U.S. online sportsbooks are constantly on the lookout for new ways to attract customers. Odds boosts are one of their biggest success stories to date.
The genius of an odds boost is in its simplicity. Each day, sportsbooks select certain wagers and lengthen their odds. The effect is that the vigorish is reduced or eliminated altogether. Sometimes, the boost is large enough to flip the house edge in favor of the player.
Due to their growing popularity, sports bettors should become familiar with odds boosts and their close cousins, profit boosts. Knowing how they work, which betting apps offer them, and how much value they provide will help lead bettors down a profitable path.
How Do Odds Boosts Work?
Successful sports bettors are always on the hunt for bargains. An odds boost, otherwise known as boosted odds, provides just that. It takes the regular odds for an event and shifts them in favor of the bettor.
Sportsbooks can apply odds boosts to any wagering format, including moneylines, spreads, totals, parlays, futures, and props. It is completely at the discretion of the sportsbook.
It’s important to note that an odds boost does not change the probability that an event occurs. It only increases the payout.
For example, say the odds of the Miami Dolphins to score first and win are boosted from +300 to +400. That doesn’t imply the Miami are suddenly more likely to achieve this goal. It simply means that bettors who win this boost will receive a larger payout than they would originally.
Odds boosts are also useful tools for mitigating risk in that bettors can wager less to score the same payout. In the above example, a bettor would have to risk $100 to win $400, prior to the boost. At +400 odds, the bettor would only have to wager $80 to win the same $400. If the Dolphins come up short, that’s an extra $20 in the bettor’s pocket.
Odds Boost Example: FanDuel Sportsbook
Bettors should have little trouble locating odds boosts, as most desktop and mobile sports betting apps now dedicate an entire section to them. For example, on FanDuel Sportsbook, the Odds Boost section is neatly located in the main right-hand side bar. Here’s a look at that page.
Notice that FanDuel displays both the original odds and the boosted odds. This level of transparency is appreciated because it allows bettors to quickly visualize a boost’s impact. Most other books follow this approach, but there’s a few that only show the boosted odds.
Let’s look at the first example: “Jets and Colts Each to Score 1+ TDs in Each Half.” The original price of +210 has been boosted to +250. That means for every $25 wagered, bettors can expect an extra $10 in their pocket, should the boost win.
The question then becomes, “Is that enough to give players an edge?”
Estimating The Value of An Odds Boost
To get a feel of what that boost is worth, first convert both the original and boosted lines to their implied probabilities. For positive (+) odds, this is done by the following equation:
Implied probability (+ odds) = 100 / (odds + 100)
And for negative (- odds):
Implied probability (- odds) = (-odds) / (-odds + 100)
Using the “Jets and Colts Each to Score 1+ TDs in Each Half” example from before:
Original implied probability = 210 / (210 + 100) = 32.36%
Boosted implied probability = 250 / (250 + 100) = 28.57%
That represents a change of over 11.7%. That’s a significant difference, but keep in mind that this particular boost is both a parlay and a game prop, both of which are subject to high house edges.
From this point, bettors may want to line shop other books for the same wager. The purpose is to see if the original odds match up. Sometimes books will boost bad starting lines to make them look more favorable. If the original line is +210 on FanDuel and +240 everywhere else, boosted odds of +250 suddenly aren’t very appealing.
Since this boost is a parlay, bettors may also want to examine the odds of each individual leg. If those odds aren’t available, try to find breadcrumbs elsewhere. For this example, the 1st and 2nd half touchdown props will provide valuable clues.
The Colts are modest favorites to score at least 2 TDs in the first half, and the Jets moderate favorites to put up at least one 6-spot. This simple analysis alone isn’t enough to conclude that the boost has a positive expectation, but it provides much needed direction.
It’s this type of thinking that bettors will want to incorporate into their game, should they hope to capitalize on odds boosts.
Types Of Odds Boosts
Technically, any wager can be boosted. However, books tend to be very selective, preferring to boost lines that fall into the following categories:
- All-To-Win: This is a parlay of several moneylines. For example, the odds of the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New Orleans Saints all to win may be boosted.
- Player Props: Player props are common odds boosts targets. Often the boost will consist of two correlated player props parlayed together, like Tom Brady to pass for 300+ yards and throw 2+ touchdowns.
- Game Props: Similar to player props, correlated game props like the Miami Dolphins to score first and win are often boosted.
