Betting on sports online has evolved significantly over the last few years. From the single bets and parlays of old-school sites, you can now bet live, compare lines quickly, place some teaser bets and other complex bets – and even bet from your mobile phone. This page gives you an overview of using sports betting sites, with a focus on the US.
First up below you’ll find an overview of how today’s sportsbooks operate. This includes some of the key features which distinguish one book from another, and the main types of bet available. After that, I have covered the important area of how to fund your betting account, and withdraw your winnings. We also include our info on some of the most popular sportsbooks.
Most Reputable Online Sports Betting Sites
When choosing sports betting sites, I like to look for several years of service and a great reputation. The selection of US and worldwide Sportsbooks below not only offer you the best odds, range of bets and bonuses – they also give you complete peace of mind.
BetOnline Bonus: $1,000
Bovada Bonus: $250
WagerWeb Bonus: 50%
Bookmaker Bonus: $2500
If you are looking for sports outside of the ‘big 4’ listed above, then the 5Dimes Sportsbook is a top choice. They offer a range of lines on niche and international sports you will not find elsewhere. You’ll also find an excellent loyalty program.
For non-US Sports betting fans, Bet365 is the biggest and best UK based book. You’ll find a huge range of bets on European and UK sporting events, along with generous bonuses.
Want to sign up at a top sportsbook, but still not sure which is best for you? Check out BetOnline vs Bovada for a real comparison of everything.
Using Sports Betting Sites Starts With Choosing a Great Sportsbook
Online Sportsbooks can seem very similar on first inspection. Once you know what to look for you will see some major differences between them. The first thing to consider is the range of markets that a particular site offers. We all have preferences for certain sports and markets within them. Once you have ensured that your favorites are covered, you need to look at the lines on offer. Very small differences in the odds will add up over time, so make sure your book is competitive in this respect before you join.
Nowadays, all betting sites offer live betting options. In-play bets can be used to hedge against losses or even to improve your returns. This feature also adds a whole new dimension while you are watching the game. Make sure your Sportsbook offers it, and that your favorite sports are covered. The same applies to reverse bets, prop bets, teasers and parlays. The presence of these bets can add to your overall betting experience – as well as your profits.
We also compare the betting bonuses and ongoing rewards across the different sportsbooks. Some will offer large upfront bonuses, and others specialize in rewarding their longer-term loyal customers. Upfront bonuses differ on the percentage matched to your deposit. The range is from 25% to 100%. The bigger difference is in the bet-through requirement. This will range from 3x to 10x or even more, which makes a big difference to your bottom line. Ongoing rewards will actually make a larger difference in the long run. Sportsbooks like BetOnline offer 25% on every deposit for your lifetime. Others, for example Bovada, instead offer regular promotions and special offers to reward their loyal customers. There is no need to use any Sportsbook without some kind of ongoing deal nowadays.
The Main Bets Available at Online Sportsbooks
When you first bet at an online sportsbook, I recommend you stick to the basic straight bets and betting the point spread. These are easy to compare between books and easy to follow when you watch the match. There are a wide range of more complex bets to enjoy online nowadays. I recommend you take your time with these, understanding the pros and cons of each bet and the math behind them – before moving on to the next type. Multiples and Parlays are a great way to add some interest and the potential for a big windfall. You’ll find yourself giving an extra edge to the book in exchange for these benefits though.
There are plenty of alternative bets including head-to-head, outcomes for each half of a game, teasers and even prop bets. Live betting has really taken off recently, and is perfect for mobile devices. You can watch the odds change as significant events and scores happen in-play. If you spot an opportunity to bet, then you can do this instantly.
How to Fund Your Online Sports Betting Site Account
Bettors from the US face restrictions from banks when funding accounts at offshore sports betting sites. Fortunately, over the years the industry has become very efficient at accepting deposits. The exact methods available will depend on which Sportsbook you choose.
Here are the main options you’ll get to choose from when funding an online Sportsbook for the first time:
- Credit Cards: Visa, MasterCard and Amex are all accepted. These will often go straight through first time. However, if they do get declined then you can buy a pre-paid card from a 7-11 instead. Make sure you buy one which is approved for international transactions.
- Virtual Cards / eWallets: I don’t know of any ewallets for US players at this time. Worldwide bettors have a choice of popular wallets including Skrill and Neteller.
- Money Transfers: Western Union and MoneyGram are global money transfer services. You can use these to fund your sports betting account by wiring cash to an individual acting on your Sportsbooks behalf.
- Bank Wire/Check/Money Order: This is an option for US at some books (like BetOnline), but has a higher minimum deposit.
Again worldwide players have more options, including local bank transfers. For withdrawing your winnings, the best bet is a paper check as it only takes 2-4 days. Most U.S. sportsbooks will process one check each month free of charge. You can also use Western Union and bank wires for withdrawals.