Football is the most bet on sport in the UK, around 70% of all bets placed are on the beautiful game. It is therefore no surprise that bookies compete fiercely for football markets, often running loss leader promos to get you to bet with them. As a bettor you can find more value on football than any other sport but only if you use the right sites and offers.
In the table below we look at free bets, early payouts, enhanced winnings and insurance offers that can be used for football betting. We have specific pages you can visit for other offers; Acca Insurance, Accumulator Bonuses, Free Bets for Winners, Free Games & Jackpots, Price Boosts and Free Bet Clubs.
Best Football Betting Offers
Types Of Football Betting Offers
Some of the most popular football bets are those that give you a free bet, either for placing a specific bet or for winning a bet. This is essentially an added incentive for you to back a specific market or bet type.
- Place a bet (e.g. a 5+ multiple) and get a matched free bet.
- Back a line with minimum odds (e.g. 4/1+) and if it wins get a free bet.
- Free bet if something specific happens (e.g. selected player scores, goal in the last 5 minutes, certain team wins etc).
- Free bets each time something happens (e.g. for each goal scored in a match).
It is common for bookmakers to push certain markets they want you to bet on by offering free tokens. One main example of this are bet builder features, many brands will give you a matched free bet for some matches if you build your own bet.
Enhanced Winnings, Extra Payouts & Odds Boosts
The second most common football offer are those that boost your winnings, either before the bet is placed (e.g. an odds boost), if something happens in a match (e.g. penalty scored gives double winnings) or if the market you backed does something special (e.g. double winnings if your goalscorer scores twice).
There is no specific recipe with these offers with a wide variety of short and longer-term promotions available. The longer term offers that can be applied to any football, e.g. a 3+ selection acca boost, are great for those that want to place their own bets, rather than those pushed by the bookie. Shorter term ‘super boost’ type offers on specific markets or matches are however the most valuable in terms of how much extra you get, but you should only back these if you wanted to back that market anyway.
Most of these offers pay out extra winnings in cash, but usually stake limited. Some payout in free bets.
The early payout promotion is something that has gained traction in recent years to become one of the main offer types for football. These take various guises but one of the most common now is the early pay out if you back a team in major competitions to win and they go 2-0 up at any stage – several bookies now provide this.
Other variations we’ve seen include early payouts if you back a team to win a league outright pre-season and they go 10+ points clear, payout if your bet loses in injury time or if your team scores in the first 5 minutes.
The beauty of these offers is you can generally use them across a wide range of games and the majority pay out in cash, although may be stake limited.
Money Back & Insurance
Money back offers are the most ubiquitous, with most operators now providing at least one short or long term offer. Almost all money back and insurance promotions for football pay winnings as a free bet or bonus, although rarely for big events you can find some cash offers.
Insurance deals are pretty much always stake limited too, they also don’t pay back as much as they used to, with many deals now limited to £10, although £25 and £50 offers are sometimes available, or higher if you are a VIP.
The main types of deal are:
- Money back if a team loses
- Money back if a certain player scores
- Money back if your team is winning but loses
- Acca Insurance
- 0-0 draw insurance
- Refund if something happens (e.g. a penalty scored)
- Injury time / Added Time insurance
- Extra time insurance
- Opposite score/goalscorer insurance (e.g. back a team to win 2-0, if it is 0-2 instead get a refund)
- VAR insurance (if bet loses due to a VAR decision).
Getting The Best Out Of Football Promotions
Think About Odds Not Just Offers
Offers are a great way to add value to bets but even using a promotion you can sometimes still get a better deal elsewhere without one. For example, if you have a promo such as a bet boost on a 3+ footy acca and let’s say the initial odds were 20/1 and that is boosted to 22/1. It’s worth checking with other bookies to see what odds they would give on the same picks, if they overall odds were higher than 22/1 you would be better going with the other bookie and not using the offer.
It also helps to consider the stake value that the offer applies to too. If you want to place say a £50 bet and the offer only applies to stakes up to £10 then this would mean £40 of your stake would be placed at standard terms.
Read The Terms
There are almost always restrictions for promotions and so it helps to read the significant terms at least before using an offer. This includes looking for the offer start and end time, minimum/maximum stake and odds limits, how you will be credited, how long it will take and how long any free bets or bonuses are valid for and if they themselves have odds or market restrictions. There may also be maximum winnings / refund amounts.
Other things to consider are payment methods as some banking methods are excluded from promotions. A prime example of this is if you fund your betting account through eWallets such as Skrill and Neteller or cash vouchers such as PaySafeCard. These methods are more liable to fraud and duplicate accounts and therefore lots of bookies now will not allow players who deposit using these methods to use all or certain promotions.
Multiple Accounts Mean More Choice
It’s nice to stay loyal to your favourite bookies but the fact of the matter is the more you shop around the more value you can find as different brands push different types of markets and offers.
If you have accounts with multiple brands you can decide what you want to back and then browse through the sites to find those with the best balance of odds and promotions to make the most of your wager.
Bet On What You Want To, Not What The Offer Tells You
Bookies will push certain offers on you, they will often be displayed front and center when you login. It is important, however, to not be directed by a promotion but instead to decide what bet you want to place first, then go and find the deal that is most suited to your wager.
Its the same principle as going shopping to a store or online, you often end up being tempted by ‘bargains’ that can mean you come home with far more stuff than you intended, some of which you don’t actually need or want.
Think About European Based Bookies For Foreign Leagues
The big UK giant bookmakers are great for mainstream offers and if you like to bet on UK sports and leagues this is great. If, however, you like a range of sports or competitions more focuses abroad then it can pay to have a few more European brands in your portfolio.
