Being the new guy in the office can sometimes be hard. You don’t know where the bathroom is, can’t find the coffee or vending machines, and your work seems to take you hours longer than your more experienced colleagues. Just like when you are in the office, being a sports betting rookie can be just as annoying. Thankfully, we’re here to take you under our wing, and show you the ropes. On this page, you’ll find all the sports betting tips you’ll need to begin your sports betting career. Finding the bathroom? That part is up to you.
Online Betting: Getting Started
So you’re ready to begin – now what? Well, luckily for you we’ve created a “roadmap” below – answering the most frequent concerns bettors have as they begin. After reading each page you’ll be ready to choose your sportsbook, pick the best perks and avoid the dreaded drunken pitfalls. Let’s get started!
Picking a Sportsbook
Your first major decision regards where you will be doing your sports betting. Unfortunately, no matter how pleasing on the eye a site is, it really comes down to what is underneath that counts. By that we mean there are dozens of factors that come in to making a good match between sportsbook and bettor including reliability, betting odds, bonuses, loyalty programs, your betting experience, customer service, and more.
Our team of industry experts, professional handicappers, former Vegas sportsbook managers and professional reviewers have narrowed down the most important factors for choosing the right sportsbook to the list below.
While by no means the only factors that you will need to consider, they are some of the primary concerns that new and professional gamers always have. Always remember that online gaming can be fun, but never forget that you’re in it to make money.
Reputation in the online gaming industry is key. Differentiating between sportsbooks that will be around in the future and those who simply want you to give them money before they close can be the difference between a successful wagering career and a lost deposit. We have evaluated the leading list of sportsbooks based on client feedback and employee feedback for several years.
Industry insiders, such as those on our research team, know how a sportsbook treats its customers – if they go out of their way to pay quickly, if they’ll always have your back with good account management, if they answer their phones, etc. More importantly, they have let us know which sportsbooks to avoid and which may not be around this time next year.
Liquidity / Financial Stability
Ever since the U.S. implemented tougher financial restrictions on the online gaming industry, the cream has really risen to the top when it comes to financial stability. Some companies who were not on a solid footing closed almost overnight, while others navigated the trouble waters but emerged as true industry powerhouses.
Assessing the liquidity of an online sportsbook was a key evaluation of ours – we scoured financial statements and when we asked leading sportsbooks for financial sheets, they gave them. Financial stability mainly revolves around deposit and payout acceptance.
We only recommend those websites that have a proven track record of paying out on time and accepting customer deposits through a wide variety of methods. Our recommended sportsbooks will be around for decades to come.
Deposit and Payout Options
There are two times you don’t want to stress as a sports bettor – when you want to deposit before the big game and when you want to take your winnings out. Reputable sportsbooks will offer members a variety of handy methods to fund and make withdrawals. When it comes to making a deposit, the preferred method is always credit cards.
While not a common option for taking money out, almost every sportsbook will offer credit cards as a way to get money in. Other common methods include person-to-person money transfers such as Western Union or MoneyGram, which is often the favorite method to receive a payout. Toss in other methods such as Moneybookers(Skrill) and e-wallets and you’ve got flexibility when it comes to game day.
Bonus Offers and Promotions
When it comes time to promotions and bonuses, bigger isn’t always better. Bonuses carry terms and conditions that can make getting something “free” not free at all. Why? Every bonus features a rollover and max cashout. A rollover is basically the number of times you must bet before you will be eligible to take any money out.
If you hit a big parlay on day one, however, you may regret taking that big bonus. Max cashout is similar to rollover, however certain books may put a limit on how much money you can take out if a bonus is taken. Always look into this, because you may think you struck it rich only to find that you won enough for a train ticket to depressed-ville.
Managing Your Sports Betting Bankroll
Once you have chosen your sportsbook and made a deposit, choosing the right betting strategy can literally make or break your gambling career. On the page linked above (Managing Your Sports Betting Bankroll), our team of experts will tell you about different options for managing your sports betting bankroll, from ways to easily grow that balance to strategies you may want to avoid. While there is no perfect betting strategy, knowing how you like to wager will help protect, and grow, your funds from the minute you begin betting.
