Sports Betting 101
Basics by Sport
Tips for Selecting a Sportsbook
by Dave Schwab
Betting on sports has grown into a billion dollar industry over the years and right along with this tremendous growth has been an equally high proliferation on the other end of the betting window of individuals and companies booking these bets.
In today’s day and age of advanced technology and mobile platform software, you can place sports wagers with an independent bookmaking agent all the way up to some of the biggest offshore sportsbooks in the sports betting industry. The preference of who you place your bets with is yours, but there are some basic things to keep in mind before you get started.
Dealing with an independent agent can be a very viable alternative to dealing with the big online sportsbooks, but we highly recommend that you would already know this person on a personal level before trusting them with your hard earned betting bankroll. There are quite a few fly by night operations out there and, contrary to popular belief, you absolutely cannot believe everything you read on the internet.
The biggest advantage with an independent bookmaker is the level of customer service and attention to your particular account they can provide. These agents are most likely dealing with what is known as a Pay Per Head service that handles the administrative end of the business such as deposits and withdrawals as well as actually taking the bets. These PPH companies often operate with the same sports gaming software as the big online sportsbooks and for the most part they are highly legitimate operations.
If you are relatively new to sports betting, we recommend that you stick with one of the better known online sportsbooks in the industry at the start. The first step in the process is to do your homework. Companies such as Bovada (read review), BetOnline (read review) and 5Dimes have booking sports bets online ever since the advent of the Internet and they have become some of the most trusted names in the industry; however there are also hosts of other online sportsbooks that may appeal to your specific betting needs.
Fortunately, there are a number of sportsbook review sites out there as well that can provide a comprehensive and unbiased report highlighting both the good points and the bad points for each and every one of these companies. If you come across an online sportsbook where you cannot find a number of honest reviews, then that should be a huge red flag to stay away from that site.
Once you have done your research into which online sportsbooks best fit your needs, then the next step is to take a tour of their website. This will be your primary outlet for sourcing betting lines and odds as well as placing actual bets. More and more bets are being placed right through a sportsbook’s website as opposed to the old school method of calling in your bets on the phone. You want to make sure that any sportsbook you choose is up to speed with the latest advances in mobile technology and sports betting software.
You also want to educate yourself on each sportsbook’s rules and regulations for betting sports as well as their policies for making withdrawals and requesting payments. This is where all sportsbooks are not created equal so just like anything else in life beware of the fine print. Another big area you need to research is bonus programs and incentives. These can really add up especially when football season rolls around, so make sure you take full advantage of everything they have to offer.
Through the simple process of elimination you should be able to narrow your choices down to a few online sportsbooks that appeal to you the most. There is no industry rule that you have to deal with one particular sportsbook for all of your betting action, but once again if you are just starting out, you may want to go this route when it comes to actually opening up an account and placing that first bet. Pick the one sportsbook you like the most and go from there. You can always diversify your sports betting options a bit further down the road by adding a few more sportsbooks to the mix.