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It may sound like an overstatement, but choosing the right sportsbook is probably as important as any other factor in sports betting. Essentially, the perfect sportsbook has certain crucial elements that contribute to a great betting experience.
So the only way to know whether you’re going for the best sportsbook is to compare these elements in the different sportsbooks available to you.
Doing this will not only give you an idea of what to expect from a sportsbook, but you’ll also have a list of alternative sportsbooks to choose from in case you want to switch bookies or wish to place a different bet elsewhere.
If you’re new to online betting, you may be wondering how to go about comparing different sportsbooks. Fortunately, this guide will take you through how to ensure that you land on the perfect pick.
Sportsbooks sell us odds, and it’s usually up to us to decide whether those odds are worth investing in. If you like the odds that a sportsbook offers, you can use them to place a bet. If not, you can shop for better odds elsewhere.
Sports betting odds are an important consideration.
You should always be on the lookout for the best odds possible. Low odds equate to lower winnings, while higher odds mean that you can cash out more. So, if a different sportsbook offers better odds, the best choice is to go for those since greater odds guarantee higher winnings at no extra cost.
As explained above, vigorish is simply the commission owed to the bookies. You do not pay vigorish as a separate fee, but it is always included in the odds offered to you by the bookie. Vigorish also goes by the following names—the vig, juice, and cut.
Though vigorish is one of the main ways that sportsbooks make money, it is not the only way. Sportsbooks also make money by setting and altering their lines, balancing their books to remove as much risk as possible, and relying on ignorant bettors.
Comfort might deceive you into thinking that you don’t need to compare odds at different sportsbooks. This is understandable because many people tend to believe that the first sportsbook that they land on will be their betting platform for life.
Unfortunately, change is inevitable, especially for bettors who want to maximize any potential sports betting advantage, so comparing sportsbooks is crucial in gaining that edge.
When comparing sportsbooks, you may end up landing on one great sportsbook or have a few that you switch between and use as your default to shop lines. Either way, you should compare sportsbooks betting odds for the following reasons and advantages:
One advantage of comparing sportsbooks comes in the form of line shopping. Basically, before placing any bet, you need to guarantee that the value you’re being offered is the best in the market.
Take this following example: if one sportsbook has set an over/under line at 35.5 while another one has the same line at 36 and you want to bet an over, it’s wiser to go for the one offering the line at 35.5.
If the game has exactly 36 points, you end up making a profit instead of settling for a push. So, at the end of the day, you’d have made money instead of risking your stake for no monetary reward.
Additionally, a difference in odds, no matter how minimal, is crucial. If you see a book offering an event at odds of -110 while another is offering the same event at odds of -105, isn’t it wiser to go for the sportsbook offering the better odds? Remember, sports betting is a game of margins, and capitalizing on such minimal margins could be the difference between profit and loss at the end of a betting season.
Most sportsbooks have a mix of certain features and events. Sure, a few may have everything, but it’s almost hard to find a sportsbook that ticks all the preferred boxes, especially since certain features are subjective and will depend on your specific needs.
For example, you may find that FanDuel has certain niche markets, while DraftKings has props and futures unavailable on FanDuel. So you might choose to use FanDuel to bet on those niche markets, while DraftKings might be your default sportsbook for props.
When you compare sportsbooks, you’ll come across different bonus offers. Most sportsbooks restrict a user to one welcome bonus, but no rule prohibits users from taking advantage of welcome bonuses from other sportsbooks. This means that you can freely indulge in as many bonus offers as you want without any worries.
Additionally, you’ll qualify for daily and weekly promos on all the sportsbooks that you register on. This can total to a lot of free money, and who doesn’t like free money?
Each sportsbook has its terms and conditions. Rollover for bonuses is one such example. Certain sportsbooks place strict requirements on bonuses that make bonus amounts extremely hard to withdraw. Others are usually lenient on requirements attached to bonuses. The only way you can find out about such rules is by constantly comparing sportsbooks.
Picking out the perfect sportsbook will depend on certain steps that you take. Instead of going for the first sportsbook that your search engine suggests for you, invest more time into the process to make sure that you land on a book that you won’t regret joining.
The following are crucial steps to follow to ensure that you pick a great sportsbook:
This is going to be extremely subjective. Do you want to bet on one specific sport exclusively, or do you want to have access to as many sporting events as possible? Do you also want a betting site with a casino section? Do you want a site that also offers live betting?
Once you know what you want, you can simplify the process by creating a checklist of things that the sportsbook needs. You can list primary essentials that you won’t compromise on and a secondary list of things that may be a plus but are not essential.
Tying in with the above, there are certain things that you may want that are absolute necessities. These necessities are things that the sportsbook must have; if a sportsbook lacks these essentials, you won’t register on the site.
For example, let’s say that the only payment method available to you is PayPal. Sportsbook A has almost everything you want, but there’s no option to process payments via PayPal.
Despite how alluring sportsbook A might be, since you won’t be able to deposit and withdraw funds, you can’t sign up on it. Therefore, you strike out sportsbook A and search for a sportsbook that can process payments through PayPal.
