In sports betting, the selection of an excellent sportsbook is almost as important as the wagers you place. What makes the best sportsbook? It’s not always very easy to define, because each bettor will have different tastes and strategies. Some sportsbooks might cover one individual sport better than all its rivals, whereas another might have the best betting promotions. The point is that there are several elements that combine to make up the very best online sportsbooks. No sportsbook will be 100% perfect, but some will come pretty close.
Essential Criteria to Make the Best Sportsbooks Online
Below is a brief overview of the criteria that bettors find important when selecting a sportsbook. The list is extensive and, as you might expect, some bettors will prioritize different elements over others. As you will see with our detailed betting site reviews, it’s a matter of combining all the factors and seeing what matches up to your preferences and sports betting strategy.
If betting lines on your favorite sports, teams and leagues aren’t offered by the sportsbook, there is no point in signing up to wager with them. Sportsbooks will cover the most popular sports in the US, but you also want to have the best of international sports action covered too. 888sport NJ is a good example of a sportsbook that covers a wide range of sports.
A sports betting site might cover every sport on the planet, but it’s got to have depth in its markets. Each game, certainly in the top sports leagues, should have dozens of different betting lines. PointsBet and SugarHouse Sports are good options for bettors who like lots of betting options on each event.
Arguably the most important innovation in betting in the 21st century is in-play betting, and the best online bookmakers will have a top live betting platform with a rich offering. That doesn’t just mean accepting in-play bets but providing score updates, live stats and analysis too. Indeed, you can expect more online sportsbooks to add live streaming of sports in the near future. Resorts Sports has one of our favorite in-play sports betting platforms.
You want to be getting the best value for your wagers, of course. Most of the top-rated US sportsbooks will be competitive when setting odds, but some might be more generous than others. In addition, you might find bookmakers that offer the best odds for a specific sport. For instance, we found Caesars Sports to be competitive in its odds for NHL futures, important to factor in if you regularly bet on NHL hockey.
Every online sportsbook will give some kind of new bettor bonus. It is crucial that you read the small print – or peruse our reviews – to ensure that the promotion isn’t mired in restrictive terms and conditions. Of course, some sportsbooks have risk-free no deposit bonuses like free bets, awarded just for signing up, others choose a different way to reach out and spoil new bettors. Caesars Sports is one such online bookmaker currently with a no deposit bonus on registration.
It has now become an expectation among bettors that they will receive daily odds boosts on their favorite sports. Sportsbooks will boost a handful of betting lines with increased odds as part of a promotion. If you want an example of how it is done well, the Golden Lines promo at the Golden Nugget Sportsbook is one of the best for enhanced odds.
Mobile betting has reached a point where it is almost the de facto method of placing an online wager. Yes, your sportsbook should have a mobile betting app, but that app should be slick, easy to use and lack nothing that you would find on the desktop site. FanDuel Sportsbook has an excellent mobile betting app.
Look for a good range of payment options, including e-wallets like PayPal, no fees and fast processing of withdrawals. Simple.
The ease and usability of a site might depend on the tastes of the individual bettor. For example, some might like the compartmentalization of the PointsBet betting site, whereas others might like the ‘everything in view’ style of playMGM Sports. There is no right or wrong here, but no matter which software provider backs your sportsbook, you want a platform that is fast and free of bugginess.
Let’s face it: If you bet with an online sportsbook, you’ll probably not need to contact customer service. But, just in case, there should be live chat and/or toll-free telephone support. We also feel reassured when a sports betting company is active and responsive on social media.
There is no end of little perks and extras that can turn a good sportsbook into a great one; Perhaps, as with Caesars Sports and the Golden Nugget, it has an excellent rewards scheme that links to a casino resort; maybe it has a particular innovation like Spin & Bet at BetStars NJ; it could have a brilliant betting blog and how-to guide, like Resorts Sports. Check our reviews to see how sportsbooks can do something different from the norm, as it might just be the defining factor that makes it the right choice for you.
Differences Between Sportsbooks
As you might have gleaned from the information above, sportsbooks aren’t all the same. Sometimes the differences will be subtle and subject to personal tastes, such as software and site layout, whereas other differences will be more pronounced, such as the sportsbooks with the best promotions. Below is a brief summary of the best US sportsbooks in several categories. A disclaimer, however, in that online sportsbooks are constantly evolving and adding new features, so things can always change. Moreover, just because a sportsbook isn’t mentioned in a category, does not mean it performs badly in that category. Without further ado:
Best sportsbooks for betting coverage (range of sports, markets and betting lines)
888sport NJ, SugarHouse, PointsBet
Best sportsbooks for general betting promotions
BetStars NJ, Golden Nugget Sportsbook,
Best sportsbooks for new bettor bonus
BetStars NJ, DraftKings, Golden Nugget Sportsbook
Best sportsbooks for live betting
FanDuel, 888sport NJ, Resorts Sports
Best sports betting apps
PointsBet, William Hill US, FanDuel
PointsBet, SugarHouse, BetStars NJ
Choosing a Trustworthy Online Betting Site
Despite all the criteria mentioned so far, we have neglected to mention the most important factor – choosing a sportsbook you can trust. Despite the boom in legal online sports betting in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, the industry is still relatively young (outside of Nevada). However, we are starting to see that cycle of feedback from bettors, trial and error from operators, and industry testing that allows us to make a judgment on a sportsbook’s reputation.
Of course, the bare minimum a sportsbook should have is a license to operate from a governmental body like NJDGE. However, at PlayRight our standards are much higher, and our promise to the reader is that our expert team would never recommend a sportsbook without first scrutinizing the sportsbook themselves and scouring other reviews and bettor forums to see what the consensus is. If the sportsbook does not meet our standards, we will not recommend it. Period.
Picking a sportsbook isn’t as simple as it seems. Often, it’s the headline welcome promotion that gets a bettor in through the proverbial door, and human nature means we are unlikely to change once we have got used to our selected sportsbook. Yet, it’s an incredibly important decision, especially for high stakes bettors, so take some time, read our unbiased reviews, and settle on the right sportsbook for you. Choosing wisely will enhance your betting experience.