Sports Betting Complete Guide 2023: Open Your American Horizon to Online Betting

Updated: 02 February 2023

The iGaming world divides into 2 major categories. Online sports betting and online casinos. Although online casinos have become popular worldwide quite recently, the history of betting sites go further back. This is one of the main reasons why most sports betting sites are older than online casinos.

This guide is for US punters. If you’re not aware already, the gambling laws are quite different in the US when compared to the rest of the world. Primarily because it’s regulated by the state governments. Throughout this guide, we’re going to learn what betting is, how to choose the platforms, how to bet, and lots of other things.

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What is Online Sports Betting?

Sports Betting

To understand what online sports betting is, you first need to understand what sports betting is. Essentially, it’s precisely what it sounds like. You pick a sport, and then you bet on it. What aspect of the sport you’re betting will vary based on how proficient of a bettor you are and what bookmaker you’re using.

Now, betting on sports online is simply doing the same but over the internet instead of visiting a physical bookie. Bookies have been a part of many countries’ cultures for centuries. But not so much for the US. It’s primarily the online bookmakers that you can use.

As of now, betting sports online is one of the major sources of entertainment for sports enthusiasts. It’s fast-paced, it’s exciting, and it comes with the possibility of winning real money.

To successfully partake in sports betting online, you need to know a few different aspects first. In this section, let’s try to explore them.

What are Sports Betting Odds?

This is pretty much the backbone of the betting industry. If there were no odds, sports betting wouldn’t have been possible. In traditional terms, odds refer to the likelihood of an event occurring. But in a sports betting context, it also projects the amount you can win from a bet.

All over the world, there are 3 main formats of odds. Decimal, Fractional, and American. Needless to say, the American odds are what you’re going to find in the US.

The idea of American odds is based on a $100 wager. There are usually 2 teams or 2 individuals in a sporting event, where one is the favorite and the other one is the outsider or the underdog. Favorites have (-) on the odds, while the underdogs have (+).

Let’s take a baseball match between the Boston Red Sox vs Chicago White Sox. The odds are Red Sox (-250) vs White Sox (+150).

If you place your wager on the Red Sox to win, you have to bet $250 to win $100 in profits.

And if you want to favor the White Sox, you can win $150 from your $100 bet.

Do you see the distinction? This is the biggest characteristic that makes American odds unique and enjoyable to the punters.

How Do I Know My Chances of Winning?

That’s an excellent question. For new punters, it’s often hard to determine what the odds actually mean. But now that you already know how the odds work while betting on sports, it should be easier for you.

In our example, you profit more if you bet on the White Sox. You get a $150 profit from a mere $100 bet. The Red Sox, on the other hand, returns only $100 for a massive $250 bet.

It’s because Red Sox has a higher probability of winning. This is calculated by the online bookmakers based on previous game results, team dynamics, injuries, weather, and lots of other things. As the Red Sox has the upper hand, it’s pegged as the favorite. So, the risks are lower for you. Hence, the lower payout.

The same theory applies to White Sox as well. The bookmaker thinks it’s less likely to win. So, punters who bet on it are risking more. As a reward for taking the risk, the betting sites return higher profits in case of a win.

On Which Sports Can I Place Bets?

Betting sports

Virtually any sport you can think of! The modern betting sports online industry is more inclusive than it has ever been. From baseball, basketball, handball, football, soccer, cricket, MMA, motorsport, and even esports are available at the best betting sites like Bovada betting app in the US!

All major tournaments from all the major sports, both international and domestic, are offered at the bookmakers. The more voltage a tournament pulls, the longer the odds tend to get. In the US, we’ve seen massive markets for NBA betting, NHL betting, MLB betting, UFC betting, and whatnot!

The great thing about online sportsbooks is that you can expect far more markets when compared to physical bookies. Modern bookmakers tend to break down a single event into many bets, giving you an opportunity to milk the match in every possible way!

Are there Special Bonus Offers for Online Betting?

Of course, there are. Sportsbook promotions are quite different from online casino promotions. You may get free bets for a particular tournament, enhanced odds on a particular match, cashback on a failed bet, and sometimes, exclusive bonuses for mobile betting apps!

Another great thing about these promotions is that the wagering requirements are very low. In comparison to online casinos’ 40x-50x wagering, you only need to complete 5x to 10x wagering at sportsbooks.

Overall, promotions at these bookmaker websites are fantastic, and we highly recommend opting for them whenever you have the chance.

Where Can I Place Bets Legally Online?

As we said near the beginning of the guide, the legality of online gambling is not the same in the US. The state governments have complete power over how they want to regulate the industry instead of the federal government. For example, sports betting NY is the jurisdiction of the NY State Gaming Commission.