- Futures: Sometimes, books will boost the odds on a future, like the L.A. Rams to win the Super Bowl.
Notice that all of these categories share common characteristics. They’re low volume bets with high house edges.
For perspective, the vigorish on prop/parlay combos can easily top 15%. It’s for this reason that books don’t mind boosting their odds, because even a significant boost may not completely eliminate the house edge.
To further limit their liability, sportsbooks limit the amount that bettors can wager on boosts. The limits on a few popular books are as follows:
- FanDuel Sportsbook: $50
- Caesars Sportsbook: $100
- PointsBet Sportsbook: $100
What Are Profit Boosts?
A profit boost is effectively the same thing as an odds boost. Both provide bettors with a better bang for their buck. Whereas an odds boost accomplishes this by lengthening the odds, a profit boost directly augments the payout.
For example, assume a book is offering a 20% profit boost on any NBA moneyline. A bettor likes the New York Knicks at +200 and wagers $25. Normally, a winning wager would pay out $75, consisting of the original $25 stake and $50 in winnings.
However, the profit boost will increase the winning portion by 20%, to $60. The total payout is now $85.
Like odds boosts, profit boosts shift the odds toward the player. Bettors can even convert profit boosts to their odds boost equivalent.
In the Knicks example, a $25 wager pays out $85. The profit is $60. Knowing this, use the following equation to determine the (+) odds:
Odds = Profit/Wager * 100
Or in this case: Odds = $85/$25 * 100 = +240. The 20% profit boost increases the odds from +200 to +240. From this it’s pretty clear that profit boosts and odds boosts accomplish the same goal of mitigating the house edge.
However, sportsbooks tend to approach them differently. The main difference between the two is that profit boosts cover a broader spectrum of wagers. For instance, bettors may be offered a profit boost on any MLB or NBA wager.
Whether this degree of flexibility will last is an open question, as some books are already limiting profit boosts to multi-leg and same game parlays.
The Best Sportsbooks for Odds Boosts and Profit Boosts
Boosted odds have become the cornerstone of nearly every sportsbook’s promotional schedule. New boosts are posted on a daily basis, highlighting popular events happening that evening.
Here’s a look at sportsbooks that offer the most plentiful (and profitable) number of boosts:
When it comes to odds boosts, Caesars Sportsbook is King – or rather Emperor. The sportsbook rolls out far more boosts than any of its competitors. It isn’t uncommon to find 50, or even 100, boosts on any given day.
Caesars also allows bettors to wager $100 per boost, which is roughly double the industry average. For bettors looking to take advantage of odds boosts, there’s no better place to start.
The downside is that Caesars does not offer much in the way of profit boosts.
BetRivers’ odds boosts (called “House Specials”) rank about average, but its profit boosts are amazing.
The app offers 20% profit boosts on nearly all major markets. Sometimes the boosts are limited to in-play wagers and parlays, but others grant players full freedom over their boosted wagers. For instance, on Tuesdays, bettors can claim a 20% profit boost on any NFL or NCAAF bet.
It’s rare enough for books to offer profit boosts on football spreads, totals, and moneylines, let alone allowing it as early as Tuesday, when lines are still somewhat volatile.
Going further, BetRivers also regularly awards “spot” profit boosts to its most loyal players. These one-offs are more lucrative than regular profit boosts, running as high as 50%.
The main drawback is that BetRivers limits its profit boosts to $25 wagers and $250 additional winnings. Bettors will really need to grind these out to generate significant profits, but that’s a small price to pay for what is essentially a guaranteed edge.
At first glance, FanDuel’s odds boost promotions appear weak. Only a few new ones are posted each day, the maximum bet amount is just $50, and the bets are obscure.
Professional sports bettors have even noted that FanDuel’s boosted lines are occasionally worse than non-boosted odds found at competing books.
That being said, FanDuel has a reputation for offering more positive expectation boosts than nearly any other book. Finding value will take a bit of legwork, but the payout could be well worth the investment.
DraftKings Sportsbook lands a spot on this list because its odds boosts are straightforward and provide decent value.
It’s also one of the few online sportsbooks to offer both odds boosts and profit boosts.
The odds boosts are on a rotating schedule, with about a half-dozen or so new boosts posted every day.
Profit boosts are listed under the Promos tab and are usually applied to multi-leg and same game parlays. Those aren’t the greatest wagering markets for generating value, but at least DraftKings’ offers 25% profit boosts, an improvement over the industry standard of 20%.