet and never bet with the bookie again, which is understandable in some cases… i.e. betting sites we wouldn’t dream of representing on this website!).

So take a look at the following bookies, all of whom we can personally vouch for as being very good indeed for football betting, and see which take your fancy.

What are No Lose Free Bets?

When people hear the term “no lose free bet” their first thought is often – understandably – “what’s the catch?” But even in this world of marketing slogans and nonsense, the no lose bet does exactly what it says on the tin (see, another slogan crept in without us even noticing!).

A no lose free bet is simply a free bet that is only granted if you place a bet with a bookmaker you have joined and that bet loses. In such a scenario, while your bet has gone down and your cash is lost, you at least get a second bite of the cherry with the bookie offering you a free bet that is usually equal to your initial stake.

Of course, if you then lose the bet you place with your free bet, you’re still out of pocket, but at least you got a second chance.

Obviously this is not (usually – see Betfred’s offer below) as generous an offer as the standard free bet which would be credited to your account whether your first bet was a winner or not. But in most circumstances no lose free bets are still well worth grabbing as they offer a great insurance policy on your initial bet and overall leave the bettor in a position where they would expect to make a profit in the long term.

Odds Enhancements and Price Boosts

One of the most common betting offers around is the price boost, also referred to as an odds enhancement or – just to mix things up! – enhanced odds. In general this type of offer comes in two different forms. Originally enhanced odds were viewed more as a promotion aimed at existing customers and this is still very common. However, in more recent times online betting sites have been using MASSIVELY enhanced odds to replace the usual welcome bonus or free bet.

Whether you are taking advantage of a price boost as either a current account holder with a particular online bookie or taking up their enhanced odds as a welcome bonus, the principle remains the same. As the name suggests, the standard odds are enhanced, boosted, made bigger – call it what you will. Bigger odds means more profit when you win and with no downside to these promotions there is no reason at all why you should grab a price boost when you see one.

How do Enhanced Odds Betting Offers Work?

  • If the enhanced odds offer is aimed at existing customers it is more commonly referred to as a price boost and in this instance all you have to do is place your bet as normal to access the improved betting odds.
  • If your enhanced odds are a special promotion granted to new customers only the terms can vary a lot but more information can be found below.
  • As a general rule you place your bet as normal at the standard odds and have the winnings topped up once the bet has won.

Things to Note

With most things in life it pays to know what you’re doing and whilst the huge, reputable and excellent betting sites we work with are all totally trustworthy and not trying to trick anyone, it’s always a good idea to make sure you read the terms of the offer you are interested. That way you can make sure you don’t miss out because of a minor technicality and equally you won’t get any unpleasant surprises when your bet settles.

Below are some important general pointers that often apply to the various types of odds enhancements.

  • Is there a minimum or maximum stake? Most odds enhancements available to new customers have a maximum stake and money wagered above that level will only be paid out at the standard odds.
  • Is the offer for new customers, existing or both? Check this as many of the very best offers are for newbies only.
  • Some betting sites, including the Betfair Sportsbook, pay the additional winnings as free bets rather than straight cash. That’s not as good but the enhancements themselves are usually better than you’ll find elsewhere.
  • Any extras? Some bookies include a second stage to their offer, for example Betfair usually either offer your money back as a free bet if your opening odds enhancement loses or further free bets when you place more wagers.
  • Is a price boost really a price boost? Many odds advertised as huge price boosts on TV may still be lower than you could find elsewhere so it’s still worth checking the new price is great value.
  • Is the offer only available when you have clicked through a specific link or entered a certain bonus code. Our site will always make that clear and if you click through a banner advertising enhanced odds you’ll be fine but don’t just assume you’ll get the promotional odds if a friend tells you or you see something on Twitter