Betting 101: Bookmaker Offers

Mon 11 Sep 2023

Introduction to the most popular bookmakers offers (and how to profit from them)

Time to Read: 8 mins

This article provides a brief introduction to the variety of offers you're likely to encounter on bookmaker online websites. We'll provide a general introduction, outline some of the most common and popular offers you're likely to find and comment on some ways to profit from them.

Bookmaker offers will vary from location to location but there are a few common across countries for some of the larger bookmakers. for example, Bet365 2up offers are available in a number of countries including in Latin America.

What are bookmaker offers?

Bookmakers will provide many offers or promotions on their websites. Some related to sports, others related to gaming (casino etc.). In this article we'll just be concentrating on the sports promotions.

Offers are designed to encourage you to bet more - so depending on your strategy these should be approached cautiously. Benefiting from promotions is the main goal of "matched betting" whereby bettors take advantage of promotions in order to bank free bets. In order to do this you need to have access to a betting exchange such as Betfair, Smarkets, Matchbook or similar where lay bets can be placed.

Even if not matched betting, it is still valuable to know about the offers, how they work and how you might be able to benefit from them.

Bet Clubs

Some bookmakers have bet clubs whereby if you place X number of bets in given period, you will recive a free bet or odds boost. Paddy Power is an obvious standout here in the UK at the time of writing.

Matched bettors would seek to take advantage of this by placing a series of layed bets, incurring a small loss, and then profiting from the free bet. As an example, in the case of Paddy Power, they offer you a free 10 GBP bet if you place 5 x 10 bets in the week. A matched bettor would place 5 bets, layed at exchanges which would cost between 30-50p each in order to qualify for the free bet. Doing so usually yields a profit of approximately 5 GBP (this doesn't sound much but the matched betting approach is small profits often).

Such bet clubs are becoming increasingly rare and have restrictive terms which limit the profitability. For example with Paddy Power, at the time of writing, the requirements have recently been changed so the minimum odds for qualifying bets went from 1.5 to 2.0 which limits the value significantly.

For those not matched betting, bet clubs can offer some value if you'd be betting anyway under a different strategy - for example with Accas or 2ups etc.

Bet Boosts

Bet boosts are where the bookmaker offers improved odds for a given market. These are often highlighted on bookmaker websites and posted to social media. They'll be in the form of:

Neymar to score first - was 5.00 NOW 7.00!

These are very common, and if you think there is value then these are not a bad shout. Although often bookmakers will choose enticing markets and outcomes that are quite long odds. As with Accas, in some cases it is possible to lay these boosts with an immediate small profit or ride the variance and expect that the value will come through with time.

Extra Places

These offers are for each-way bets and are common in horse racing and golf. Additional places often offer value, and particularly in events that have reduced fields - for example with golf this is the case in the Masters.

There are a number of ways to play these offers. One approach is to lay the win and the typical number of places - profiting when your selection comes in one of the extra places. An alternative, is to lay the win only and then benefit if your selection(s) come in any of the places. Finally, as above it's possible just to take this as an advantage, recognising that there is value and not laying. This will come with higher variance.

Free bets

These are becoming increasingly rare, but crop up every now and again. They may come in a number of forms. Sometimes it's just a straight up free bet in your account. This can be taken as is or you can lay for a guaranteed profit.

More often they come in the form of "Bet X on Y event and get a free bet". There are often limits on what the bet can be placed and it's common for these to be limited to in-play bets. This is the "bread and butter" of matched betting, where the qualifer is laid for a small loss and then recouped by also laying the free bet at higher odds.

A futher flavour comes in the form of "risk free" bets. Here if you bet up to a certain value, if your bet loses, you'll have your stake returned in the form of a free bet.

Early Payout Offers

There are a number of these kinds of offers, the most popular is "2up" from Bet365 (although some other bookmakers also now offer the same). This offer will pay out on your Match-Result bet if your team goes 2up. Even if your team go on to draw or lose the bookmaker still pays out.

There are variants of this for NFL and sometimes rugby, but below we'll just concentrate on football.

A side going 2up is actually reasonably common - somewhere in the region of 25-30%, however the probabilty of a side then going on to draw or even lose is much less likley (around 2-3%). See the league stats in the registered user area for specific details.

To profit from this offer you would back a team and then lay the opposite. If a 2up event happens then there will be a shift in the odds and you can cash out early for a nice profit. There are two main ways to do this: cash out if the losing side gets one goal back (a half-turnaround) for a small, more regular profit; or cash out when a side draws level - in this instance it's possible to exit with a nice amount. A third option of course, is just to let the bets ride and and see what happens thereby reducing overheads (in time and money) that come with cashing out at the exchange.

Factors to consider are whether to back the favourite or the underdog. With the favourite, they may go 2up very often (think Man. City or Ajax), but the chances of them then conceding goals is limited often going on to score 3, 4 or 5 goals. The alternative is to back the underdog at longer odds. Here the chances of them going 2up is limited and the odds will be much higher, but if they were to go 2up then it's more likley that they would conceded this advantage. A further dimension is whether to concentrate on favourites (or underdogs) at home or playing away.

A main element to this strategy is being able to find good close lay odds so that you are not incurring significant qualifying losses. Over the long term these need to be below the 2-3% likelihood of a 2up turnaround event happening for you to be profitable.

These can be good fun and handy when combined with other offers such as bet clubs.

A similar riff on this area of early payouts is the recent 90minwin offer from Betfair, where if your bet is winning upon entering overtime, this will be honoured even if there's a late turnaround - e.g. where your chosen team concedes an equaliser. The probabilites are perhaps a little lower than those for 2up alhtough this may change with the increase in additional time being added to matches recently.


In conclusion, you'll see many offers so this is part of the current online gambling landscape. Some very general and common sense tips to conclude.

1/. Be conscious of the fact bookmakers are trying to get you to bet more - so be cautious and don't bet just because there's an offer.

2/. Understand the offer and read the small print - there are often restrictions that limit the applicability of the offer. So don't take an offer without reading the terms first (and further note that these do change frequently).

3/. Don't abuse offers - the bookmaker will be able to easily spot this and will restrict your account.

4/. If you're taking offers that require placing lay bets - make sure you review before confirming your bet. Ensure the amounts staked are right and you're on the correct market (and even the correct event - painful personal experience!). Given the liability that comes with longer odds mistakes can be costly.

Betting 101 provides a range of statistics to help you analyse football matches / soccer matches. Statistics include standings, recent form, goal times - scoring and conceding, Overs for goals and corners. BTTS, clean sheets, first team to score plus many more. .
Upcoming matches can be filtered using our in-built fixture finder. Filters can be saved for easy re-use in the future.
Our layout designer enables you to design your own statistics page layouts for leagues, teams and matches using a wide range of in-built widgets so you access only the stats you need.