PASPA was the law that meant sports betting was prohibited in the U.S. outside of Nevada.
Now states can decide on an individual basis if they want to introduce legal sports betting – and how.
A number of states have now legalized, and the most successful ones allow online betting. So you can either visit a website or download an app to your phone, register for an account and start betting.
Online betting is growing fast in the U.S. now – with New Jersey alone racking up a handle of almost $1billion in December. Mostly through mobile apps.
Which sports can I bet on online?
You can bet on all major sports and leagues online, including:
NFL Betting: 256 huge betting events every season before we even get to the post-season and the Super Bowl. A huge range of bets available. Great for parlays on an NFL Sunday.
|State||Sportsbook/Casino||Special Signup Bonus Offer|
|NJ||Unibet||$250 Risk-Free Bet|
|NJ||Unibet Casino||$10 free + $500 bonus on first deposit|
|IA||Unibet||$250 Risk-Free Bet|
|NY||BetRivers||Bonus Matched Deposit up to $250|
|NJ||SugarHouse||Bonus Matched Deposit up to $250|
|IL||BetRivers||Bonus Matched Deposit up to $250|
|CT||SugarHouse||Bonus Matched Deposit up to $250|
MLB Betting: More than a half a year of sports betting heaven, every single year. Games pretty much every day starting in April through October. Some great in-play bet options too.
NBA Betting: Another sport which covers off around half of the year for sports bettors with action almost every night. Bet before tip-off or in-play with a ton of prop bets.
NHL Betting: Really exciting sport to bet on. Again a ton of games on schedule and great in-play markets and lines to make the most of.
College Football Betting: Betting on NCAAFB is a great way to spend your Saturdays in Fall. Check out our betting laws guides though as there are some state-by-state exclusions.
College Basketball Betting: Another fun betting staple, from the regular season right through to the finals tournament and March Madness. Again look out for exclusions.
Boxing Betting: Few things are more exciting than a big fight night. Bet on fighters just to win or more exotic options including what round they win, and their method of victory.
UFC Betting: Similar deal to boxing, with a similar range of bets. Huge star power in recent years thanks to Conor, Khabib, Ronda and co. Great betting medium.
Soccer Betting: Massive globally and growing in in the U.S. – soccer is played just about everywhere so there are games at all time of day of night. An all-you-can-eat betting buffet.
Cricket Betting: Pretty niche and very similar to baseball. Stats-heavy and games take a long time. Therefore a terrific option for in-play betting and exotic prop bets.
WWE Betting: Yes, some sportsbooks do actually offer betting on WWE. Check out our online bookmaker guides to find out which ones offer odds, and which events.
Can I bet using my phone?
You can bet using your phone in certain states. Check out our guides to state betting laws to find out which ones allow online and mobile sports betting.
Some states allow in-person betting only, while some say you have to register for an online account at a licensed casino (Nevada for example).
But the most forward-thinking states (New Jersey a good example as we said) allow you to register for an account as soon as you are inside state lines. This means you can then also bet from anywhere in-state.
The process for placing a bet online is pretty straightforward, and it normally goes like this:
- Be inside the relevant state lines, and of legal betting age
- Check out which sportsbooks are legal in the state
- Visit a licensed sportsbook website or download its app to your phone
- Register for your online betting account
- Deposit funds into your account
- Check out which sports and events are available
- Choose which event and bet you’d like to make
- Choose how much you’d like to wager on the event
- Once you’ve entered this information, you can place your bet
Downloading mobile betting apps to your phone is the quickest and simplest way to bet. You can wager on the move whenever you want, as long as you’re inside the relevant state lines.
Where can I place a bet online?
The answer to this depends on where you area. Different states as we said have different rules. They also have a different list of online bookmakers licensed.
Check out our state betting law guides to find out which online sportsbooks are operating in your chosen state.
Also, before you decide to register for an account, check out all the great sign-up offers which are available. There are terrific bonuses to be had.
You do not have to restrict yourself to just one sportsbook – you can register with multiple firms. There are two major reasons why this is good:
- Sportsbooks offer different odds. You can shop round for the best value.
- You can hoover up all those lovely sign-up offers.
You can also bet with different sportsbooks in different states. The betting world is literally your oyster right nows. Bookmakers are desperate for your custom, so make the most of it!
To find the best places to bet online, check out our online bookmaker guides. These are really simple and informative, and give you all the intel you need to get the best deals for yourself.
What types of bets can I make online?
There are a ton of different bet types for online players, here are the most popular:
Money line: The most straightforward of all sports bets. You just bet a team to win – nothing more, nothing less.
For example, Dallas is playing Green Bay in the NFL. Dallas is -150, Green Bay is +240
- You bet the Cowboys and they win, you make $50 for every $100 you bet
- You bet the Packers and they win, you make $240 for every $100 you bet
Over/under: The best example here is the total points scored in a football game.
Example: Tampa Bay is playing Kansas City and the over/under is set at 47.5. If the Bucs win 33-24 the total points are 57, so betting the over would mean you win.
Spread: This is where the online bookmaker gives the favored team a handicap, and the underdog at start. The odds for each are then generally set at -110.
So for example, Texas is playing Oklahoma in college football, and Texas is a seven-point favourite (-7).
- Texas must win by more than seven points to cover the spread
- Oklahoma must at worst lose by less than seven points to cover
Props: A really fun way to bet, and growing fast in popularity. Props (proposition bets) can be just about anything, apart from the result of the game that is:
- It could be how many points a player will score in an NBA game
- It could be the result of the coin toss in the Super Bowl
- It could be how many yards a quarterback will pass for
- It could be what round a fighter will win a boxing fight in
- It could be how many Oscars a certain film might win
Futures: The name gives it away – here you are betting on something that might be a year away. It could be who wins next year’s Super Bowl or World Series. Or who will be the NFL’s Rookie Of The Year. Because you’re betting way off, the odds can be pretty nice here.
Parlays: This is where the fun really starts. You can win huge with parlays – no surprise then they are very popular.
A parlay means you can put multiple wagers into the same bet. You could do a 7-team NFL parly on a Sunday afternoon for example. If all seven win you will get a big payout because the odds multiply with each winning team.
The downside to parlays? They’re hard to hit on. With the above example, if 6 of the 7 teams win and the other loses = you get precisely nothing back.
So to put it simply, parlays are big risk and big reward. But whatever the result, a lot of fun.
How can I win money betting online?
Ah, the $64,000 question. And there’s no easy answer.
You will likely need a lot of skill, and a little luck, to win big
A few tips we can give you for free:
- Only bet what you can genuinely afford
- Register with multiple sportsbooks so you can get the best available odds
- Get the best sign-up offers to give yourself a better chance to win
- Check out free and expert picks for the event you are betting on
- Look at the public betting to see where all the money is going
- Study the stats and history – the past can really inform the future
If you do all of the above you should be armed with plenty of knowledge. And that is what you need to take on the online bookmakers.
Our mission at Oddscritic is to find the best value for you, and give you the best information to make your bets. If you win we win. And winning is fun….
Good luck with your bets!