Note: This article has been updated to provide the latest numbers. The original version was $6,593 in first 87 days, then $8,400.10 in 98 days, $10,580.41 in 150 days, and now $12,066.43 in 180 days.
No, this is not click bait. No, I did not violate any terms and conditions. Yes, I have profited $12,066.43 in my first 180 days since signing up for the first online sportsbook allowed to operate in my home state. Read on to learn how you can use promotions and boosts to increase your chances of winning, too!
First, let me tell you a little about myself. I am NOT a self-proclaimed handicapping guru. I do not sell sports tips. I don’t consider myself to be any more likely to beat the house than the person sitting next to me at the sportsbook. I’ve been placing bets for almost 15 years, and I’ve learned painful lessons along the way. Fortunately, I also grew from those experiences to create a useful guide to help me stay the course and grow my bankroll.
Then, I realized there was another easy way to grow my bankroll and increase my payouts on winning bets along the way. Even after whiffing on my two largest opportunities (more on that later – this is gambling, after all!), I’ve profited way more than I thought possible in only six months. I want to show you how to do it, too!
Step 1: Realize The Online Sportsbooks Are Fighting Against Each Other
Have you been to Las Vegas? I remember walking in to my first casino during Spring Break after I had just turned 21. I was too scared to place a sports bet, and I was super lucky to win $600 at the craps table using a betting strategy I read about on the plane. I went back to Vegas about ten more times before I even thought to sign up for a players card. I had no clue! I had my first taste of comped rooms, food & beverage credits, and FreePlay.
After a friend convinced me to buy a casino coupon book and I profited $617, I realized how valuable it is when casinos are competing with each other for my attention. I now knew that once online sportsbooks could open in my state, they would be falling all over each other to make themselves my preferred betting destination.
Step 2: Sign Up For Every Sportsbook You Can
This step is important for a few reasons. First, you cannot take advantage of a promotion if you do not have an account. Second, you need to have the ability to shop for lines (by the way, if you follow my Twitter account, I like to share line shopping tips and point out misleading promo bets to steer clear of). My home state currently has 5 operating online sportsbooks (with more on the way, I can’t wait!). If your state allows you to sign up for them, here they are. For some of them, we both receive free bets if you use my referral link. If your state has other choices that I can’t sign up for yet, congratulations, sign up for those too! I will only focus on sportsbooks I’ve actually used, but I will update this article as more become available to me. They are listed in the order that I signed up, and I’ll share how much I have profited on each.
BetRivers (link) – $2,770.11 profit
By far the #1 best signup promotion I’ve come across. It is a zero risk, no brainer, can’t believe they are offering this type of promotion. I do not have a referral link to share, unless you want to give me your legal name and email address that you will use to sign up (I’m not holding my breath). I will share why this signup promotion is the best later.
DraftKings (referral link) – $6,278.05 profit
This is the second best signup promotion I’ve had available to me so far. If you sign up using the referral link, we both get a $100 free bet if you deposit $100 or more. If you have the cash available, you’ll want to deposit more – I whiffed, but I will show you later how I was able to qualify for their matched $500 free bet and convinced their algorithm to invite me into their exclusive VIP promos with basically ZERO risk. I also got past the halfway point of grinding out the initial 20% (max $500) deposit bonus – it is a grind but I found a way to unlock some of it with, again, no risk.
FanDuel (referral link) – $1,209.86 profit
I did not try using the initial bet promotion for FanDuel because it is too risky, in my opinion. However, I did sign up using a friend’s referral link and received a $50 bonus, so I suggest you do the same! Use my link to sign up, wager $10+ within 28 days after signing up, and we both get a $50 reward. This site is definitely worth having an account at, which I will share about later.
Pointsbet (referral link) – $1,300.17 profit
This sportsbook has two signup promotional first bets – I did not take full advantage of the “1st Fixed Odds Bet” but I did take full advantage of the “1st PointsBetting Bet” offer. Use my link to sign up, and after you deposit $50 we both receive $100 in free bets. A huge positive is Pointsbet allows you to break the $100 free bet into smaller denominations. This sportsbook has great promotions and odds boosts – it should definitely be part of your arsenal, as I’ll share later.
