Here are the most important things to think about when comparing betting sites:
The Betting Experience
For most experienced sports bettors, the following factors make or break a book’s reputation as an enjoyable and profitable place to get in on the action:
- Where do you live?
- While sports betting is becoming more accessible, there may still be limited options depending on the country and/or state you live in.
- Some countries like the UK have an incredible number of options while in the US, where sports betting is legalized on a federal level, the number of options to bet online vary from state to state.
- How often do the odds change?
- Some sportsbooks adjust the odds more frequently than others.
- Carefully monitoring these changes can be an effective way to find value on one side of the wager, but this strategy can be too time-consuming for casual bettors.
- If you prefer to place your bets without fear of better odds popping up an hour later, look for a book that takes a “set and forget” approach to their lines.
- How early are the lines released?
- Some online sportsbooks will release the odds days or even weeks ahead of game day, while others tend to cut things a bit closer.
- If you’re a very knowledgeable and confident bettor, putting your money down early can often secure better odds. But if you’re new to betting or find yourself wagering on a sport you don’t know as well, it’s probably best to wait until closer to game day to place your bets.
- If you prefer to bet on sports like hockey, baseball, or basketball, you’ll see much less variation in line release times. If you’re a fan of football or combat sports, on the other hand, you might want to consider a sportsbook that releases their lines well in advance.
- How much of a cut does the sportsbook take?
- Every online betting site charges a commission to handle your wager (called the ‘juice,’ ‘vig,’ or ‘vigorish’) but the amounts vary between books and individual games.
- Over the long term, the difference in vig can be the difference between turning a profit or suffering a loss.
- Odds of -110 are generally standard for points spreads and totals. This means you must bet $1.10 to win $1. Books that charge more than this are considered pricey, while those that consistently offer odds at -105 are generally considered to be a value.
- If you plan to place a couple of bets casually, these differences won’t have such a large impact. On the other hand, those who plan to bet consistently will notice the toll a high vig can take on your bankroll over time.
- Consider how much money you plan to wager over the next year. The higher the number, the more you should consider finding a sportsbook with low average juice.
- Are you interested in unusual prop bets?
- Prop bets ask you to wager on the outcome of something other than the game itself; this can include individual player performances, team statistics, or more unorthodox questions regarding half time performances and fan behavior.
- Some sportsbooks put more time into formulating creative prop bets. If you primarily bet for entertainment, you’ll want to look for a sportsbook that caters to the fun side of things.
- Do they offer a wide variety of lines on your favorite sports?
- There’s often incredible value to be found betting on smaller market teams and sports, but not every sportsbook offers lines on these less frequently covered games. If you want to bet on snooker, darts, cricket, or any other event you’re not likely to see on national television, make sure you find a sportsbook that has the resources to formulate betting lines for them.
- While many bettors stick to the ‘big four’ North American sports of football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, many sportsbooks also allow you to put money down on anything from table tennis to Belarusian Premier League soccer.
Make sure you select an online sportsbook that’s committed to protecting your personal information as closely as you do.
You’ll often be providing your identification and financial information to make a withdrawal. Ensure any sportsbook you trust with this valuable personal information is regulated in a reputable jurisdiction and has a solid track record of protecting consumer info.
Signing up with one of the legal options found here is the simplest way to ensure your safety when betting online.
Following the 2018 US Supreme Court decision that legalized sports betting at the federal level, it’s easier than ever to safely and legally bet on sports online. That said, the patchwork of legislation at the state level means your options in terms of online betting depend on your location.
Ultimately, everything comes down to one simple question:
Is this sportsbook legally accessible from where I live?
- Legal sites are geo-restricted and may not be available nationwide
- Licenses are granted on a case-by-case basis, which means some online sportsbooks aren’t available even where online gambling is allowed
In the United States, legal betting sites will check your location frequently to ensure compliance with relevant state laws. Looking for these location checks is a great way to see if you’re betting with a safe and licensed option.
Elsewhere in the world, access to online sportsbooks will often be blocked completely from jurisdictions in which the sites cannot legally operate. In any case, make sure licensing information is available somewhere on the site.
What Type of Promotions and Bonuses Will You Be Able to Take Advantage Of?
Virtually every online sportsbook offers bonuses and promotions to entice new users and keep them coming back, but these offers vary widely in terms of overall value and restrictions.
Here are the pros and cons of the most common types you’ll encounter:
|Sign up Bonuses||
|VIP & Loyalty Programs||
Mobile Betting and Betting Apps: Is It Easy to Bet From Your Cell Phone?
Consider where you’re most likely to place your bets. Want to put down a little action on the train ride home from work? How about placing a wager from your favorite stool at the local sports bar?
If you’re interested in betting on the go, you need to find a solid betting app or sportsbook with a user-friendly mobile interface.
- Most online sportsbooks are accessible on the go and have dedicated betting apps, but the quality of this experience differs
- We recommend using these apps where available, but many sportsbooks offer websites optimized to function well from your mobile browser as an alternative
Do They Have a Solid Reputation for Resolving Disputes and Customer Service?
Unfortunately, there are instances of online sportsbooks taking advantage of unsuspecting consumers. This often takes the form of the book dragging their feet when processing payouts or refusing to honor winnings entirely. While this behavior is a sure way to guarantee customers won’t be coming back, it does happen from time to time.
Of course, this isn’t something you need to worry about if you’re betting with a reputable and legal option.
Reading online reviews like those found here at SBD is the best way to ensure you’ll receive a timely payout when you decide to cash out your winnings. If others have been hosed by an online sportsbook, chances are they’ll be more than happy to share their experience online.
The same goes for finding sportsbooks with great customer service. Sometimes things go wrong when dealing with entirely remote banking transactions. You want to be sure someone is going to pick up the phone and offer a helpful response in the unlikely case you do encounter an issue.
The Final Word
Just like any form of entertainment, finding the online sportsbook and app that works best for you comes to down to balancing the available features with the cost. When it comes to sports betting, differences in cost play out as higher juice or less desirable bonus offers.
Think about your individual needs and your motivation to bet on sports. Some books are better for those looking for the most value, some cater exclusively to the most experienced ‘sharp’ bettors, and others simply provide a fun and easy-to-use online gambling experience.
Take some time to explore the individual sportsbook reviews found on this site, keeping in mind the criteria covered throughout this guide. The snapshots in the list above will help you quickly determine if each site fits your individual preferences as a bettor.