Where can I place sports bets online? If you live in Canada then check out our Canadian Sportsbook section for the answers. If you live in the US then the US Sportsbook section is the area for you.
Think you know a lot about your favorite sport? How much would you be willing to bet? Every day thousands of people place wagers on sports/teams of their choice through online sportsbooks. For most, sports betting is a hobby, a way to increase the intensity of the games they watch. For others, sports betting is a career, one where thousands of dollars are earned and lost on a daily basis.
Sports betting can be an intimidating venture at first, with the multitude of online sites and the variety of wager types it is easy to see why. There are many factors including sign-up bonuses, juice, customer service, and wager types one must weigh when determining where they want to place their action. The purpose of this guide is to fully explain all of these factors to help make your decision easier.
For those looking for quality sportsbooks serving US or Canadian players, please follow the links at the top of this page to your respective region.
Different Types of Wagers and Juice
There is a large variety of wager-types one can find on sportsbooks. Understanding what types of bets are best for you and your bankroll can be the difference between big profits and big losses. Before we discuss types, it is best to learn about juice.
Juice is how sportsbooks make money. Unlike what some people believe, sportsbooks do not cheat players with inside information. Instead, they make money by taking a small cut from a winning bet. Most sites use a 10% juice rule, meaning that in order to win $100 a person would have to wager $110. Therefore a player is risking $110 to win $210, or a $100 profit.
There are many different ways to wager your money. A better understanding of how these bets work will make your decisions much easier when it comes time to put your money on the line. There are three basic bets, and from these there are a variety of options:
Point Spread Wager
A point spread is used in sports betting to even the odds of a sporting event. The goal of the point spread is to even the action on each side of a particular contest. For instance, in a game between the Lakers and Celtics the point spread may appear as follows:
Lakers -2.5 (-110)
Boston +2.5 (-110)
This means the Lakers are a 2.5 point favorite. Therefore, in order for a bettor to win by picking the Lakers he or she must win by three points or more. In order to win picking the Celtics they must lose by 2 points or less. The easiest way to calculate this is to add 2.5 points to the Celtics final score. Therefore a final score of:
Turns into a final score of:
This means those betting on the Celtics would be paid. The (-110) after each bet is the juice. In order to profit $100 a player must bet $110. The point spreads are generally determined by the amount of action on each team and they can move throughout the week or day. The sportsbook wants the same amount of money wagered on each team, therefore making money with no risk at all (through the juice). If one team is gaining all the action (money bet), the sportsbook will alter the point spread to entice bets on the other team, thus evening out the total money wagered.
It is important to note that a player uses the point spread he or she received when placing his or her bet. Although the spread may change throughout the week, the original line on their betting slip is used.
Money-Line or Straight-Up Bet
This type of wager is used strictly on the outcome of a game. The difference in points does not matter, as the odds are based on a team's probability to win the game. The team which is favored will appear with a negative number such as -300. The team which is the underdog (more likely to lose) will have a positive sign in front of their name, such as +280. For those wondering, the difference in the two bets would be the juice.
In the bets described above, a person betting on the favorite would have to risk $300 to profit $100. For someone betting on the underdog, a wager of $100 would net a $280 profit. In each case the team must win the game outright in order to pay the bettor.
The money-line can change throughout the day or week depending on action placed on each team, just like the point spread. Similarly to the spread, the money-line a player used when placing his or her bet is the one he or she will use to determine a win or a loss.
Over/Under wagers are bets on the point-total of a given game or event. Point spreads will typically end in .5 to avoid pushes. A typical over/under wager would appear as follows:
Over 210.5 (-110)
Under 210.5 (-110)
If the total score for the game is 211 or higher the players wagering on the "over" win. If the total score is 210 or lower, the players wagering on the "under" win. The house makes money, just as in other bets, through the juice.
These three types of bets can be used in a wide variety of options in order in increase or decrease someone's payouts. Below are some of the more common ways to bet:
This is a bet or wager on the outcome of a single event or game. These bets can be placed using either the point spread, money-line, or over/under type wagers.
A parlay is a combination of many single bets. From two to twelve wagers, parlays are used to increase a potential payout through defined odds. Winning a parlay is dependent on every team/wager inside the parlay winning. Should one of the wagers lose, the entire parlay loses. Should any of the wagers push, the parlay drops one place on the odds line. For example, should a player make a 5-team/wager parlay and one of the bets push, it is now considered a 4-team/wager parlay.
Parlays pay at much higher odds than normal bets. Here are your typical odds for winning 2 through 8-team parlays:
2-team parlay pays 13:5 ($13 won for each $5 wagered) | true odds are 3:1
3-team parlay pays 6:1 | true odds 7:1
4-team parlay pays 10:1 | true odds 15:1
5-team parlay pays 25:1 | true odds 31:1
6-team parlay pays 40:1 | true odds 63:1
7-team parlay pays 75:1 | true odds 127:1
8-team parlay pays 150:1 | true odds 255:1
The above odds are not always the same for each sportsbook. However, these are the most common odds for the above parlays. The way a sportsbook profits from parlays is that the pay out odds are less than the odds to randomly pick the wagers correctly. For instance, a person could randomly pick the 3-team parlay correctly 1 in 8 times (.5*.5*.5). However, the 3-team only pays out 6:1, thereby making the sportsbook money in the long term. Parlays are for the true gamblers, and should be used only when clearing free-play bonuses.
A teaser, like a parlay, tends to be a sucker's bet. A teaser allows a bettor to adjust the point-spread or over/under of an event in his or her favor. The most typical teaser is a 6-point teaser in football. For instance, in a game where the Colts might be favored by 7 points, the bettor could make the Colts a 1-point or 13-point favorite, whichever helps the side he or she wants to bet. Teasers sound like a great idea until one considers the change of odds. Because a player changes the line so dramatically, the pay out odds are significantly reduced. Here are the pay out odds on 2-8 team teaser parlays:
2-team teaser pays 10:11
3-team teaser pays 9:5
4-team teaser pays 3:1
5-team teaser pays 5:1
6-team teaser pays 7:1
7-team teaser pays 10:1
8-team teaser pays 15:1
As one can see, the pay out odds are greatly reduced. A final note, when placing a teaser parlay the bettor must move the line or over/under a specific number of points for each game/score.
An If Bet is a parlay with a catch. In order for the next game in the parlay to be placed, the first bet must win. Therefore, if the first game wins the second wager will be placed, and so on and so forth.
A Futures Bet is a wager that some event or result will occur sometime in the future. These types of bets generally pay out large odds and are done on such events as the Super Bowl or NBA Championship, before the start of the season of playoffs. For instance, the Lakers might start the Year as a 6:1 favorite to win the NBA Title. If the Lakers win the NBA Championship, a bettor makes $6 for every $1 he/she wagered. Some of the bigger underdogs can have enormous pay outs, in the 300:1 range. However, there is a reason why they are such long shots.
A round robin is a convenient way to create multiple parlays at one time. You can select between three and eight lines and then combine them in parlays of two to six teams. The advantage is that generally you need to hit on only one winning combination to make your money back for the entire round robin.
PokerStars.com is the largest online poker room in the world and for good reason. The PokerStars download features the best customer service, fraud prevention, and overall trustworthiness in the industry. If you'd like to join PokerStars.com, use this exclusive PokerStars bonus code and PokerStars marketing code during your registration and receive the largest PokerStars bonus possible, up to $600!