Sportsbook Cash vs. Free Play Bonuses: Which is better?

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A Sportsbook Review reader recently asked via email whether he should settle for a 50% free play bonus with 6X rollover or a 25% cash bonus with an 8X rollover.

The question is very common. As there is such a large variety of sportsbook bonuses to consider between cash, free play/free bet, match bet, and various fine-print associated with each and every offer, it can be a challenge for players to determine what is best.

One thing SBR suggests players absolutely avoid doing is simply accepting the biggest offer out there, without understanding the ins and outs of advantage bonus play and how to optimize EV (expected value) to position your bankroll best.

Before getting started, answer this question
All bonuses require some form of compliance on the part of the player before its value can be redeemed, or else sportsbooks would simply be printing money and losing it hand over fist.

How willing are you to deal with the wagering red tape?

For instance, heavy volume players who will be rolling over their balances many times through the course of a season at the same betting site are likely not going to care much if one rollover requirement is 5X and another is 10X.

However, players that like to take payouts every two weeks or as needed do not want to be bogged down with large rollover requirements.

The sportsbook bonus directory allows  players to shop for sportsbook bonuses by rollover for this very reason.

Free play vs Cash: Which is "Better"?
Enter the "True Bonus". Put simply, the true bonus measures the value associated with each bonus perk.

Formula: For cash bonuses, divide the bonus percentage by the rollover (%/rollover). To use the SBR reader's question, a 25% cash bonus would be divided by a rollover of 10X, resulting in 2.5% true bonus funds.

With free play bonuses, all that changes with the formula is that you divide the bonus percentage in half. This is because free plays are generally worth about 50% the value of a cash bonus. Unlike cash bonuses, free plays are not added to your balance once used. A 50% free play bonus with a 6X rollover is worth a 4% true bonus.

A 50% free play bonus with a 6X rollover is 1.50% more valuable than a 20% cash bonus with a 6X rollover.

Players can compare sportsbook bonuses from betting sites rated C or higher by double-clicking the true bonus category on the bonus page.

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