The Optimal Way to Use Massachusetts Sports Betting Sign-Up Offers & Promo Bonuses
Six sportsbooks will be vying for your attention (and wallets) on Friday when Massachusetts sports betting goes live.
But many new bettors don’t learn about the optimal ways to use their sportsbook sign-up bonuses until they’ve already claimed most of them. And at that point, it’s too late, because they can only be used once.
We’ll break down the mathematically-optimal ways to use your bonuses below. You have two different options — maximize your expected value or lock in profits if you have a bigger bankroll.
Unfortunately, any bettors who signed up at DraftKings and FanDuel sportsbooks in another state are not eligible for sign-up offers. So don’t count on those bonuses if you already have an account.
What Each Bonus Type Means
Sportsbooks use different language to describe their bonuses. But they generally fall into four different categories.
- First bet offer or first bet on the house: This is the most common offer nowadays, especially after a state has been live for a while. It means the sportsbook will refund your first bet in bonus bets if it loses. So if you put $100 on the Celtics moneyline at FanDuel as your first bet and they lose, you get $100 back in bonus bets.
- Deposit match: A deposit match is what it sounds like — the sportsbook will give you the same amount you put in, in some form or fashion. But beware — deposit matches come with a rollover, which means you have to wager a certain amount before getting the full bonus. At DraftKings, you can get a 20% deposit match up to $1,000, which means you need to put in $5,000 to get the full $1k, and it comes with a hefty rollover.
- Bonus bets/bet credits: Bet credits have different names depending on the sportsbook. But it’s like the book is spotting you the bet, and you keep the winnings. So if you put $20 on the Celtics moneyline at +120 and it wins, you profit $24 but you don’t keep the $20 credit.
- Site credit: Barstool is the only sportsbook in Massachusetts that will use “site credit.” They call it bonus cash. This works like regular cash — you keep the winnings and the stake. It’s better than bet credits for that reason.
How to Use the Bonuses
There are two different schools of thought when it comes to the optimal way to use your sign-up bonuses — guaranteeing a profit through a series of “hedge” bets, or betting at plus-money to maximize your expected value.
Betting at Plus-Money
When using bonus bets, you will get the most expected value by betting the biggest longshots possible with bet credits or first bets on the house. The higher the line, the higher the EV.
So what is EV? For our purposes, it’s what you’d win if you made a bet over an infinite number of times. So if someone is offering you 3-1 odds on a coin toss, you always take it, even if you know that one flip could lose.
With EV on sports betting promos, you don’t have an infinite number to claim. You do actually want to lock in some cash, after all.
So there’s a sweet spot between +300 and +500 in tight markets (meaning the gap between the favorite and the underdog is small). So certain types of parlays or underdogs on the moneyline tend to be good choices. One-sided props like NBA first basket scorers or NFL first touchdowns are not as good.
OK, let’s break down the math.
Take these three examples from a $50 bet with bet credit, in which you don’t keep the initial bet amount if it wins.
|Bet $50 on -250||$20||71.43%||+$14.28|
|$50 on +250||$125||28.57%||+$35.71|
|$50 on +500||$250||16.67%||+$41.67|
Example 1: You’ll win $20 if the $50 bet credit wins. The probability a -250 favorite wins is 71.43%.
The EV, in this case, is 71.43% x $20, which equals $14.28. So over an infinite number of bets, that $50 will be worth just $14.
Example 2: Now let’s bet a +250 underdog with a $50 bet credit.
You’ll win $125 if it wins, and you can expect the bet to win 28.57% of the time.
The EV, in this case, is 28.57% x $125, which equals $35.71. So over an infinite number of bets, that $50 will be worth $35.71.
Example 3: How about a +500 underdog with $50? You’ll win $250 if it wins, and you can expect the bet to win 16.67% of the time.
The EV, in this case, is 28.57% x $125, which equals $41.67.
It’s mathematically impossible to get a better advantage over the sportsbook on a favorite than on an underdog with a bet credit. The longer the odds, the more value you get.
Locking in Profits
OK, what if you want to lock in a profit? Let’s look at an example for Friday. This works for both first bets on the house, and bet credit offers.
Say you’re using a $500 first bet on the house (meaning you’ll be refunded in bet credits if your first bet loses) from Caesars. You don’t want to do this with any sport that could end in a tie, so we’ll go college basketball. You also don’t want to try this on obscure props or obscure sports, because it’s a good way to get limited.
