comment by david_reinstein ·
2022-02-08T01:25:16.771Z · EA(p) · GW(p)
General notes on "Sports Betting for EA" … and ‘ways to (not) screw it up’
Some lessons from my experiment and understanding (writing up my experience HERE [EA(p) · GW(p)], when I get a a chance)
As written elsewhere [EA · GW], there are basically 2-3 types of rewards.
- The "deposit match" rewards give you some house money (“bonus”) when you sign up and make yout first deposit. The ones I've seen will give you this house money in an amount equal to the amount you deposited on that first deposit.
- Risk-free bets: When you start an account and make a deposit, some online casinos give you your first bet "risk-free". What this means is that if you place an eligible bet and lose you will be refunded the amount you bet – not in cash but in what I'm calling house money.
- Rewards for taking particular actions, making particular bets, winning certain bets, etc. For example DraftKings is offering a bonus prize of a few hundred dollars (house money, I presume( if you win your first bet of $5 or more within a certain category .
What is this “house money?": the rewards and bonuses cannot be withdrawn immediately. There are certain “play through requirements”. From what I'm seeing if there are "1X playthrough requirements” and 20x (or something) play through requirements.^[Don't bother with bonuses involving the latter, the process of playing through them you will be giving the casino back a lot of money as they take some cut with every bet].
But even with 1X requirement there are some caveats, and some bets do not count as playing through. [See below ‘Check that your bets…’]
Ways to (not) screw it up (or inconvenience yourself)
Don’t miss an opportunity when signing up for an account or depositing money.
- It's not clear to me to what extent the "promotion codes” are necessary to get the promotion, but they might be in some cases.
- If there is a deposit match, when you make your first deposit, make sure that very first deposit is the amount that can achieve the maximum deposit match
Make sure you are in the right state and can verify this. Some sites have specific tracking software you need to download others seem to just use something within your browser. However, in my experience it sometimes gets it wrong and says you are not in the state when actually you are. It seems to work better when you are closer to multiple wifi-spots. Sometimes clearing your cache might help or using an incognito browser but I didn't have consistent results for that. Note also that your browser should be set to allow location support. If you download the casino’s geo tracking software you also need to give that software permission for location support.
But in my experience, where my computer failed to demonstrate I was in the state I was in, my telephone (Iphone) almost always worked, particularly once I downloaded the casinos’ apps.
You will need to upload/share some photo ID such as a driver's license, and at least in one case (Caesars) a utility bill as well. I don't think you need to show residence in the state, just that you are really who you say you are. If you are not comfortable doing this (I do think it's pretty secure), don't bother.
Make sure you have access to your phone for two-factor identification. The sites and apps are continually asking you for this, and you often get logged out and have to log yourself in again with this 2-factor
When you make a ‘risk-free bet’, make sure the terms apply. I didn't actually have any issues with this, but there are so many terms and conditions I would make sure before you bet. Also, the general advice is "for risk-free bets, you should bet on something at least somewhat risky, otherwise you are wasting the reward.”
Check that your bets are actually with the ‘house money’ (bonus/reward) and are eligible for playthrough requirements.
Not all bets ‘count equally’. You might accidentally bet your cash and not the house money. You might bet with the house money in a way that doesn’t qualify as ‘play through.’
Not all bets allow you to use the house money, or qualify as ‘playing through’ that money In some cases if you bet it on a "nearly sure thing” (e.g., what they call -200 or shorter odds) this does not count towards your play-through! They may not let you use the house money for this, or if they do, even if you win you will not be able to withdraw it without playing more. Be sure you know the rules, and….
When in doubt go to their chat helpline and ask directly. They were often helpful. But even there, I'm not sure all of their help team necessarily gets it right, in at least one case they didn’t seem aware of the caveat above. … But at least you will have a record of the chat you can show to complain.
Make sure you have time (in the state) to use the house money, and don’t wait too long: The rewards seem to expire after a period that is sometimes a day or week or something.
