How To Bet On Sports Online

Key points

  • Betting at an online sportsbook is quick and painless, provided you follow a few steps.
  • Make sure you understand of the basics and what you want out of a sportsbook.
  • You’ll need funds to bet with, either via a sportsbook bonus offer or a deposit into your account.

Sports bettors have plenty of options for legally and safely placing their wagers online in a growing number of states. There are some absolutely stellar platforms out there, all of which make it easy to bet. However, there are some things you need to know before jumping into the pool. Let’s take a look at what you should consider.

Decide where you want to play

The first step is to figure out which sportsbook you want to try. Our online sportsbook reviews are a good starting point. While trying to decide which ones are for you, make note of what’s most important to you. Here are some potential examples:

  • What’s available for betting?
  • How does it look and feel?
  • Are there any sign-up offers?
  • How are the odds?
  • What are the deposit and withdrawal options?

At the end of the day, it comes down to user preference. Additionally, there’s no need to limit yourself to a single option. Many sports bettors play at multiple sportsbooks, especially when first starting out and deciding which ones work best for them.

Once you decide where you want to play, you’ll have to go through a simple sign-up process. You’ll need to provide some basic information, such as your name and email address, and the sportsbook will verify your identity as part of the process.

Have a budget in place

To bet on sports, you’ll need money to bet with. The top sportsbooks tend to offer sign-up bonuses for new players, but you’ll still have to make a deposit at some point. Before you get there, take the time to think through a total budget for wagering.

Your sports betting budget should be an amount that you’re comfortable losing, and never funds that you need for something else. It can be helpful to think of it as an amount that you would be comfortable spending on another form of entertainment.

Getting a budget in place from the get-go is a solid starting point, as it helps to reinforce the notion that you’re putting money at risk, naturally with the hopes that you’ll win more. It can set you down the path of betting responsibly and within your personal limits.

How to place a bet online: Step-by-step instructions

Once you’re ready to bet, you simply log into your sportsbook of choice. Next, locate what you want to wager on and find the bet that you’re interested in. Afterward, you’ll click the odds that correspond with your choice to add it to your bet slip. Lastly, you’ll add in the amount that you want to wager, review the slip and click submit to place it.

Let’s walk through the process from start to finish.

  1. If you want to bet on an MLB game using the DraftKings app, you’ll log in and locate the game on the platform.
  2. The game listing will include the odds and lines for the main bets for the contest, which in this case are the run line, total, and moneyline. If you want to try other wagers, such as player props, click on the game listing to open up additional choices.
  3. Once you decide on what you want to bet on, just click on the odds for your choice. As an example, let’s say that you like the Yankees on the moneyline. You’ll click on the -155 in the box for that wager.
  4. The bet will automatically move over to the betting slip. Next, you’ll add in the amount that you want to wager.
  5. The potential return appears right there on the slip. If you want to remove the bet from the slip and look for something else, just click the X next to it. After you’ve hit all of the steps, just review your bet to make sure that everything is correct and click to submit.

Take advantage of sportsbook sign-up offers

The online sports betting industry is fiercely competitive. That’s fantastic news for sports bettors, as the competition inspires improvement and innovation — and bonuses.

When signing up to bet at an online sportsbook, you should be on the lookout for incentives. Examples of common sportsbook sign-up bonuses include the following:

  • Free bets: Some sportsbooks offer new users a free bet with no strings attached, but there may be a deposit requirement. If you win, the profits are yours.
  • Deposit matches: For your initial deposit, some books will provide a match in percentage form or up to a certain dollar amount. This is a great way to boost your opening bankroll.  
  • Risk-free bets: After your account is all set and funded, many books offer you a risk-free first bet up to a certain amount. If you lose, you get your stake back in non-withdrawable site credits.

As you review the various sign-up offers, be sure to take the time to check the exact terms and conditions.

Fund your account

Outside of the occasional free bet, you’re going to need funds to play with. The online sportsbook’s cashier function will walk you through the process of making a deposit or withdrawal.

Customer support and FAQ/help sections are also on standby as necessary. The available banking methods may vary by sportsbook, but the majority of the top ones have a solid array of options to choose from, like the following:

  • Online banking
  • PayPal
  • Credit or debit cards
  • ACH or e-check
  • Play+

In short, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an option that works best for you and your situation. The book will process deposits instantly once you have your account set up, while withdrawals will be subject to the book’s terms and conditions.

What do you want to bet on?

The number of sports you can bet on may seem overwhelming at first. However, you can quickly narrow down the list by starting with your interests.

Your first choice should always be the sports that you know the best. If you’re a big NBA fan but know nothing about the NHL, start with the former and pass on the latter, for example. There will always be time to learn new sports as you gain experience.

After you’ve focused on the games and events that you want to wager on, it’s time to decide how you want to bet. You can keep it simple with basic moneyline bets or props, or try spreads or more exotic wagers.

Sports betting 101 articles: 

Know the rules and understand the different bets

If you need to brush up on the basics of any specific bet, our detailed guides are good places to start. Many of the top sportsbooks also have detailed help and FAQ sections that do a solid job of explaining all of the ways that you can wager on sports.

In addition, take the time to review the house rules wherever you play. While many rules are standard across the industry, there are occasional quirks that a specific book may have. It’s on you to know the rules, so take the time to do a quick read-through.

See more: Overtime rules in sports betting

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