Choosing a betting site
This article outlines the criteria that bettors should consider when choosing an online betting site. Each sportsbook yields different advantages and disadvantages that players should be aware of prior to making a deposit. This guide covers determining betting site availability, deposit methods, withdrawal time, and the type of lines.
Online gambling laws force betting sites to have restrictions on which countries or states they can accept customers from. Before a bettor can begin comparing betting sites it is recommended that they draft a list of all options available to their region. A list of accepted countries and states should be available in the sportsbook's terms of service.
Betting Wiki includes a table of available countries on each sportsbook's respective wiki page. State-by-state restrictions will also be specified.
After determining all betting sites available in your country it's time to verify each sportsbook's reputation. With plenty of options on the market players should not feel pressured to give their business to sites with a history of dishonest practices. A quick internet search should reveal any major incidents that have occurred in a sportsbook's past. Bettors should be aware that most betting site reviews do not highlight negative events in a bookmaker's history as their websites are partnered with the sportsbooks. As a result posts made on message boards and social media are often the best source of honest information. Betting Wiki aims to maintain a list of any concerning incidents on a sportsbook's respective wiki page.
Betting sites offer customers different methods of depositing and withdrawing funds. Bettors can narrow down their list of potential sportsbooks based on their preferred payment methods. Players should also be aware of any additional fees that might be charged to process a deposit or withdrawal.
Deposits through credit card are the most frequently used funding method among sports bettors. Betting sites also offer alternative options including bank transfers, cryptocurrencies, and money orders. The majority of sportsbooks offer discrete deposits which means it will not show up as a betting site on your credit card or bank statement. Before selecting a bookmaker players should be aware of their available deposit methods, as well as if there are any additional processing fees associated with that payment option.
Betting Wiki maintains a table with each betting site's deposit methods on their respective wiki page. This table also includes the limits and processing fees associated with each method. An example of which can be found below:
Before depositing into a betting site players must be aware of withdrawal policies. Bettors should verify that their preferred payout method is offered, as well as the processing time and fees associated with it. The most common withdrawal method is through check but many sportsbooks offer faster payout options through cryptocurrency or bank transfer. Similar to deposits most sportsbook withdrawals are discrete which means it will not be indicated that the funds are coming from a betting site when received.
Betting Wiki maintains a detailed summary of each sportsbook's withdrawal policies on their respective wiki page. This includes payout methods, processing time, associated fees, and limits:
|Example Sportsbook Withdrawal Methods (USD)|
|Bank Wire||$500||$5,000||None||1 week|
The things people bet on are called betting markets. Understanding how the market works and how each sportsbook handles them is necessary to generating long term profit. This section will provide a brief introduction to betting markets, the concepts of square and sharp lines, and how to evaluate how each prospective betting site views the market.
How markets originate
Contrary to popular belief betting lines and odds to not originate in Las Vegas. Offshore betting sites that take a large amount of wagers such as BetCRIS are the first to release opening lines. These lines are released with low initial limits and adjusted based on early action. In general the majority of players who bet into early markets are sharper bettors who have identified an advantage. When a betting market is young it is at it's lowest expected efficiency. This means that the line available at the sportsbook is believed to have the largest deviation from a fair line (a theoretical line set with perfect information). Identifying these advantages and betting accordingly is the key to profitable sports betting. Opening lines are adjusted based on this early action. As they become more efficient limits are slowly raised.
As the lines originated by the large offshore betting sites settle other sportsbooks clone them. This includes casinos with physical locations in Las Vegas. Because these offshore betting sites have a significantly larger handle their lines yield the most accurate reflection of the current market. Some sportsbooks use exact mirrors of the lines, while others adjust them slightly based on the betting tendencies of their respective customers. This introduces the concept of sharp and square betting sites.
Betting sites that offer lines that accurately reflect the current market are known as sharp sportsbooks. These lines mirror the ones currently available at the large offshore betting sites that originated them. Sharp sportsbooks generally offer high betting limits and do not penalize winning bettors. When deciding whether or not to register an account at a sharp sportsbook its important to deduce how early their lines are posted. The earlier one can bet into a market the larger the expectancy for their potential advantage. Betting sites that wait for the offshore market to settle before releasing their cloned lines inhibit their customers from having a chance at gaining that edge.
A square sportsbook adjusts the current market lines based on the betting habits of their respective customer base. These betting sites cater to beginner and recreational sports bettors. Because the majority of recreational bettors are more likely to be drawn to the same side of certain betting markets (such as a popular favorite) square bookmakers shade the line to make it less favorable to bet on. This puts customers who wager on that side anyways at an increased disadvantage relative to the widely available market.
An example of this can be seen below. Although not absolute favorites and overs are generally the preferred side of recreational bettors. Heading into the 2019-2020 college football National Championship game the LSU Tigers high powered offense seems unstoppable. A sharp betting site is offering LSU against the spread at -5 (-109), -215 moneyline odds, and a total set at 66.5.
|Clemson Tigers||+5 (-110)||Over 66.5 (-107)||+180|
|LSU Tigers||-5 (-109)||Under 66.5 (-113)||-215|
Sharp betting sites expect to take lots of action on these big games and wishes to offer lines that are as efficient as possible. They do not want knowledgeable sports bettors placing large wagers on sides that have positive expected value. Square betting sites feature have lower betting limits and can afford to adjust their lines away from the current market. Wagering on LSU's spread, moneyline, or the over is relatively less favorable. LSU's spread is now -6 (-115) and moneyline -225. The total has also been raised to 67.5.
|Clemson Tigers||+6 (-105)||Over 67.5 (-105)||+185|
|LSU Tigers||-6 (-115)||Under 67.5 (-115)||-225|
Savvy readers might have observed the advantage of betting against the line adjustments done by square sportsbooks. More favorable lines are now available with Clemson +6 (-105), Clemson ML (+185), and the under 67.5 (-115). While this is true, square betting sites have been known to limit the accounts of players who strictly take advantage of the line shading. This includes the practice of dealing dual lines; offering a sharper set of odds for customers deemed to know what they are doing.
If you decide to register an account with a square betting site understand how to take advantage of their line adjustments. Be prepared to have your account limited and move on to the next one.
Which to pick
While betting against a square sportsbook's line shading is a simple way to generate market advantage bettors will find themselves getting cut off frequently. Players who are serious about using sports betting to generate long term profit will eventually need to learn how to beat the market. This comes in the form of betting on early lines at sharper high limit betting sites in an attempt to beat the closing line.