Sports Betting Guide
One could argue that the hobby of betting on sports games is as old as the sports games themselves. Of course, if you ever thought that betting on sports was simply a matter of choosing who would win a specific game or match, you’d be quite mistaken. Newcomers to the world of online sports betting are often overwhelmed – all those confusing numbers and combinations, so many different types of odds, so many different kinds of sports. In this guide, we’ll take a look at how online sports betting works and provide a handy overview of the different types of odds and the wagers you can place. What’s more, we’ll also offer some insights in terms of how you can bet on sports online in Canada.
How Sports Betting Works
It’s no wonder sports betting can be confusing: there are a number of different ways of betting depending on the type of game you’re wagering on, as well as different types of odds. Add to this the fact that you can wager on the outcome of a game before it’s begun, or while its being played, and you have yourself a host of information that can be quite inundating. As such, asking how sports betting works can be a loaded question, so let’s first focus on the lingo and some of the most popular types of odds, as well as the different types of wagers you can place.
Popular Betting Terms
Do you speak the language of online sports betting? Let us fill you in on the most important terms before you place your wagers:
Free Bet or Bonus
A free bet or bonus is an incentive given to punters to sign up and make a deposit. They can either come in the form of a free bet or a deposit bonus. A free bet is simply set amount with which you can make a free wager on selected markets and odds. A deposit bonus is where the bookmaker matches your deposit amount up to a certain cash limit.
Also known as a sportsbook or bookmaker, the bookie is the organisation responsible for taking legal wagers on the outcome of sports games. Essentially, the bookie is the company with whom you place your wager. All Internet-based bookmakers must have a licence to provide gambling activities to Canadian citizens. To place a wager, you must first sign up; make a deposit into your account and then you can start putting money down.
Odds refer to the theoretical chances of a particular outcome on an event and are expressed in Decimal, Fractional and American formats. Higher odds mean the outcome is less likely to happen while lower odds mean a result is more likely. Odds also give you an indication of the amount you will be paid out for your wager.
Online sports betting covers a huge range of sports with everything from American Football to Golf, Soccer to Volleyball, Horse Racing to Formula One and just about everything in between. Within each sport and on every event, a bookmaker will offer a number of markets. These can be seen as different types of bets on the same event. For example, Soccer markets can include a wager on the full-time result, who will score the first goal, which team will score first, what the score will be at half time, if more than 2 goals will be scored and the exact number of goals scored in the match.
Favourites in online sports betting refer to any team or individual who bookmakers think is most likely to win. In horse racing, this is the horse with the shortest odds. In team sports this is the team that is unlikely to win the matchup, and will have some sort of point handicap advantage to make wagering more desirable.
Underdogs are teams and individuals who are unlikely to win an event. Essentially, they are the opposite of favourites and have very high odds. Putting money on the underdog can be lucrative if the right circumstances are in place, such as playing on home ground, or in horse racing when one horse drops out of the race.
Totals – Over/Under
In online sports betting, totals, or over under betting is popular with team sports. Similar to the point spread, you don’t necessarily have to predict who will win the game as long as you can determine what the total score will be. This type of wager revolves around predicting the total score of both teams during the full game. If the score line is set at 105.5 in basketball, you are either predicting that the combined score will be 105 and below or 106 and above.
A value bet is what every seasoned punter wants to get their hands on. This is a wager where the odds do not match up with the theoretical possibility or likelihood of an event taking place. What this boils down to is a bet where the odds are unusually high even though there is a very good chance the team or individual is going to win. In most cases, this is a false result and a very good reason for the high odds. Every now and then, the bookmakers miss out on key information and punters can seize their chance to grab a big online sports betting payout.
What Are the Different Types of Sports Betting Odds?
