Sportsbook betting is one of the most popular ways to wager and with good reason.
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Using an online sportsbook, you can gamble on just about any sport, from football to basketball to horse racing, tennis, and even WWE wrestling.
Depending on your preferred sport and sportsbook, you can choose from a variety of bets and bonuses to maximize your strategy.
However, before you start playing, it’s best to learn the ropes by reading our comprehensive guide.
This guide will quickly explain how Sportsbook betting works, describe some of the most common types of bets, explain the odds system, and introduce a handful of the best sportsbook websites for online punters.
So, if you’re ready to earn a profit off your favorite sports teams, let’s get started.
Although sports betting covers a wide variety of activities, the basics are always the same. You’re essentially trying to predict the outcome of a sporting event and then placing a wager on your prediction. If you’re correct, you’ll win money and if you’re wrong, you’ll lose money. Pretty simple, right?
The first step is to find the top rated sportsbooks—an online platform where you can place your bets. Some sportsbooks specialize in just one or two sports whereas others offer options for a variety of sports, including:
Once you’ve found a sportsbook that matches your needs, create an account, and deposit some money into your bankroll. The exact amount is up to you, but keep in mind that some sportsbooks have minimum-deposit requirements.
After setting up your account, you’re ready to start betting. As you’re looking through the list of upcoming events, you’ll find that each option has odds attached to it. The odds represent the probability of a particular outcome and will determine how much you can win if your prediction is correct.
*As a point of reference, Sportsbook betting odds are the most important part of sports betting, so take a minute to read up on how they work.
Odds are usually expressed as a positive or negative number. A positive number indicates that the team is less likely to win, i.e., the underdog. A negative number means that the team is a favorite. The odds will also determine how much you can win if your prediction is correct.
Negative odds indicate that you would have to bet that numeric amount and win to earn $100. Positive odds indicate that you could earn that numerical amount if you bet $100 and win. For example, let’s say you want to bet on a football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins. The odds might look something like this:
This means that the Falcons are favored to win and the Dolphins are the underdog. For every $200 you bet on the Falcons, you stand to win $100 whereas for every $100 you bet on the Dolphins, you stand to earn $300. Of course, as they’re the underdogs, it’s less likely that the Dolphins will win, making it a riskier, and therefore more profitable bet.
Additionally, it could help to understand a few international odds systems. Depending on the sport or sportsbook you’re using, you may encounter these systems at some point:
For the most part, though, unless you’re betting on an international platform or are specifically interested in horse racing, you shouldn’t have to worry about learning these two systems.
Now that you understand the basics of sports betting, it’s time to learn about the different types of bets you can make. The most common types of bets are moneyline, point spread, and parlay, but there are many others:
A moneyline bet is the simplest type of bet. You’re simply betting on which team will win the game. These odds will always be expressed as either a positive or negative number, as explained in the previous section.
A point spread bet is a bit more complicated than a moneyline bet. With this type of bet, you’re not just betting on who will win the game, but by how much. The point spread is the number of points that the favorite is expected to win by. For example, a point spread might look something like this:
This means that the Patriots are favored to win by 7 points. If you bet on the Patriots, they would have to win by more than 7 points for you to win your bet. If you bet on the Jets, they would have to lose by less than 7 points for you to win your bet.
A parlay bet is a combination of two or more bets. The benefit of a parlay bet is that you can win a lot of money for a small bet. The downside is that all of your predictions must be correct for you to win the bet. For example, let’s say you want to bet on three football games:
You could bet on each game individually or you could bet on all three games with a parlay bet. If you bet on all three games with a parlay and all of your predictions are correct, you would win a compounding profit. However, if even one of your predictions is incorrect, you would lose your initial bet along with any compounding profits you’d gained up to that point.
As you start searching for the best sportsbook sites, we recommend sticking with quality options that are well-reviewed and backed by a good reputation. Ideally, your sportsbook should offer a balance of the following factors:
By narrowing your search using these criteria, you’re sure to find a sportsbook that meets all of your needs and earns you a profit. To help with your search, we’ve compiled a list of ten top sportsbook websites for American punters. Check them out below and head to their dedicated websites to learn more.
Bovada is a great choice for US punters as it offers a wide range of betting options, competitive bonuses, and fair odds on nearly every sport you could imagine, including:
Along with its many sports bets, Bovada even offers odds on political and entertainment events, giving you a never-ending range of options to bet on. New members also qualify for a 50% deposit match, worth up to $500, helping to round out your bankroll and getting you started on the platform.
If you’re looking for a platform that offers a more personalized Sportsbook betting experience, BetNow is a great option. Although it doesn’t have the same range of sports as some of the other sportsbooks on this list, it offers a long list of betting options for each sport, including:
Additionally, as a new member, you can qualify for a 150% deposit match, up to $500, plus an additional 25% by using the promo code BN25.
