It is rare to receive something for nothing in this world. However, thanks to bonuses at online sportsbooks, that’s what Michigan sports bettors can do. Because online sports betting may be an unknown to Michiganders, they may be hesitant to try them out.
So, here is a guide to walk you through the bonuses and promos that you might encounter and whether they are worth your time to claim.
Bonuses are, first and foremost, a means to entice sports bettors to bet at an online sportsbook.
A book will offer various discounts or opportunities in order to generate more betting volume since increased betting volume tends to lead to increased profits for the operator. Unfortunately, the concept of a bonus at a sportsbook could be unfamiliar to bettors, even if they’re experienced handicappers. Quite simply, land-based sportsbooks are far less likely to offer any sorts of incentives to play.
Bonuses on online sportsbooks, on the other hand, are usually a given. Because players can access multiple competitors through the same device, online providers have to incentivize new and existing players much more generously. The payouts from a bonus offer tend to come in one of three forms. Generally speaking, you can either win free bets, bonus dollars or cash through a bonus.
Free bets are, as their name implies, vouchers for wagers of a certain amount. You usually must wager the full amount on them, and they can come with restrictions about the markets or types of bets you can place. Bonus dollars are a bit more flexible than free bets. They are cash equivalents that you can wager in almost any manner.
However, bonus dollars have an inherent drawback in that they are not withdrawable from your account. The only type of bonus that can go directly into your bank account is cash.
Sportsbooks have several kinds of bonuses in their arsenal. The offers can vary in terms of scope, timeframe and player requirements. As a general rule, a bonus is a good thing. It is a gateway to extra money or prizes that spice up the chances of winning for the enterprising sports bettor. However, some bonuses come with strings attached, such as onerous playthrough requirements or time limits. In those cases, a bonus might either be not worth the hassle or, surprisingly enough, a losing proposition.
Here are the kinds of bonuses you may encounter at a Michigan online sportsbook.
Without a doubt, the first type of bonus that you’re likely to encounter is one of the best. The no-deposit bonus is a gift, pure and simple. In most cases, the only requirement to claim this type of bonus is that you register for an account. Usually, a sportsbook offers this sort of promotion to brand-new players so that they can “test-drive” the site without risk.
No deposit bonuses tend to come as either bonus dollars or free bets. It’s unlikely that a no-deposit bonus would be withdrawable cash since that would incentivize players to withdraw and never play. Even with that restriction, there is little reason not to redeem any no-deposit offer you see. Any winnings generated from playing with the funds are yours to keep and can help you get your bankroll started.
No deposit bonuses typically activate in one of two ways. Either you enter a promotional code into a specified box when you register, or you follow a secure link from a particular source.
Naturally, the presence of no-deposit bonuses suggests that there are deposit bonuses. Indeed, deposit bonuses are some of the most common types that sportsbooks offer. In a deposit bonus, the sportsbook vows to contribute a certain amount to complement a player’s deposit. The amount is usually a specified percentage of the deposit amount.
The specified percentage varies greatly, depending on the promotion. A sportsbook could contribute anything from a minor portion, like 20%, up to 100% of the deposit amount. Regardless of the percentage, the sportsbook will always cap the total amount of bonus dollars that the player can receive. Letting a deposit bonus remain uncapped would be too great of liability for the book.
Deposit bonuses are also known as match bonuses because the sportsbook is matching your deposit amount. These two terms are interchangeable. You may also encounter a type of bonus known as a reload bonus from time to time. These bonuses are deposit bonuses, but they are aimed at reactivating or energizing existing customers to play.
A sportsbook will usually issue a deposit bonus in the form of free bets or bonus dollars. It is unlikely that you would receive the match in straight cash. One of the defining characteristics of most deposit bonuses is the playthrough requirement. This is a multiple of the bonus amount that a player must wager before the bonus dollars become available for withdrawal.