When it comes to knowing sports betting, a good understanding of the odds will serve as a great foundation upon which to build. Of course, you’ll want to know which type of odds you’re working with, with the most popular being summarised as follows:
American (Moneyline) Odds
Many popular online sports betting sites will use these odds, and they refer to the straight-up outcome of a game in terms of winners or losers, with little to no consideration for the point spread (which is the difference in final score between two teams). A noticeable feature of American Odds is the presence of a negative or positive number. Odds that start with a negative number refer to the Favourite, and will indicate the amount you need to stake in order to win 100, whereas the odds that start with a positive number refer to the Underdog, and indicate the amount you could potentially win if you bet 100. For example:
- Red Team: -152
- Blue Team: +120
Interestingly, the negative number indicates that Red Team is the Favourite, and perceived to have a better chance of winning the game. In the above example, the -152 means that you would have to risk 152 in order to make a profit of 100. If the Red Team wins, your 152 is returned to you, as well as your 100 profit. If they lose, you lose that 152. Conversely, if you backed the Blue Team and staked 100, you would win 120 if they won, as well as recover the initial 100 you bet. It’s a straightforward enough formula, and very popular.
Also known as Decimal Odds, European Odds are commonly used in countries across Europe, Australia and Canada. Whereas American Odds make use of positive and negative numbers, European Odds are expressed as a decimal, which, when multiplied by your stake, will help determine your payout.
Let’s say the Red Team’s odds are expressed as 1.82. If you wagered 100, then your potential payout would be 182. Bearing in mind the 100 you wagered, your profit would be an even 82. It helps to bear in mind that, when using these odds, your initial stake is calculated into your potential win, so always remember to take that into consideration.
These odds are probably the ones you’ve heard about the most. They’re the most commonly used in the United Kingdom, and they’re rather easy to understand. Let’s say that you wager on the Red Team at 5:1 odds – for the 100 that you wager, your potential return will be 600:your original bet of 100 and the profit of 500. With Fractional Odds, the Favourite and Underdog are quickly determined by whether you hear ‘odds for’ or ‘odds against’, respectively.
What Are the Different Types of Sports Bets and Wagers?
As previously mentioned, there are plenty of different types of sports bets and wagers that you can place, and these will all depend on what type of game you’re betting on. Some of the most popular choices for players in Canada include Football, Baseball, Hockey, Basketball, Tennis, Boxing and even Horse Racing. It is also important to remember that different wagers can be placed before the game has even begun, while others can be placed as the game is being played, called ‘in-play’ betting. Let’s look at some of the most popular bet types.
This bet is probably one of the most simple and straightforward. As the name suggests, you simply place a bet on who you think will win a particular game. As such, this type of bet can be used for almost every kind of sports that you can bet on. You even have the option of betting that both teams will tie on a game.
Taking a Win Bet a little further, Point Spreads are the means by which you wager on the difference between two teams’ scores at the end of the game. Before the game begins, the bookmaker will offer a market for the Point Spread, for example +8 or -8 for whichever team. This means that the team you back should either win or lose the game within that range of points.
Another incredibly popular type of bet is a Handicap bet. If one team is favoured by the market, bookmakers will often give the Underdog something of a ‘head start’, which is taken into consideration when calculating the final result. So, referring again to the Red and Blue Teams. If you see:
Red Team vs. Blue Team, Handicap 0-3, this means that the Blue Team is allowed a 3-goal head start. Even if the Red Team wins 1-0, you will still win if you opted for a Handicap bet on the Blue Team because that handicap changes the score to 1-3 for the purpose of the bet.
Also known as ‘Accumulators’ or ‘Multiples’, Parlay bets are when you choose to make more than one selection as part of a single bet. So, if you wanted to back 5 basketball teams to each win their next match, you would include all 5 teams on an Accumulator or Parlay. These types of bets can be difficult to win, because every single selection has to be correct. Even if just one selection is incorrect, the whole wager is.
Of course, there is always the possibility of Progressive Parlays, which are somewhat more flexible. Here, depending on how many selections you’ve made (a minimum of four is necessary for a Progressive Parlay), you can still have up to 3 incorrect selections and walk away with some winnings.
Another incredibly popular wager is the Totals or Over/Under bets. Relatively similar to Point Spreads, the bookmaker sets a line for the total number of runs, goals or points to be scored in a game. You, as the bettor, then have the option of wagering on whether the actual total will be above or below the total they have set.
