It’s a big race in more ways than one – usually around 40 horses line up at the starting tape, which can make for shock results from time to time, and generally means that even the favourite for the race is available at longer odds than usual. With this in mind it’s easy to see why so many tipsters come out every year and provide us loyal punters with a variety of betting tips. So if you’re interested in trying to make things a little more interesting, there are ways and means to make Grand National offers work for you.
What you need to know about Grand National Betting Offers
The Grand National is a race disfavoured by many frequent bettors, as the number of horses in the field and the sheer difficulty of the course often makes it hard to predict. Horses who have been in top form for the year leading up to the race may fall, get boxed in and never manage to break to the front, or otherwise miss out. Many liken the race to a lottery.
This doesn’t mean it is impossible to predict, or that the National is not a race of skill. From 1973 to 1977, Red Rum won the race three times and finished second on the other two occasions. A well-trained horse with a capable jockey certainly stands a chance in the National, as long as the conditions are right.
The race takes place in April each year, which usually means that the weather will be fine, but there is the chance of rain. One word of warning for bettors when it comes to picking a winner with free Grand National bets is that if a horse is known to be good over firm ground, they may struggle with the softer turf around Aintree at this time of year.
If you are planning to sign up for the specific purpose of betting on this one race, be warned: when it comes to using a new customer offer Grand National weekend is not the best time. Many bookmakers withdraw their new customer offers for the weekend, due to the sheer volume of bets they take. However, they are likely to have other offers, while the Sun free bet is an annual offer for occasional punters.
How to make the best of free Grand National bets
The Grand National is to horse racing as the FA Cup is to football, in that it catches the attention of people who would not otherwise watch the sport usually. As a result, all bookmakers treat the event as a huge opportunity to get new customers interested. Whether through a third party, or from the bookmakers themselves, there will be special offers aplenty for new bettors.
Although bookmakers like the idea of novices betting – because their inexperience lends itself to rash and often unsuccessful betting – a bit of strategy can see you make a success of it. One fact to bear in mind is that there will be multiple offers from different sources, and nothing to stop you from taking advantage of more than one of those offers.
It helps to know a little about the kind of horse – and the kind of jockey – that usually wins, and those who don’t, around the course. Knowing this information can be invaluable. For example, if you used your Grand National 2017 free bet to back a horse that was 10 years or older, you will have lost your money despite this being a common age for winners, as the eight-year-old One For Arthur romped home.
What kind of horse wins the Grand National
Although the Grand National has a habit of not turning out the winner you would expect, it can still be expected to shake up along certain lines. For example, you can often expect the winner to be a horse who has run in the race before. Even if they placed way back in tenth the last time, like Mon Mome in 2008, they know the course and can last the distance, as Mon Mome did in 2009.
Although the National is a race for adult horses, and can be run by horses across a spectrum of ages, the winner will usually fall within the 9-10 age bracket. Seven-year-olds almost never win, while older horses in the 11-12 age bracket do triumph every so often; but if you are playing the percentages with your Grand National matched bet strategy, you’re best advised to look somewhere in the middle of the age range. Younger horses frequently lack the discipline to win the Grand National, while older ones may not quite have the stamina.
If you are trying to make free Grand National bets pay off for you, it is worth keeping these details in mind. Additionally, look for the level of weight the horse is carrying (this is the weight of the jockey, usually, plus any gear that may make up further weight). Horses carrying more than 11 stone rarely win given the punishing length of the course, and if the weight goes above 11st 3lb, it becomes more or less certain they won’t win. Pool your Grand National betting offers to ensure you can back as many horses within the likely winning parameters as possible, and try to avoid backing a hunch.
Matched Betting on the Grand National: Worth a try?
As previously noted, most bookmakers will suspend their free bets for new customers around the time of the National. Most, however, does not mean all and so you should look for any bookmaker who offers a Grand National welcome bonus. The more options you have, the better, especially if you would like to give matched betting a try – and seasoned match bettors argue that the National is a promising time to give it a go.
Between free bets – which some bookmakers will offer at higher rates than usual to get new customers on board – and additional special offers, you can create a lot of added value to your bets; consult a Grand National matched bet calculator and you should be able to get a positive outcome just by following the steps you’re advised to take. It may take a bit of time to place all your bets, but it will be worth it.