Playthrough requirements can be any multiple that the sportsbook chooses. Some bonuses will only require a single turnover of the funds, meaning that the player will need only to wager the exact amount of the bonus to release it. Other bonuses can require a playthrough of many times the bonus dollars to fulfill, however. It’s not uncommon to see playthrough multiples between 25-50 times the bonus amount.
Deposit bonuses usually come with a specified timeframe to complete their playthrough requirements. A sportsbook will typically give players a week or two to knock it out — although shorter or longer periods are not out of the question.
Another common type of sportsbook bonus is an insurance bonus. Like any type of insurance, these bonuses compensate you when something goes wrong. Of course, in this case, what went wrong was a loss on a bet. So, a sportsbook will offer insurance on designated bets or markets as a way to encourage wagering on those options.
If you choose to wager on the specified game or market, then your bet will be eligible for recompense if you should happen to lose. The sportsbook will process a return to your account in the next day or so. However, if your bet wins, then nothing happens on the part of the sportsbook. You simply keep your winnings as usual. Bear in mind a couple of things about this type of bet, though. First of all, like deposit bonuses, the sportsbook will cap the amount of insurance money that a player can receive on a wager.
So, if the insurance is only good up to $25, then a $50 bet could still produce $25 of loss. If you’re counting on the insurance to bail you out on a wager, make sure to read the fine print. The other issue is that, in most cases, insurance will be issued to you in the form of free bets or bonus dollars. So you will have to play through the returned portion to release it as pure cash — usually, the playthrough requirement on these bonuses is a single turnover.
Still, if you were already thinking about making the type of bet specified in the offer, then it’s probably a good thing to have. Even if you weren’t, it might be worth taking the free shot. You may also see offers from a sportsbook that mention a “refund” of some kind. These types of bonuses are identical to insurance bonuses.
Cashback bonuses are extremely similar to insurance bonuses. Their function — to compensate sports bettors for their losses on designated bets — is virtually identical.
However, a pure cashback bonus is a much more flexible proposition than an insurance bonus. Instead of attaching to a particular wager or class of wager, a cashback pledges to compensate the absolute dollars lost, regardless of the type of bet. This flexibility allows bettors to try betting options that they normally wouldn’t. At worst, they’ll break even on the deal.
Now, as with most bonuses, there are limits to the sportsbooks’ largess and generosity. Every cashback deal will come with a hard cap on how much money a bettor can receive in a refund. Furthermore, cashback only applies to net losses during the time period. So, even if you have some bets that go south, you won’t receive a refund if you show a profit overall during the cashback period. Some bonuses might even call for a risk-free betting time, which is essentially the same thing as a cashback deal. The only difference is that there may not be any restrictions on the types of bets you can make.
One caveat to cashback deals, however, is the method of refund. Only in rare cases will the refund come to your account as straight cash. Instead, most cashback will come in the form of free bets or bonus dollars. You will need to wager through these funds at least once in order to convert them into cash. With that in mind, you might not receive the full value of your bets back in cash. Any losses you incur in the course of playing through the free bets or bonus dollars would just be tough luck.
So, make sure to check the terms and conditions of a cashback deal before blasting ahead. Even though they cut down on the risk of ruin, they don’t completely eliminate it.
An occurrence bonus is a type of offer that will pay out each time a particular event happens during a match. Players who opt into the bonus receive a fixed amount for every occurrence. Usually, the event is a certain player or team accomplishing a goal. So, for instance, there might be a bonus for every time LeBron James dunks during a game. Or, a player could get a payoff for each goal that Tottenham Hotspur scores in a match.
These types of bonuses are great for true sports fans who want to root for something. Getting paid each time their favorite player or team succeeds is a great way to enhance the viewing experience.
An odds boost is an artificial inflation of the payout associated with a particular bet. Common on money line wagers, they are a tool that a sportsbook uses to encourage wagering on a particular match. Most odds boosts appear as “corrections” to moneylines. So, a +200 wager might be struck through, in favor of a new +220 amount.
