Second Chance & No Sweat Bets: Best Available & Strategy

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Compare Sign-Up Bonuses That Work Like Risk-Free Bets Used To

*Note that these are NOT risk-free bets and there is no such thing as a risk-free bet. Most sportsbooks have changed their language to reflect this.

Site

Sign-Up Bonus

Promo Code

5/5

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

If your first bet loses, receive a Bonus Bet of equal value up to $1,000. Terms & conditions apply.

5/5

Second Chance Bet Up to $1,500

If your first bet loses, receive Bonus Bets of equal value up to $1,500. Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Add’l terms.

4.7/5

Second Chance Bet Up to $500

If your first bet loses, receive a bonus bet of equal value up to $500. Terms & conditions apply.

Risk-free bets used to be one of the most common welcome promotion on sports betting sites, usually valued between $100 and $2,000.

With more state regulators restricting the use of the terms “free” and “risk-free”, most of these promotions have different names now, such as “No Sweat”, “Second Chance”, and “Up to $X Back in Bonus Bets”.

While the names may have changed, how these offers work remains the same. Once you deposit money into your newly-created sportsbook account and place your first wager, you will receive bonus bet(s) back if that bet loses. 

If you win your first bet after depositing, congrats! You started off your betting career (at least with that sportsbook) with more money than you deposited. In this case, however, you don’t get a bonus bet or bets.

It's worth noting that these bets aren't risk free. There is a chance that you lose your initial bet then lose the bets you place with the ensuing bonus bet(s).

This guide goes over the best no sweat/second chance bet sign-up bonuses, why these promotions aren’t risk-free, strategies for taking advantage of them, and more.

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Best No Sweat & Second Chance Bets

There’s no shortage of promotions that work similarly to how risk-free bets used to work with U.S. sportsbooks. There are dozens of betting sites where you can find these promos, and the table below will help you quickly compare the best options currently available.

Remember to read the terms and conditions of every offer. Each has its own odds requirements, time to use, playthrough requirements, and more.

We will update this table as sportsbooks change their current offers so you can always find the best for you.

Must be 21+ in most states. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Sportsbook

States

Intro Promo*

Caesars

AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, NJ, NY, NV, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

BetMGM

AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, TN, WV, WY, VA​

2nd Chance Bet Up to $1,500**

BetRivers

AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, LA, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA​

2nd Chance Bet Up to $500

bet365

CO, IA, KY, LA, NJ, NC, OH, VA

First Bet Safety Net up to $1,000

SugarHouse

PA

2nd Chance Bet Up to $500

Betway

AZ, CO, IN, IA, LA, NJ, OH, PA, VA

Bet $25 Get $150 If Your Bet Wins*

Hard Rock

AZ, FL, IN, NJ, TN, OH, VA

$100 Second Chance Bet

*May vary by state.

How No Sweat & Second Chance Bets Work

Risk-free bets used to be the most popular form of intro promos for new customers, with over half of U.S. sportsbooks offering them. Now, each sportsbook calls them something different, but they work similarly.

Here's how they work:

  1. You register for an account and make your first deposit.
  2. Place your first bet (using the money you just deposited).
    1. If your bet wins, your bet is treated as a normal bet and you can immediately withdraw your winnings if you’d like.
    2. If your bet loses, you will receive a bonus bet or site credit of equal value up to a certain amount (usually between $100 and $2,000).

If your first bet loses and you do receive the bonus bet, you are not eligible to withdraw it until you bet it at least once—this is called the playthrough requirement or rollover requirement.

Most sportsbooks only require you to bet the bonus bet or site credit once before you can withdraw it, but others may require you to bet it up to 25 times first.

The other thing to note with second chance bets is that most sportsbooks give you a certain amount of time to place your first bet after registering and, if your first bet loses, a certain amount of time to use your bonus bet(s)

Be sure to read the full terms and conditions so you do not miss out on using the bonus bet(s).

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None available for your state

No Sweat First Bet Example

Let’s say that your sportsbook of choice gave you a no sweat first bet up to $250 for signing up. You deposit $250 and place a wager on the Brooklyn Nets to cover the spread of -8.5 against the New York Knicks at -110 odds.

Scenario 1: The Nets comfortably win in double digits, and you make a $227.27 profit ($477.27 total payout). Your first bet is now used up and it is treated just like with any regular wager. You can withdraw your winnings immediately if you’d like.

Scenario 2: Brooklyn barely scrapes a 1-point win in the last seconds of the game, failing to cover the spread. You don’t win anything, but your $250 stake is given back to you in the form of a bonus bet. You now take that bonus bet and place another bet on -110 odds. This time you win, but, as with any bonus bet, you only get paid the $227.27 profit and not the amount that you wagered.