Furthermore, punters must be physically present in the state where he or she is placing the bets.

There are 3 major components of betting when you break down the paradigm in the US. In-person betting, mobile betting, and online betting.

The first one is self-explanatory. You visit retail bookmakers and place the bets you want. Then, you have mobile and online betting. Mobile betting basically refers to placing bets via SMS or dialing a specific number. And online sporting betting is what we’re trying to discuss in this guide.

Plenty of states has legalized sports betting online over the past few years. Let’s take a look at how the best of them are doing.

  • New Jersey Sports Betting: One of the few full-service betting states. It has been this way since 2018, and it has the most number of offshore operators licensed.
  • New York Sports Betting: It might be a little late but online and mobile sports betting has reached the state lines NY sports betting.
  • Michigan Sports Betting: Joining the paradigm in 2021 only, Michigan is now a full-service betting state, offering retail, online, and mobile betting!
  • Virginia: Virginia sports betting has opened up many options for punters living in the state. It has even legalized in-person betting. But any retailers are yet to come live.
  • Maryland: The voters of Maryland have finally spoken , and they want all forms of betting available at their disposal. Needless to say, the state obliged.

Before 2018, it was not possible to place bets on single games in the US. It was part of the PASPA (Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) initiative. The Supreme Court finally struck it down, allowing bookmakers to offer and punters to participate in single-game wagering.

StateIs Sports Online Betting Allowed?Remarks
ArizonaYesFull-service state
ArkansasYesOnly retail betting
ColoradoYesFull-service state
ConnecticutYesFull-service state but online betting is not live yet
IowaYesFull-service state
MarylandYesFull-service state
DelawareYesFull-service state but not live yet
New JerseyYesFull-service state
New HampshireYesFull-service state
New York (NY Sports Betting)YesFull-service state
OhioYesFull-service state but not live
IllinoisYesFull-service state
IndianaYesFull-service state
LouisianaYesFull-service state but online is not live yet
New MexicoNoOnly state-owned retail bookies
WyomingYesFull-service state
WashingtonYesOnly selected tribal-owned brands
TennesseeYesNo retail bookies
NevadaNoOnly mobile and retail betting
OhioYesFull-service but not live yet
PennsylvaniaYesFull-service state

How to Find Good Online Sports Betting Websites?

As time goes by, sports betting is becoming more popular. And after the new rule from the Supreme Court that allows single-game wagering for the punters, more offshore bookmakers are applying for state licenses.

Another great thing is that many states are following the paradigm and coming forward with bills to legalize betting across all channels.

Among all this chaos, it may become hard for you to figure out what brands to go for. Because if you’re not aware of what to look for, you can’t distinguish the good features from the bad ones.

That’s where we come in. We’ve researched on behalf of you. All of the sportsbooks you see on this page are vetted by our expert team. It has gone in-depth with the license, offered sports, payment methods, the competitiveness of the odds, and even customer support.  

What we’re trying to say is that we’ve already found good online sports betting sites for you. All you have to do is pick one and register.

What to Know About Sports Betting Bonus Offers?

Pretty much all modern iGaming platforms offer plenty of promotions. It’s an exclusive offering from the “online” brands only and this has been a major attraction for the gamblers. We’ve already stated some of the common online sportsbooks promotions you can expect to find.

For all of those bonuses, there are terms and conditions. Wagering requirements are the most important among them. It practically indicates how much you need to spend in real money before you withdraw the bonus.

So, if there’s a 10x wagering requirement on your welcome bonus, it means you need to spend 10 times the bonus you get before it actually transfers to your account.

Minimum odds requirement is another common term. It limits what sports events you can bet on by specifying minimum odds. It’s in place so that punters cannot abuse the bonus by only betting on the favorites.

A great tip to utilize the bonuses is signing up at multiple bookmakers. That way, you can benefit from many bonuses at once!

What to Look Out for When Choosing an Online Betting Provider?

Choosing the right sportsbook for you is the most crucial aspect of healthy betting on sports online. The highest-rated bookmaker in the US is not necessarily the best one for you. Let’s take a look at what things you need to look out for when selecting the perfect one for yourself.

  • License – in the US, a bookmaker must be licensed in the state where it operates. For example, a sportsbook catering to the NJ residents must be licensed by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement. By ensuring the license, you ensure that your money is in safe hands and all betting practices are regulated.
  • Payment Methods – What payment methods you can use is an important influencer on your final experience. A website may offer all the features in the world but if you don’t have the means to deposit, the features won’t do you any good.
  • Odds – For the same markets, different bookmakers may offer different odds. You need to compare the odds are multiple sites before you decide on one. The goal is to get maximum returns against your stake.

