You are going to read a detailed, comprehensive guide on sports betting online in 2021: it will be helpful to anyone, including those who have never dealt with brick-and-mortar or digital bookmakers. We did our best to deliver the most essential information about how to choose an online sportsbook and what you must know before you join any gambling sites; created a selection of the most popular and reliable platforms, and gathered comprehensive tips about the betting on sports process and the ways how you can make it more profitable and enjoyable.
Finally, this research includes a FAQ section that will most likely get all your doubts sorted once and for all: you will learn how to tell a fair sportsbook from a scam one and find the gambling platforms suitable for your needs.
TOP 10 Sportsbook sites by Superbetting
We have thoroughly checked and tested various sports betting websites to create our rating of the most trusted and well-established sportsbooks. You can join every sportsbook from this list and be sure that you will receive professional customer service, a large selection of events, and competitive odds. We personally check if our recommended best sports betting sites have valid gambling licenses and provide the users with modern banking security systems to avoid any financial issues and personal data leakage.
Year of Establishment
Sign Up Bonus Offers
£30 free bet for the first bet of at least £10
Kahnawake Gaming Commission
A 100% match of up to $1,250 to the first deposit
Malta Gaming Authority and others
A 100% Welcome Bonus Up To £100
Gibraltar Gambling Commission
$25 in the form of a free bet
Curacao E-Gaming Committee
150% First Deposit Match
New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
A 20% match of up to $1,000 to the first deposit
New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
$1,000 Risk-Free Bet
New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement
A 100% match of up to $1,000 to the first deposit
Panama Gambling Commission
100% first deposit bonus up to $3,000
Curacao E-Gaming Committee
A 100% match of up to $1,000 to the first deposit
Main Factors to Consider when choosing a sportsbook site
Our list of the top reliable sportsbooks is not exclusively based on their reputation. Besides, the full range of good bookmakers is not obviously limited by the top-ten ranking we offered above, so further in this article, we will provide you with essential tips on how to choose a good sports betting platform. The number of factors is pretty large; briefly, they include such crucial points as a valid gambling license, legal status, customer support, the quality of an action line and odds, and various extra services making the sports betting experience more entertaining, profitable, and safe.
One of the most critical factors you must notice before you join any sportsbook is the gambling license. The license does not only prove that the bookmaker operates legally but often becomes a guarantee of high-quality performance and customer security. For instance, if a sportsbook or an online casino is officially approved by one of the top-tier gambling commissioners, its customers can receive extra support and help in complicated disputes from a regulator as a third party. The most respectable gambling license providers with the strictest requirements towards the approved websites are the following:
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission;
Malta Gaming Authority;
Curaçao Gaming Control Board.
If the website has a valid license from one of these authorities, you can be pretty sure that your gambling experience is secure, you will not be scammed, and you can expect overall good service.
Certainly, there are other gambling regulators beyond the top tier – actually, all countries allowing digital sportsbooks and casinos have local licensing authority. However, not all sportsbooks set their sights on obtaining a license for every region they want to include in their customer base. Many of them work as offshore bookmakers and casinos under a single permit, making them legal gambling entities overall but not perfectly legit in particular regions.
For instance, there are many US betting sites working under Costa Rica or Isle of Man licenses.
Technically, they are not legal in the USA, but they successfully operate in most states and Canada and are not regarded as scam organizations. Typically, licensing as an offshore sportsbook allows one to pay fewer taxes and go through a more straightforward registration procedure, so there is nothing wrong in betting with such companies if they are established enough and have shown fair performance for at least a couple of years. However, if a bookmaker does not have a license at all, we recommend avoiding such places as there is a big chance that you will never receive your winnings back.
Legality in your area
Even the most reputable licensed sportsbook can be unavailable for you if online sports betting and casino gaming are banned in your region. The simplest way to make sure you can legally join a sports betting platform is to check your local gambling law. However, most countries do not treat illegal gamblers too strictly and do not invoke any punishment to them.