Scenario 3: The same scenario as #2, except this time you lose your bonus bet. In this case, you end up walking away with nothing—hence why these types of bets aren’t risk-free.

Things to Pay Attention to With Second Chance & No Sweat Bets

No sweat bets are simple to understand, but you should always read the fine print and learn all the details before using them. Here are a few terms and conditions to pay attention to:

  • The limit. These promotions come with an upper limit, however, you can always bet more than the indicated amount. For instance, if a no sweat bet is up to $250, you can still wager $300; it’s just that the bonus bets you get back will be capped at $250.
  • How the first bet is refunded. The funds you get back from a second chance bet can either come in the form of a single bonus bet or multiple bonus bets. With a single bonus bet, you’ll need to wager it all at once. Meanwhile, multiple bonus bets allows you to spread the amount across multiple bets.
  • Time to place your first bet. Most sportsbooks give you a certain amount of time to place your first bet from the time you register—typically 7 to 30 days.
  • Time to use bonus bet(s). You must also use your bonus bet(s) (assuming you lose the first bet) in a certain amount of time. This can range anywhere from a few days to a year.
  • Minimum odds. You’ll also likely encounter minimum odds associated with the use of a first bet or the ensuing bonus bet(s). For example, you may only be able to use them on markets with odds of -200 (-110, +150, +300, etc.).
  • Playthrough requirements. The bonus bet(s) you get back from your first bet losing can’t be withdrawn right away, as you’ll need to complete the playthrough requirements first, which are almost always 1x for this type of promotion. This means that you must 

Offers from our partners

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None available for your state

Pros & Cons of Second Chance Bets

Pros

The main benefit of these sign-up bonuses is that you essentially get a “second chance” if your first bet loses. This allows you to place a large bet (if you’d like) and reap the rewards if you win and have a chance at not completely losing your money if you lose.

For example, if you place your first bet of $1,000 on an event with +100 odds and you win, you quickly double your money which you can withdraw or continue betting with.

Cons

The main downside of these bets is that you can lose all of the money wagered on your first bet if you also lose your bonus bet.

For example, if you lose your first bet of $1,000 and then get the bonus bet of $1,000 and also lose that, you’re out $1,000.

Strategy for No Sweat Bets & Second Chance Bets

These sign-up bonuses are simple enough to understand and use, but if you want to make the most out of them, you should consider using certain strategies. The following are some of the best ways to use no sweat/second chance bets:

1) Arbitrage With No Sweat Bets

Using this type of promotion with arbitrage betting is how you can ensure a true risk-free scenario. 

This (typically) involves a lot of research on your part, as you need to scour lines on sportsbooks to find an opportunity. Here at Odds Assist, we make this easy with our free arbitrage bet finder tool to see currently available arb opportunities.

You can also combine a second chance bet on one betting site with an odds boost promo on another for maximum potential. 

Say that the Cleveland Browns are favored to win against the Houston Texans at -140. The odds boost promo bumps the Browns to +110, while the Texans also have +110 odds on the sportsbook with a second chance first bet.

You make a $500 no sweat bet on the Texans and take the odds boost on the Browns, wagering the same amount. If the Texans win, you win $550 in one book and lose $500 in the other, leaving you with a $50 profit. If the Browns come out on top, you again end up with a $50 profit, only this time you’ll also get a bonus bet(s) as a result of your no sweat bet loss.

2) Hedge a Second Chance Bet by Betting the Other Side With Another Book

Hedging a second chance bet is another one of the best ways to use these sign-up bonuses but is a less effective strategy than arbitrage. It requires less research as you don’t need to find optimal lines, but it doesn’t guarantee profit.

Let’s say you want to wager $1,000 on the Boston Red Sox to beat the New York Yankees at -110 odds as a part of your second chance bet. Meanwhile, you find another book where you bet $1,000 on the Yankees at the same odds.

Either way, you profit $909.09 on one bet and lose $1,000 on another, but you would want your second chance bet to lose, as it will result in a bonus bet(s) that will help you win more further down the line.

For example, if the Yankees win, you would receive a $1,000 bonus bet. You could then place this on another market, giving you the chance to make money. In this scenario, you’re essentially paying $91.91 for a 50% chance to receive a $1,000 bonus bet.

An alternative is to use two $1,000 second chance bets at the same time. In this case, you're paying $91.91 (one wins $909.09—assuming -110 odds—while the other loses $1,000) for a guaranteed $1,000 bonus bet from the initial bet that lost.

If you need another second chance/no sweat bet to use to hedge your bet, compare options here.