These sites will often have both better odds and promotions for sports and markets that UK-facing sites often will not cover.
Use Sister Sites To Double Up
There are often several sites within a network these days, especially when betting with white-labels or sites that run through third party platforms.
If you like a specific promotion it is often true that you can find the same deals on sister sites. This means you can double-up on an offer to add further value. If, for example, you had a money back deal that you like with one site and it is up to £10 but you actually want to bet £20, then you could be £10 each with two sister sites that have the same offers.
Hedging Your Bets
If two sites are pushing a very similar offer you can place opposite bets with both sites that could ensure you come out on top. Let’s take the ‘first goal wins’ type promotion that pays you out as a winner if your team scores first but doesn’t win. If you back opposite teams with two different sites that have this promotion then you could end up winning more.
For example, you are betting on Man Utd v Chelsea. You back Chelsea to win with site A and Man Utd with site B, using the first goal wins offer. Here are the possible outcomes:
- Chelsea score first and win – you win with Site A but not site B
- Man Utd score first and win – you win with Site B but not Site A
- Chelsea score first and lose – you win with Site A and Site B
- Man Utd score first and lose – you win with Site A and Site B
- Chelsea score first and match ends as a score draw – you win with Site A but not site B
- Man Utd score first and the match ends as a score draw – you win with Site B but not Site A
- Neither team score and the match ends 0-0 – Lose with both Site A and Site B
Using those examples there is only one scenario (0-0) where you wouldn’t win at all.
Using Football Free Bets
Given the sheer popularity of football as a sport to bet on, bookmakers know that if they have offers and promotions on it then it will attract a decent number of people to bet with them. The problem is, all bookie know this and so most of them offer the same things as each other. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, as if means that you’re likely to be inundated with choice when it comes to deciding the best bookmaker to place your bets with. Instead of having to choose depending on the offers, you can look for other features.
That being said, it is always sensible to shop around the different bookies to see which one suits your style of betting. Imagine for a moment that you never place an accumulator bet, for example. Using the bookie that has the best acca offer in town is a waste of time because you’re never going to be in a position to take advantage of it. You might be placing a wealth of bets with a bookmaker that doesn’t play to your strengths, all whilst a different bookie has offers that are exactly the sort of thing you’d be taking advantage of.
Remember They’re All Different Things
One of the keys to taking advantage of offers put in place by bookmakers is to remember that they’re all different things. A free bet isn’t the same as a bonus, which isn’t the same as insurance. Which if them is the best thing for you personally to take advantage of when you consider the types of bets that you usually place? If you only tend to bet small stakes, for example, then looking to a bookie that regularly offers free bets will allow you to push yourself outside of your comfort zone in a manner that has no real risk attached to it.
Similarly, those of you that place accumulators on a regular basis would benefit in a big way from acca insurance, given that this will see your stake money returned to you in the event that you lose your bet when just a single leg of it fails to be on the winning side of the line. Only you will know which of the various offers put in place by bookies will suit your style of betting the best, so make sure that you are self-aware and do your research. Just remember that not all of the offers are the same, so don’t use a bookmaker that has a promotion you won’t use.
Not Every Offer Is Created Equal
If you’re the type of bettor that places all variations of bets and therefore believe that you’ll be able to take advantage of all of them, bear in mind that not all offers are the same. What I mean by that is that a totally free £5 bet on the Merseyside derby isn’t the same thing as acca insurance. The former means that you can place a £5 bet on the match between Liverpool and Everton without having to put any of your own cash at risk, whilst the latter will see your stake returned to you if one leg of your accumulator is a loser.
Which of those is actually the best offer? In my mind, it is the £5 free bet because I don’t have to do anything to take advantage of it but I could end up in a situation where I win money from nowhere. Of course, there’s no reason why you have to think of them as mutually exclusive things and just because you’ve placed your free £5 bet with one bookie doesn’t mean that you can’t then place an acca with a different one. It is simply about bearing in mind that different deals have different benefits, which you can take advantage of.
Do Your Research
If there is one thing that I constantly bang the drum about then it is ensuring that people do their research before placing their bets. Just because you’ve received an offer doesn’t mean that you should suddenly be footloose and fancy free in terms of what you use that offer for. I have said this on other pages but it bears repeating: a free bet doesn’t mean a wasted bet. What I mean by that is that just because a bet is free, it isn’t useless. In fact, there is a very good argument that it is the exact opposite of that and that you should treat it as such.
The battle between punter and bookie is an adversarial one, with the two parties looking to take money off each other at every opportunity. A bookmaker giving you a free bet or giving you your stake back when it should really have disappeared from your account is them giving you another opportunity to stick it to them. Do not look to turn that chance away by then spending your free bet token on something that you don’t really understand. You’ve got your stake back, so don’t waste it betting on the Lithuanian top-flight when you couldn’t name a team from it.
Don’t Chase The Offer
The other thing that is crucial to remember is that you shouldn’t ever deliberately chase an offer. What I mean by that is that getting a £5 free bet when you place five £5 bets on Premier League matches is all well and good if you tend to do that anyway, but it is a trap that you should avoid falling into if you don’t normally ever bet on the Premier League. All you’ll end up doing is placing risky bets to the tune of £25 that might end up losing, all so that you can get another £5 on the English top-flight that will likely end up going the same way.
The same sort of thinking should be in your head when it comes to bonuses and accumulator offers. The very best way that you can take advantage of them is to ensure that you claim them when you place bets that you were always going to place. Going out of your way to place such a bet would be a mistake and is exactly what bookmakers will hope you’ll do when they make the offer available in the first place. As a bettor, your rule of thumb should always be that you do the opposite of what a bookie wants you to do if you want to win.