Bettors across the US breathed a sigh of relief on May 14, 2018 when the Supreme Court ruled that sports betting should be regulated by state law – catalyzing multiple states to legalize sports betting. With this new legislation, online sportsbooks are popping up all over the internet, proposing the ‘best bonuses’ and ‘unbeatable odds’. It can seem overwhelming as a bettor to make the transition to online sports betting. But sit back and relax, we’re here to help you navigate this new market of online sportsbooks. Read on as we separate the trustworthy online sportsbooks from the sketchy, and the best sites for online sports betting from the good.
When creating our reviews for trusted online sportsbooks, we look into a number of criteria. We look for online sports betting sites with available, friendly, and thorough customer support agents. We also look for sports betting sites with a number of different betting options and a wide variety of sports. The best online sportsbooks have a number of convenient deposit method options available as well as fast and reputable withdrawals. At CasinoGuru, we only recommend online sportsbooks that are licensed and regulated. Scroll down and find the best online sportsbook for you.
The Best Online Sportsbooks for US Bettors
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Customer Support at Online Sportsbooks
The best online sportsbook will have multiple channels for you as a bettor to reach customer service agents. Ideally, you won’t need to. But inevitably, an issue will arise that you need to contact customer support. Online sportsbooks should have support agents available around the clock through a chat window, email, and phone. Many of the best online sportsbooks will also have a solid presence on social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) where bettors can contact agents. The availability of agents and variety of contact methods carries a big weight in our reviews.
Wherever the online sportsbook lists their contact information, they should also list a physical address. This should be where the online sportsbook servers are registered, regulated, and located.
How to Read the Point Spread & Bet the Point Spread
The point spread, sometimes known as the line, spread, or betting sides, is one of the most common online sports betting methods. Some think the spread is the sportsbook’s predicted margin of victory, but that’s not the case. The point spread is the number that the oddsmakers predict will be a balance between bettors who want to wager on the underdog and bettors who want to wager on the favorite. So the point spread set by the sportsbook is more a prediction of the bettors themselves than of the outcome of the game. So let’s look at how the point spread works.
Let’s say we have an NFL game between the Packers and Bears. The online sportsbook odds might look something like this:
Green Bay -5.5 (-110)
Chicago +5.5 (-110)
The first number is the point spread; the negative value (-) is listed with the favorite and the positive point spread value (+) is listed with the underdog. In this case, Green Bay is the chalk, or favorite. This is a point spread of 5.5 points. Bettors would place wagers on this point spread if they believe that Green Bay will win by 6 points or more. If Green Bay were to win the game, but not win the game by 6 points or more, say a score of 20-17, then Green Bay won the game straight up (SU) but failed to cover the odds of the point spread. This scenario is also called ‘losing against the spread (ATS)’.
The second number refers to the amount a bettor must stake to place a wager and includes the fee that the sportsbook takes as commission. The sportsbook commission, known as vigorish, vig, or juice, is commonly 10%. So in this case, -110, means that in order to win $100 (should the bettors wager win) the bettor must wager $110. Sometimes sportsbooks will lower their vig to encourage bettors to place bets. You may see -107 or -102, which means you only need to wager $107 or $102 respectively for your chance to win $100. Searching for lower fees for booking a bet is called ‘price shopping’.
So in this case, if you bet the point spread, wager $110, and Green Bay wins the game by 6 or more points, then your $110 is returned along with $100 in winnings for a total of $210. If you lose the bet, you lose your $110.
If neither team covers the spread, this is a push and the sportsbook will refund the money you wagered. A push would occur if for example Green Bay is a -10 point favorite and they win the game with a final score 20-10.
If a game matchup is close enough that the online sportsbook does not draw odds and declare a point spread, then the game is considered a Pick’em, or PK. In this case, bettors just pick the team they expect to win, without betting on a margin of victory.
