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Reduced Juice vs. Sign Up Bonuses

Should I take a “sign up bonus” or “reduced juice” is a question often asked on sports betting forums. A sign up bonus is an incentive that online bookmakers give to first time depositors; sometimes this is a cash bonus and other times a free play. Reduced Juice is when betting sites offer better than standard -110 pricing. As you’re probably aware of, when betting a point spread or over/under a posted total, no matter which option you bet, you’re required to risk $1.10 for each $1.00 you want to win. 5Dimes is an example of a betting site that offers reduced juice; their offer is -105 pricing, which means it is only required that you risk $1.05 for each $1.00 of potential win. In most cases when this topic comes up, reduced juice is the better option, but we’ll go ahead and give Signup Bonus vs. Reduced Juice full coverage in this article, so you’ll have the information to decide for yourself.

The largest betting site to offer players a choice between a “sign up bonus” and “reduced juice” is 5Dimes.eu. The choice here is a no brainer; reduced juice is by far the best option. To get the maximum bonus at 5Dimes, you need to deposit $2,000 which will give you the ability to earn up to $520 in free play credit. What’s important to understand is that free play credits are not cash; when you wager cash, you get back your stake plus win. When you wager free play credits, a win only returns the win amount, the free play credits are used up and will not be returned. Another catch is that the bonus is released in 10% increments each time you roll your deposit over one time. Later in this article we’ll show you how to convert free plays into cash at a rate of 75% of their value. In the meantime, summarizing the math, every $2,000 wagered returns a $52 free play which has a maximum cash value of $39.00. Doing the math, that is a 1.95% return.

The 5Dimes reduced juice is -105 pricing or better. When making 20 bets risking $100 each at -110, if you win half and lose half you’ll have won $909.09 and lost $1000. If you did the same at -105, you’d win $952.81 and lose $1000. The win difference comes out to $43.72. That’s a bit more than the $39.00 bonus. Now, If you win more than half your bets, the difference grows larger. Keep in mind also that you’re getting the extra winnings immediately. You don’t have to wait to roll your deposit over one time, then go through the work of converting the free play to cash to claim this bonus.

In addition to showing that the -105 reduced juice is clearly the better option, another factor is that a withdrawal cancels out future bonus earnings. This means you’ll need to deposit $2,000 to get the max bonus and then make $20,000 in wagers prior to cashing out. When, instead, you take the reduced juice option, you’re free to deposit and withdraw at your own leisure, without worrying about rollover, while also getting better odds than the bonus offers.

The final factor here is that 5Dimes is a great out to have for reduced juice. I opened my account with them back in 1999, just 20 years old at the time, and I still use them on a regular basis. If I had passed up reduced juice for some onetime bonus, I’d have cost myself more money than I care to think about.

To learn more about 5Dimes and other sites offering reduced juice, see our page on Reduced Juice Sportsbooks.

Free Play Value

As I mentioned earlier in this article, a free play can easily be converted to 75% of its face value. This is true so long as the betting site offering the free play allows free plays to be used on either parlays and/or moneyline bets. When the site offers moneyline options, simply wait till you find a moneyline of +450 where another betting site is offering -500 on the opposite team. Here, if you bet $100 to win $450 with the free play, and $375 to win $75 at a separate site, you’ll convert $100 of your free play to $75 cash regardless of which team wins.

Another option for converting free plays to cash is three team parlays. Understand this is high risk, and to pull this off you’ll ideally need to sign up at several online sportsbooks offering free play credits. If you bet these all at the same site, you’d risk being banned for bonus abuse, or at the very least having your account flagged and your bets watched more closely. To show what we’re talking about, here is the scenario:

In a situation where the games are:

Game 1: A -vs- B
Game 2: C -vs- D
Game 3: E -vs- F

There are eight possible three team parlays: (a,c,e), (a,c,f), (a,d,e), (a,d,f), (b,c,e), (b,c,f), (b,d,e), (b,d,f). If you bet them all, you get paid 6 to 1 on one of them and lose 7 more. We don’t get the free play returned, so we’re getting back 6 of 8, therefore converting the free play bonus to 75%.

Again, I mention that this method is risky, and it works best when you have 4 different sites where you can get a free play bonus to use. Four sites offering free play bonuses that can be cleared via 3 team parlays are 5Dimes, Bookmaker.com, BetOnline, and BetPhoenix.

If you don’t want to take the risk of being labeled an advantage player, simply make many very small free play wagers using the three team parlay while taking several days to clear your free play bonus. If you run at expectation, you’ll get a 75% rate of converting your free play credits to cash.

Taking “Free Play” Over “Sign up Bonus”

BetPhoenix.com offers reduced juice of -105 only for NFL Betting, NBA Betting, and NCAA Football Betting sides and totals. As far as NBA goes, this might be a nice out to have. However, for football there are plenty of US friendly options for reduced sites available. 5Dimes offers it, BetOnline offers it in Parlays, BetJamaica on Friday nights, and Sportsbook.com for many games on Fridays, etc. You might miss a small bet here or there, but when looking at the BetPhoenix bonus option, you might find that option to be better.

The BetPhoenix bonus that is available as an alternative to reduced juice is a 30% free play bonus up to $1,200. To get the maximum bonus, you’d need to deposit $4,000; but betting this slowly over time using three team parlays, if you ran at expectation, your $1,200 free would convert to $900 cash. BetPhoenix tends to limit bettors rather quickly, down to $500 or so per game, so it is not a large dollar betting site. While if you’re from the US and passing up reduced juice is something you might regret, you can probably get away with it at BetPhoenix.com.

As a final time, it does not matter if you’re betting with reduced juice, a bonus, or no incentive at all. You’ll get the best odds using multiple online betting sites. There are many sites such as Sportsbook.com, Bookmaker.com, Bodog, etc. not known for their bonuses, but which do sometimes take unique positions on a game. For example, you might really like a team offered at -4.5 everywhere. Even if your reduced juice site has them at -4.5 -105, if you come across a line of -4 -110 at a non reduced juice site, you’ll want to take advantage of this. In this case, the site might also have a bonus.

In closing, we’ll say that more often than not when you have a choice between “reduced juice” or “sign up bonus” at a certain betting site, you’ll be better off going with reduced juice. This, however, does not mean you should avoid sites only offering a bonus. If you do, you’ll be missing out on the free cash they are giving away, as well as potentially missing a better spread when you are line shopping.

To learn more about sites that offer reduced juice, see our page: Reduced Juice Sportsbooks.