What would you say, if I said to you, you can profit on a bonus, without actually taking up the bonus offer? Yeah, I thought so, well read on.
Last week I wrote an article called The Fallacy Of Conjunction, where I looked at how bookies try to entice you into statistically unlikely bets using bonuses. Well there's another type of welcome bonus bookies use to try and entice your hard earned cash from you and that's the bonus enhancer. The beauty about the bonus enhancer, is that you can use it to win money, without actually taking up the offer; this is the art of extracting the bonus within the bonus.
But how can you benefit from a betting offer without actually taking up the offer? Also how can you make money on Betfair with these offers, when Betfair aren't even the company offering the bonus?
We'll answer those questions in a second, but first, let's look at what an enhancer is, what types of enhancers there are, what they are designed to do and then how we can use them.
The Gimme Enhancer
The Gimme Enhancer is a bonus that bookmakers use when they want to make their cash bonuses sound better than they are. So for instance Bet365 may be doing a £50 free bet on first deposit offer, they usually have rules like, you can't bet on anything under 1.5 with your qualifying bet, but apart from that, you can bet on anything you like with that first bet.
However, one day, some bright spark realised that psychologically you are asking for quite a bit of commitment from your potential new customer using the above method. Why not instead, offer them crazy odds on a “sure thing”.
So for example a classic Gimme Enhancer might be 5/1 for Liverpool to wear red at Anfield tonight!
As usual with these kind of bets there is a £10 limit to the bet (otherwise they'd go bankrupt very quickly) and the bet is limited to new customers.
Betfair Trading Tip – These bets can't really be used by Betfair traders, they often don't have any strings attached and are just a way of a bookmaker giving you a cash bonus.
The We-Must-Be-Crazy! Enhancer
The We-Must-Be-Crazy! Enhancer is in a category which I like to call Entrapment Enhancers, this is because they are clearly designed to entrap you. So for instance a classic We-Must-Be-Crazy! Enhancer you might see is Barcelona v Elber get 5/1 on Barcelona, normal odds 2/5!!
In isolation, the above bet might sound very tempting, Barcelona are brilliant, Elber are not, Barcelona's team is worth a quarter of a billion Euros, you could buy Elber for half a packet of peanuts and an empty beer bottle.
So on the face of it this looks like a Gimme Enhancer whereby the nice bookie is just trying to give you a £50 bonus, because like the first example you can only put £10 on it. However this is just the sort of enhancer that has me logging into Betfair to do exactly the opposite and lay Barcelona.
Well to tell the truth, I will research the game before I do that, but the point is, enhancers like this get my attention. Because bookmakers don't like giving away money on sure things, so the fact that they are willing to give away money on such a straightforward match, tells me that maybe the match isn't so straightforward after all.
Betfair Trading Tip – If you see a bet like this, research it and see if there is any reason the favourite might not win the supposedly easy match. Cup games (in countries other than England) can be a good indicator that the favourite may not field a full strength side and generally may not care as much as usual whether they win the game or not.
La Copa Del Rey, the Spanish, King's Cup went through a 10 year period (97-98 season to the 07-08 season) where neither Real Madrid or Barcelona won it, in that same period the two teams won La Liga 8 times.
Another scenario to keep an eye out for, is if you see a we-must-be-crazy offer on the second leg of a Champions League or Europa League second leg game. Again if the usual favourite has won the first leg easily, especially if the first leg was away, then that could be an early indicator they will rest key players, especially if they have an important league game coming up.
Ultimately don't risk more than one or two units on these bets, but keep an eye out for them, especially when you see they are not restricted to new customers only.
This is very easy to confuse with the we-must-be-crazy enhancer above, but it is subtly different and it is one of my favourite indicators. The reason you know that these kind of bets are clear indicators the opposite thing is going to happen, is that this is a popular tactic used by high street bookmakers who aren't trying to sign you up to an account, they just want your money.
So for instance you may see Arsenal v Tottenham, get 8/1 on arsenal and 7/1 on Tottenham!
The way the bookies frame this bet is such that they are putting it to you that you can't lose because whoever wins, we'll give you crazy odds, so you can bet on both teams. But of course, as we all know, every football game is a three horse race, home win, away win and draw.
Often you will see in these games that the draw odds, on average about 3.5 (2.5/1) are even lower than this. In case you hadn't worked it out by now, this is because the bookmakers after using their fancy algorithms and experts have decided that the overwhelming likelihood will be a draw and they expect a lot of people to back that result.
When it comes to team derbies, football fans, especially the younger ones tend to expect their team to win or lose these games, they are either extremely optimistic or pessimistic, they rarely expect the draw.
This is why this kind of bet exists, the cunning bookies, realise that they are most likely going to lose money on a draw in these type of games. Therefore they want to attract as much fan money as possible being wagered on the home or away team and with a bet like this, they will get all the fans wondering “who will win?” rather than “what will the result be?”
Betfair Trading Tip – These are my favourite bonus enhancers, if I see a bookie offering seemingly fantastic odds on two teams in the same game, then I'm logging into Betfair to back the draw. The beauty with these games is if they go to plan, they will be 0-0 for quite a while (though 1-1 is a popular derby score), giving you early trading opportunities in either the draw or correct score markets.
The conditional enhancer usually looks something like this: Barcelona v Real Madrid if Messi doesn't score, we'll give you your money back (usually in the form of a free bet).
The psychology of these conditional enhancers is very clever, in that they are attempting to trigger the conjunction fallacy in your brain. Because what they are trying to say to you is; Messi is going to score and Barcelona will win. So the bonus is completely on their side, they get you to put money on something they don't think is going to happen and then they get you to match it up with another bet, making it even less likely it will happen.
Betfair Trading Tip – As ever, research these games, they are not as cut and dried as the you-can't-lose enhancer, but they are still worth investigating. If you do see money being offered back if a particular player scores, then research the player and see what there form is like.
When you do this, you will discover one of two things, their form is good and they are scoring about one every other game or more. Their form is electric and they have scored a number of games in a row.
Ironically it is when they have scored lots in a row, perhaps close to breaking a record for consecutive scoring games; it is in these games that the player is less likely to score. The bookmaker realises that scoring runs must come to an end, so they will tend to offer you these bets just as they think that is going to happen.
In conclusion then, use these enhancers by doing the opposite of what they suggest you should do, they exist because the bookmaker offering the bet, fears a certain result, either because they know that result has the highest likelihood of happening and/or because they have taken a whopping amount of money on a particular outcome and want to steer others away from that.
Pay more attention to the enhancers offered on the high street, because these are not trying to get you to sign up to anything, so they are purely because they fear the result.
Remember this isn't an exact science, so if the research you do doesn't back up what you first suspect, then don't trade on it, wait for the next one. These bets will never be your whole income and they won't make you rich, but they will help you grow your Betfair bank by that little bit extra.
As ever, good luck and happy trading.
The Zen Trader