How to Make a Moneyline Bet
Moneyline betting is gaining in popularity, especially for bettors who want to place stakes on an underdog. When a bettor wagers a moneyline bet, he or she is only predicting the outcome of a game (who will win or lose) regardless of the victory margin.
The vig in moneyline bets has more of a tendency to vary. For example if you see White Sox (-140) and Cubs (+130) this means the White Sox are the favorite and the Cubs are the underdog. In this case, a bettor would have to wager $140 to win $100 on the Sox winning and bet $100 to win $130 on the Cubs winning.
Online Sportsbook Terminology
For those new to betting, or any bettor who needs a quick refresher, take a look at our helpful glossary for common terms used in an online sportsbook.
Across the Board – this is a wager betting on the outcome of a horserace that a horse will win, place, and show
ATS (Against the Spread) – this is a bet that wagers a team will cover the point spread; for example if a person ‘takes the Eagles ATS’, this means the person is betting the Eagles will cover the spread
Buck – $100; a ‘buck bet’ is a wager of $100
Canadian Spread – a wager placed on a hockey game that is the combination of a point spread and moneyline
Chalk – a term for the favored team, player, or horse
Circled Game – this described a game in which limits are lowered or betting options are restricted; this is usually due to injuries or other such factors
Cover – when a bettor beats the point spread by the amount of points required the player ‘covered the spread’
Dime – $1,000; a ‘dime bet’ is a wager of $1,000
Double Action – a conditional or ‘if bet’ that will be processed when the precedent bet either wins, ties, or cancels
Double Bet – a wager amount twice that of a bettor’s usual amount
Edge – a betting party’s advantage
Even Money – a wager for which neither side lays odds
Exposure – the maximum amount a sportsbook has the possibility to lose on a game
Favorite – the expected winner; the odds show the extent to which the ‘favorite’ is expected to win
Figure – the amount owed (either to or by) the bookmaker
First Half Bet – a bet wagered on the first half of the game only
Futures – wagers placed on an event or outcome that will happen further in the future; for example this would be to bet on the Super Bowl during the regular NFL season
Grand Salami – the total of goals scored in all hockey games that took place that day; bettors can wager an over/under bet on this
Half Time Bet – a bet wagered on only the second half of a game
Handle – the total amount bet on an event or series of events
Hedging – when a bettor places wagers on opposite sides to guarantee a minimum win
Hook – a half-point
Limit – this is the maximum amount that a bookmaker will allow a bettor to wager before the bookmaker changes the points and/or odds
Lines – this is a term used interchangeably with odds
Moneyline – a wager that does not involve a point spread
Move the Line – when a bettor pays to receive a hook or more towards his favor for a point spread game
No Action – when no money is lost or won
Over/Under – a wager of whether the grand total of all points or goals scored during the game will be greater or less than a specific number
Pick ‘em (PK) – a game or match that has no favorite
Point spread – the prediction of the number of points of the margin by which the favorite is expected to win over the underdog; a bet on how much the favorite is expected to win by
Single Action – an ‘if bet’ that is only enacted if the precedent bet wins
Straight Bet – a bet on one team, athlete, player, or horse
Taking the Points – making a wager on the underdog and the underdog’s advantage in the point spread
Taking the Price – making a wager on the underdog and taking money odds
Total – the total amount of runs, goals, or points scored during the game (including overtime) by both teams
Totals Bet – this is a proposition bet wagering that the ‘total’ will be over/under the line posted by the sportsbook
Value – when a bettor gets the best odds possible on a wager; this is the highest possible edge in the wager
Vigorish – the commission earned by the bookmaker on a losing bet; sometimes called ‘juice’ or ‘vig’
Online sports betting is a fantastic way to add more excitement to your favorite teams’ games, or get a little friendly competition going with buddies. With plenty of versions of bets to make on each game, there are bets to place if you’re a casual onlooker or a diehard fan. Come back to Casino Guru USA for more tips, tutorials, and news that we research and write up just for you.