Alright, let’s get down to…accounting. Believe it or not, account management is a big part of sports betting. It seems every year some website wise-guy says he has a “no lose” betting plan that can make you millions. There is no magic guaranteed winning strategy when it comes to gambling, but some of the strategies below should help preserve your precious betting bankroll.
Bet in Units
Unit betting is a mathematical way of managing your bankroll. Think of your betting bankroll as units, 1% of your balance is 1 unit, for example, while 5% of your balance is 5 units. By choosing this strategy, you are applying a set variable to a changing number i.e. your balance.
If I say “I will always bet 2 units on Monday Night Football” then I may bet different amounts – one week this may equate to $10,, the next week I’ll bet the same 2 units, but this may mean I am betting $20. The amount you bet is dictated by the size of your bankroll. This method helps you to ride out losing streaks, allowing you to continue betting for longer.
Flat Betting Strategy
Closely related to Unit betting is Flat Betting. You set your bet amounts for the season and that risk amount does not change, no matter what your account balance is. Let’s look at an example, Week 1 Monday Night Football I say “I will bet $10 on the Spread of this game.”
Week 2 comes along and, following this same Flat Betting strategy, I once again bet $10 on the Point Spread of this game. The balance could be different or the Point Spread could pay out half of what it did week-over-week, but with a Flat Betting Strategy it doesn’t matter, the amount is the amount, no matter the odds.
Betting Systems: To Use or Not to Use
Unit and Flat Betting strategies are two of the most common used strategies out there, however there are countless others. Some customers will go for “home runs” and use their entire balances to fund wild parlays.
The odds are stacked against those players, but sometimes the stars align and a player strikes it rich. Other players will use their balances to back heavy favorites. They won’t win large amounts, but the odds are in their favor. Find a system that suits your betting style, your available funds, your betting goals, and how risk averse you are.
Chasing Lost Bets
While experts are split on the effectiveness of different betting strategies, almost every professional handicapper agrees that chasing lost bets is a terrible idea. Never heard the term? Say on Sunday morning you bet half your balance on an early NFL game. The game starts and after 10 minutes you’ve already lost, so you decide that you can’t lose the day and bet your balance on afternoon NFL games, even though you haven’t done any research and there aren’t any favorable odds.
You’ve just chased a lost bet. Successful betting requires patience and research on your part. Losses are part of gambling. If a bet loses, forget about it and move onto the next bet, but make sure that you are betting because you think you have an edge or the bookies have the odds set wrong, don’t go chasing those losses because you could end up going broke.
How to Pick Sportsbook Bonuses
Try walking into a Las Vegas casino and telling them you’ll give them $100, but in return you want $200 to bet with. Think it’ll work? Us neither! With online sportsbooks, you can make money before you even place your first bet thanks to the various bonuses they offer their customers.
One of the biggest perks of online gambling, sportsbook bonuses, give you money or free bets when you make a qualifying deposit. Almost every online sportsbook, including the ones on our list of recommended websites, offer them. On this page we’ve got all the information you need for selecting a winning sportsbook bonus, from the different bonus types, through to what you’ll need to look out for in the fine print.
Types of Sportsbook Bonuses
While no two bonuses are the same, they do carry similar terms and conditions. One of the biggest misconceptions among new online bettors is that you should look for the biggest, baddest, boldest sign-up bonus possible and jump on it. While this may work for some, it may be a big mistake for others. Why? Read on and we’ll explain the different bonus types and the various terms and conditions applied to them.
Sign-Up Bonuses – The most common bonus is a sign-up bonus for new customers. Ranging from 10% to 100% of the amount of your first deposit, sign-up bonuses are a great way to start your betting career!
Match Bonuses – One of the most popular bonus options are match bonuses. Simply put, a match bonus matches your deposit amount with an equal amount in bonuses. So if you deposit $100, you’ll receive an extra $100 in your account.
Deposit Bonuses – As the name suggests, a deposit bonus is a bonus tied to a deposit to your sportsbook account. While some sportsbooks offer different deposit bonuses depending upon the deposit method used (credit card, wire transfer, etc.) all will require proof of a successful financial transaction before you receive the bonus credit.