3) Betting the Opposite Side of Your Ensuing Bonus Bet With Another Sportsbook

If your no sweat/second chance bet loses and you get a bonus bet as a result, you can hedge it to ensure a profit. You do this by using the bonus bet on one side of a two-way market and making a cash bet on the other side.

The amount you need to hedge depends on the bonus bet amount and the odds on either side of the market. Instead of wondering how to calculate that yourself, you can use our Free Bet Calculator.

4) Placing No Sweat Bet and the Ensuing Bonus Bet(s) on Longshots

Ironically, no sweat bets give the highest expected value when you take them on risky outcomes. Because you know you’ll at least get a bonus bet if you lose, you can take your no sweat bet on a long shot.

Even if you lose and get the ensuing bonus bet, you should also put that on a long shot since you can only get the profit from the bonus bet and not the wagered amount. 

Here is the math behind why placing the bonus bet on a longshot gives the highest expected value:

  • Place $1,000 bonus bet on market with +100 odds. In this scenario, you have a 50% chance to win $1,000 (excluding the vig), making your expected value $500.
  • Place $1,000 bonus bet on market with +500 odds. In this scenario, you have a 16.67% chance to win $5,000 (excluding the vig), making your expected value $833.50.
  • Place $1,000 bonus bet on market with +1000 odds. In this scenario, you have a 9.09% chance to win $10,000 (excluding the vig), making your expected value $909.

To see the chance of winning any given bet and figure out the relation between odds and probability, feel free to check out our Odds to Probability Calculator.

5) Playing It Safe With Second Chance Bets

Aside from hedging, the safest way of using your second chance/no sweat bets is simply betting on the favorite. Naturally, the bigger the favorite, the shorter the odds, meaning you’ll win less money. Using a $1,000 second chance bet and winning on odds of -110, -200, or -500 will result in a $909.09, $500, or $200 profit, respectively.

In other words, you’ll be treating your second chance bet like any other bet, with the added benefit of having a safety net if it loses.

If it does fail, mind that you’ll lose money overall if you place the ensuing bonus bet on a favorite as well, since you’ll only win the potential profit from a bonus bet and not the stake. This means you’ll need to use the ensuing bonus bet (if you lose, that is) on positive odds (underdogs) to make any kind of profit.

Second Chance/No Sweat Bets vs. Other Betting Offers

Let’s see how second chance/no sweat bets compare to other common betting offers found on U.S. betting sites.

Second Chance/No Sweat Bets vs. No Deposit Free Bets

No deposit free bets are some of the best kinds of promotions because there’s truly no risk associated with them. You don’t need to use any of your money to make a wager, and you’ll get a chance to profit. The downside, however, is that no deposit free bets often have very low value (usually between $5 to $20) and more restrictive terms of use.

Second Chance/No Sweat Bets vs. First Bet Matches

A first-bet match is essentially an improved version of a no sweat/second chance bet. With it, you’ll get a bonus bet(s) equal to your first bet made on the site. This means that you’ll get a reward whether the qualifying bet wins or loses. Meanwhile, you can only get a bonus bet from a no sweat bet if the first bet loses.

Second Chance/No Sweat Bets vs. Deposit Matches

Matched first deposits are also preferred to no sweat bets as you’ll get a cash bonus as soon as you deposit, without having to do anything else and regardless of the result of your first bet. Typical deposit matches are between 20% and 100% for anywhere from $100 to $5,000.

Second Chance/No Sweat Bets vs. Bet & Get Offers

Bet & Get offers are one of my favorite types of sign-up bonuses at sportsbooks. With these, you just have to make your first bet of a certain amount (typically $5 to $20) in exchange for bonus bets regardless of how your first bet settles.

While these don't typically have the same total value as first no sweat bets, they require much less upfront investment.

If you don't want to deposit a lot into your sportsbook account, a Bet & Get offer is the perfect promotion to take advantage of.

Second Chance/No Sweat Bets vs. Bonus Bets from Wagering or Hitting Other Requirements

Apart from getting bonus bets from no sweat bets or first bet matches as a new customer, you can get them along the way once you meet certain requirements. For instance, if you wagered enough money throughout a promotional period (a week or a month), the operator may reward you with a $10 bonus bet. The advantage of these bonus bets is that they can be acquired by regular customers and not just new ones.

Dave Rathmanner

Dave Rathmanner is the Founder & CEO of Odds Assist. After struggling to find helpful sports betting resources and honest reviews when he first started betting, he decided to create the site he always wished he had. Dave has been betting on sports since NJ legalized it in 2018 and regularly analyzes sportsbooks to find the best options for bettors. Aside from creating new content for OA readers, Dave is also passionate about researching betting markets, creating models, and developing profitable betting strategies.