How Does Live Sports Betting Work?
In days gone by, you’d have to make your way to a bookkeeper and place your wagers in person. You’d then have done well to stick around and watch the game to make sure your hard-earned money was being handled properly, and the payouts paid accordingly. Now, thanks to the massive range of online sportsbooks available to players in Canada, all you have to do is sign up at one. Everything will be presented in a clear and concise format. How does it work? Simply select the game or games upon which you wish to wager and the bets that work best for you. As the game or events in question happen, you’ll receive live updates within the software, which is excellent for when you’re busy or on the move, and especially if you have placed in-play wagers. What’s more, plenty of online sports betting sites are accessible on mobile, so you never have to miss a moment of the action.
Is Online Sports Betting Legal in Canada?
As with most online gaming in Canada, it is perfectly legal to place wagers, deposit money and withdraw cash with an online sportsbook. One may simply not run your own sportsbook within Canadian borders. With that in mind, just find one that appeals to you, check the terms and conditions and whether or not your preferred payment option is available, and you’re good to go. As complicated as it may sometimes sound, online sports betting is a well- loved and oftentimes profitable hobby!
Different Types of Online Sports Betting
Internet wagering allows for the placement of different types of bets that require different skills and insights to predict the outcome of an event. For those who are just starting out, we’ve taken a look at the different types of betting options available online.
Fixed Odds is by far the most popular of all the different types of wagers placed on sports. What Fixed Odds means is that when you place your wager, you and the bookmaker both agree on the odds and the amount you will be paid out if your wager is successful. The odds can be expressed in decimal, fractional or American format, but all mean the same thing. Even if the price were to change close to the event, your payout remains the same.
Pari-Mutuel or Pool is a popular form of online sports betting with Horse Racing and other racing sports. The basic idea with Pari-Mutuel wagering is that all the bets on a particular race go into a single pot or pool. Once the betting closes, the bookmaker takes a small fee off the top, and the remainder of the funds gets split between the winners. This means that when you physically place a pool bet, you have no idea what the odds are or how much you will be paid out until the final wagers are made.
Live Betting is becoming more popular with sports enthusiasts. As the name suggests, this is where you are placing a wager on an event while it is in progress. You still use fixed odds wagers, but the odds shift all the time. Usually, the odds will shift on any major change in the game or every 10 minutes. In-play is commonly used with Football, Basketball, Tennis or Cricket where the action and score line moves all the time.
Exchange Betting is a completely different type of wagering system, which is conducted at online sports betting exchange sites and is also known as peer-to-peer. Here, you have the opportunity to become the bookmaker and lay a wager, as well as back any wager, on the site. Laying a bet means wagering that a particular event will not happen. For example, you can lay a bet saying Roger Federer will not win the Australian open at odds of 6.50. If someone thinks this is a good wager, they can then back the wager saying he will win.
Spread Betting is very similar to Totals where you are trying to predict if the score line will be above or below the bookmaker point number. However, in this case, you win or lose more based on how correct or incorrect your prediction is. With this type of wagering system, you first need to decide what your stake will be per unit.
Let’s say you stake $5 per unit and your buy the spread, meaning you think the score will be over the line. If you are right and the score is 10 points above the line, you win $5 x 10 points or $50. If the score was 20 points above the line you win $5x20 etc. It can also work the other way. If the score was actually below the line by 15 points, you lose $5 x 15 or $75. If the score was 30 points below you lose $5x30 or $150.
For many Canadian punters, sports betting is about enhancing the game/sport experience and possibly winning a bit of cash in the process. For more serious bettors, each wager presents a unique opportunity to win big. As such, there are many different strategies and skills that need to be put in place before a bet can be successful.
Even the most experienced punters achieve a win rate of roughly 55% over a long-term period. This means that almost half of all the bets placed will be losers. There is another strategy though that can guarantee a profit on each wager, even though the profit may be small.
The Combination Concept Explained
Combination Betting is specific type of strategy that can be used to ensure a profit if the right set of circumstances present themselves. Essentially, what it does is reduce the overall risk of a wager by spreading the risk over multiple bets, while simultaneously gaining more coverage.
