The only thing more popular than sports themselves is betting on them. Online sports betting has become a quite popular industry all around the world in recent years, hitting billions of dollars in revenue each year. It may look like something simple to the untrained eye, but if want to become a serious punter, you need to learn the fundamentals of online sports betting first.
Where to Start
The first thing you need to do is pick the ideal betting site that satisfies your needs. There are literally thousands of options to pick from, with some better than others. Before registering at the site, make sure it’s completely legal and safe to play at. There are many scam betting sites out there, so in order to keep your money safe, take a look at a few review sites in order to get a general idea on safe bookies.
Once you’ve found your bookmaker, the next step is to create an account. You usually register under a username of your choice and fill in all the details the website asks you to. Of course, you’ll need an e-mail to complete this step. Once your profile setup is done, you can start punting.
The Characteristics of A Good Betting Site
First and foremost, you need to spend some time reading betting site reviews and check the sites yourself in order to make sure everything’s safe and legal. Usually, most major bookies have an About Us page that offers information about the company itself. The bookies you’re looking for are ideally part of major companies in the online gambling industry, offering data protection and security.
License and Regulation
In order for a bookie to be trusted, it must be regulated by certain gambling licenses which offer credibility and ensure that the operator is fully safe and legal. Ideally, the bookie you’re planning on using should hold a license by the UK Gambling Commision or the Gibraltar Gambling Commision, which are among the main governing bodies when it comes to bookmaker and casino licenses.
The UK gambling license is issued to operators that offer their services to British punters. The Commission operates on very strict rules and any betting site that holds this license is considered trustworthy and safe to play at.
Alderney is a small island off the coast of England which houses the Alderney Gambling Control Commission. Over the years, this governing body has become a standard to follow and licenses a great number of betting sites and casinos. Just like the UKGC, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission is held in a very high regard.
The Gibraltar Gambling Commission oversees the entire gambling industry in Gibraltar. It is held in high regard worldwide and considered one of the most efficient gambling licenses.
Taking a look at the Help, often called a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions page) can answer most of the common questions pretty accurately. Of course, a good bookie will have great customer support and offer help for any kind of question or issue you might be having related to the betting site. Trusted bookies usually have a FAQ page and more than a few active social media profiles that serve as a valuable tool for customers.
Besides e-mail and an international phone number, bookies should have a Contact Us where their e-mail is listed. The best bookies have a 24/7 Live Chat feature which is the quickest and probably best way of getting answers to your questions.
Respected bookies have a dedicated Banking page which offers information on accepted payment methods. All bookies accept debit and credit cards, but many punters like using a specific e-wallet or even Bitcoin. Although the market is hot for web wallets now, there are still bookies that stick to the standard debit/credit card combo, which isn’t ideal. You’ll want to have as many options as your disposal as possible so you can pick the one that suits you most.
There are bookmakers that accept cryptocurrencies as well, so make sure to do your research and settle for what suits your needs.
Finally, you should also take a look at the sports the bookie offers and the odds as well. Compare the odds for different bookies and pick the one that suits you better – after all, why should you settle for less when you can earn more?
Types of Sports Bets
The best bookies will offer an extensive number of sports bets and markets – after all, why would punters settle for a website that only a few sports in their offer? There are many types of sports bets that can confuse beginner punters. Besides the standard 1x2 odds (Match Outcome), there are individual and special odds that require a bit more knowledge.
The most common bets are Straight bets, also known as Moneyline. With this bet, you’re wagering on the match outcome – you can pick 1 (the home team), x (draw) or 2 (visiting team). This is the simplest bet and the favourite of millions of punters. You can combine a number of Straight bets on your slip – if you’re lucky to win them all, you could be looking at millions.
Depending on the sport, you may see markets such as Handicap, Point Spread, Over/Under Totals, Full Cover bets, Individual bets, Prop bets, Future or Outright bets, Accumulators, Progressive Parlays, etc.
Accumulators have become pretty popular in recent times after a few people were lucky enough to win millions. Also known as multiples, accumulators allow a punter to place several selections as part of a single wager. In order to win the accumulator, all your selections need to win – if only one loses, your bet slip is finished.
For newcomers, we suggest keeping things simple and going for Straight bets. Once you learn the tricks of the trade, you can move on to the more enticing markets.
Most of the online betting sites are fully focused on football. That’s understandable – it's the most popular sport in the world, with a variety of leagues and thousands of matches you can place a bet on. Football is the centrepiece of every online bookmaker, but that doesn’t mean other sports aren’t included in the offer.
A good bookie will cover all major sports and leagues plus a combination of lesser-known ones. It’s not uncommon for respected online betting sites to feature more than 30 or 40 sports, which is great news for punters. If you’re a cricket fan like us, you’re in luck, as a great number of good bookies include the sport in their offer.
Besides cricket, basketball, American football, and tennis have millions of fans in the world, so a good bookie should include these sports in their offer. If you find a bookmaker that covers nothing more than 3-4 sports, we advise you to stay away from them. Serious punters never truly focus on one sport in general as there are many sports events with great odds during the season that can bring a nice profit.
Once you pick the sport you’re betting on, the next thing to do is check the markets. Depending on the sport and its popularity, a bookie can offer several markets. It may be confusing in the beginning, but as you gain experience, things will get much better. The good thing is that most of those unusual markets offer quite attractive odds which will increase your chances of winning and give you a higher payout as well.
Bonuses and Special Promotions
The majority of online betting sites have a welcome bonus offer you should definitely get advantage of. These offers may double your money after you make your first deposit, offering you extra money you can wager with. It’s a nice gesture which shows you how serious bookies are in getting new customers.
Additionally, bookmakers often run special promotions tied to ongoing or future events. These promos are a great way of getting extra funds to play with and other prizes as well. You should definitely give bonuses and promotions a try if you’re planning on becoming a serious punter as they will essentially get you free money that you can use to win big.
A good bookie will have all the features we already mentioned plus something extra such as cash out and live streaming.
Cash out is a great feature which allows punters to profit early while the match is not yet finished. Once a match starts and live betting is in play, some bookies will give you the option to cash out easily on many sports. You can cash out before a match, during it, and between legs. It’s a great feature that will help you control your losses and make some profit even if your selection isn’t going your way.
Many sports betting giants are also offering live streaming for selected sports and events. Live streaming allows you to watch the matches as they infold directly from the operator’s betsite. This feature has become a standard for high-profile bookies who offer live streaming on less-popular sports such as crickets, so if you’re in the market for a new online bookie, make sure they have it.