So, you are a sports fan. Like, a really big fan. Maybe you do well in your family football pool, or you are killing it in your fantasy league with your friends at work. Now people are coming to you for advice on who will win games, which players will have big nights and other sports knowledge. Have you ever thought about trying to make some bets yourself instead of just giving other people advice? Well, you are not alone. The sports betting industry continues to grow at record speed, and with the ability to create an account and bet on the Internet, you could be making money in a matter of minutes!
However, there is a lot to consider when you have decided to take the first step of selecting a sportsbook. Our team of sports betting experts wants to make sure you don’t make a losing play before you even pick your first winner. That’s what this page is for – the basics of betting on sports – and we provide a number of detailed 101 guides below to help you:
- How Sportsbook Signup Bonuses Work
- Understanding How Prop Bets Work
- Moneyline Vs. Point Spread Betting
- How To Use Middling Bets
- Overview of Sportsbook Rewards and VIP Programs
- What are Futures Bets?
- How to Read Sports Betting Odds
- When Should You Hedge Your Bets?
- Common Betting Mistakes Made by Beginners
- Explanation of Parlays Vs. Teasers
- Over/Under Betting Explained
- How To Win at Sports Betting
For more terms, see our Sports Betting Glossary page.
Aren’t all sportsbooks the same?
This is something we hear all the time from our readers. While we continue to publish detailed reviews of all the online sportsbooks we find, players wonder if there are really that many differences between them. We are here to tell you that yes, there are many subtle differences that the general gambler may not notice. These changes can have an impact on your experience with the site and also affect the bottom line, so we think it is worth having a read of pages like this that outline what you should be looking for when you get to the homepage of a sportsbook site.
What to look for when picking a Sportsbook
When our reviewers research and test a sportsbook site, they look at dozens of data points to determine the overall rating for each company. Now, we don’t think you need to go to that level of detail (after all, you could just read our reviews) but we know that these days people like to do their own due diligence. So, with that in mind, here are some of the most important attributes that you should consider when picking a sportsbook.
To us, this is the most important factor when choosing a site. Regardless of which site you end up selecting, you are still going to send your hard-earned money to a company where you can’t just walk up to their offices. There is a leap of faith that has to occur, and the most comfortable way to accomplish this is to find a site that has a gaming license from a legitimate gambling jurisdiction. You can see the logos for these regulators prominently displayed on the homepages of sportsbook sites. If you are living in a “grey market” jurisdiction, then you may not find those licenses. In this case, our team scours the gaming forums for any history of complaints against a site, and we check that against the length of time a site has been open for business. This way, we can eliminate sites that we feel add risk to your overall experience.
This may seem like a small thing, but the look and feel of the site are very important to us, especially when it comes to sports betting. There are a lot of moving parts on a sportsbook site – odds that constantly move, thousands of available bets, in-game betting, promotions, etc. This can create a lot of clutter on any webpage, so we look for the sites that have the best design. This can mean both the way the site looks or the betting interface itself. Having loads of betting information neatly organized is no good if the betting interface is cumbersome. Speed and accuracy are key when betting on sports, so there is no room for sites that don’t make it easy for your find the line you want and to quickly make your wager.
The user interfaces discussion now has to include mobile devices. These days, so many players are heading to their phones and tablets first when looking for odds, information and their betting accounts. For many sportsbooks, the emphasis has been heavily focused on mobile for several years, but that doesn’t mean that every sportsbook does it well. The first thing to investigate is whether or not a site offers a native app for iOS or Android. This is more likely to be the case in countries where online gambling is legal, but again that doesn’t automatically mean a site has built an app. The sure way to access a site via your device is using a browser-based version of the platform. This means finding a site that has adapted their desktop product to work as well on mobile devices.
When you are ready to register for a sportsbook, you should take a long look at the offers being given to you by each site. These can range in value and type, but every extra incentive you can take advantage of is going to help you become a profitable player. We look at every type of bonus in detail, from the initial Deposit offer to any Free Bets or Match Play bets that a site gives players. It is also important to consider loyalty to a site when you are planning to play, as the more you play with one site, the more loyalty points you earn which you can convert to cash in most cases.
There is nothing worse than having something go wrong with your betting account and not being able to find someone to help you. While the sportsbook industry is better than most when it comes to customer support, there are still many ways to contact a site when you have a question. We err on the side of sites that offer Live Chat agents right on the site – we like the real-time conversation without having to pick up a phone. Also, we only recommend sites that offer support 24 hours a day.
Available Sports and Leagues
There are some wild swings in the number of sports and leagues that are available for betting at many sportsbooks. While the majority of sites will of course offer lines n the major leagues, there are literally thousands of matches across professional sports every day. We want you to have the option of betting on whatever your heart desires, so when selecting a site make sure to spend some time reviewing all the sports and leagues within those sports. This includes looking for sites that offer the most eSports options. Betting on these video game competitions have become very popular in recent years, and if you haven’t seen one of these events before, we highly encourage you to do so.
Finally, you want to pick a sportsbook that gives you the option to watch the match you are betting on!
With so many available bets every day, there aren’t enough sports channels on television to cover them all. Add in the fact that many of them are happening in foreign countries, and you are left searching for local feeds online. The best sportsbooks are those that have compiled the most feeds from around the world in one centralized location. From there, it usually only takes a real-money account with a balance in it to access these streams, and you can be watching the live action that your money is riding on! This is also helpful for many in-game bets that are offered, as it is much easier to make informed decisions if you are able to watch the game or match as it happens.
The best sportsbooks for new players
Ok, so now you have a better sense of some of the most important factors that go into picking the right sportsbook. We only scratched the surface when it comes to these sites – there are many other things we put into our reviews like VIP Programs, Payment Methods, disputes, etc. This is why although we encourage you to do some research on your own that would be well served to read our comprehensive reviews. As we are all gamblers ourselves, these reviews are brutally honest, as we wouldn’t want you to pick a sportsbook, we wouldn’t choose.
With that in mind, we have built an entire section of this site dedicated to Sportsbook reviews. It’s jammed full of reviews of all the sportsbooks we can find, and gives you a sense of what are the best sites for each of the different sports. To help narrow the field for you, we decided to put together this list of some of the sportsbooks we recommend the most to our readers. This list includes some industry heavyweights and some newcomers, but what we have found is that as an overall place to make a deposit and bet on sports, these sites provide the best options for novice players. We think you should check out each of the reviews listed on this site to find the site that is best for your needs.
The sportsbook industry has had its fair share of trials and tribulations over the years, but there appear to be some exciting times on the horizon. Now is the time to find the best place for you to jump in and start betting, as the upcoming changes to the industry and to the technology around betting will be something you don’t want to miss!