For example, if you are planning on spending $300 on a day of horse racing, you could take the entire stake and bet on a single horse on a single race. Alternatively, you could split your stake and place 6 wagers at $50 each.
You don’t need a sports bet calculator app to tell you that a win on a $300 wager will pay out far more than any one of the $50 wagers. However, you have a much greater chance of winning if you have 6 active bets instead of one. This is the principal behind them. The one provision is that the sports betting odds would need to be high enough so that even if every other bet fails and just one wins, it makes enough money to cover your stake and produce a small profit.
Low Risk, Low Reward
Combination betting is a low risk, low reward strategy. Unlike multi-bets, where each wager is linked to the next, if 1 our 2 out of 5 bets win, you will make a profit. The same skill set is used to predict the outcome of each race or event and the more accurate your bets, the more you stand to win. They can be placed with just about all online sports betting markets, from Ice Hockey to Football, Basketball to Baseball and everything in between.
To understand the concept, we can look at a simple example. If we have $400 and we want to place a single wager, the chances of the bet winning are quite low. If you want to institute a combination betting strategy, you could place four $100 wagers with odds of 4/1 or higher. This would ensure that even if just one of those 4 bets were to win, you could make a profit. Similarly, if you split your stake even further and placed 8 wagers of $50, each would have to be at odds of 8/1 or higher to ensure a profit on a single win.
The above examples are very basic and in the real world it is a little bit more complex, involving Singles, Doubles, Triples and Accumulators. The practise has become so popular that online sports betting Canada sites have created specific combination bet selections with associated nicknames. The most basic of these is the Trixie. With this wager, you are placing a total of 4 wagers with 2 selections. This includes three bets on Doubles and a Single on a Treble.
For anyone testing the waters, the Trixie is a good place to start. If you want to expand your repertoire, the Yankee is the next step up. The Yankee consists of 11 bets placed across 3 selections. This involves placing 6 Doubles, 4 Trebles and a Single on a 4x accumulator.
Combinations with Singles
Another common option is the Heinz. This is slightly larger than the Yankee and consist of 57 wagers across 6 different selections. This starts with placing 1 6-fold bet, 6 5-fold bets, 15 4-fold bets, 20 Trebles and 20 Doubles.
The most expansive is the Goliath. As the name suggest, this is a large bet with a significant number of wagers attached. In total there are 247 wagers placed across 8 different selections. Of these, a single wager is placed on an 8-fold bet, 8 7even-fold bets are placed, 28 6-folds, 28 Doubles, 56 5-folds, 56 Trebles and a massive 70 Doubles are placed.
Whether you are accessing the action via the online site or via the online sports betting app, these types of wagers can be a useful way to ensure a profit. In some cases, punters combine the above bets with a few singles attached. For example, the Patent is a Trixie with 3 singles added to the list. Similarly, a Lucky 15 is a Yankee where 4 singles are added. It may sound complex, but once you get the hang of how all this works, the rewards can be plentiful!
Other Betting Options Online
The above wagering options are usually the most popular at online sports betting sites. However, eSports and Fantasy betting are also extremely popular and readily available. These both involve non-physical sports, the one focusing on wagers on electronic video gaming and the other on fantasy sports leagues. There really is something for everyone online, and no matter what you want to put your money on; you should be able to do so with ease.
Evaluating Probabilities in Sports Betting
To be really successful in sports betting, whether you’re using Android sports betting apps, iOS sports betting apps, other mobile sports betting apps, online sports betting apps or sports betting online sites, you need to develop insight and strategy. This takes time, but every step of it is enjoyable and there are plenty of tools available to help you.
As well as sports bet calculator apps which tell you how much you can expect to win and online sports betting tips, there is a lot of useful information that can be gathered when you are trying to decide how to place a sports bet online. In addition to our list of online sports betting sites and apps, we offer guidelines and advice on different sports, wagers, and the process you need to go through to place ultimately place successful wagers.