How to make reasonably good and safe bets/betting portfolios (ideally with house money)
You need to bet on something. As noted above, for the risk-free bets you want something fairly risky, something with “+200 odds or higher” perhaps. (I think +200 means that if you bet $1000 and win you get $2000 plus your initial $1000 stake, and can withdraw $3000).
Finding OK bets, OddsJam
As stated elsewhere, OddsJam is a site that provides a range of information. You can sign up for a trial account but….
Don’t forget to cancel an OddsJam trial, and probably best to trial a ‘monthly membership’ rather than yearly. If you trial a yearly and you forget to cancel in a week you could be out $1,000.
There's a premium version of OddsJam with no free trial that claims to find the highest expected value bets. But the regular one does have a list of sports and sporting events, and tells you which casinos offer the best odds, and what the house ‘vig’ is (the amount of all bets the house gets on average, I guess, because of the spread between the odds on each team … e.g., one may be -100 and the other only +50.
I wouldn't bet on anything with a “vig” of 5% or more. My impression was that US basketball games had pretty low vigs but (Euro?) soccer games had ridiculously high ones.
Next, you might look for a game where one side has odds somewhat close to the level you're looking for, the amount of risk you want to take (unless you are hedging, in which case that might not matter, see below). On OddsJam you can browse for that while also comparing whether your casino is offering something close to the best odds among the casinos. (Larger “+” numbers and “-” numbers closer to zero are better).
Low risk bets and portfolios
So now you have a ‘house money’ reward (perhaps just the return of the money you lost on the risk-free bet) and you want to get it out. If you have an account with multiple sites and similar amount you want to get out of each, there's a pretty easy way to do this: you can bet on opposite teams on opposite sites, i.e., fully hedge your bet. Check how much will pay if you win on each side on each site and bet an amount on each that makes that roughly equal. You can do this in combination with OddsJam to try to guarantee as close to 100% of your money back as possible (over 100% is also conceivable but would seem to be a rare ‘arbitrage opportunity’).
If you have only an account with one site (or more money you are trying to get out of one sites than another) I think you should:
- look for eligible bets with odds as low as possible (very likely to win, low payoff, but remember these still need to be risky enough to qualify for the playthrough requirement), and
- make several small bet rather than one large bet to lower the overall variance of your outcome (see the ‘law of large numbers’, ‘portfolio diversification’ etc.
Warning: this can be stressful and distracting to work
The return seems to be potentially pretty good, but (particularly for the casinos with “risk-free bets” rather than deposit matching) there are ways you can lose money if you are not careful. It can be pretty stressful and you have to concentrate on what you're doing. Even though the process of doing it correctly they only take a few hours, if you are anticipating yet and discriminating over your bad choices, or losing sleep anticipating upcoming games... This can take up a lot more of your life. For some people this process might be fun, for others traumatic. Other people might really like the excitement and adrenaline But it may take you away from other things you are trying to focus on. This was the case for me; so far, it’s been interesting and sometimes fun and rewarding to see when ‘I got it right.’ But overall it was not relaxing, rather stressful and pulled me away from other important things.
Replies from: Sam Anschell
↑ comment by Sam Anschell ·
2022-02-08T08:32:26.214Z · EA(p) · GW(p)
Thanks so much for sharing these tips! With regards to the info on OddsJam:
- I use the app "Todoreminder" to remind myself to cancel subscriptions like this.
- You can always buy a $10 visa gift card online and register with that instead of your credit card if you're worried about forgetting to cancel your subscription.
- If you're using OddsJam premium, I wouldn't worry about betting on specific sports. OddsJam will show you where the best bets are for the sports book you're betting with accounting for the vig. Generally speaking though, you're right that two-way markets (meaning only two outcomes can happen) take less vig than futures markets (e.g., the winner of this year's NBA championship) or three-way markets (like soccer where a game can end in a tie).