Online Sports Betting Beginners Guide

So, you’re intrigued with online sports betting in the US. Now, you want to get started with real money betting. But you’re not certain how to approach it, right?

Well, that’s why we’re here to help. Let us guide you through the steps systematically.

Choose your favorite from our betting site - Step 1
Step 1: Checking the License and Choosing the Provider

This is the first and most crucial step. As we mentioned previously, the bookmaker must be licensed in your state. You check the information on the footer section of the betting sites.

Create ID for betting site- Step 2
Step 2: Sign Up

The next step is signing up, given that you’ve already found the bookmaker you want to opt for. The process is more or less the same for all of them.

Make a deposit - Step 3
Step 3: Deposit Real Money

This is the stage where you deposit real money to start playing. You can use credit or debit cards from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Maestro. You may also the gift cards from the same methods as well!

Choose an object and place a bet - Step 4
Step 4: Pick a Sport and Game to Check the Odds

The next logical progression is finding a sport that you like and want to bet on. Before you can place the actual bet, you need to compare the odds and see how much you may win from the bet.

US Dollar
Step 5: Placing the Bet

The final step is often the most entertaining one. You can place the bet using the bet slip on the website at the offered odds. You can include as little as 1 selection!

Sports Betting Apps

Sports Betting Apps

There was a time when we needed to open our desktops or laptops to do something seamlessly on the internet. But those days are long gone. We now live in the era of mobile technology. Anything and everything you can think of is now available as an app.

The same goes for online betting sites. All available sportsbooks in the US are available for mobile devices, both in web-based and betting apps. The best sports betting apps are certainly more convenient when compared to the websites, but they take up resources from your hardware.

Whatever the paradigm you want to follow, know that mobile betting is always an option for you. Whether you use Android or iOS, the bookmakers have ensured top-notch compatibility for you. Just like the main sites are licensed by the state’s regulatory body, the apps also come under their jurisdiction.  

Can You Make Money by Betting Online?

Of course, you can. But it’s not a guarantee. If it was, it wouldn’t be much gambling, would it? In comparison, you can expect better returns from online sportsbooks than online casinos. It’s because you have more control over the variables.

You exactly dial in what sport you want to bet on, what team or player you would like to bet on, and what odds you’re stacking. If you do enough research on the sport, previous results, player dynamics, team management, weather, etc., you can make excellent assumptions about how a match may turn out.

In fact, sometimes, your predictions can be better than the bookmaker’s. In those cases, you find what’s known as “value bets” where you can win massive amounts from a small wager.

Then, you can employ various bankroll management strategies to enhance your chances of winning in the long run. But keep in mind that betting is primarily a source of entertainment and not a source of income. Make sure you’re gambling responsibly in all cases.

Sports Betting FAQ

We’re nearing the end of our adventures here. By now, you must have accumulated your fair share of questions. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

What’s the best sport for betting?

Well, it comes down to which sport you most relate to , and it’s going to vary from punter to punter. From what we’ve seen in the US, baseball and basketball are extremely popular sports. And so, bookmakers like MGM sports betting tend to offer more markets and more competitive odds for NBA, MLB, etc. tournaments.

Can I bet on games that are still far in the future?

Yes, you can. These are known as futures bets at online bookmakers. These bets also classify as long-term bets. Mostly tournaments that have multiple matches in group states, knockouts, semi-finals, and finals are the best futures bets. You can only cash your bets out once the tournament is over.

What types of bets can be placed?

A particular opportunity to bet is known as a “market” in sports betting. Niche markets can vary drastically from online betting site to betting site because that’s where the operators try to bring in the innovation. Some markets are common across all of them such as money line bets, over/under bets, points spread, 1×2 bets, parlays, and so on.

Is sports betting legal in Indiana?

Yes, sports betting is completely legal in Indiana. You can bet online, in-person at the retailers, and via mobile. The betting paradigm was legalized back in 2019.

Is sports betting legal in Michigan?

Just like Indiana, Michigan online sports betting is also a full-service area. It means sports betting is available across all channels.

Do I need to be an expert to win my bets?

Not necessarily. The considerable majority of the bettors from all over the world are not experts by any means. But yes, you need impeccable research to win your bets. The more you research, the more insights you can accumulate. And as we all know, the more the insights, the better the predictions.

What is live betting? Is it available in the US?

Live betting is the act of betting on matches that are live in real-time. Traditional sports betting refers to pre-match bets, and you place them before the event starts. You can’t change your bet slip once it’s live. But for live betting, you get new markets and instantly place bets.