The ability to gather information and evaluate probabilities is essential to sports betting. Probability is the likelihood of an event’s occurrence, so if you are able to find wagers with odds that are higher than the actual probability, you’ll be able to make a profit. Comparing probabilities and odds is the foundation of a systematic, profitable sports betting system.
Factors Affecting the Probabilities in Sports
Luck certainly plays a role in the outcome of every sporting event, but the more information you are able to gather and the more insight you are able to develop, the less impact luck has. The information you can gather for the different matches and races at the list of online sports betting sites that we review for you includes past performances, suspended or injured teammates, line-ups, horse and jockey pairings, team spirit and camaraderie, matchups of players that are more or less desirable, playing field and weather conditions and a myriad of other factors.
As you spend more time at the top-quality sites for online sports betting Canada has available, you will keep sharpening your ability to distinguish between the odds given for an event, and the probability based on all these factors and the way they interact and influence each other. There are, of course, a few pitfalls that you need to avoid, especially as a beginning, overeager punter.
Potential Stumbling Blocks for Evaluating Probability
The following are very understandable mistakes to make when evaluating probabilities, but if you are aware of them they are easier to avoid.
- Relying Too Much on Previous Matchups: Use previous matchups between teams as a guideline for their relative strengths and weaknesses, but the line-up will probably be different this time around. Be sure to use previous performances as helpful insights, but don’t accept them as unshakeable truths.
- Overreacting to Line-Up Changes: Speaking of changes, individual players do affect the overall line-up, but unless they are very sudden and abrupt they have already been taken into account when bookmakers set the odds.
- Misinterpreting Statistics: There’s a saying that 95% of statistics are made up on the spot! This isn’t quite true and statistics are very helpful, but the way they are presented and interpreted can be very different to what is actually going on. Approach all statistics carefully and apply caution as you interpret them; don’t attribute causation to incidents that simply happen to be occurring at the same time.
Ultimately, there is no accurate way to measure probability. You’ll need to use your own insights to determine them, and bookmakers use their knowledge and understanding to set the odds on each wager. Finding the discrepancies between these, and knowing you are right when the bookies are wrong, takes a long time. The feeling when you get it right is as satisfying as your payout!
Setting the Stakes in Sports Betting
Sports betting is a form of gambling, of course, but it differs from playing casino games in a very significant way; success is much more dependent on skill. Luck still plays a part, but with practice it is possible to get better at winning in land-based bookmakers and our list of online sports betting sites and apps, and of mobile sports betting apps.
As well as reviewing all the best Canadian answers to the question “where can I bet on sports online legally?”, we want to give you the tools you need to develop your sports betting insight and strategies. That’s why you’ll find guides to different sports and wagers with us, and advice on sports bet calculator apps and other subjects too. One of the most important skills in sports betting is setting the stakes. With that in mind, we’ve put some beginner’s guidelines on the subject together for you.
What Does Setting the Stakes Entail?
Setting the stakes simply means setting the level of your bets. Whether you are punting using Android sports betting apps, iOS sports betting apps, sports betting apps of another kind or online betting sites, the emotional pressure to change your stakes based on your winning and losing streaks will be felt with the same intensity. If you are on a winning streak you’ll often want to raise your bet, and if you’re on a losing streak there’s a good chance that you’ll want to lower it.
Wanting to change your bet level based on your luck is human nature, but it’s important to remember that luck has no memory. Over your sports betting career, you will have good and bad streaks. The best thing to do is keep a cool head and ride them both out. Don’t change your strategy according to your streak; think it out carefully beforehand. And no matter what happens with your luck in the heat of the moment, stick to your original game plan as closely as possible.
Stay Disciplined, But Maintain Flexibility Too
Sticking with your sports betting strategy and resisting the urge to be swayed by your good or bad luck streak does not mean that you shouldn’t roll with the punches and adapt as you go along. If you’re engaging in live sports betting, you should adjust depending on the performances of players or teams as the event unfolds. As well as doing this, for all the wagers you place you should do as much research as you can into weather conditions, past performances, injuries, tips and anything else you can find and, as you learn more information, you should adjust your sports betting plans accordingly.
