Best Sports Betting Sites
All online bookmakers claim that they are the best sports betting sites you can find. This is impossible, and in most cases, it isn’t true. For a betting operator to be considered among the best, it must meet all of these basic criteria:
- licensed and regulated by a regulatory body;
- safe and secure with all the latest SSL certificates;
- excellent sports betting offer;
- flexible betting limits;
- 24/7 customer support service.
And this is only the beginning. Great online betting sites will look to improve on these starting points as much as they possibly can. For example, a sports betting offer can always be bettered. The best sites recognize this and are constantly updating what they offer.
For instance, betting on eSports such as CS: GO, LOL, and Dota 2 was only available at eSports specialized betting sites until recently. Even the most reputable online bookmakers didn’t have them in their betting portfolios.
However, when betting sites saw just how important to millennial punters these eSports were, they quickly revamped their eSports offers. These days, eSports betting aficionados don’t only wager on their favourite sports, they also choose from tens of different eSports markets.
Let’s examine the factors that make a good betting site in more detail. Stick with me and find out which betting sites are worthy of your bets.
How do I Choose an Online Sports Betting Site?
This is the million-dollar question, isn’t it: How do I choose an online sports betting site? Well, the first thing that you should do is check whether the bookmaker holds a valid license. This shouldn’t be expired and should be given by a reputable gambling regulatory body, such as the MGA, and the UKGC.
The second thing that a punter should do is check for the security certificates the site holds. This is done by clicking on the padlock symbol near the bet site’s URL address.
If this checks out, the bettor can start looking at more interesting things such as welcome bonuses and loyalty programs. A decent betting operator will have tons of bonuses. What is more, they will come with lenient wagering requirements (less than 6x) and low minimum deposits (€5).
The next thing on the list is the all popular sports betting offer. This should come with as many sports as possible. These days the best bookmakers offer more than 90 sports to bettors. Furthermore, all of these sports should be available in the pre-match and live betting sections.
Finally, things such as banking methods, mobile apps, betting limits and the website design are also important. This is because they make for a superior overall betting experience. A 24/7 customer support service is essential towards achieving this too.
License, How Important is It?
Betting at an online bookmaker that doesn’t have a gambling license should be avoided at all costs and here’s why. In case of a dispute between the punter and a betting site which doesn’t answer to a regulatory body for its actions there can only be one outcome. The punter will lose.
This is because a license is not only a piece of paper. It is much more. It ensures that the bookmaker will be held liable if there’s a breach of rules on his part. Furthermore, if there is disagreement of any sort between the site and the player, there is actually someone to vouch for the bettor.
For example, if a UK resident is betting at an operator which doesn’t hold a UK Gambling Commission license, he should stop and leave immediately. I have seen lots of situations in which a punter wins thousands, but then has trouble withdrawing his funds. The betting site would stall and promise to pay the money out only for the punter to find out one morning that the site no longer exists.
It is also important to check whether the license is valid and which time period it is issued for. There are many instances in which licenses are expired or revoked, but the betting site still claims to have them.
As I said earlier, going through bookmakers’ betting options is the interesting part of the betting operator search. However, if you are a new player, browsing through a betting site’s sports betting offer can get quite overwhelming.
There are so many sports to choose from and so many markets to delve in that it can get quite confusing. When checking what betting options are at your disposal, always use my 5-step betting options guide:
- Locate the A-Z list of sports;
- See if the sport you like is there;
- Open a popular event and see how many markets it comes with;
- Open an obscure event and see the number of markets there too;
- Compare the two numbers.
Let’s say that the sport you like is horse racing. The first thing you should do is check if the bookmaker offers betting on it. The chances are that this will be the case as horse racing is a very popular sport.
The next thing you should do is open a popular horse racing event such as the Kentucky Derby. If this comes with distance specials in addition to the race winner bet, then this bookmaker knows what it’s doing.
Now, it is important that in step number four, the bookmaker passes your evaluation with flying colours. For this to happen, the betting site would have to offer almost the same number of markets for the less popular horse racing event as it does for the popular one.
If the betting site offers ‘On The Nose” (race winner), distance betting, each-way accumulators, and forecast & tricast for both events, it is on the money. You can proceed with it without thinking twice about it.
Pre-match and Live Betting
A good betting site will always have a top-quality pre-match betting offer. This will come with as many betting propositions as possible. For example, if the sport is football, a punter should be able to bet on cards, corner kicks, and coin toss outcomes.
This is because a good bookie is no longer the one which offers match winner, handicap and over/under total betting. That may have been true 20 years ago. However, times have changed, and the modern betting operator has to offer peripheral bets too. What is more, these should be enabled not just for the EPL or La Liga. They should be available across all reserve leagues, youth competitions and even amateur matches.
In addition to an excellent pre-match betting experience, the best online betting sites also must offer a superior live bets experience. In-play betting markets ought to include the same events as the pre-match offer. If it is possible, they should also offer the same number of markets too.
Live betting is actually a very good litmus test of the quality of the betting site. If a bookmaker offers live betting on only the most popular events, this is not a good choice for an experienced punter. The same is true if the bookmaker offers only the most basic live betting markets such as match winner or goal totals.
On the other hand, if a betting site has an extensive live betting offer with tons of matches and markets, then that’s a good bookmaker. If each match comes with live streams, stats, commentary and analysis, that’s an excellent betting operator.
Most bookmakers these days try to offer competitive odds. In fact, they all claim to have the highest odds in the industry. Obviously, that’s not true in 99% of the cases. Bookmakers operate with different margins, and this means that they offer different odds too.
I use a simple basketball odds test to compare the margins, and odds bookmakers offer, and I advise you to do the same. Before I start, I must tell you that this is only an estimate. This is because the odds that one bookmaker assigns to basketball are probably with different margins from its football odds. The margins will probably even differ between markets for the same basketball match.