You want to find two lines that are 1) as big as possible 2) in a “main market” like NBA or NCAAB moneylines and 3) as close together at different sportsbooks as you can find.
You put the first bet on the house/bet credits on the plus-money side, and cash at another book on the other side. The higher the lines and the closer together the lines are, the more profit you’ll lock in. Because Mass. only has six sportsbooks, you may not be able to find the most optimal situations without some patience.
Here’s how it could work:
- You put the $500 bonus bet on Vanderbilt +230 at Caesars.
- You put $811.76 on the Kentucky moneyline at -240 at FanDuel, which would win $338.24.
If Vandy wins, you profit $338.24 because you won $1,150 and lost $811.76 on the hedge. You’re now done with this promo, and converted the $500 first bet to 67% cash.
If Kentucky wins, you’ll have won $338.24 from FanDuel and you’ll get $500 back in bet credits from Caesars; so at this point, you’re down just a bit. And you’ll have to “convert” the bet credits to cash to make a profit.
Bet credit conversion is the same concept — you can lock in a profit by hedging at another sportsbook.
Find two lines that are close together, and most importantly bet them at different books. While we don’t have lines from every book yet, we’ll use Saturday’s Bruins vs. Red Wings game as an example.
- Bet $1,151.16 on the Bruins at -330 at DraftKings using cash
- Bet the $500 bet credits on the Red Wings +300 at Caesars
Here are the outcomes:
- If the Red Wings win, you’ll win $1,500 and lose $1,151.16 on the hedge for a $348.84 profit.
- If the Bruins win, you’ll win $348.84.
- And remember you’ll have the $338.24 you won from the initial Kentucky bet.
So either way, off a $500 deposit, you’ll have $687 total in your accounts ($338.24 + $348.84) for a profit of about $187. The promo is over, and that balance is all cash you can continue betting or move to another sportsbook.
You can convert bet credits to cash through this method at a higher rate if you’re patient, but with some of these promos, you only have a week to use the credits, so make sure they don’t expire.
Every Mass. Betting Offer
- Promo code: TOPACTION
- Offer: $1000 first bet on the house
BetMGM is offering new users in Massachusetts a $1,000 first bet on the house with bonus code TOPACTION.
If you don’t want to maximize the offer or don’t have the bankroll, you can use bonus code ACTIONPOINT to get $200 in bonus bets when you bet $10 on any NBA moneyline.
- Promo code: Use this link
- Offer: Bet $5, get $200 in bet credits
FanDuel is giving all new users $200 in bonus bets if they deposit and wager at least $5 on any event. You can then use those bonus bets on anything within 14 days.
- Promo code: XTANMASS or Use this link
- Offer: $100 in bet credits
Wynn is giving new users $100 in bet credits when they bet $100 on their first wager after launch.
4. Caesars Sportsbook
- Promo code: ACTION41BET
- Offer: $1,500 first bet on the house
Sadly, Caesars isn’t offering the $3,000 deposit match as it did in New York — arguably the best sports betting sign-up promo ever.
Instead, you can get a $1,500 first bet on the house. That means if your first wager on the platform loses, you’ll get refunded in bet credits, equal to whatever you lost.
5. Barstool Sportsbook
- Promo code: Click here
- Offer: $1000 new player bonus
Barstool is offering new users a $1,000 first bet on the house, like Caesars and BetMGM.
Barstool is unique in that its bonus cash is actually site credit, so you can just wager it like cash since if your bets win, you’ll get back your profits and the bet amount.
So if you put $10 in bonus cash on the Bruins at +110 against the Avalanche and the Bruins win, you’d profit $11 and keep the $10 for a total of $21 cash. At most other sportsbooks, you’d only get the $11 in profit.
The tricky thing is that you must wager your full bonus cash balance before being able to cash out any profits. So that $21, even though it’s cash, can’t be withdrawn just yet. In your account details, it will show how much bonus cash you have remaining to wager.
- Promo code: Use this link
- Offer: 20% deposit match, up to $1,000
To get the full DraftKings offer, you need to deposit $5,000 — 20% of that is $1,000. It also comes with a pretty hefty rollover, which means the bonus bets release as you wager more on the platform.
If you or a loved one is experiencing problems with gambling, please call 1-800-327-5050 or visit gamblinghelplinema.org for 24/7 support. LiveChat with a GameSense Advisor at GameSenseMA.com or call 1-800-GAM-1234
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