Sports betting is one of the favorite hobbies of millions worldwide. Most do it just for entertainment, while some take it more seriously and are actually able to make a consistent profit doing it.
Either way, finding the best sports betting sites out there is crucial.
This isn't always an easy task with thousands of online bookmakers to choose from.
If you’re on the hunt for the best online sports betting operators but aren’t quite sure what to look for, you’ve come to the right place. On this page, we cover everything there is to know about betting basics and choosing the best bookie to accompany you on your journey.
Sports Betting Basics: How to Start
On the surface, sports betting is very simple and easy. Even if you’ve never done it before, you should have no problems placing a specific type of bet with a land-based or online bookmaker.
The process of placing a sports bet is straightforward.
You pick a match or an event, choose the outcome you expect, and stake the amount of money you’re willing to risk.
Of course, things are a bit more complicated in reality.
Top sports betting websites offer a great variety of different sports, betting markets, and bet types. So, if you’re new to the activity, all this can be a bit confusing. Like with most things in life, there is a learning curve.
The good news is that there is no pressure.
The best sports betting sites out there will let you bet for small amounts and on sports you know so that you can ease your way into it.
Add to it this extensive guide to betting online, and you have all the tools you need to place your first bets very soon.
By the time you're done reading, you'll have a good idea of picking the top sports bet sites and what sports and markets to bet on for the best results.
Choosing the Best Sports Betting Sites in 2023
If you Google something like “bet online” or “online sports betting,” you'll get hundreds of results, many of them being sports betting sites happy to take your action. The tricky part is finding the best platforms that offer the most for your money.
There are certain aspects of an online sportsbook that experienced punters, and new bettors should equally pay attention to. When put together, these will not just influence your overall experience but can greatly influence your results in the long run.
We’ll now go through some of the most important ones to help you identify the best sports betting sites moving forward, ensuring you’re getting the most fun and value out of your money.
Platform Design & Functionality
The very first thing to look at when checking out a betting site is the overall design. As a new bettor, you might be confused about what you should be looking for, but experienced punters will have a better idea.
Top sports betting sites feature a design that’s easy on the eyes and, most importantly, simple to navigate.
This means you’ll have no problem switching between different sports and markets, and all the important information is displayed clearly.
Furthermore, you should always check out what the bet slip creation process looks like. Modern betting sites make it so that the slip is automatically generated as soon as you make your first pick. After that, you can easily add new picks and edit the existing ones. If this process isn’t simple and streamlined, it can cause unwanted and expensive mistakes.
Mobile Betting App
The ability to do your sports betting on the go is a very important factor for many players. For some, it's simply easier to bet using their phones. Others like the freedom a solid mobile app gives them to place their wagers on a whim.
Most modern online sportsbooks offer a mobile solution of some sort, be it a standalone app or a mobile-optimized website. That said, not all of them are as good.
If you know you’ll spend a lot of time betting on your phone, take the time to check out what the bookie can offer in this regard.
You’ll usually have to create an account to fully access standalone betting apps, but you don’t have to make a deposit.
A good sports betting app offers a clear interface and adjusted navigation for smaller screens. Ideally, placing your bet on the go should be just as easy as when doing it on your computer.
The Welcome Bonus
Best sports betting sites offer generous bonuses that you want to take full advantage of. These can be really valuable if you know what you’re doing and give you a real boost to kick things off.
A majority of top sports bet sites feature a welcome bonus that entails a risk-free bet. This means that you'll be able to place your first wager without fear of losing.
For example, a bookie will give you a $200 risk-free bet if your first bet loses. So, you make your pick, place your wager, and it doesn’t come in.
Once the bet settles, the sportsbook will issue you $200 in free credits that you can use to bet with again. So, if you have a betting bankroll, you really want to take full advantage of these offers as there is no downside.
They only kick in if you lose the bet, and if you hadn’t taken the bonus, you’d just be left with an empty account.
The only thing to pay attention to here is the wagering requirements. The best online sports betting sites will have reasonable requirements of something like 5x the bonus money. These are the ones that you want to bet with.
Promotions & Loyalty Program
Experienced punters look for value wherever they can get it. Even the top sportsbooks set up the odds in a way where they are pretty much guaranteed to win in the long run. So, it’s important to offset this advantage as much as possible.
One way to do so is by taking advantage of various promotions, and this is where the best in the business stand out from the rest.