Using your checklist, you can begin searching for online sportsbooks and strike out any book that doesn’t have your desired necessities. This should leave you with a shortlist of available options to choose from. Try keeping this number to a reasonable one so as not to overstress yourself. Around five sportsbooks seems like a good number.
Once you have a shortlist, the next thing to do is to compare the books on your list.
You can use reviews as a barometer of what to expect from each site. Although you should always be cautious—some reviews can be misleading, while others can be done out of malicious intent.
When checking reviews, look for things that are a consensus. Are many people complaining about payment delays? What is the majority saying about the site’s interface? Are the odds fair?
Once you know what to expect from a site after reading the reviews, you can try it out for yourself. If possible, play around with the site before making any financial commitment. If the site has a no deposit bonus available for new customers, you can opt-in and use that to test out the sportsbook.
You can test out the site by checking its interface, the number of markets available, how responsive the site is, the number of live betting options, and more. All of this will factor into your final decision.
After going through this whole process, one book will definitely stand out to you. Just go for it! There is no contractual obligation forcing you to stick with that site for eternity, so if you find anything in the future that puts you off, you can make a switch at any time.
Additionally, keep a list of the other sportsbooks that you shortlisted. If you ever want to change bookies in the future, or if you want to shop lines, that shortlist might come in handy.
Aside from odds, there are other important things that you should consider when picking a sports betting site. Most of these are preferential and will depend on your sports betting needs.
Here is a list of such criteria that you should always keep in mind:
Many bettors like to have access to a wide range of sports. Depending on what you like betting on, this could be certain specific sports or a whole catalog of sporting events. If you prefer to bet on one specific sport, this might not be too much of a factor for you.
However, if you’re like most bettors and occasionally bet on other sports, then ensure that the sportsbook you want to go for has listed most—if not all—of the sports that you bet on.
Always check whether the listed banking methods favor you. This is crucial because you need to have constant access to your funds at all times. Sportsbooks with many payment methods are the best to go for because you will always have an alternative if your default payment method experiences sudden problems.
Additionally, check whether any limits are stated on these payment methods. This will help you know the site’s minimum and maximum that you can withdraw and deposit.
Though it’s an industry standard now, you should always check whether the site has live betting. Even if you aren’t into live betting, it’s always good because live betting can be an alternative in scenarios where certain things prohibit you from placing a pre-game wager.
Most bettors these days place bets on the go, so having access to your betting site at all times is extremely crucial. If the sportsbook doesn’t have a mobile app, then it should at least have a fully functioning mobile-friendly website. Whatever the case, ensure that mobile betting is available.
A lot of offshore sites take advantage of local customers. Before you sign up on a site, ensure that it is licensed and regulated to avoid signing up on an illegal offshore site.
Security might be one of the things that many bettors overlook, but it is crucial. Since you’ll be depositing your hard-earned money into a site, you need to make sure that the site has safeguards in place to ensure that your money is safe at all times.
This mostly boils down to the software and technology that the sportsbook uses. The site’s practices and procedures also factor heavily here.
So take the time to know whether the site is encrypted and whether their banking methods adhere to current standards. This will give you a gauge of how secure the betting site is.
Everyone is prone to making mistakes when new to betting, especially if one lacks the right information. To avoid making such mistakes when signing up on a betting site, always avoid sites with the following characteristics:
One immediate red flag is a site that constantly delays payments. It’s understandable if it’s just a one-off delay, but when it proves to be a habitual thing that most of the site’s customers complain about, that is a major issue that should not be overlooked.
One way to check this is by reading the site’s reviews or going into betting forums to see people’s experiences with a certain site.
Betting on a blacklisted site will give you problems for obvious reasons.
Figuring out whether a site has been blacklisted might be hard because a blacklisted site will do everything to keep its name clean. In such a scenario, you’ll need to dig deep and use your research skills if you suspect that a certain site has been blacklisted.
Certain names within the sports betting industry are synonymous with trouble. It might be smart to check out some of the people in charge of managing a site to know whether they have an awful track record or whether they are trying to run away from a bad reputation.
This is because such rowdy characters usually get in trouble then start betting sites of their own after getting kicked out of others. Since such people are unpredictable, you never know what they can do with their newly founded betting sites.
It’s human nature to have a problem now and then, but when a site constantly has a certain problem, it is also a major red flag. If the problem is too minor and doesn’t affect your wagering, then you can ignore such a problem.
However, if it’s something major like persistent false advertisements of bonuses and odds, it’s best to keep away from such sites.
A common misconception is that sportsbooks rely on the favorites to lose so that they can make money. While they do make money in such scenarios, their business model does not rely on favorites losing.
A sportsbook has no control over what happens in a sporting event, but one thing that they can control is the amount that they can gain or lose on any given result.
Since they set odds, they can make odds in such a way that their commission is made via oddsmaking. They’ll then offer these odds—which are known as unfair odds—to customers. So, for example, instead of offering a coin toss at odds of +100, bookies will offer such an event at odds of -110, even though a coin toss is a 50/50 event.
So if a bettor wants to win $100, they’ll need to bet $110 instead of $100. In this example, this $10 is what the bookies charge for allowing you to place a bet, which is commonly known as vigorish.