The use of matched betting is a good way to bring the odds back into your favour as a bettor, as it allows you to spread your stakes over a wider range of horses and, given the toughness of the Aintree course, this may be what saves you. Favourites have fallen before the halfway mark in this race in the past, so nothing can be taken for granted. Turning Grand National betting offers in your favour will require a significant degree of concentration, but it is worth it.
Not a clue what you’re reading? Don’t panic, check out our horse racing for dummies guide!
The best Grand National operators
|Max. Wert||Bonus Type||Details||Get the Bonus|
|1||98 / 100||25||Claim your £25 bonus with bonus code OPENODDSNew customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||Novibet bonus|
|18+. KYC Verified. UK new customers only. Max £25 free bet, Min of 3 selections in acca | Min odds per selection 7/10 | Free bet stake not returned | Certain markets/sports/payment methods restrictions apply | Free bet valid for 30 days.|
|2||97 / 100||30||79.5New customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||STSbet bonus|
|18+. New depositing players on STSbets.co.uk only. Promotion from 11/02/2020 until further notice. First deposit min. £10. Qualifying bet: min. £10 accumulator bet with at least two selections with min odds of 1/2 (1.50) per selection. Bonus: 50% of the amount of the first bet. Max bonus £40. Min 6x wagering with bonus on min odds of 1/2 (1.50) before withdrawal. Deposit method restrictions. Bonus valid for 7 days. Full T&cs apply. BeGambleAware.org.|
|3||96 / 100||30||£30 FreebetNew customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||Betway bonus|
|New UK & Ireland customers only. Min Deposit: £10. First deposit matched up to £30. 1 x wagering at odds of 1.75+ to unlock Free Bet. Debit Card & PayPal deposits only. This offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. Terms apply|
|4||92 / 100||30||Bet £10 get £30 free!New customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||William-Hill bonus|
|New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. *By entering the Promo code in the box above you agree to the full terms and conditions of this promotion as displayed below.|
|5||87 / 100||100||£100 in bet creditsNew customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||Bet365 bonus|
|New Customers only. Up to £100 in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5 or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.|
|6||86 / 100||30||Bet £10 Get £30New customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||888 bonus|
|New customers only • Max Bet €5 • €10 deposit using promo code • Free bets are granted within 72 hours and expires after 7 days • Free bet stakes not included in returns • Deposit balance is available for withdrawal at any time. withdrawal restrictions & full T&C’s apply.|
|7||82 / 100||10||£10New customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||Grosvenor bonus|
|8||80 / 100||£30||Stake £10 get £20 in free betsNew customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||Betfred bonus|
|9||75 / 100||30||£30 in Free BetsNew customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||PaddyPower bonus|
|New customer offer. Place a single £10 (or £5 e/w) Sports bet in the 13:45 York on Friday, 21st of August and get a £5 free bet for each of the subsequent race. Deposits using Credit/Debit cards or Apple Pay only. Free bets are only valid for the specified race and are awarded when the qualifying bet has been settled. Free bet stakes not returned with winnings. T&Cs apply.|
|10||74 / 100||£10||Up to £10 on first depositNew customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||Smarkets bonus|
|1. Once the bonus is credited to your account, losses will be refunded up to the bonus amount. 2. You must deposit at least the qualifying deposit of £20 (or currency equivalent) in a single amount with your first deposit to be eligible for the rebate. 3. To withdraw rebated funds, you must bet at least the qualifying deposit on any combination of markets within the promotional period; otherwise rebated funds will be forfeited. 4. Unused bonuses expire after seven days of being credited to a user account and will be removed after this period. 5. Users making their first deposit by Skrill, Neteller, PayPal or a virtual/prepaid card will not qualify for this promotion. 6. The sign up offer is strictly limited to one per individual, family, household address, email address, same payment account number, and shared computer. 7. This promotion cannot be used in conjunction with any other sign-up promotion. 8. Smarkets standard terms for promotions apply.|
|11||72 / 100||30||Get £30 in bonuses!New customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||BetVictor bonus|
|New Customers only. Deposit and place a £5 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 2x £10 Sports/Virtual Sports Free Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater, expires in 7 days, plus a £10 Casino Bonus, expires in 7 days. Wager the Casino Bonus 35x to withdraw winnings. Payment Cards only. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply.|
|12||60 / 100||100||100New customers only. 18+. T&C’s Apply. begambleaware.org||Paddy-Power bonus|
How to find the best Grand National betting offers
In the week leading up to the Grand National, you will not find it difficult to get information on the race and tips on the expected winners. This is a useful way to find out where you should be focusing your free Grand National bets. Reading the best newspapers for horse racing tips will help here – while every national paper will have a strong focus on it, Grand National coverage in the Racing Post will most often have informed, enlightening tips.