William Hill (link) – $508.24 profit
The most recent online sportsbook to launch in my state, this one has a great risk free first bet offer up to $300 that should definitely be attempted. There is no referral link currently available for William Hill. Honestly, this is my least utilized sportsbook at the moment, but they do have some enticing promotions that arrive in my inbox from time to time so it is worth keeping a small balance after the initial $300 bet.
Step 3: Utilize Your Signup Promotional Offers Wisely and Avoid The Ones That Are Too Much Risk!
Now we can get into the part where I can share how I was able to use all these competing offers to my advantage. First of all, as you are reading this you will need to remember that gambling on sports using promotional bets and profit boosts does not guarantee you will profit every week. I had plenty of bad weeks. I’m still kicking myself for missing out on several large free bets (why did I think it was a good idea to use a $500 free bet on the Texas Rangers???). Stick to the plan! Here is how I approached the initial signup promotions for each sportsbook:
BetRivers Verdict: Use it! It’s the best one!
BetRivers gives you a deposit match up to $250 for your first deposit. Deposit the $250. If you do not have $250 available to deposit, this is probably the only time I will recommend you borrow money from your friends, your parents, your kids… the reason why is because it is the best signup offer I’ve seen and it is truly zero risk.
BetRivers provides $250 to your “Bonus Bank” after you deposit $250. After you “activate” the bonus money (move it from the Bonus Bank to your playable balance), you only have to play it through one time and it can be withdrawn. You can bet anywhere from $0.50 at a time all the way up to using the full $250 in a single bet. The real money you deposited is not touched until the Bonus Bank money has been played through, making it truly risk free – even if you lose every bet with the deposit match, you can simply withdraw the original $250 and move on with your life.
Here is the kicker: You get to withdraw the free bet portion as well! All the other sportsbooks I have used only let you keep the winnings portion of your free bets. Example: a $250 free bet that wins $225 usually only lets you keep the $225 winnings. BetRivers lets you keep the $250 AND the $225. You can deposit $250, bet the $250 match funds, and withdraw everything ($250 deposit + $250 match funds + bet winnings) with zero risk to your initial deposit. I got lucky and won my bet, which gave a great kickstart to my bankroll. My wife tried her luck and won 4 out of 5 $50 bets!
DraftKings Verdict: Use it, but carefully…
DraftKings will match your first bet up to $500 with a free bet. I really wanted to take advantage of this offer because you get the free bet no matter if your first bet wins or loses. Luckily, DraftKings will occasionally offer no-brainer bets as basically a way to give out free money to all users. A promotion for Lakers +81 at -110 odds appeared for maximum $50 bet. I placed a $500 bet at the regular odds (-10000) to win $5 and unlocked the $500 free bet with the closest you can get to zero risk without calling it risk free. I then was able to bet it at -110 odds for $50 afterwards. My wife did the same thing later when a Chiefs +101 promotion was offered. We both ended up losing our $500 free bet attempts. I bet on the Texas Rangers and my wife bet on Elise Mertens. No luck. We are still kicking ourselves about not being smarter with those valuable free bets, but we learned our lesson and moved on!
The unexpected bonus was that my account was invited into the DraftKings VIP tier, which unlocked promotions that included three more $200 free bets during Weeks 1-3 of the NFL season. If you wait for a no brainer promotion for your first bet and make it for $500, you will probably get invited into VIP as well. Tip: When NFL player props first come out, they will have some players set at over 0.5 receptions at -10000. Not truly risk free due to chances of injury, but almost risk free if you use it on a receiver like Julio Jones or DeAndre Hopkins.
FanDuel Verdict: Avoid the trap!
FanDuel has a tricky first bet promotion. They will refund your first bet up to $1,000 if it loses. However, they issue a site credit that needs to be played through again. I do not like how they call the first bet “risk free” on their sites. They should actually call it a “second chance” to win your first bet amount back. Because of this, I recommend avoiding going for the full $1,000 wager and instead stick to your usual betting amounts for your first wager on FanDuel.
Pointsbet Verdict: Avoid the trap!