BetOdds.ag is another top choice for both new and experienced punters. Along with a wide variety of sports to bet on, including college and professional football and basketball, tennis, golf, hockey, soccer, horse racing, and motorsports, it offers a user-friendly platform and mobile app, making it easy to place your bets on the go.
BetOdds.ag is known for its fast payouts, setting it apart from competitors, who may take up to 5 business days to process a transaction. Additionally, it offers a variety of bonuses, including a 100% deposit match, up to $300, and a personalized betting experience through the site’s VIP rewards program.
BetOnline is one of the most popular sportsbooks in the US and for good reason. Not only does it offer odds on nearly every sport imaginable, but it also provides live betting options, giving you the opportunity to bet on games as they’re happening. Unlike other online sportsbooks, BetOnline separates its options into different categories, including:
This way, you can easily navigate to your preferred category, locate events, and bet using a specialized strategy. And, since BetOnline has an entire webpage dedicated to horse racing, it’s widely considered to be one of the best platforms for the sport. Register today to make the most of a 50% deposit match, up to $1,000, along with a $25 risk-free bet.
SportsBetting.ag prides itself as being the “best online sportsbook” and while that may be up for debate, it is one of the most well-respected and regularly receives praise for its quality customer service. Its range of sports is fairly limited compared to other platforms, including just:
SportsBetting.ag does offer a dedicated racebook for horse racing fans, though. Plus, new members can qualify for a 50% deposit match, up to $1,000.
BUSR is another favorite for fans of horse racing. Along with a comprehensive racebook, it offers live betting options, giving you the opportunity to bet on horse races as they’re happening. You can also find odds for motor racing and harness racing on the site. Other sports available for betting include:
BUSR offers a 150% deposit bonus, worth up to $750, which is one of the most generous on this list. You can also take advantage of other bonuses, like the $100 risk-free bet and the $50 mobile free play bonus.
If you’re looking for a platform with a wide variety of sports, MyBookie is a great option. It offers odds on all of the most popular sports, including football, basketball, baseball, hockey, golf, tennis, boxing, and MMA, as well as a few less-common options, like cricket, Aussie Rules football, and water polo.
You can even bet on entertainment and US political events. Additionally, MyBookie offers a generous welcome bonus, giving you a 100% deposit match, up to $1,000. You also have the opportunity to earn up to $500 in risk-free bets and can take advantage of other promotions, like the $20 Refer-a-Friend bonus.
Wagerweb has been in the Sportsbook betting business for over 25 years and is one of the most trusted and well-respected platforms in the industry. It offers odds on all of the major professional sports, including football, basketball, hockey, golf, tennis, and soccer, but it’s known to be the go-to platform for MLB baseball betting.
If you’re a fan of major league baseball, we recommend signing up to make the most of Wagerweb’s ongoing 50% deposit bonus, worth up to $1,000. Additionally, Wagerweb is one of the few platforms to accept Bitcoin, so feel free to use your cryptocurrencies on the site.
Last but not least, Xbet is one of the newer sportsbooks on the market but it’s already made a name for itself in the industry. It mainly specializes in NFL bets but you can find competitive odds on most major sports, including NBA basketball, MLB baseball, Canadian football, and Champions League Soccer.
Considering that it is a smaller, younger sportsbook, it still offers a respectable 100% deposit bonus, valued at up to $500. We highly recommend it for NFL fans, as you’ll be able to place 1st and 2nd half lines, player props, quarter lines, preseason lines, and more through the platform.
Sports betting is a popular way to gamble for a reason—it’s easy, exciting, and offers the opportunity to win some extra money. Hopefully this guide has provided a solid foundation that you can use to sign up, start betting, and win a profit from your favorite sports. As we’ve pointed out, though, be sure to use a quality sportsbook, such as one of the options described above.
Yes, betting sites can ban you if they suspect you of fraud or if they believe you are using unfair practices to win.
During the registration process, you’ll be required to agree to a set of Terms ; Conditions and, if you violate these terms, your account could be suspended and you’ll be banned from the site.
No, sports betting is not legal in all 50 states.
Under current federal law, individual state legislatures can pass and regulate their own gambling bills but, to date, only 27 states (including the District of Columbia) have legalized the practice.
Another 13 states are actively debating legislation that would legalize online sports betting.
Yes, sports betting is legal in the United Kingdom and has been since the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960.
The UK is considered one of the most “open” markets in the world when it comes to online gambling and there are dozens of licensed and regulated sports betting sites available to UK residents.
Yes, a bookie can cancel a bet but they are not obligated to do so.
If you believe that a bet has been canceled in error, you can contact customer support to have the issue reviewed.
In most cases, the bookmaker will honor the bet but there are no guarantees.
In short, no. All reputable sports betting sites will require some form of verification before you’re allowed to place a bet.
This is done to protect both the customer and the sportsbook and is required by law in most jurisdictions.
During the verification process, you’ll be required to provide proof of identity and age as well as a valid credit or debit card.