Intro – What is Sports Betting in the US?
Thanks to changes in legislation across several states, sports betting in the United States is set for huge growth in the coming years. Already, American and international betting companies have launched online sportsbooks in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and, of course, Nevada, with more set to follow suit in states like Indiana, Rhode Island and Oregon.
Americans love sports, of course, but for most of the country outside of Nevada, sports betting online is a relatively new concept. At PlayRight, our goal is to equip US bettors with the tools they need to succeed.
Whether you are new to betting or an experienced punter, you will find our sportsbook reviews, betting guides and analysis an essential companion as America moves into this exciting era of online sports betting.
How to pick a good online sports betting site
No online sportsbook is the same, and those differences are about much more than the quality of the betting odds. At PlayRight, we consider several important factors before recommending an online sportsbook and our reviews are designed to give you insight that you will find nowhere else. The factors we consider:
Security and Trust – Before choosing to bet on sports online, you should be fully confident that the sportsbook operator is fully licensed and credentialed. A responsible operator will also ensure that your details – both personal and financial – are kept safe by using the latest methods for website security and encryption.
Promotions – The sports betting industry is hugely competitive, meaning you should be able to take advantage of betting promos like free bets and enhanced odds. We test these betting bonuses to see if they are as generous as they seem and then bring your attention to the best betting offers the industry has to offer.
Software Quality – An online sportsbook must have the latest software, allowing you to place bets with swiftness and ease. In addition, a top sportsbook will have an excellent live betting platform, with in-play software that updates odds in real time.
Sports Coverage – A top betting platform will, of course, offer odds on your favorite sports and American major leagues, but there should also be coverage of international sporting events and niche sports.
Depth of Betting Markets – Major sports games can often have hundreds of different betting markets. The best sportsbooks will not only have many different betting lines, but will also offer plenty of variation.
Competitivity of Betting Odds – For some bettors, the most important factor of all is the bookmaker’s odds quality. In short, you want to be sure you are getting the best value for your bet.
Payment Methods – Often overlooked in its importance, offering a wide selection of payment methods is essential to running a good online sportsbook. Fast withdrawal processing should also be among your expectations.
Customer Service – Finally, the support network. The best sportsbook will have free customer support accessible 24 hours a day, ideally with live chat. This customer service should be friendly and professional.
Popular Sports for Online Betting
As a general rule, the most popular sports will get the most betting coverage. US sportsbooks, therefore, might heavily favor the traditional Big 4 sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL), as well as College Sports, but there is also a growing trend in soccer, both domestic (MLS) and international (EPL, Champions League). Below we highlight some of the most popular sports for betting on with online sportsbooks in the US:
Huge focus goes on the NFL, of course, but college football is also hugely popular with bettors. The Super Bowl is a massive betting event worldwide.
NBA is not alone in being popular with bettors, who will also look to European leagues, WNBA and FIBA events. College basketball’s annual showcase, March Madness, has become a phenomenon in sports betting.
MLB arguably benefits from having much of its season through the summer, when other Big 4 sports are in the offseason. The pace and length of a baseball game means it is particularly suited to live in-play betting.
Arguably the Big 4 sport with the least coverage, ice hockey nevertheless is popular among bettors. NHL certainly gets the most attention, but international events – IIFH World Championship, Winter Olympics – are also popular among bettors.
Soccer’s global popularity ensures US sports bettors have access to soccer betting every day of the year. The Premier League, La Liga, Champions League and Europa League are among the most important events for bettors. However, MLS has gone from strength to strength in recent years, and we imagine its coverage will continue to grow.
Aside from the four Grand Slam events, ATP and WTA tennis tournaments are also popular betting events. Increasingly, betting software providers have the technology to support live ‘fast’ betting on tennis, allowing you to bet on a point by point basis.
Golf’s Majors, the PGA Tour, Ryder Cup and European Tour all offer unique betting opportunities for bettors. One reason its popularity is so high is due to the fact that long-odds winners in big golf events are not uncommon. Due to the large field of competitors, golf is one of the most suited sports to each-way betting.
Increasingly, MMA, particularly UFC fights, has become popular among bettors. Boxing, of course, has long been favored by sports betting enthusiasts, especially when there is a big title bout.
Horse racing is arguably the sport most commonly associated with betting. However, it is not always found on online sportsbooks for licensing reasons. At times, you may find a sportsbook has a separate racebook for horse racing and dog racing, but often betting on horses and dogs is limited to in-person betting at the track.
Other Sports Commonly Available for Online Betting
In addition to the sports mentioned above, you might find betting coverage of rugby union, cricket, darts, F1, IndyCar and Australian Rules.
Sports Betting Strategies
Consider this statistic: In the last 18 seasons of NFL, the preseason favorite has only gone on to win the Super Bowl three times. That should tell you a number of things: the favorite is by no means guaranteed to win, and this extends beyond football; secondly, there is arguably more value to be found when not picking the favorite; lastly, and most importantly, you need a strategy to be successful in sports betting.
What do we mean by strategy? It’s an overarching term that takes in judgement, analysis and research. Each wager you make should be judged as to whether the risk outweighs the reward, i.e. do the returns offer value for the possibility of losing? While you will often use your gut to decide these factors, you should also back it up with statistics and expert analysis. Some useful sports betting tips are provided below:
- Data does not lie and is proven effective over time. Look for trends in the events you are wagering on, and try to find what others, including the bookmakers, may have missed.
- Bet with a cool head. If you are angrily putting down wagers because your favorite team is losing or your bets are losing, then take a break. Otherwise, you risk losing more money by placing silly bets.
- Use expert tips. By all means, scour the sports tv and radio shows to find betting tips. However, you should always be careful of the source. Social media tipsters, for example, might not always have your best interests at heart.
- Wager on sports you know. If you have been watching NFL for decades, then that’s the sport you should wager on. Stay clear of sports that you have little knowledge of, because you can never be sure if your wager is giving value for money.
- Hunt around for promotions. The sports betting industry in the US is hugely competitive, and that is going to increase as operators muscle in on new frontiers. For that reason, you will find betting promos for many sports events. Check around to see if there is anything that can help you get more value, and even switch sportsbooks if you find an excellent betting promo for your favorite sport.
It’s an exciting time for Americans who are interested in sports betting. As more states work out legislation on online sports betting, there is sure to be an opportunity for bettors to take advantage of the competition among operators. Indeed, that competition among the biggest and betting companies is sure to bring new innovations to the industry.
Nobody ever said that it’s easy to be successful at sports betting, but there many things you can do to give yourself an advantage. Above all, choosing the best online sportsbook is paramount. PlayRight’s sportsbook guides can help with that, guiding you to the sportsbook that suits your betting strategy and budget. Our expert sports betting team will be constantly analyzing the major sportsbooks, the industry trends and all the news, allowing you to bet smart and bet safely with US online sportsbooks.