The Best US Online Sports Betting Sites 2021
Online sports betting sites can be a confusing place. Where do you start? If you have been struggling to understand online sports betting, don’t worry, you are in the right place. Our experts have put together this primer on sports betting for real money, along with links to more pages where you can read up on further tips and strategies. If you’re ready, keep reading. Alternatively, check out our list of the best online sports betting sites below, claim your bonus and start betting now.
Best Online Sportsbooks in the US
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Online Sports Betting Sites vs Brick-and-Mortar Casinos
There is no doubt that brick-and-mortar sportsbooks can be a blast. There are tons of television screens and fellow bettors to have a good time with. And during big events like the Super Bowl, the places are hopping. But online betting in the USA is exploding and it’s easy to see why:
It’s Convenient – Even if you live close to a casino, why trek all the way down there just to place a bet when you can use online sports betting apps from your couch? You don’t have to worry about losing your ticket, either.
Relaxing and Have a Good Time – Venturing into a land-based sportsbook can be intimidating. Nobody wants to look like a lost puppy or risk looking foolish. With sports betting online, it’s easier to go at your own pace and there are loads of resources to help you navigate the ins-and-outs of placing a wager.
Instant Payouts – Sure, you can get your cash immediately when you win at a casino, but that also means you have to either stay there the entire game or go back later. When sports betting online, your winnings show up in your account right away.
In-Play Betting – Also called in-game betting, many of the best betting sites offer opportunities to place bets during games, not just before them. They also adjust odds as the games go on which you can take advantage of.
The Best Sports for Online Betting
What’s the best sport for online betting? Really, it is whatever you enjoy and that you know the most about. But there are some sports that are more popular than others for online betting in the USA.
Football, as you might figure, is king. NFL, college, now even the XFL are extremely popular with American bettors. The Super Bowl, of course, is the biggest sports betting day of the year.
Basketball – both college and NBA – is next. The first weekend of March Madness, in particular, is a massive draw, with games running all day.
Those are the two biggies. Other sports that are popular for online sports betting include baseball (MLB), PGA Tour golf, horse racing, and yes, even soccer. Of course, soccer is much bigger across the pond, but it continues to grow in popularity in the States.
Best Sports to Bet On
Getting Started at the Best Online Sports Betting Sites
Though online sports betting is more relaxing than going to a casino, it can still be a little overwhelming to be confronted with a screen full of numbers. Here are a few online sports betting tips and key terms to understand as you get started.
If you want to know more about a specific area of sports betting, follow the links to our full guides.
Odds are the chances of a specific event occurring. This is the basis for all your betting and determines how much money you will be paid if your bet wins.
In the US, moneyline odds are notated with a “+” or “-“. A plus-sign indicates the underdog, while the minus-sign indicates the favorite. The plus and minus signs also have a number next to them. For the plus this shows how much you would win with a bet of $100. With the minus it shows how much you need to bet to win $100.
Some odds are listed as fractions, like 5/1 or 6/1. You often see these in futures betting. The number on the left is how much you win if you bet the number on the right. The bigger the number on the left, the bigger the odds.
A moneyline bet is a wager on a team to win a game outright.
Point Spread Betting
A point spread is a handicap, indicating how many points a team is expected to win or lose by. The favorite must win by more than the point spread for a bet on that team to win. The underdog must either win the game outright or lose by less than the point spread for a bet on that team to win.
A hedge is a type of insurance bet, so to speak. It is a follow-up bet made on the opposite side of a bet you have already placed. It might be used to cancel out a bet you don’t like anymore, or it might be used to ensure a win even if the previous bet loses.
Teasers are the same as parlays, but the bettor moves the point spread in their favor on each leg of the bet. As such, teasers payout less than parlays do.
A parlay is a combination of multiple bets into a single bet. Every underlying wager of the parlay must win for the parlay to be a winner. Because of this, parlays pay out much more than each bet would if they were added up individually.
These are standard bets like the ones listed above but placed while the game is going on. Online sports betting sites adjust in-play bets constantly as circumstances of matches change.