Odds boosts are an unusual bonus in that they often have a life of their own. While most bonuses are confined to the sportsbooks’ promotional pages, odds boosts often have their own tab or section of the sportsbook app layout. They occupy this position because they are so common. Many sportsbooks have multiple odds boosts running every single day, and they must change every 24 hours or so. Nobody is going to get rich off odds boosts. Though they augment the payout for bets, they are usually not considerable increases in the potential winnings.
Still, if you were already planning to make a bet similar to the advertised boost, it may be worth a try. After all, winning a bit extra is always a good thing.
A sweepstakes bonus is one of the first types of bonus that is less common in a sportsbook. It is much more likely to be found in online casinos. However, sweepstakes bonuses do pop up from time to time, so it’s important to know what they do. In essence, a sweepstakes is a random drawing for a prize. Players earn entries to the drawing through their play, and the drawing takes place after a set time period.
Sweepstakes bonuses tend to award prizes like game tickets, meals or other tangible rewards. They tend to surround current events like the Super Bowl or March Madness. A sweepstakes offer should not be a reason alone for you to play. However, if you were already thinking about betting, it doesn’t hurt to opt in to one of these bonuses.
Leaderboard bonuses are somewhat unlikely in sportsbooks, too. However, since the DraftKings Championship Series is a series of leaderboard-based events, it’s a relevant type of bonus to understand.
In a leaderboard bonus, players will make the same wagers they’ve always made in a specific timeframe. The sportsbook will grade the bets based upon the size of the wagers, the frequency of the wagers, and how successful they are. Players judged to have made the best wagers receive points for their success. Players are then ranked according to how many points they’ve accrued. At the end of the promotion, a certain number of players will receive prizes based upon their placement in the rankings.
Needless to say, leaderboards favor bettors who are more active, higher staked and more successful. However, a high-volume player can find himself or herself in the mix every so often. Like sweepstakes, it is unlikely that it’s a good idea to base your play around your position on a leaderboard. However, if you’re already planning to grind, it can be a nice perk of your commitment to wagering.
Finally, sportsbooks will sometimes offer promotions that don’t require anything on the part of the bettor. In fact, anyone can play free plays, including residents in states where sports betting is otherwise prohibited. A free play promotion pledges to award a prize to one or a few lucky recipients. The conditions for achieving victory will almost always contain a completely random aspect to them.
They are much like sweepstakes in this regard. The only difference is that there is no way to improve one’s chances in a free play, whereas sweepstakes players can always win more entries. To be frank, almost everyone who plays in one of these bonuses won’t win anything. However, since they cost no money and (usually) only a modicum of time, they can be a fun way to take a shot at some free cash or prizes.
With so many offers of free money and prizes floating around, it might seem as though redeeming a bonus would be automatic. After all, why let the opportunity at enriching yourself pass you by? Perhaps unsurprisingly, not all bonuses are what they’re cracked up to be. In fact, some of them might even bear a negative expectation, meaning that you’d be better off ignoring the offer entirely.
So, here’s a brief guide on how to evaluate the merit of each bonus offer you see.
For most gambling games, bettors make their wagers at a statistical disadvantage to the house. This mathematical dominance is known as the house edge or house advantage. Though it is possible to be a long-term winner in sports betting, sportsbooks operate in the same fashion. They make their profits from the premium percentage that they charge on every wager.
This premium is called the vigorish or “vig.” Regardless of the bet, you make in a sportsbook, rest assured that you will be paying vig for the privilege. As a general rule, the vig is 10% of your wager. So, for instance, in order to win $100, you’ll have to wager $110.
Now, for those of you who are familiar with the house edge on blackjack or craps, 10% is quite a high house edge. Even slot machines return more money to their customers. Thankfully, however, that 10% figure is not the house edge. Let’s use an example to calculate what the actual percentage is.