Overall, sportsbooks risk more when they accept sports bettors from regions where digital gambling is banned, but sometimes customers can suffer from their law ignorance, too. For instance, some bookmakers allow people to register from any region, but when it comes to withdrawals, they block accounts from particular countries. To avoid such a disappointing scenario, take the effort to read the terms and conditions of a particular sportsbook before you join it: usually, this section contains information about accepted and banned countries. If you feel it is too tricky to understand if the website is legal in your area, try finding more information in various sports betting reviews or customers’ feedback.
If you reside in the USA, you have to be aware of the local gambling law in a particular state. Although offshore sportsbooks willingly accept customers from most parts of the USA, the top trusted ones officially registered with the local gambling regulators will be exclusively available in the following states:
There might be restrictions related to particular sports; for instance, you can not wager on college sports or certain sports teams in several states, so we recommend double-checking a gambling law accepted in your region before joining any sportsbooks.
It is natural to have more trust in a sportsbook with a clear reputation, but how to make sure a particular website is reliable? Most evidently, a bettor will start with exploring various sportsbook reviews on independent services but ends up with even more questions than before: how to tell an unbiased opinion from a sponsored sportsbook review and find adequate information about a platform? If the website is operated by a famous brand like William Hill or Bet365, you can be pretty sure to have a safe experience, but when it comes to less popular companies, it is essential to do some research work.
When you read a big review published by a professional bettor, make sure this review reflects all aspects of a particular website, including drawbacks.
If a review contains promo codes for a reviewed platform or referral links, there is a big chance that the article was bought and paid for. At the same time, if a reviewer honestly underlines all strong and weak sites of a sportsbook and does not offer any promotions for a reviewed website, you can most likely trust it and draw adequate conclusions.
If you check a bookmaker’s rating on consumer review platforms like TrustPilot, you can often be repelled by bad polls, like only three out of a maximum of five stars. However, reserve your final judgment before you actually read the reviews: it is pretty typical for sports bettors to poorly rate gambling platforms where they lost a fortune, even if the bookmaker was perfectly fair to them. Be careful with highly emotional or, on the contrary, too typical and formal reviews without many details; both types will apparently be irrelevant. The reviews you need to pay attention to contain brief information about pros or cons, but mind that people are more willing to write about their negative experience.
Wide range of sports and events
If you are a recreational bettor type, you definitely appreciate a variety of available sports and events to wager on. While professionals are mainly interested in particular markets on the top popular sports that have high validity in terms of profit, most gamblers want to see different mainstream and niche sports and leagues from all over the world. Most average American-facing bookmakers have a pretty limited selection of sports and leagues and do not usually include more leagues besides NBA, MLB, NHL, College Football, College Basketball, and major sports leagues for European Football betting.
If you need a bigger diversity and want to wager on various local tournaments, you can check European sportsbooks that accept customers from your region: the biggest gambling websites of Great Britain or Europe include up to fifty sports disciplines and thousands of sporting events to their action line. The top-rated American online sports betting sites offer a decent selection of sports, from Canadian and American athletic disciplines and internationally popular events like Tennis, Soccer, Car Racing, to niche sports, for instance, Pesapallo, Darts, Cycling, or Swimming. Many bookmakers also offer non-sporting events, for instance, Entertainment or Politics.
When a sportsbook covers many sports, there is a bigger chance for more people to find the best odds and interesting, profitable betting options.
Available types of bets
Even a wide range of disciplines and leagues will not be enough for many bettors if there is a limited number of markets. Most likely, you will find the biggest line in coupons of the most popular events. For instance, a Premier League game or NBA finals may involve about a thousand bet types, including exotic Props. Among the most popular betting markets are the following:
Money Line: the most straightforward betting option when you simply wager on the match outcome and choose a team that, in your opinion, will win;
Handicap or Point Spread: a bet type where you bet against the spread: a favorite must win with a certain margin to make your wager on it successful;
Totals: you predict the number of goals scored by both teams during the regular time; a sportsbook offers you a total number, and you wager on Over or Under this number;
Props: special bets on certain events that may happen during a game; for instance, sportsbooks can offer you to bet on the First Team To Score, or the number of yellow or red cards with a match;
Accumulator Bets: a betting option allowing you to combine bets from multiple events; typically, accumulators start from four selections.