Top bookmakers will offer a variety of promotions all the time, like: · Boosted odds on certain popular matches · Free bets · Frequent bonuses for existing customers
Whenever you want to place a bet, you want to check out these promotions and use them as much as possible. At the end of the day, they add up to decrease the house edge and improve your winning chances.
The same goes for different loyalty programs offered by the best online betting sites.
These reward loyal customers with all sorts of special perks, such as limited odds boost not available to everyone or special bonuses delivered straight to your inbox. It’s always in your best interest to give your action to a bookmaker that gives a lot back.
Variety of Sports & Betting Markets
One of the reasons why sports betting has become so popular is the flexibility it provides. You’re not limited to betting on just major sports or leagues, even if that’s what most people go for.
The biggest sportsbooks offer various sports and even more individual betting markets. If you don’t want to place simple moneyline (win) bets, you can try your luck with markets such as: · Handicap betting · Totals · Futures · Parlays and accumulators · Prop bets and specials · And much more
Even if you're completely new to betting, you should pick a betting site with many options when choosing where to bet on sports. While they may not be that interesting right now, as you gain experience, you might become interested in exploring these other betting options.
Quality of Live (In-play) Betting
In-play betting is arguably the most exciting form of sports betting there is. Placing your bets while the match is ongoing and adding new picks in real-time can be a really exciting experience.
If you enjoy this, make sure the sports betting site you’re looking into offers a good live betting platform.
Some of the things to pay attention to are how easy it is to find the betting picks and how quickly the bets are accepted because things tend to change very quickly.
Additionally, some of the best sports betting sites will even allow you to watch the events you’re betting on. This is a great option to have if you find yourself somewhere where you don’t have access to a TV or a computer and want to enjoy the game you have the action on.
How to Bet on Sports Online: A Quick Guide
Now that you know what to look for on a sports betting website, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding the one you like. But, when you do, how do you go about starting your betting journey?
Luckily, getting started is quite easy, and if you already know about best sports to bet on, you’ll be able to place your first bets in a matter of minutes. Just follow these simple steps:
Register for an account. This is the first step in the process, where you'll need to fill in your personal details, such as name, surname, address, email, etc. Make sure to fill these in correctly, as you'll likely need to verify your identity at some point.
Check your inbox for the confirmation email. Most betting sites will send you a link you’ll need to click to activate your newly created account.
Log in and make a deposit. Now that your account is ready, you’ll need to add some funds to start placing your wagers. The best sports betting sites will have a variety of payment methods to choose from.
Make sure you take advantage of the welcome bonus. Before you deposit, check out the requirements for claiming the welcome offer and follow them to get those free bets or extra funds.
Go to the main betting section and make your first slip. Take the time to explore what the bookie has to offer and take your picks with care. You’re in no rush.
When you’re happy with everything, just place your bet. This starts by selecting the amount you want to stake, confirm the bet, and you’ll be all set.
Congratulations, you've just placed your first online sports bet. All that's left now is to wait for your selected matches to complete and for things to go your way.
If you want to deepend your knowledge here, make sure to read our detailed guide on how to bet on sports to see what extra steps can help you out.
With a bit of luck, your first bet will result in a win, and you'll get a nice return to kick-start your bankroll.
Boosting the Odds: What Sports Are the Best to Bet On?
The best online sports betting platforms feature a few dozen sports you can bet on. This ranges from popular picks, such as soccer, basketball, American football, tennis, and hockey, to more niche ones, like pool, snooker, table tennis, and more.
Some sportsbooks will even let you bet on the results of big political events like elections or major manifestations like the Oscars.
So, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
The question is, what are the best sports to bet on if you want to have the best winning chances.
The answer is, it depends.
Betting on major sports like soccer or football comes with several advantages.
You’ll have many different leagues to choose from, there are all sorts of markets available, and most promotions are targeted at these sports.
At the same time, these are also the sports that bookmakers have the most information about and can set the odds in a way where it’s really hard to find an edge.
With more niche sports, you’ll have much more opportunity to find the situations where the betting odds aren’t quite what they should be. This makes it possible to find some decent value bets and put your money to good use.
Of course, to do this, you need to have a pretty intimate knowledge of the sport yourself.
At the end of the day, there isn't one answer that works for everyone. You should stick with the sports you know, as this allows you to notice any anomalies that might slip through the cracks.
If you follow tennis, for example, this is what you should stick to for the most part. You'll know a lot about players, how good their form has been lately, and if anything happened recently, that might influence their performance.
