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Understanding Betting Guide

Free bets explained:

Each free bet will have different terms but broadly you will need to open an account with the relevant bookie to get started.

After that the terms of the bonus will normally be that you have to bet deposit some of your own money and bet a certain amount, sometimes in one bet or sometimes in a series of bets.

Once you have met the criteria for the bonus, you will often find that the free bet will be credited to your account within a few days.

When you use the free bet to make a bet and it wins, you will normally find that the winnings will be credited to your account just like any other bet, but the original free bet stake may not be credited to you.

Most betting sites will offer free bets to encourage people to register and start betting with them.

A free bet is a sum of money which the bookmaker allows you to wager on a market for free. If your selection loses, it costs you nothing. If the bet wins then you will receive the profit from your free bet. Please note that you will not normally receive the free bet value in any returns - only the profit. For example if your free bet is to the value of £25 and you make a selection at 2/1 which wins, you will see a return of £50 - you don’t get the £25 free bet back to use again!

Terms and Conditions (T & Cs) will apply. Usually, the odds, or combined odds of the selection(s) used throughout the Free Bet Offer will need to be EVENS OR GREATER. If the odds, or combined odds of the selection(s) placed for any of the qualifying bets is less than EVENS, that bet will not usually count as a qualifying bet - check this with each bookmaker you choose as there will be variations. Customers will need to complete their Free Bet Basket within a given time limit. You will also need to check which country or countries the bookmaker you select takes customers from. The important thing is to always read through the free bet terms and conditions of the bookmaker you choose before opening the account so you can be sure.

Why have a free bet?

Apart from the obvious reasons you should set up accounts with lots of bookmakers anyway. Its especially important to be aware of enhanced odds bets, further free bets and money back bets from as many betting sources as possible to boost your potential long term prospects, as well as being aware that prices prior to starting prices will fluctuate between different bookmakers.

Having more accounts will allow you to shop around more to get a better price on your bets, and this will substantially help your long term betting profitability, compared to sticking with one bookmaker.

You could also benefit from more promotional offers that you might otherwise miss from bookmakers who regularly give other free bets, besides introductory offers, and special deals such as money back bets and enhanced odds bets to encourage you to bet with them again.

Money Back Specials:

This will be where should your bet lose you are allowed another bet to the same value should your selection be beaten by a particular player or horse, or where your selection "almost wins", eg a golfer who loses in a play-off. Most bookmakers run Money Back Specials, but here are some of the most regular:

Betfred's Golf – Play-off Pay-off Offer - If the golfer you back is beaten in a play-off, Betfred will give you a free bet to the same stake (up to £250). This offer applies to all golf tournaments – every single week!

An example of a Football Money Back Special was Paddy Power's 2008 Champions League Final Special. Paddy Power offered a refund on ALL losing single pre-match Win-Draw-Win, Correct Score, 1st/last/anytime goalscorer and Half-time/Full-time market bets on the match if Ronaldo (probably the player most likely to score anyway) scored in normal time! Paddy Power offer money back specials on a daily basis - including horse racing offers.

Sometimes the money back offer is more offbeat, eg Paddy Power offered refunds in the last Manchester City v Manchester United match if any player was sent off. On other occasions it could be if your selection scores the second goal, or scores the last goal. The key is to check and compare - or to visit our Money Back Bets page where these offers are regularly highlighted.

An example of a regular horse racing Money Back Special is Sunderlands' Showcase Races where you get the opportunity to have your stake returned as per the above banner. Sunderlands run this promotion on a daily basis.

Click here now for your Free Bet

A more specialist racing money back example was Victor Chandler's offer at last April's Aintree Grand National Meeting. Victor Chandler were offering a free bet to the value of the stake lost on any selection to fall on the Thursday or Friday of the meeting as a free bet the following day. This also applied to unseated riders, brought downs, refuseds or slipped ups. Victor Chandler regularly run these offers during the National Hunt season, so always take this into account when deliberating on a National Hunt bet. Check Victor Chandler regularly for these offers. Alternatively, we regularly feature them on our Money Back Special page.

Another regular player in the Money Back Special market is Boylesports. They currently have the following long term money back offer:

Enhanced Odds

This is another important tool in boosting your returns. Basically, a given bookmaker will artificially boost the starting price on a particular event by a given amount, eg 25%, meaning in effect that a 4/1 bet is actually 5/1. Most bookmakers offer these inducements, so this is another reason for having as many accounts as possible instead of one or two.

If racing is your sport then be aware that during December, Sunderlands is offering Enhanced SP on the Winner of every race in the UK and Ireland.

If football is your sport then remember throughout the season, Stan James offer enhanced odds 24 hours prior to kick-off on Premiership, La Liga and Championship fixtures.

In Running Betting:

Betting in running is a more modern type of betting where the punter is able to bet on an event as it happens. The odds are adjusted after the event starts to reflect how it has begun and what is expected to unfold as the event goes on. The odds are continually updated until betting closes either shortly before the event ends or as the event ends.

In running betting can be very difficult to learn as judgements and bets have to be made in a split second on many occasions. It can add to your interest in longer events such as a golf tournament or a cricket test match where you can bet whilst a round or day's play is already in progress. One of the acknowledged leader in this field is Stan James:

Tote Bets:

The Tote offers a wide range of betting options. If you are looking for variety in the way you bet then consider the Tote. Originally only available "on course", Totesport now have a High Street and Online presence.

More details can be obtained by visiting our Totesport page. Don't forget that other bookmakers, including Stan James also offer Tote bets.