Reload Bonuses – Just like the name implies, a reload bonus is credited to your sportsbook account once you have made at least one deposit prior to this one. Reloading (or refilling) your account proves to a sportsbook that you are not just testing the waters and are here to stay, and have a history of successful financial transactions.
Free Bet Bonuses – Considered one of the least risky bonuses for a sportsbook, a free bet bonus is not a bonus amount credited to your account, but rather a risk-free wager. If you win you get to keep the cash (depending upon the terms, of course). If your bet loses it doesn’t matter because the bet was free anyway. Some sites will ask you to make a bet with your own money first, and if it loses they refund your account with cash or a free bet of the same value.
No Deposit Bonuses – By far the rarest of sportsbook bonuses, no deposit bonuses are usually offered when you are a customer a sportsbook wants back badly. How badly? They offer you free cash to play with without the need to fund your account. Be careful however, no deposit bonuses can carry heavy terms.
Terms & Conditions: Read the Fine Print
Sportsbook bonuses sound like a pretty sweet deal, right? We always suggest that before you take a bonus, or make a deposit, you read the fine print. Each website is required to say exactly what the Terms and Conditions are of any bonus. The main T&C’s that you, as a bettor, may encounter are Rollover, Hold and Max Release.
Rollover deserves its own section, however the term “Hold” means that you may encounter a time restriction before you can withdraw either your winnings or any of your balance, while max release means the sportsbook may put a “cap” on your winnings, limiting it to a certain amount. While not universal, always compare these conditions before joining a sportsbook.
One of most misunderstood Terms and Conditions, are Rollovers or “Playthroughs”. They have caused more angry online gamblers than any other T&C. Why? Because some customers neglect to read about the rollover requirements before they take a bonus.
A Rollover means you have to bet your deposit and/or bonus amount a certain number of times before you are entitled to receive any winnings, or be able to withdraw your money. Think of it as their way of minimizing risk and ensuring that unscrupulous bettors are not taking advantage of the site’s bonuses.
While rollover requirements do vary, expect at least a 5-10X rollover in most cases. Not all books are equal however, so make sure to read that “Bonus Terms” section carefully.
Why the Maximum Bonus Amount Matters
One of the principal considerations when taking a bonus is the “max bonus amount” declaration. While not explicitly tied to percentage, it does place a ceiling on the amount you can receive. Say you deposit a $1,000 and take a 100% bonus. This means you get an extra $1,000! Well, just say that the sportsbook imposes a max bonus amount of $500. This means that for your $1,000 bonus, you only receive $500 free!
Now, we’re no math experts but that doesn’t seem like 100% to us. For this reason, we always advise maximizing your return by never depositing above a max bonus amount; in the above situation with the ceiling, any deposit more than $500 is just a wasted opportunity to make more cash.
Comparing Sports Betting Odds
In online sports betting there are lines “leaders” and “followers”. The actual nuts and bolts of a sportsbook are the betting odds a site offers its clients. All major online sportsbooks will offer many bet types, ranging from Straight wagers to Exotics and Futures. Learning to master different betting types and taking advantage of favorable odds can be the difference between winning money and losing money.
Depending upon the event, there could be dozens of potential wagers to make, but if you don’t understand what you’re betting on, or how to take advantage of a favorable line, you might as well be handing your money over the bookmaker. Continue reading to learn all about odds.
How To Compare
In the world of online sports betting odds, there are leaders and there are followers. Certain sportsbooks post their odds based on their own formulas and research, just like the master Las Vegas oddsmakers.
However, some sportsbooks follow those books who post their own odds, and adjust them based on the action they receive. Regardless of the differences between how sportsbook set their odds, the odds work the same way on every site.
Moneyline vs Pointspread
By far the two most popular wager types, Moneylines and Point Spreads, are closely related. A Moneyline wager is a bet on who will win any given event, while a Point Spread wager is a bet on the margin of victory. For example, say there is a game featuring Team A and Team B. If you make a Moneyline wager on Team A, you are saying “I think Team A will win.
Period” If you however see that Point Spread of this game is Team A +/- “X points”, you are betting that Team A will either win or lose by at least X points. Since a Point Spread is harder to predict, the payouts for Point Spreads are usually higher than Moneylines.