Professional bettors are not usually much interested in Prop bets and other exotic betting options as they typically come with pretty small betting limits and can not bring much income in case of success. However, if your primary aim is entertainment, you will undoubtedly want to see more options than the most typical markets, so check the line for sports you are interested in before you join a bookmaker.
Percentage of the payouts
Every bookmaker adds a margin to their betting odds to maintain their business economically rational and always stay profitable no matter what the outcomes of the matches are.
Thus, the payouts depend on the margin added to the odds, so you must be aware of the payout percentage to find a bookmaker offering better prices.
Let’s take a look at a simple example of how you can calculate the margin. For instance, you make a simple Win/Loss bet with the odds of -110. The odds value means you must risk $110 to win $100, but if your bet loses, you will have to pay $100 and $10 margin. If you are betting using the decimal odds format, you can use the formula: (1/decimal odds) *100 + (1/decimal odds) *100 = Margin percentage. For your convenience, you can use various betting margin calculators available on the Internet and allows you to count the margin for two-ways or three-ways bet types in moments.
An average margin is usually 5% for pre-match markets and can vary from 6% to 7% for live betting events. However, the actual payout percentage may vary depending on a particular event and market; usually, the lowest margins from 1%-3% are offered for the most popular markets on major tournaments, and niche sports or small leagues have a significantly worse payout. Below we gathered a list of the bookmakers with the lowest average margin:
BetVictor: the margin can be 2,9%-3% for the top-tier events;
Betway: the average payout is about 96% (4% margin);
Unibet: top Soccer matches come with an average margin of 5%;
William Hill: the average margin is usually a bit higher than 5%;
888Sport: the margins are comparable with Unibet or Wiliam Hill.
It does not matter how much you win if you must wait for your winnings for a long time. Typically, withdrawals should be proceeded within a couple of days or take up to a week, depending on the withdrawal option you choose. Some sportsbooks allow you to request withdrawals automatically, while the others handle payout requests manually, which may also take up to several days, but the whole procedure must still not take more than a week. Among the fastest paying sportsbooks are the following:
William Hill: the payout speed might reach only a single day and reaches three working days with some rare exceptions when you need to reconfirm your identity;
Bovada: thanks to cryptocurrency options, you can receive a payout within several hours from Bovada;
BetUS: depending on a payment method, you can obtain your winnings within a single day;
BetOnline: the withdrawals usually take no more than one-three working days;
MyBookie: the withdrawals take from one day to a maximum of one week.
Deposit and Withdrawal methods
Your sports betting experience can turn into a great disappointment if you find out that no offered payment options are convenient enough for you. Some sportsbooks working without a license can not sign any agreements with officially established banking systems, so customers have to be content with a few complicated methods not implying instant transactions.
For instance, there are U.S. bookmakers offering only Western Union or similar options for deposits and withdrawals, which are not compatible with modern standards of online payments.
Luckily, trusted licensed sportsbooks do provide the customers with a pretty wide list of payment options that may include both classical and the most contemporary methods, e.g., cryptocurrency deposits and withdrawals. Among the top popular options are the following:
Debit or a credit card by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Diner’s Club;
Local and international bank transfers;
E-wallets: EcoPayz, Neteller, Skrill, PayPal, Apple Pay, Zelle, and more;
Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and other cryptocurrency wallets.
There are also various local payment methods available for particular countries. To check what exactly is at your disposal, you can visit the Cashier tab at your account and select an option from the list provided based on your country and preferred currency.