With all of that in mind, let’s look at how you can approximately see the margins a bookmaker works with. Let’s say the LA Lakers are playing the Chicago Bulls. These are the odds given in the handicap market, including overtime:
- Chicago Bulls (+7.5) 1.91 – LA Lakers 1.91
To calculate the bookmaker margin, punters should do the following:
- (1/1.91 Bulls odds)*100+(1/1.91 Lakers odds)*100=52.35+52.35=104.7
- Bookmaker margin: 104.7-100 (real probability)=4.7 bookmaker margin
What this shows is that the bookmaker works with a margin of 4.7%. If the bookmaker operated without a margin, the odds would look as such:
- Chicago Bulls (+7.5) 2.00 – LA Lakers 2.00
- (1/2.00 Bulls odds)*100+(1/2.00 Lakers odds)*100= 50+50=100 – real probability
A top-quality betting site will work with low margins of 3%-5%. Most bookmakers these days operate within the 3%-10% range. This means that if you calculate a margin higher than 10% for any market offer, you are best advised to look for a different online betting site.
Another good test of a great betting operator is mobile betting. You know that I am big on betting on the go and have reviewed lots of gambling apps, right? Betting on sports is no different for me. Online betting sites simply must-have Android and iOS apps these days.
Let me illustrate the importance of apps with a simple example. Let’s say you are backing Djokovic to defeat Raonic in the Wimbledon final. You start betting at home on your laptop. However, the match goes into a tie-break in each of the sets and before you know it you have to go to work.
Unfortunately, the online betting site you are using comes without an app. What is more, the mobile version of the site is atrocious and is agonizingly slow to load. This pretty much ends all betting for you on the final.
I hear you say, “But I wanted to safeguard my bet and bet live on the opposing outcome. I was also thinking of doubling down on my original wager to get twice my winnings. ”
Well, you chose an inferior online betting site. It didn’t offer an app, and now you can only rue missed opportunities. You will have to live with that, unfortunately.
Mobile betting apps are essential if a sports betting site wants to be taken seriously. If a betting site comes without one, that’s a clear sign of an inferior bookmaker. Personally, I wouldn’t spend time at those sites.
Deposits and Withdrawals
The best online betting sites must also enable their customers the chance to place bets and withdraw funds easily. It is essential to offer top-tier banking options, including cryptocurrencies. In addition, top bookmakers should also process deposits and withdrawals as fast as possible.
If a betting site has flexible betting limits, that’s a good sign. A great bookie should also offer an adequate number of deposit and withdrawal banking methods to choose from too.
Bonuses and Promotions
I just love online betting sites which offer lots of bonuses and promotions. These are always clear signs of quality. Basically, if an online betting operator offers enticing welcome bonuses, odds boost, and loyalty programs, look no further. You have found your match.
You can always guess how good an online betting site is by its welcome offer. This is an offer which is designed to reward new customers and is activated when they make their first deposit. Most of the time, punters must meet a minimum deposit requirement and place their bets at predetermined minimum odds.
Here’s a welcome offer I found at a reputable online betting site and will use it as an example here:
- 100% matched bonus up to €50 on your first deposit. Minimum qualifying deposit of €10 at min odds of 1.50. 6x wagering requirement on deposit and bonus. Offer is active for 7 days after depositing (T&Cs Apply).
As you can see, new customers can get quite a lot with this bookmaker. This offer is quite competitive, but there are even better new client offers online. What is more, they frequently come with additional free bets and bet insurance policies to make them even sweeter.
However, punters have to read the small print in these carefully. This is because most welcome bonuses come with wagering requirements. The one in my example stipulates that deposit and bonus money need to be wagered 6 times on min odds of 1.50 for funds to become withdrawable.
If welcome bonuses award new customers, loyalty programs award loyal clients. Choosing betting sites with rewarding loyalty programs always pays off. This is because each bet you will place will bring you closer to a prize or a monetary reward.
Loyalty schemes enable punters other perks too. For example, many bookmakers grant their most loyal customers VIP access to popular slots or casino games. They are also given a personal advisor which is at their disposal 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Finally, loyal customers often get exclusive access to various odds boosts or cashback promotions.
A quality customer support service is crucial when choosing an online sports betting provider. Reputable sports betting establishments can be reached via multiple communication channels 24/7. They can be contacted via:
- live chat,
- Twitter and Facebook,
- and even post.
This is something that often goes unnoticed. However, find yourself not being able to deposit at 3 AM, and you will suddenly appreciate customer support service much more.
The best online sports betting operators can be reached at any time of day. What is more, they pride themselves on providing immediate responses. They also have comprehensive FAQ sections which reduce the need for contact, leaving them open to customers with more pressing issues.
When choosing your ideal sports betting sites, you have to think about several factors. First of all, you have to choose a betting operator which is licensed and regulated and holds a valid gambling license.
Secondly, your ideal betting provider will also have all the latest SSL security certificates. This is vital when trusting somebody with your money and should always be checked thoroughly.
A very important thing when going through different betting sites is the wagering options they give you. There’s no point in choosing a bookmaker if you cannot place your bet there. Always check if the betting provider enables different types of bets to be made on your favourite sport.
Another vital thing that a punter should check is whether the sports betting provider has a top-notch pre-match and live bets section. Both of these are essential for a superior betting experience. If they can be accessed via a mobile app, all the better.
In addition, a sports betting operator simply must have a list of enticing bonuses and promotions. Welcome bonuses and loyalty programs are key here, but other offers help too.
Finally, a bookmaker should always boast a reliable customer support service. This should be complemented with a decent selection of communication channels and preferably social media interaction.