Oddsmakers keep up with these things as well, but you'll be able to find some nice opportunities every now and again.
Plus, your entire sports betting experience will be much more enjoyable if you employ this strategy.
Betting on a sport you love and then watching the games with some money riding on the outcome is a fun combination.
How We Rate the Best Sports Betting Sites
Even after reading all this, you might still not be sure how to find the best betting sites. If that's the case, you can always refer to our recommendations and pick one of the sportsbooks we suggest.
Our review process is very thorough, and you can rest assured we only recommend the top sports betting sites.
Here's an overview of all the elements we carefully examine when reviewing sports betting websites to give you a better idea of what happens behind the scenes.
Licensing & Reputation
The first thing to look at with any bookmaker is if they’re properly licensed by one of the major licensing bodies like the MGA and the UKGC. All the top betting sites will have one or both of these licenses, so it’s a pretty good start.
Additionally, we look at the history of the operator and their reputation with the players. If there are many complaints on forums and other outlets about a bookie not paying or using tricks to prevent players from cashing out, it’s usually a big red flag.
Welcome Bonus Quality
The welcome bonus is one of the most important factors when choosing where to bet online. So, naturally, we spend a fair bit of time checking out the welcome offer and comparing it to what’s out there.
This entails both the amount of the bonus or free bets and related wagering requirements. Only the best sports betting sites that offer reasonable and easy-to-clear bonuses get the recommended status.
Sometimes, we can still recommend a bookmaker even if their bonus isn't that good if they're really outstanding in all other aspects, but this is rarely the case.
Deposits & Withdrawals
When it comes to betting online, it’s really important you can easily get money into your account. Sometimes, you’ll want to place a bet on an event that’s starting in a few minutes, so the deposit process needs to be as smooth as possible.
Thus, we always look into the banking section to see how many different payment options are supported and if there are any fees connected to the payments. Sportsbooks with more options and with lower or non-existing fees get extra points.
In the same vein, we check the withdrawal process. We ensure that the verification procedure isn’t unnecessarily complicated and that withdrawals are sent out reasonably quickly.
In this day and age, there is hardly a reason for you to wait for your money longer than a couple of days.
Variety of Betting Options
The best online sports betting sites put in the effort to make their betting selection as versatile as possible. We check out all the different sports and markets during our review process to see what’s available, which plays a big role in our final rating.
One final aspect that can tip the scales is the customer support team. Top sports betting sites make sure players are covered in every way, including providing them with the information they need.
A quality bookmaker is expected to provide a decent FAQ section as the first reference point for those looking for answers.
A live chat option on the site is a big plus, and those operators that also offer phone support get extra points for their efforts.
Online Sports Betting FAQ
If you still have some concerns or unanswered questions, we put together a section of “frequently asked questions” so you can clear the final doubts.
How can I start betting on sports online?
It’s easy to start betting online. You simply need to open an account with a betting site of your choice, deposit some money, and you’ll be good to go.
Even if you don’t have much experience with betting, the whole process is quite intuitive, so you should be able to figure things out in a few minutes.
What are the best sports betting sites out there?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of sports betting websites online. Many of them are great picks, so it’s hard to say which ones are absolutely the best without doing serious research.
When choosing where to bet, you should figure out what’s the most important thing for you, i.e., bonuses, variety of betting options, live betting, etc.
The good news is that we already did the work and have listed the best sports betting sites online on this page, so make sure to check our recommendations.
Should I get a welcome bonus offered by betting websites?
Yes, absolutely. Welcome bonuses at most betting sites come in the form of free or risk-free bets, and they provide a very nice boost on your initial deposit.
Whether you’re an experienced punter or completely new to betting sports, taking up a welcome bonus from a reputable site is always a good idea.
Can I bet sports on my phone?
Yes, of course. Pretty much all modern sportsbooks provide mobile betting platforms, either as web-based solutions or standalone apps.
How much money do I need to bet online?
One of the great things about betting sports online is that you don’t need a massive bankroll to start. You can start with as much or as little money as you like.
If you just want to have some fun and bet on your favorite team, you can deposit $10 and place a few wagers without any problems. Some bookies will even let you make a smaller deposit and still give you the welcome bonus.
Do top sports betting sites allow in-play betting?
Yes, you can bet live on all of the best sports betting sites out there. In fact, this is one of the most popular betting options for most punters.
Some bookies even allow you to watch live streams of the events you’re betting on, which is a cool added feature.