Best Sports to Bet On
We hit on this in the previous section, but we’ll touch on it again. The best sports on which to bet are the sports you know about. Bet on the sports you enjoy!
You like basketball? Place a wager. If you have never watched a NASCAR race in your life, don’t bother betting on it. Online sports betting sites have virtually every sport under the sun, so there should always be something available that you love.
The Best Sports Betting Sites with Bonuses
One of the perks of signing up at top online sports betting site is that they offer you generous bonuses. Let’s look at a quick rundown of the types of sports betting bonuses you might see:
Sign Up Bonuses and Deposit Bonuses
Most online sportsbooks will give you a percentage of your first deposit as a bonus. While it is technically free money, the catch here is that you do not get it right away. In order to unlock a deposit bonus, you will have to meet playthrough requirements, meaning that you have to wager your bonus a set amount of times.
For example, an online sports betting site might give you a 20% bonus on your first deposit with a 2x playthrough requirement. This means that you would receive a $100 bonus for a $500 deposit, but to release the entire bonus, you would need to wager a total of $200.
Some sites will release the entire bonus at once, while others do it in increments. Our advice is to check the t’s and c’s before you agree to accept your free bet, so you know exactly what to expect.
Free Bet Bonuses
Some sites award players a free bet equal to the first bet they make. Just like with deposit bonuses, you will typically need to meet playthrough requirements – also called rollover – to be able to actually cash out your winnings from the free bet.
Online sports betting sites also usually won’t let you cash out the stake they gave you. So, if you are given a free $20 bet and win $20, you would only cash out the winnings, not the entire $40. Intrigued? Check out our top list of free bets on our free bets page.
No Deposit Bonuses
These are not common, but once in a while, you might find a sports betting site that gives you a free bet just for signing up without any deposit required. Again, expect playthrough requirements and be sure to check the ts and cs.
Where is Online Sports Betting Legal in the US?
Since the US Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) in May 2018, the sports betting industry has grown well beyond Nevada. The following states have operational legal online sports betting sites and/or mobile sports betting apps:
Mississippi technically has mobile online sports betting, but it is only available while on a participating casino’s property.
Other states that have legalized online sports betting but have not seen any sites launched as of February 2021 include Illinois, Tennessee, and Michigan. In several other states, including Texas, North Dakota, and Wyoming, lawmakers have seen their attempts to legalize sports betting fail.
To find out more about the latest developments on legalization in your state, check out our interactive map.
How Did We Choose the Best Online Sports Betting Sites?
The most important thing for us is to ensure we only recommend top online sports betting sites. We are sports betting fans ourselves and know what makes a good and bad site. We want to help you and pass on our knowledge so you can have a great experience too. The following criteria were priorities when we researched online sportsbooks and compiled our best sites list:
Though all of our sportsbooks make things as easy as possible for their customers, sometimes unexpected problems occur. You might have some sort of deposit or withdrawal question. Maybe you encountered a technical problem. Or perhaps you just have a question about betting.
All our recommended online sports betting sites have helpful, responsive customer service representatives who are there for you as 24/7.
Clearly, any US sports betting site on our list must be legal and regulated. We would never tell you to entrust your hard-earned money with an illegal or black-market site. Keep in mind, though, that not every state has legal online sports betting and not every site operates in every state where sports betting is legal.
Sportsbooks that have gone through the proper licensing procedures are strictly regulated. You can feel comfortable doing business with them and we only recommend legal, licensed sites.
Most US sports betting sites are going to have similar odds to one another. Even if you randomly choose one, you can probably feel confident that you are getting good lines.
However, we look at the bigger picture. The sites we have chosen to recommend to you are the best in the field across the board. We considered a range of the most popular sports and not just one-off events. We studied these sites over seasons and years and they consistently beat their rivals. Choosing these sites will make a different to your account balance long term.
As we discussed earlier, sports betting sites offer various types of bonuses, like deposit bonuses, free bets, and, on the rare occasion, no deposit bonuses. When you are sports betting for real money, you want to get the best bang for your buck. Therefore, we look for the sites with the most generous bonuses and best conditions for you.
Sports Betting FAQs