Bonuses and promotional offers
Most sportsbooks aimed at recreational bettors attract new customers by offering various welcome bonuses and maintain the existing betting pool with regular or seasonal promotions. Here are the most typical bonuses and promotions you can typically find at large and minor sportsbooks:
First deposit bonus: you are offered free cash in addition to your first deposit. The most typical online sports betting site bonus of this kind is a 100% deposit match, but the percentage may vary on different websites. The maximum bonus amount is limited by a certain amount. Sometimes, sportsbooks offer a match bonus for several first deposits;
Free Bets: a free bet can also be a part of a first deposit bonus; some bookmakers allow bettors to collect comp points from their loyalty program and exchange these points for free bets;
Insurance: some bet types can be ensured by a sportsbook: you can either receive a cashback for your losses or have they lost amount returned in the form of the free bet;
Referral Program: recommend a sportsbook to your friend using a referral link or a promo code; if your friend joins a website and makes their first deposit, you will receive a certain deposit match in the form of a free bet or free cash;
Reduced Juice: some selected markets (usually, such promotions are related to the major events, like Euro Championship, etc.) come with lower margin, which means you can win more than is usually allowed for the same bet types.
Odds by Experts
The quality of odds is another essential factor you must estimate before opting for one or another sportsbook. We had already touched on this topic when we discussed margins, but you must note more things when you want to find a decent sportsbook.
The odds are based on forecasts: a bookmaker can order such forecasts from some trusted third parties or maintain their own team of oddsmakers. The latter option is obviously better as, in this case, the lines have a higher quality. However, niche sports lines are rarely created by in-house experts, so the odds might be less accurate when it comes to small local events.
Another important factor is the line movement: the odds fluctuation allows you to make profitable bets, especially if you wager on events in a live mode. Some sports bettors strive to find fault in bookmaker’s forecast to profit from odds better than the actual chances of a certain outcome.
Great customer service is essential not only in the sports betting industry: any respectable company offers professional and friendly customer support. Speaking about sportsbooks, we recommend selecting the ones which provide various contact methods with the support agents available round the clock.
Many bookmakers request you to contact the customer support representatives when you need to claim a withdrawal of your winnings, so it is essential that the agents could provide you with a quick reply via a live chat or email. If you have any issues related to your account or the overall experience, the help center and FAQs might not be enough to solve the problem, so having professional support on hand is a must.
According to statistics, most sports bets are made via mobile phones nowadays: nobody wants to be confined to their P.C.s, especially when it comes to in-play betting and the need to make quick decisions. A mobile app is a beneficial tool that allows you to wager on sports online anywhere, so you don’t depend on game timing and do not need to rush back home to place bets on the most expected tournament.
You can certainly use a mobile version instead of a native app, and such versions are often very well adapted to various screen sizes, but a sports betting app is usually more convenient and features more valuable services like, for instance, notifications about the scores, updated odds, or a beginning of a match. Thus, if you need to have a convenient mobile betting experience, make sure an online gambling site has a decent mobile solution.
How to get a good betting experience?
Choosing a good sports betting website is half the battle: you need to have specific knowledge and skills to gamble responsibly, have higher chances to make profitable bets, and certainly enjoy your overall experience without tipping over into problem gambling and financial failure. In this part of our long-read, we will provide you with simple but the best-working tips for beginning bettors. In short, you must be well-versed in sports you wager on, be aware of at least the most typical betting strategies and control the funds you are going to spend on gambling.
Choose your favorite event
There are sports you will find in every sportsbook: if it is an American-facing platform, there will definitely be NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, College Sports odds; most online sports betting sites include Horse Racing, Tennis, and Cricket. There is hardly a bookmaker that does not offer betting lines for Soccer: there are hundreds of Soccer events taking place daily, so it is usually the most deeply covered discipline with a massive choice of various standard and exotic markets.
However, if you are keen on some less popular sport, don’t follow the crowd: there is no need to wager on a significant Football event if you know the ropes in, say, Lacrosse. It is better to stick to one or a couple of favorite sports and fully understand them rather than fly around from one to the next.
Follow your strategy
It is hard to elaborate your own sports betting strategy when you are at the outset of your experience, but thankfully there are several simple ready solutions you can apply for a start.
