How To Play Ohio Sportsbook Promos Smart After The Initial Blitz

Written By Brett Gibbons on March 21, 2023 - Last Updated on April 11, 2023
Ohio Sports Betting Promos

New sports bettors in Ohio surely enjoyed a month or two of generous signup offers, bonuses, no-brainers, and more that both bolstered their bankroll and made sports betting a lot of fun.

Three months into launch, Ohio sports betting apps seemingly offer less and less of the exciting sportsbook bonuses they used to. Or, rather, they reverted back to more standard operation.

The “gimmies” promo well dried up. It may be easy for Ohio sports bettors to become disengaged because they’re seemingly not winning as much. The Ohio sports betting launch promo blitz is over… Now what?

Betting units and managing bankroll

The simplest, most overlooked and least-taught — but single-most important — tool a bettor can use is bankroll management. “Bankroll” refers to the total dollar amount a punter has across all sportsbooks. For example, if you have $200 with DraftKings Sportsbook, $100 with FanDuel Sportsbook, and $100 with Bet365, your bankroll would be $400.

Conventional wisdom suggests each bet should be between 1% and 2.5% of your bankroll. In this instance, a bettor with a $400 bankroll would look to bet between $4 and $10 for each play. The percentage and dollar amount a bettor places each play is called a “unit.” This conversion both contextualizes how much a bettor is winning or losing and manages bankroll easily. For this example, we’ll say 1% of the bankroll is the unit used.

For example, Player A with a $400 bankroll is up $40 this month. Their friend is up $250 this month, but has a bankroll of $10,000. Which bettor did better this month? The friend because he won $210 more?

Player A is up 10 units while his friend may only be up 2.5 units. Assuming both players play roughly the same number of bets per month, Player A is finding more success.

Units also protect a bettor from going bankrupt. If Player A uses 1% of his bankroll each play, he would have to lose 25 consecutive bets to drain either FanDuel or Bet365 and lose 50 consecutive bets to drain DraftKings. Even the worst of runs won’t bankrupt a bettor with proper bankroll management.

Understanding same-game parlay promos

To say that Ohio online sportsbooks aren’t continually offering promotions is untrue. Though it may not be as voluminous as Jan. 1-8, there are over a dozen promos available to bettors each and every day.

The issue is, the majority of those promos are centered around same-game parlays or sportsbook-sponsored parlays.

I’m not here to say don’t bet parlays. This isn’t an anti-parlay section. But there’s a reason sportsbooks promote the hell out of these.

For the first month of sports betting in Ohio, bettors laid a total $1.1 billion, known as the “handle.” Sportsbooks took home nearly $209 million of that. The percentage of revenue vs. handle for sportsbooks is known as the “hold.” In the first month of recreational sports betting in Ohio, sportsbooks logged nearly a 19% hold.

Mathematically, -110 odds offer a 4.8% hold on straight bets. So, how did the books manage this lucrative 19% handle? Just a terrible month for fresh Ohio bettors? The general conclusion is that SGP promos are making a killing for operators.

Weighing promo options at Ohio sportsbooks

In general, bettors can assume they’re betting into a 19% hold with SGPs given two months of record keeping. Bettors don’t necessarily have to avoid these altogether, but note that the hold is what a bettor can expect to lose, on average, to the sportsbook.

When looking at promos and odds boosts, always consider if they’re a +EV (expected value) play. Simple odds boost tokens like DraftKings offers for PGA tournaments are always fine +EV plays, but beware odds boost tokens for specific players or teams. Chances are, these turn out to be parlays in disguise (ex. +200 boost on four golfers to make the cut) or outright -EV plays (ex. offering pre-determined parlays for a less price than if you parlayed individually).

Good times to capitalize on an influx of sports betting promos upcoming include:

  • Guardians Opening Day (March 30, home opener April 7)
  • Reds Opening Day (March 30)
  • The Masters (starts April 6)
  • NBA Playoffs (start April 15)
  • NHL Playoffs (start April 17)

BetMGM odds boost token note

Be sure to read upcoming odds boost token verbiage. BetMGM Sportsbook changed the way it issues the bonuses from those promos; it now gives the bonus earnings in bet credit, not money. You must now take those bonus “winnings” and bet them again to turn them into redeemable dollars, inevitably costing you some winnings off the top.

While other books have not followed suit, they may in the near future.

Photo by AP / Jeff Chiu
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Brett Gibbons

Brett Gibbons is a contributing writer for PlayOhio and Brett specializes in sports betting and has previously written for Sports Illustrated and Fansided. Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State.

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