Setting betting limits doesn’t mean being rigid, it just means making sure you never end up in the red so that sports betting remains, first and foremost, an enjoyable activity that is sometimes rewarding but never gets you into trouble. Decide on a budget and stick to it, adapting within those parameters, rather than doubling or halving your wagers based on emotional reactions. The more time you spend sports betting, the better you will be at staying calm under pressure and at making the correct call and placing the right bets. If you really engage, each sports betting experience is not only enjoyable, it will make you a more successful punter too.
Online Sports Betting: Mobile vs. Desktop
When it comes to options in online sports betting, Canada is one of the best places to be in terms of market diversity, wagering options and competitive odds. For sports betting online, whether you do it on a desktop or mobile device, Canadian offerings are hard to beat.
Knowing that you can choose from a long list of online sports betting sites is great. However, what are the advantages and disadvantages of mobile and desktop sports betting sites? How can you ensure that you have the most fun and make the best decisions? We decided to take a closer look.
Mobile Sports Betting Sites are Top Class
The exponential growth of mobile technology, and how much faster the mobile revolution has been in comparison to the online revolution of the 1990s, is not news to anyone. Online casinos in Canada as well as sports betting sites have been subject to that as much as anything else has. They are more smoothly functional, visually appealing and easy to navigate than ever. Not every mobile option on the list of online sports betting sites offers the full set of services that a desktop site would, but many of them do.
You can often choose from a huge range of betting markets with simple, exotic, in-play and all other conceivable betting options. Many of the online sports betting Canada websites offer same betting options as their mobile counterparts do, as well as tools such as trackers for all current bets.
Basically, everything that has always been available on your desktop is now available on your smartphone or tablet, at the same high levels of quality. You might have to look around to find the mobile sports betting online sites that deliver everything you want. If you spend a little time doing so you should be successful.
Online Sports Reviews
For Sports Betting Online, Size Matters
Having such top-drawer online sports betting options available for mobile use is fantastic, because sometimes life does get really busy and you can be on the go all the time. However, the fact is that mobile sports betting is not the same as playing at a mobile casino in a very significant way. They’re both enjoyable forms of gambling, but sports betting requires active research and insight at a level that casino games do not.
While it’s true that there is plenty you can read about to improve your casino strategy and skill, you don’t have to research every single move you make in the same way that you do when sports betting online. This research is possible on a mobile device, but it’s so much easier when you’re on a desktop and can switch between tabs. The same is true for using odds calculators, bet trackers and other tools. In a pinch, the fact that they are available on mobile devices can be a lifesaver. For everyday use, however, desktops are much easier.
Ultimately, sports betting online is simpler on desktop devices but smartphones and tablets are a great way to supplement the action and make sure that you don’t miss out on placing a bet. If you’re still learning how to place a sports bet online, that’s best done on a desktop where you can really see what’s going on. We recommend thinking of mobile sites as auxiliaries to online sports betting sites, able to complement the action and ensure that everything works smoothly and seamlessly in the modern technological world that we live in now.
Online Sports Betting Apps
For many Canadian sports enthusiasts, online sports betting is the fastest, easiest and safest way to bet on local and international sporting events. To bet online, all you need is a desktop or laptop computer, an Internet connection and the desire to win big. In today’s mobile-centric world, most punters are looking at converting to mobile betting, where you can bet at home, on the go or whenever the mood strikes. This is where an online sports betting app comes in. With a betting app installed on your phone or tablet, you have everything you need to place bets as and when needed.
How Betting Apps Work
So, what are mobile sports betting apps, and how do they actually work? If you are familiar with mobile technology, chances are you have downloaded an app or two over the years. An online sports betting app is basically a streamlined version of the main betting site, perfectly adapted to your mobile device with all the most popular betting options available at the flick of the screen. The app is designed to take the effort out of betting. It’s the fast, convenient way to bet on the go.
Installing the App on Your Mobile Device
All top-rated Canadian online betting sites will have both android and iOS sports betting apps that can be downloaded directly from the online or mobile site. To get started, all you need to do is locate the site on your mobile web browser, tap on the download link, either Android or iOS and the app will automatically download and install on your devices.