Don’t neglect the Moneyline: although Moneyline is often supposed to be a non-profitable market, it is a pretty universal way to learn how margins, odds, and lines work in betting on literally every sport;
Learn how to deal with Handicap betting: Spread betting can become exceptionally profitable, especially if a sportsbook allows you to shift the spread;
Martingale Strategy: a pretty popular betting strategy implying doubling the stake size after each losing bet until your wager wins. Such a strategy will not allow you to win more than the initial stake amount and can be ruined by a bookmaker’s betting limits, but if you are playing on low stakes, it can work out;
Betting against the public: select an event with more or less equally likely outcomes and make a bet on the underdog; it is pretty hard to find a betting market allowing you to make such a bet work out, but it can be worth it sometimes.
Actually, there are plenty of strategies for each sport, so if you are determined to wager on a particular discipline, take care of the special ways of betting created especially for your chosen sport.
Don’t forget about the bankroll management
Bankroll management is one of the most essential responsible gambling principles. It is tempting to spend much on a seemingly lucrative bet and add a bit more in an attempt to retrieve a defeat.
However, if you do not control your bankroll, the chances of going bankrupt or descend into a gambling addiction become extremely high.
Thus, we recommend following the most straightforward bankroll management tips:
Determine your monthly, weekly, or daily bankroll, and do not exceed it under any circumstances;
Determine your stake amount in percentage correlation to the bankroll amount; experienced bettors recommend sticking to 1%-3% from your bankroll.
Always check the odds and predictions
The odds are different at various sportsbooks, so shop the lines before you place your first bet and make sure you have found the most profitable option among the ones available for you. Besides, match prediction, betting tips, and picks from professionals may also help: if you are not experienced enough, the others’ opinions may be helpful. However, don’t count on them too much, especially when cappers ask you to pay for their 100% correct forecasts’: there is a high chance of running into scammers. The best option is to keep the balance between the experts’ opinions and your own vision of the upcoming game. It is also helpful to monitor statistics and check the latest performance of the teams you are going to wager on.
There are plenty of online sportsbooks, and new betting companies regularly open their doors to customers worldwide, so it is easy to get misplaced when choosing a bookmaker, especially if you are not the most experienced gambler. Still, following our simple tips, you will be more equipped to start.
You can easily follow our advice and pick one of the recommended sportsbooks to begin with; we are sure in our top-ranked bookmakers and checked them thoroughly before publishing them in various ratings. Still, whatever sportsbook you select, we remind you to remember the responsible gambling principles when you start your real-money onlinesports betting experience and stay aware of the problem gambling.
How to spot a scam sportsbook site?
There are several signs that can help you to tell a scam bookmaker from a fair one. Pay attention to licensing and contact information: if you do not see any sign of the license provider and phone numbers or physical address, it can imply something is wrong. Look at the establishment date: most unfair gambling platforms do not exist more than a year or two. Finally, note the sportsbook bonuses: if it is 'too good to be true, 'there is a high chance it is actually not true after all.
Can I trust the odds provided by sportsbook sites?
The more accurate a sportsbook's prediction is, the better odds you can get for a particular event. However, there is always a margin that will be excluded from your payout, so use margin calculators to check if the odds are profitable enough. It might be helpful to learn if a sportsbook purchases its forecasts from third parties or has its own oddsmakers; the second option usually guarantees a better line quality.
Is it safe to use the sportsbook apps?
If betting apps are published on the official Apple or Android application store, you can be pretty sure of their security. However, it makes sense to check the developer's information and ensure the app is owned by a reputable sportsbook.
How to check the reputation of the sportsbook site?
The most obvious solution is to google bookmakers’ titles to find sportsbooks reviews and their overall rating on various independent platforms. Besides, it can be helpful to check the license provider and the banking methods that a particular bookmaker offers for deposits and withdrawals: top-tier license grantors and major payment systems like Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, etc., do not establish contacts with scam platforms.
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