Pointsbet’s first bets promotion is similar to FanDuel. You can receive a matching free bet if your first fixed odds bet and your first PointsBetting bet loses. I decided to play my first fixed odds bet at my normal betting amount, but I did decide to “go for it” with my first PointsBetting bet and placed a wager with $500 downside risk. It ended up grading as a $120 loss for me and then I ended up losing the $120 free bet. Lesson learned. I didn’t promise you will travel a bump-free road! PointsBetting is a unique type of wager, but I will save my explanation of how it works for a future article with an in-depth review of Pointsbet.
William Hill Verdict: Use it! It’s a no brainer!
Finally, William Hill’s $300 risk free first bet. The terms were a little vague, and I was unsure how the credit would work if I lost my first bet. I decided to bet $200 on an NFL game and then used one of the $200 VIP free bets on DraftKings to play both sides – I treated it as a way to unlock the $200 free bet with no risk. The William Hill bet lost, and it turns out they give you your amount back as a balance adjustment and you are able to withdraw it with no playthrough needed. My wife bet the $300 when she opened an account, and luckily for her she won.
Step 4: Look for Daily Promotions, Profit Boosts, Odds Boosts/House Specials, Risk-Free Promotions, and Arbitrage Opportunities – But Only If They Make Sense and Don’t Violate Terms and Conditions!
Once you get past the initial signup promotions, you will want to follow your normal handicapping strategy and look for value opportunities.
Let the emails clutter your inbox! Look for promotions such as receiving free bets for touchdowns scored when you bet the spread. Read the terms carefully to make sure you make the wager correctly to unlock the promotion. Only place the bet if it fits your handicapping strategy and you were thinking about placing the bet anyway. Don’t let the promo tail wag the dog. Follow my Twitter account and look at the Promos Section for ones that I find interesting.
Many of the sportsbooks will offer profit boosts. For example, BetRivers and DraftKings offers profit boosts on straight bets and parlays. Pointsbet allows you to boost one 3+ leg parlay every 24 hours. You get to select which bet gets boosted, which is a huge advantage. If you can turn something you like from -110 to +110, that will be profitable over the course of time.
Odds Boosts/House Specials
Almost all the sportsbooks have daily promotions where they select certain wagers and boost the odds. For example, Bryson DeChambeau to win the Masters is boosted from +800 to +985 on DraftKings as I wrote this on 11/9/2020. I find the Odds Boosts on BetRivers, DraftKings, Pointsbet, and FanDuel to be very attractive. However, you should be very selective and only bet on ones that fit your handicapping strategy. Make sure to line shop between sites to make sure the boost is the best possible payout, too. Finally, make sure the boost make sense – BetRivers has a bad habit of offering House Specials that are worse than betting the equivalent bet on their own site. I tweet at them to point it out, so hopefully they will get better at it.
These are huge. DraftKings offers $20 1st TD Insurance on Primetime NFL games. I’ve turned $20 into $170, $220, etc. multiple times and gotten my $20 bet credited back a few times when the player ended up scoring later in the game. FanDuel offers Same Game Parlay promotions for football, baseball, basketball, and soccer. Make sure to look at the terms and opt in before you place, but I treat these like lottery tickets and have turned small wagers into hundreds of dollars a few times. BetRivers, Pointsbet, and William Hill will occasionally email risk-free betting opportunities.
These are great opportunities to earn playthrough on deposit bonuses with little to no risk. For example, Pointsbet offered “no juice” lines for the first 6 weeks of the 2020 NFL season. I was able to calculate opportunities to bet one side on Pointsbet and then profit boost the opposite side on DraftKings to risk zero dollars to win anywhere from $15-$20 for each NFL game on the schedule AND get risk free 25X playthrough on DraftKings. It is very important that you do not violate terms and conditions when doing these kind of bets. Do not use your spouse’s account to bet both sides on the same sportsbook, for example.
Step 5: Have Fun and Don’t Get Down On Yourself If You Hit a Rough Stretch
Like I said, I had plenty of rough patches in the past 180 days while I was grinding my way to $12,066.43 profit. Stick to the plan, control what you can control, and have fun! Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date on how my journey is going and see what boosts I’m playing.
Please note: If you think your gambling is becoming harmful or you think someone you know is having a hard time dealing with problem gambling, please click here to learn more about obtaining help.