Betting on sports is a pretty old pastime. Whilst we don’t have much proof for it, we have no doubt that wagers were cast on the outcome of sports matches back in Ancient Greece with the original Olympic Games.
In modern history sportsbetting has been a staple in betting shops in the cities for decades. Indeed, most of the well-known bookmakers first originated there. Whether you are looking at William Hill or BetVictor, Ladbrokes or Paddy Power, these guys have been around for a long time and only moved online with the emergence of online casinos.
A few of our preferred online casinos started out as bookmakers only and later added other products to their portfolio. You can usually find out more about a casino’s or bookmakers roots in our reviews.
First of all, find a bookmaker you trust. Our reviews will give you a good indication who is even offering sportsbetting, whether they are trustworthy and what you might be looking forward to.
Next you will have to open an account (unless it’s a single wallet operator and you already have a casino account). You will have to ensure that there’s money in your betting account, however.
And then you have to find the market you want to place a bet on, do just that and cross your fingers for your selection to win.
That actually sounds fairly easy. Online betting slips are not difficult to handle and very reminiscent of the betting slips you find at betting shops. What is confusing, however, is the maze of sporting events, odds, types of wagers and the insane number of markets to place bets on.
We’ll be doing our best to help you navigate the maze.
There is a multitude of wagers you can place at an online bookmaker and below we list the ones you’ll most frequently hear about or might want to consider placing yourself.
Single – A straightforward bet on a particular outcome of one match or race.
Doubles – You bet on two selections of your choice. If the first one wins, your winnings will then be added to the stake of the second selection. Both need to win for a return.
Trebles – You choose three selections to bet on. All must win for a return and, again, your winnings from the first two selections will be added to the third as well.
Accumulator – Doubles and trebles can already be considered an accumulator bet. You choose at least two selections, but four, six, seven and more are easily possible. Every consecutive win of your selections will be added to the next selection. That way your stake only climbs and big wins are possible in the end. But all selections must win for a return. If one fails you lose.
Trixie – You make four bets on three selections in different events. You’ll get a return as long as at least two selections are successful.
Forecast – You have to predict the first and second place in a race. Correct order is required for a return.
Reversed forecast – You select the first and second place in a race, but they can be in any order to win.
Each way – If you’re unsure whether your selection will win or place, you can bet each way (not always offered), meaning you place one stake on win and one stake on place (has to be among top three, though). You get a return on both stakes, if your selection wins. If your selection places (only in top three), you get a return at least on the second stake.
There are other, much more involved types of sportsbetting, but they are not relevant to newbies in this area.
Odds are what sportsbetting is all about. They determine what you might win in case of a successful selection. As it happens, the odds that a bookmaker offers are not actually reflecting the expected outcome of a race or match. Instead they reflect what bookmakers believe punters to bet on. Mind you, odds are calculated in such a way that you can easily determine who the favourite is.
They are not true odds, telling you that Team A will win against Team B with a probability of 4:1, for instance. Additionally, odds offered are always designed to give the bookmaker an advantage.
That’s why not all bookmakers actually offer the same odds. If you have the time and inclination to compare odds for a given match or race yourself, you’ll find differences. There are even websites who do that for you.
By the way, ‘long odds’ describe selections with a poor chance of success (usually 10/1 or lower). Outsiders often receive those odds, but the underdog can surprise and there are plenty of stories out there where that happened and a lucky punter walked away with lots of money.
This is where it gets complicated. There is no such thing as an easy betting strategy in sportsbetting. Every sport is different, odds are calculated in different ways and the variables are often too many to consider every possible outcome. However, even as a complete beginner there are a few things you can do to enhance your chances at placing a successful bet.
In principle it’s not too difficult to understand value. But in practice it can be tricky, because you need to know a thing or two about probability. Value refers to the expected outcome of a bet depending on the odds offered.
For instance: your favourite team, one you’ve been following for years, wins about 60% of their games. In an upcoming game a bookmaker offers odds of 2/1 that they win, which places their probability of winning at 33%. The value of the bet is calculated as such 60% – 33% = 27%. Thus the perceived value of the bet, if you were to take it is 27%.
To improve your own odds of winning and therefore your value, regardless of what a bookmaker offers, you’ll have to know your game, however.
Knowing value is only part of the equation. What matters more is your knowledge of the game (whether it’s football, tennis, basketball or horse racing) and its participants. Betting on your favourite team just because they are your favourite is not a smart move. If they are playing against a stronger team, you may very well end up losing your money.
Successful punters are taking many things under consideration when placing their bets. The current form of the team or player (or horse), last wins, injuries, penalties, previous similar matches or races, etc. You could even look at the weather forecast and make a guess about how that might influence the outcome.
Just listening to your gut, however, is not going to do the trick.
As with all types of gambling, managing your bankroll is essential in sportsbetting as well. Never bet more money than you’re comfortable losing. That’s the main rule here and everywhere else.
Additionally, don’t chase your losses. If your selection didn’t pan out, move on and figure out what might have gone wrong. An unexpected injury or a penalty may have resulted in an unfavourable outcome for you. There’s nothing you can do about it. Better luck next time.
There are betting systems that help are designed to help manage bankroll. Again, some calculations are involved here and if you ever decided to get into sportsbetting in a more serious way, you can always look them up.
Placing bets with an online bookmaker has never been easier. You get to choose between dozens of different sports, events, specialty bets and more and some bookmakers offer thousands, even tens of thousands of markets. The choice is overwhelmingly huge.
Plus there’s live betting (we have a separate article on the subject) and plenty of bookmakers even offer live streaming. You don’t need to leave the comfort of your home and can carefully place your bets in your own time.
Betting shops don’t have the best reputation these days. You’ll find plenty of them in the city and most of them are operated by very reputable operators. But they are not everyone’s scene and if you’re new to sportsbetting, you might not feel comfortable there. On the other hand you can meet other punters there, have a bit of a chat, exchange tips and enjoy the social element.
Another huge advantage to online bookmakers are, of course, the promotions. You won’t get those at betting shops. Many bookmakers offer welcome bonuses for sports bettors that can be specifically used for sports bets.
And most of those operators also have regular and ongoing offers available. Whenever that is the case, we will mention it in our reviews, of course.
But you can expect to earn free bets, participate in betting tournaments, enjoy money back offers in case your selection loses or even win tickets to major sports events and such things. The variety of promotions offered is excellent and some of our preferred online casinos have brilliant sports promotions all the time.
Mobile gambling is still a market on the rise. You’re no longer restricted to playing slots on the go, but you can use just about any product many operators offer. Casino games, live casino, bingo, poker and, yes, sportsbetting. It’s ridiculously easy to place a bet from your mobile, sometimes easier than on your computer at home, because the use interface is usually simpler to handle, which makes betting very easy and straightforward.
Also, you’ll still be able to use all the promotions and offers via mobile as well. And best of all, you can instantly check your results once a match or race is over, no matter where you are.
There are some incredibly well known operators out there and we have reviewed most of them. Sportsbooks can be quite different from one another. It’s not just a matter of what sports are offered and how many markets are available. Some sportsbooks are incredibly well designed and easy to navigate even for newbies. Others are more convoluted and if you’ve never looked at a sportsbook before, they can be very confusing.
Here’s what we’re looking out for before we recommend a bookmaker:
Among our reviewed casinos you’ll find operators who offer some of the best sportsbooks around. Which one you’ll ultimately choose is up to you, but make sure to read our reviews and add your own thoughts, if you have them.