The Optimal Ways to Use Kentucky Sports Betting Promos & Sign-Up Bonuses

The Optimal Ways to Use Kentucky Sports Betting Promos & Sign-Up Bonuses article feature image

Via Jeff Moreland/Getty Images. Pictured: Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Devin Leary (13) and running back Ray Davis (1) celebrate a touchdown in a game between the Eastern Kentucky University Colonels and the Kentucky Wildcats on September 9, 2023, at Kroger Field in Lexington, KY.

Kentucky sports bettors only have one chance to maximize their sportsbook promos, since most of the big value is tied to new-user offers. Once you're signed up and they have your info, you won't get the same treatment from these sites.

We'll walk you through the different kinds of offers, the two primary ways to maximize your bonus bets and first bets on the house, and the specific offers for all seven available Kentucky sports betting sites launching Thursday. This post will be quite confusing for new sports bettors, so check out our 12 tips for beginners or how to read sports betting odds first if you need.

Here are a few general notes:

  • If the offer is tied to your first bet, don't rush into anything and place a first bet that doesn't maximize the promo. Same goes for your first deposit — if your first deposit can be maximized and you do want to fully maximize it, don't just deposit $100.
  • Most bonus bets expire pretty quickly — seven days at BetMGM, 14 days at FanDuel generally. Once you sign up, be sure to check frequently to make sure you're using those bonus bets and not letting them go to waste.
  • Most "no sweat first bets" including FanDuel do not kick in if your bet pushes. You'll just get the cash back, and the promo is over. So try to bet something that can't end in a push, whether it's a half-point line like +7.5 or a moneyline in a sport that can't end in a tie (CFB or MLB).
  • If you've already signed up at any of these books in another state, you won't get the full promo. You will likely get a smaller offer to re-engage, at least at FanDuel and DraftKings.
  • Sportsbooks absolutely do not want you "hedging" promotions, like making your no sweat bet on one team and then betting the opposite team with cash to lock in a profit. It's almost always against the terms and conditions, and if it's not, it will quickly get you limited or banned. If you're going to do any kind of hedging/matched betting, make sure it's at different sportsbooks.

Alright, let's get to the specifics.

What Each Bonus Type Means

There are 5-6 different types of sign-up promotions across in the industry, but in Kentucky, we'll have three to start. We already dove deeper into each type of offer.

  1. First bet on the house: If your first bet loses, you'll be refunded in bonus bets equal to whatever you lose, up to the amount listed. Each book calls this something a little different — FanDuel's no sweat first bet, first bet on Caesars, etc. But they all work the same. If you place a $300 bet on the Packersmoneyline and they lose, you'll get $300 back in bonus bets.
  2. Bonus bets: These may 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 bet $10 on the Jets at +300 with bonus bets against the Chiefs, you'd profit $30 if they win but you wouldn't keep the $10 wager.
  3. 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. Most deposit matches come with a rollover, which means you have to wager a certain amount before getting the full bonus, and it can result in you losing a big chunk of your bonus.

Two Ways to Use the Bonuses

There are two different schools of thought when it comes to the optimal way to use your sign-up bonuses — locking in a profit by hedging, or betting at plus-money to maximize your expected value.

1. Locking in a Profit

For both first bets on the house and turning bonus bets into real cash, you can bet both sides of the same game at different sportsbooks. Let's start with the first bet on the house.

You'll want to find two lines on opposite sides of the same game that are:

  1. As high as possible (this will give you more cash back). Something like -425 on the favorite and +400 on the underdog is ideal, but you're not always going to find that.
  2. In a "main market" like college football or MLB moneylines (if you're betting something super obscure, the book may not accept a big enough wager to make this work).
  3. Close together in price, at different sportsbooks (this also allows you to maximize the cash you're getting back). Again, -425/+400 would be great.

missouri vanderbilt promo betting example

Step 1: Put the first bet on the house on the plus-money side, and cash at another book on the other side.

Here's how it could work. I'm looking at CFB lines on Wednesday night, so it's possible things have moved, but I'll go with Vandy at +425 and Missouri at -500. They're facing off and there are no ties in college football, so there must be a winner.

This site has a good calculator to figure out the amounts you need to bet to lock in your profit for any bets you want to do this with. Enter your first bet amount, the lines you're betting at, and put about 70% under conversion (we'll get to that in a second).

And if you don't want to use the max $1,500, that's fine too — this works with any amount.

  • You put your $1,500 first bet on the house at BetMGM on Vanderbilt +425 against Missouri, which would profit $6,375 cash if Vandy wins.
  • You put $5687.5 on Missouri at bet365, which would profit about $1,137 if Missouri wins.

If Vandy wins: You profit $6,375 at BetMGM and lose $5,687 on the hedge at bet365, resulting in a $688 profit. The promo is now over, and you have your original $1,500 still plus $688 in profit.

If Missouri wins: You win $1,137.50 at bet365, but you lost $1,500 cash at BetMGM and got bonus bets back, so you're still down a bit.

Step 2 (if necessary): Turn the bonus bets into cash by hedging at another sportsbook — aka "bonus bet conversion"

The idea of betting both sides at different books is often called "bonus bet conversion." Generally, you want your bonus bets to turn into cash at a 70% rate or higher — so if you have $100 in bonus bets, you hope to walk away with $70 cash, if you do this right.

If Missouri won that game above, you'll get $1,500 in bonus bets from BetMGM, and you'll have to turn those into cash. This concept can be applied with the bonus bets from your first bet on the house, or from any other bonus bets you receive from another offer.