Outside of specialist newspapers, the Sun and the Mirror are felt by bettors to have the best tips on a regular basis, and will also be among the newspapers to offer free bets or other special offers.
Bear in mind that a paper with a history of getting it right may not be accurate every time; in 2013, no-one would have looked at Auroras Encore as a likely winner – it had not placed in the top three of any of its previous five races that year. However, at 66/1 and with a jockey who had never even entered the National, Auroras Encore romped home. Sometimes, a horse with seemingly no chance to win will surprise everyone – so it is often worth using a free bet on a seeming rank outsider, as the National is only open to horses that the organisers deem to have a good chance of finishing.
Best bookmakers for Grand National offers
The Grand National is a tradition in UK horse racing and betting in general, and as such it is a day which is celebrated by the biggest names in the industry. You will find offers from all of the usual names as well as some of the more niche operators, and it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to which offers are the best, which bookmakers will give better odds and who exactly you can trust to honour what they have offered. So make sure you use a good betting comparison website to find the best odds.
Bookies online and offline will do so much business on Grand National day that you will often feel spoilt for choice and find it hard to choose. Many people will walk into the first betting shop they can find, or just pick a bookie with whom they already have an account. If you want to make the most of the occasion you should avoid doing this, and instead go with one of the agreed names that cover this classic event in the way it deserves to be covered.
The following names are three of the best, and bookmakers you should actively consider when it comes to making the most of Grand National offers.
Option 1: Coral
With an event as traditional as the Grand National, it only makes sense to look at one of the more traditional bookmakers as an option to make your bet. They offer free bets for the occasion and, if you sign up in advance, have handsome bonus offers that will suit any bettor looking to make a profit on the wild and wonderful racing classic. Better yet, given that the huge field often means a horse is pulled from the race ahead of time, their non-runner no-bet policy is one that could save you from wasting your money before the race even sets off.
Coral have a reputation gained over time as one of the premier bookmakers in the UK, and for a beginner this can be a strong attraction. You can be sure of a level of knowledge and customer service from them that may not be forthcoming from a bookie with less experience in the industry.
Option 2: Ladbrokes
Traditionally, it is with Ladbrokes that the Sun free bet offer can be cashed in every year, and there is a reason that the newspaper giant has chosen to work with them. Ladbrokes are one of the most used bookies in the UK on a daily basis, and particularly around the time of the Grand National. With the Sun offering a £1 free bet, it may be worth using this offer to back that left-field option that’s running at long odds but could be the next Auroras Encore.
Ladbrokes are also particularly good as a bookie with which to place an early bet on the National, especially if you have an inkling that the early favourite will run well. As more money goes on later in the week, the odds for the favourite can lengthen, and Ladbrokes’ policy of offering Best Odds Guaranteed can mean that your 8/1 bet lengthens to give you a much bigger return.
Option 3: Betfred
Betfred have a well-earned reputation for being one of the most imaginative, innovative bookmakers in the UK, and so it should come as no surprise that they push the boat out on Grand National day. Their special bets include accumulators where you can win a payout if any of your horses win, and where your odds are multiplied if the bet meets certain conditions. On top of this, they will always have a fun market or two on the day, which can make for extra amusement when you bet.
While a bit of fun is always a good thing, Betfred still focus on the serious side too, offering best odds guaranteed and non-runner no-bet deals, so you can concentrate on the process of selecting your winner safe in the knowledge that you will be getting the best deal. In tandem with other bookmakers, you can use these offers to build a lucrative matched bet for this famous sporting day.
Make sure your Grand National bet doesn’t fall at the first hurdle
Many people bet on horse racing precisely once a year; while in the UK it’s the Grand National, in France it will be the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and in the US it will be the Kentucky Derby. What all of these races have in common is that it’s hard to predict a single winner, and it makes sense to get a strategy in place. This strategy should certainly include free bets and in order to deploy them correctly you should devour every piece of information you can get on the race. If you know where to find the best Grand National offers, then you can turn this special day into one to remember for all the best reasons.
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