**Last Updated:**April 21, 2024

Many promotions run by Sportsbooks will reward you with bonus bets if you complete the promo. Dinger Tuesday, Insurance Promos, No Sweat bets, and many more fall into this category.

At first glance, it seems like it shouldn’t matter how you use these bonus bets that you receive. However, most sports bettors actually use them extremely suboptimally and leave a lot of money on the table.

Once you read this post, you’ll know everything there is to know about bonus bets, how to use them, and why certain strategies work best.

## What Is a Bonus Bet?

A bonus bet is a reward sportsbooks give out through various promotions. If you win a wager made with the bonus bet, you will only return the winnings instead of returning the winnings + stake like normal.

For example, imagine you bet $110 on a -110 spread. Normally you will get your $110 back plus an additional $100, for a total of $210. However, if you placed this bet using a bonus bet, **you would only return the $100 in winnings**, and not the $110. This difference is extremely important when calculating the best ways to optimize bonus bets.

## How Should I Use Bonus Bets?

There are 2 main strategies to utilize for your bonus bets:

- Use them on longshots
- Guarantee yourself a portion of the bonus bet value through a hedge.

Let’s look at each method, discuss what makes them work, and learn how to use each method effectively.

## Using Bonus Bets on Longshots

Since you do not return your stake when using a bonus bet, you want the stake to be a small percentage of the total return. When you bet on something with – odds (such as a -110 spread) the stake is more than half of your total return, but when you bet on a longshot the winnings are the vast majority of the return.

To illustrate this further, let’s look at an example. Suppose you are considering putting your bonus bet on one of the following options:

- Betting on a coinflip to land on heads at +100
- Rolling a die and betting it to land on 6 at +500

Both of these are normally “breakeven” bets. The coin has a 50% chance to land on heads, making +100 “fair” odds. Meanwhile, the die has a 1/6 chance of landing on 6, making +500 “fair” odds. If you make either of these bets over and over, you should expect to break even. However, even though these bets are normally of equal value, betting on the die is far superior if you are using a bonus bet.

For the coin example, if you use a $100 bonus bet, half the time you will return nothing and half the time you will return $100 (since you only return the $100 in winnings and not the $100 stake). This equals an expected return of $50 per roll (100/2), or **50% of the bonus bet value.**

For the die example, if you use a $100 bonus bet, 5/6 times you will return nothing and 1/6 of the time you will return $500 (since you receive the $500 in winnings and not the $100 stake). This means that **you are receiving an expected return of 83.33%** (500/6), which is much better than the 50% we received in the coin example

### How To Find Longshot Bets

Simply betting on any long shot isn’t enough. In the die example, +500 was fair odds for the bet, making it a great choice. However, if the die had 20 sides and we were only getting +500 odds, it would no longer be a good option for your bonus bet, even though it’s a long shot. So, we need to find long shots that also have decent value.

There are many ways to do this – you can find lines where the odds are an outlier compared to other books, you can tail a longshot play from someone you trust, etc.

**The easiest method – and what I recommend to most people** – is to pick any 3 spreads or totals at around -110 each, parlay them, and put your bonus bet on the parlay. since mainline spreads and totals are pretty efficiently priced, you can be sure that the resulting longshot parlay is close enough to fair value that you will achieve a strong conversion over the long run. **A parlay of 3 -110 spreads should have a long term expected conversion of about 75%**

## Hedging Bonus Bets to Guarantee Profit

This option is for bettors who are slightly more advanced and are comfortable using online calculators and tools to help profit through sports betting.

The basic idea is simple: Use the bonus bet, and then hedge by taking the opposite side of the bet on a different sportsbook. This is known as a **conversion** since you are “converting” the bonus bet into cash through a guaranteed method.

However, finding good opportunities for this can be difficult. In order to find a good conversion, you need to find a longshot bet, as well as a sportsbook that has the opposite side of the bet’s odds low enough so that the matched bets are a **low hold**.

Both Oddsjam and DarkhorseOdds have tools to help you find good conversion opportunities – Oddsjam in their “Promo Converter” section and DarkHorseOdds in their “bonus bet” section. These tools also tell you the amount that you should bet on the hedge (this amount will usually be significantly more than the amount of your bonus bet).

I usually do not recommend trying to find conversions without these tools, as it can be difficult to find good ones manually. However, if that is something you’d like to do, you can calculate the conversion percentage as well as how much to hedge with by using this calculator.

The goal is to look for conversions that guarantee you at least 70% of your bonus bet value, although you can sometimes get 80% or higher. Converting is a tempting option, but if you rely on it too much it can lead to account limits, so it’s best to tread lightly.

## Bottom Line

If you use your bonus bets optimally, they are typically worth at least 70% of their value in cash, if not more. Using them suboptimally can lead to them being worth less than HALF of their value, so it’s very important to put the principles laid out above into practice.