Online sports betting is a multi-billion dollar industry around the world. Despite restrictions, offshore sites continue to offer a huge range of opportunities for US bettors – with many brands having 10 or more years of experience.
This section of the site covers online sports betting in depth. You’ll find detailed reviews that will enable you to easily compare the different sportsbooks. You will also find information on betting on many different sports – including where to get the best lines and coverage for each market. Bonuses and promotions are an important aspect in keeping your bets profitable, and these are also discussed in depth in a separate article.
Below you will find some history of sports betting in the US, leading to the current offshore setup. After that the topic is choosing the best sites, including the value of having more than one account so that you can shop for the very best lines. Bonuses and the coverage of different sports (particularly those outside of the big 4) are then looked at.
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The History of Online Sports Betting
Online sports betting has been affected by an act which was put in place long before the internet was created. The 1961 ‘Wire Act’ was designed to stop mob activities of using telephones to channel bets to States where this was legal. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection act of 1992 introduced a ban on Sports Betting in all but a handful of States. Nowadays, Nevada is the only State to offer comprehensive live sports betting opportunities – with strictly limited options elsewhere.
The huge thirst for betting on sports was unleashed with the invention of the internet. Sportsbooks based themselves offshore (in Central America or the Caribbean) from where they offer a huge range of markets on US and global sports. Payments to these sportsbooks were restricted in 2006, with the passing of the UIGEA which focused on transactions between US banks and gambling sites. With some creativity in the deposit and withdrawal options used, the offshore sportsbook industry has continued to thrive. Many of the books have more than a decade of experience, and an excellent track record in looking after their customers.
More recently, Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) contests have gained in popularity. These get around the on-shore betting restrictions by awarding prizes for fantasy sports contests, where you pick and trade a team in competition with others. DFS is just starting to catch the attention of regulators, who are examining the legality of this area.
Online Sports Betting Sites
You will find detailed information on choosing a book and safely transacting with them on our Sports Betting Sites page. There is a huge choice of operators available to both US and worldwide bettors. Choosing the right one can make a big difference to both your overall betting experience and to your bankroll.
Profitable betting involves more than just picking the winners. Different sportsbooks will often have their own opinions on the strength of different teams. This means that comparing the lines at different sportsbooks can make a big difference to your profits at the end of the month or year. A few points here and there might seem small, though over time this difference can snowball into a much bigger deal.
Recommended Sportsbooks for US Bettors
5Dimes: You might be tempted to hit the ‘back’ button on your browser when you first see the dated and scruffy 5Dimes website. I strongly advise you to check out this site – which offers more markets and better lines than just about any other sportsbook. They are best known for their ‘reduced juice’ lines, which often tie in with bigger events.
Bovada: This book is exclusive to US and Canadian bettors. Prior to 2011 they were branded as ‘Bodog’ and remain one of the most popular US sportsbooks. Look out for a lot of prop bets and alternate lines for big events, as well as fast and reliable cash outs. Bovada offer a free check payout to all bettors once each month.
BetOnline: This sportsbook has a long history and is based out in Panama. They have a big range of markets focusing on the bigger US sports. With very competitive lines, it is worth your while checking whether BetOnline offer more value than your current sportsbook before you place a bet.
Recommended Sportsbooks for Non-US Bettors
Betway: This Malta-licensed book has huge coverage of soccer from around Europe – with a big focus on the English Premier League. I recommend you keep an eye on their special promotions page, which often includes money back and enhanced odds offers.
Online Sportsbooks and Sports Coverage
Here at CasinoGamingStrategy.org we go one step further than other sites by looking in depth at the different markets available for the major sports. Each of the articles linked below covers the main and alternative betting options, before looking at the different ways to get an edge over the sportsbooks and the competition and the books which offer the best coverage of that particular sport.
For quick reference, here is a summary and link to each of those articles, starting with the big 4.
NFL Betting: No other sport sees more new accounts opened at the start of the season than football. Our detailed guide shows you the main and alternate bets, and where to find the best value. See this NFL Betting Guide for more.
MLB: With more fixtures and better statistics than any other sport Baseball is considered by many to be the ultimate sport for sports bettors. Find out more in our detailed MLB Sports Betting Guide.
NHL: Whether betting the Puck Line or futures on the Stanley Cup, our detailed guide to the main and alternate bets on Hockey will show you where to find the best lines. NHL Sports Betting Guide.
NBA: For basketball fans we have put together this guide which explains the bets available, how to get an edge and the best books for coverage. See this NBA Sports Betting Guide for more.
College Basketball: The NCAA only have a short season, which peaks in the frenzy of March Madness. Our College Basketball Sports Betting Guide shows you how to get the best value.
College Football: You’ll need to know where to shop for the best lines and most markets, with some research this is one sport which gives the knowledgeable bettor the potential for a big edge. See our College Football Sports Betting Guide for more.
Boxing: Betting and boxing have gone hand in hand throughout history. These days there are a lot of different bets available online. See this Boxing Sports Betting Guide for the details.
Golf: No other sport offers such long odds for most of the field as golf. With tournaments every week and these big priced winners, there is plenty of opportunity to win big. This guide to Sports Betting on Golf has more information.
NASCAR: Another sport where some in-depth knowledge can give you a profitable edge over the sportsbooks. Find out the different bets and strategies in our NASCAR Sports Betting Guide.
MMA: The rise of Mixed Martial Arts has been huge over the last decade. There are now multiple markets for every event. See this MMA Betting Guide for where to find the best coverage.
Soccer: This is the biggest sport worldwide by a significant margin. Betting opportunities range from the huge global tournaments to the smaller leagues. Check out this Guide to Soccer Betting for the low-down.
Tennis: Even when the ‘majors’ are not running there are plenty of tennis tournaments to bet on. Our Tennis Betting Guide gives you the low-down on where and how to pick up that value.
Online Sportsbook Bonuses
Bonuses and promotions make a significant difference to your profits and should be a factor in every bettor’s strategy. You’ll find an in-depth comparison of the different types of bonuses and the relative value of welcome bonuses v ongoing promotions in our Sports Betting Bonuses page. The rollover requirement is the key factor, and by choosing the right sportsbooks you should be able to find some kind of extra reward for every bet you make.