Once the online sports betting app has been installed, you are good to go. If you are already a member of betting site, you can use the same login details to access your account. For those who are new to the site, you can create an account online and then login on through the app, or you can fill in the forms on the app instead. Many punters find it easier to complete the registration on a desktop, especially if the upload of documents is required.
Despite being small, compact and user-friendly, betting apps offer quite a large number of betting markets. While not every market is always listed on the app, the biggest markets like Ice Hockey, American Football, Basketball, Baseball, Tennis, Golf, and Rugby will be available under the main categories.
Finding the Right App
All Canadian sports betting online sites will have different apps with varying degrees of functionality and market offerings. Before signing up with any betting site, it is important to read the reviews on the site and find out just how functional the online sports betting app is, how many markets it offers and where you can download it.
In some cases, betting apps are available for download on Google Play or the App Store, making them easier to find and download. Since the mobile app is directly linked to the online sports betting site, you can enjoy all the same benefits and features available online. This means that first time depositors will receive welcome cash match bonuses while regular members can look forward to ongoing betting promotions, Free Bets and reload bonuses.
Sports Bonuses and Free Bets Explained
There are many advantages to betting online on on your mobile, but for most punters, it is the various free bets and bonuses offered by sports betting sites that make online betting so appealing. Like any industry, the betting world is highly competitive, with online bookmakers competing for new customers all the time. In order to attract punters, sports betting sites offer sign up bonuses and free bets. While they may look appealing, bonuses and free bets need to be properly understood in order for punters to take full advantage of them.
The Welcome Bonus
The most popular incentive at online sportsbooks is the Welcome Bonus. This is where the sports betting site will offer a Cash Match Bonus on your very first deposit. The industry standard is usually a 100% cash match up to a limit of $100 or $200. What this means is that on your first deposit, the bookmaker will match your deposit dollar for dollar up to a capped cash limit.
Understanding Wagering Requirements
For example, if you deposit $60 on a 100% Cash Match Bonus, the bookmaker will match the amount and your account will reflect $120. You can then use the full amount to place any sports betting wager at whatever odds you find. While this might sound like a great deal, there are of course terms and conditions that are attached to the bonus itself.
If you accept the bonus, there is usually a Wagering Requirement linked to the bonus amount. This is displayed as a multiple such as 5x or 10x. What this means is that before you can think of cashing out any winnings you would have to wager a total of 5x or 10x your bonus amount. If the wagering requirement is 10x, you will have to place a total of $600 in wagers before you can think of cashing out.
How Free Bets Work
The second type of sports incentive offered at online sports betting sites is the Free Bet. Free Bets are slightly different to welcome bonuses in that they are fixed amounts offered on specific bets at specific odds.
For example, a bookmaker might offer a $25 free bet once you have signed up. At first glance, this seems great, they are giving your $25 to do with whatever you want. This is a common mistake punters tend to make.
If you read the terms and conditions, you will notice the free bet has very specific and strict requirements. They can still be very lucrative, but sports betting sites are not in the habit of handing out free cash without protecting their business.
Reading the Terms and Conditions
The idea of promotions and bonuses is to lure in new sports betting customers with Free Bets while keeping their payouts to a minimum. This is achieved by making the Free Bet sit within certain criteria. In most cases, any winnings from free bets will exclude the original stake, reducing the total payout.
The bets are also usually only valid on certain markets and for specific odds. In most cases, the odds have to be at 2.00 or below. This means the online sports betting site has a 50/50 chance not having to pay out. It also means that the maximum amount that you can win is $25 since the stake is not returned to you.
To add to these very specific criteria, some online sports betting sites attach additional Wagering Requirements to the free bets. It is not uncommon that any winnings from a Free Bet need to be wagered 3x over before withdrawals can be made. This greatly improves the online bookmaker’s chances of making their money back. Before accepting any Free Bet or bonus, whether online or via an online sports betting app, it is essential to read the terms and conditions attached!