For the bonus bet conversion find two lines that are close together, and bet them at different books.

jets chiefs matched betting example with promos

If the Jets win: You profit $5,400 cash from the +360 win and lose the $4,341.18 you put on the Chiefs, for a profit of $1,058.82

If the Chiefs win: You also profit $1,058.82 cash from the -410 wager winning and lose the bonus bets.

So either way, you're winning the same amount. But remember, you still have the $1,137.50 you won from bet365 earlier, so add $1,058.82 to that and you've got $2,196 in total cash now.

That's nearly $700 in profit off your $1,500 cash investment.

2. Betting at Plus Money

OK, the math is about to turn up a tiny bit, but if you want to skip the math and just follow the principles, here are the things to remember when betting with bonus bets:

  • You'll always be getting more expected value when betting at plus money. The higher the line, the more value.
  • Find a sweet spot in the +300 to +500 range. This is because you actually want to win some of these bonus bets, since we're not dealing with an infinite number of them. Most exercises in expected value assume an infinite number of tries.
  • You want to find best-in-market prices — so if FanDuel is offering a team at +330 and every other sportsbook has +300, that's an advantage.
  • You want to find plus-money bets in two-way markets, because two-way markets hold the sportsbook accountable. A one-way market, like "Travis Etienne to get 125 total yards at +275" is probably going to be a bad price because they're not offering the "no, he won't get 125 yards" side of it. The no side keeps sportsbooks accountable, since they can't offer egregious prices on both sides.

Let's break down the math. Say three people use a $50 bonus bet on three different lines — -250, +250 and +500.


To get the expected value, you multiply the profit by the probability. So for every $50 bonus bet you make at -250 odds, you can only expect to get about $14 back. At +500 you can expect to get $41 back for every $50 bonus bets.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Site-by-Site Breakdown

1. BetMGM

  • Promo code: TOPACTION or ACTIONGET
  • Offer: $1,500 first bet on the house or $200 in bonus bets

BetMGM is offering new users $200 in bet credits when they bet at least $10 on any NFL game (code ACTION4GET), or a $1,500 first bet on the house (code TOPACTION). If you maximize the first bet on the house, it will be higher value, as we outlined above. You should be able to turn a $1,500 first bet on the house into north of $700 in profit.

2. FanDuel

  • Promo code: Use this link
  • Offer: Bet $5, get $200 in bonus bets or $5,000 no sweat first bet

FanDuel is giving all new users $200 in bonus bets if they deposit and wager at least $5 on any event. If you take the bonus bets, I'd recommend betting some moneylines at higher prices — FanDuel has the best price in the market on Old Dominion (+480) against Marshall, New Mexico (+490) against Wyoming and Patriots (+260) against the Cowboys.

Then, there's the big whammy. FanDuel is offering Kentucky bettors a $5,000 first bet on the house with a minimum $2,000 deposit. That means if you make your first wager between $2,000 and $5,000, you'll be refunded in bonus bets if it loses.

If you want to lock in a $2,000+ profit on that, use the same strategy outlined above in the "locking in a profit" section. But you'll need close to $20,000 available to do the full hedge.

3. bet365

  • Promo code: TOPACTION
  • Offer: Deposit $10, bet $1, get $365 in bonus bets

bet365 has probably the simplest offer on the market — just bet $1 on anything and get $365 in bonus bets. You can then use those bonus bets on anything. Just make sure you deposit at least $10 and bet your $1 or more on something -500 or longer as your first bet — meaning -450 is OK but -650 is not.

Some plus-money underdogs that bet365 has the best prices on this weekend:

4. Caesars Sportsbook

  • Promo code: ACTION4GET
  • Offer: Bet $50, Get $250 in bonus bets

Sadly, Caesars isn't offering the $3,000 deposit match as it did in New York — undoubtedly the best sports betting sign-up promo we've seen in the U.S.

Instead, you'll get a "bet $50, get $250 offer" in Kentucky. The important note about this promo is that the bonus bets will release $50 at a time every Monday until you hit $250.

This makes it tougher to maximize the offer right away, since you'll have to be patient and use the bonus bets as you get them. But remember the rules when those bonus bets release — underdogs around +300 to +500 in tight, two-way markets.

5. Fanatics

  • Promo code: Use this link
  • Offer: Bet $50, get a $150 official jersey

This promotion is different because it can't be used in conjunction with any other sportsbook offer. That's because you're not getting any bonus bets at the end — you're getting an official jersey from Fanatics, up to $150.

So make a $50 bet, and get your jersey. There's not much more to it than that.

6. Barstool Sportsbook

  • Promo code: No code needed
  • Offer 1: $100 bonus bets
  • Offer 2: $1,000 deposit match with 20x rollover

The Barstool deposit match comes with a hefty rollover, meaning you have to wager 20x your bonus amount before you can cash it all out. This usually results in you losing much of your bonus before it even. So I'd take the $100 in bonus bets for now.

Plus, ESPN Bet is coming in November and they may have better promos. So I'd hold off on signing up for now.

7. DraftKings

  • Promo code: No code needed
  • Offer: Bet $5, Get $200 in bonus bets

Use your DraftKings bonus bets like you would anywhere else, and keep an eye on all the promos they offer for existing users. DK has by far the best existing-user promos of any sportsbook, and will have a bunch of weekend on college football, NFL, MLB, and even WNBA.

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