The third wheel of Straight wager betting types, Over/Under wagers (or “Totals”) doesn’t involve who wins a game, they are concerned with the points put on the board. There are two possibilities: (1) Game/Event Totals or (2) Team/Player Totals. When you choose an Over/Under, you are wagering on if the entire number of points for the game will be more or less the number the bookmaker predicts.
For example, if you choose a game to go “Over” 50 points, and the final score is 33-20 (33 + 20 = 53) you win this wager. If the final score was 33-10 (33+10 = 43) then you lose. Similarly, if you choose a team total, you are saying “Team X will score at least this many points.
Parlays are the riskiest bet you can make as you need several results to go your way, but also perhaps the most potentially profitable. By choosing a Parlay you pick a combination of straight wagers together as one bet. Instead of betting on one Moneyline/Point Spread or Over/Under, you add many together.
Now since winning one wager is tough, winning many together is even harder. For this reason, Parlays are harder to win, and the more events you add to one lowers your chances of winning.
At most major Sportsbooks, you can make a parlay between 2 – 17 events and will offer a parlay payout board so you can see how much you’ll win as the events pile up. If you have a good feeling about several events, parlays could be your ticket to a big payday.
Pleasers vs Teasers
Pleasers and Teasers are exciting options for sports bettors, if you’re lucky enough to wager at a sportsbook that offers this bet type. A “Pleaser” is a Point Spread parlay where you change the odds in the House’s favor, in return for a bigger potential winning amount. Basically, you are making your wager riskier, and as a trade the House will give you more if you should win.
A “Teaser” is the exact opposite: a Point Spread parlay where you get better odds of winning, but also will receive less money if you win. While not as common as the above methods, Pleasers and Teasers can be a lifesaver if you are looking to change the Point Spread.
Drinking and Betting
Drinking while betting is a common mistake amongst bettors, and doing so can be a disastrous decision. Online gambling can be a thrilling endeavor, putting up your money on the chance of doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling it is risky, and that risk creates the release of adrenaline. Basically, betting amps you up, and if you’ve previously had a big win then the excitement usually increases.
You may be thinking “what better way to enjoy that feeling of euphoria than a few cocktails”, or conversely, “what better way to steady the nerves while you wait for the results of the final game of that 14 team parlay,” but you should avoid drinking and betting, here’s why.
Bet Before You Party
It is a Friday night (or Tuesday night, whatever, we’re not here to judge) and you’re getting ready to have yourself a little party. You’ve got your drinks, you’ve got your iPad, and you’ve got the recipe for one heck of losing streak. We asked our team of former industry employees what the number one regret big players had when it came to betting on sports, and they agreed that betting after drinking was what they would hear time and time again.
Whether it’s a matter of forgetting to place a wager then making up for it by making too many bets, or whether it’s just acting on a whim and deciding “you know what, I like that Dallas Quarterback, he’s got a funny name, bet it all!” our experts agreed that if you’re going to drink alcohol and place some bets, make sure you do the betting part first.
Medical studies have shown that one of the first thinga affected when you drink is the judgment part of your brain, the one that prevents you from making stupid decisions – such as jumping over that fence, or making that 14 team parlay with all your balance.
Add in the effect of memory loss and you’ve got a potentially deadly (to your bankroll) 1-2 combination. Do yourself a favor, even if you don’t get your wager in before the big game, there will always be something else to bet on. Take a couple of asprin, eat a piece of toast and sleep it off. Your account balance will thank you in the morning.
Live Betting: Especially Bad When Drinking
Live Betting is a platform offered by most major sportsbooks whereby you wager on an event as it takes place; odds change in real time depending upon the action. While the options vary per book, the risk you undertake by live betting while drunk remains the same. Smart bettors know to do their research before betting on a game.
As the game progresses a sharp eye can spot trends or developments and then capitalize on a favorable line. Unfortunately, when you’re drunk your mind works a lot slower, and sometimes you don’t see the full picture. This means your ability to predict trends or react quickly to a live wager decreases.
You are therefore more likely to miss a good bet, or lock in a bad bet that goes off the board before you even realize what has happened. Live betting requires your full brainpower, so stay away from mind-numbing drinks before you dive into this field.