Example: Two players place spread wagers on a game. Each pays $110 to win $100, which is denoted on the display board by the (-110) next to the team name. So, the total prizepool for the bet is $220 ($110 x 2). After the game, the winning player receives his $100 of profit PLUS his original wager back. So, he gets $210 for his successful wager. From there, $220 minus $210 equals $10 remaining, which the sportsbook keeps as its profit.
Explanation: Since the book kept $10 of the $220 in wagers, its house edge is the percentage determined by the winnings divided by the total. So, $10/$220 equals 4.55%. Thus, generally speaking, the house edge for bets in sportsbooks is 4.55%.
Another way to view the house edge is as the percentage of each bet you make that you can expect to lose.
So, generally speaking, for every $100 you wager on sports, you can expect to lose $4.55. Though anything can happen in the short run, the more that you bet, the closer that your loss percentage will mirror this same amount. Understanding this truth is critical for evaluating a bonus offer because of the playthrough requirement. Remember — many bonuses will call for you to wager through the bonus amount a number of times.
Unfortunately, it’s reasonable to expect that you will lose the house edge percentage over the course of those wagers, too. So, if a bonus pledges to return $100 to you, but you have to wager through the bonus dollars once, you can plan on receiving only $94.45 in cash, statistically. If you lose $4.55 for every hundred you wager, it’s conceivable that your expected losses might exceed the gains you expect to realize from the bonus. Consider the following example if that is not immediately clear.
Example: You claim an offer that promises $100 in bonus dollars and bears a 25x playthrough requirement. In other words, in order to release the $100, you’re going to have to wager $2,500 (25 x $100). Well, 4.55% of $2,500 is $113.75. So, you expect that you will lose $113.75 of your $2,500 in wagers en route to releasing the $100. Although you’ll get the $100 back, you’ll still end up $13.75 worse than if you’d never redeemed the offer in the first place.
So, the question that you may wonder is how you should evaluate a bonus offer to see if it’s any good. It turns out that there are two factors that you must consider.
The short answer is that you need to consider what an offer requires for you to redeem it completely. The first thing to do is to calculate the house advantage on your wager. You can use the procedure described above or you can divide the amount the sportsbook expects to keep by the total in the prizepool.
Once you have the house advantage, divide 100 by the whole number of the percentage. The quotient that you come up with will be the break-even multiple for the playthrough requirement.
So, for example, if a sports bet has a 4.55% house edge, we can divide 100 by 4.55 to find our break-even multiple. In this case, it’s 21.98. This multiple can guide our decision making. If we find a sportsbook bonus that requires a 22x playthrough or above, we can safely assume that we’d lose money on the deal.
There’s also another aspect of redeeming a bonus to consider. Namely, the time that it would take you to satisfy the playthrough requirement might render a bonus unfeasible. Sportsbooks often limit the time to redeem a bonus offer. The timing varies, but it could be anything from several months down to a few days.
Consider a hypothetical: a bonus offer requires a 20x playthrough and gives you a week to complete the offer. If you do not complete it, the amount of the bonus is forfeit, which is a typical condition of bonuses.
So, if you wanted to win $100 in the bonus, it would require you to bet $2,000 overall to release the funds. If you bet $50 per hour, then it will take you 40 hours to complete.
Forty hours is a lot of time. It’s a full work week for most. So you’d need to consider a) if putting in 40 hours of sports betting in a week would even be possible for you, and b) the effect that 40 hours in front of a computer screen would have on your family and daily life.
In effect, at that point, you’re trading your time at a rate of $2.50/hour, well below minimum wage. So it behooves you to consider the time aspect of a bonus redemption before you claim it. Ultimately, though, it’s a personal decision about whether to redeem an offer. The warnings above are meant as statistical cautions, not absolute directives about what will happen.
The truth is that, above all else, a bonus should make you happier to play. As long as that’s what’s happening, then it’s a good bonus to redeem.