Online sports betting is massively popular, and this page is packed with helpful information to get you started. Learn about odds, markets, betting strategy and how online betting is different from high street sports betting.
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For a beginner, where to start is not obvious. We’ll talk you through a few things you should know and save you lots of time. Online betting can be a fun way to earn money and there are hundreds of operators to choose from. You’re in control and you get to choose:
Most top UK operators allow customers to bet on events on their mobile and tablet, so you can bet and keep track 24/7.
Yes. There are safeguards in place. Laws and regulations, data & payment security, dispute resolution facilities and secure websites. If you do some research, pay attention and gamble responsibly, you will be able to rest easy when it comes to safety concerns.
UK online betting is fully legal thanks to regulation by the government. Any offers on this website are only for fully licensed bookmakers and casinos who are governed by strict regulation and monitoring.
UK online betting is generally divided into sections by sport, with additional areas for entertainment, politics and specials betting. Specials can be anything that captures public interest e.g. the Oscars. Sports betting is the biggest market with a huge array of international sports covered. Football, rugby, cricket, tennis, F1, NFL, Basketball and hundreds more are covered in the sports betting markets.
Online betting odds will vary from site to site and there are some great deals to be. Markets and odds change quickly, internet betting is fast & fluid, but you can change course quickly with the tap of a button on your smartphone.
Yes. Many sites now offer live streams so you can follow the action, make new bets and enjoy the action live on screen. Website technology is now so good that picture quality is up there with TVs. Odds will change on-screen as the sports event unfolds so this is a very popular feature with punters everywhere.
Betting markets are a list of every outcome you can bet on in an event. Betting markets will generally include a minimum of the event winner and winning margin. There may be many markets for a single sports event- a football game will have multiple markets like team to score first, number of goals scored, number of red cards or penalties, corners and much more. The bigger the game, the more markets you’ll find. Some bookies develop a reputation for obscure markets and catch the eye of punters looking for a value bet.
Odds represent the prices the makers will pay if your bet is successful, expressed as a proportion of your original stake. They're generally displayed in one of three formats:
These show your potential winnings as a fraction of your original stake, which means you divide the numbers displayed and multiply the result by your stake to determine your winnings. So a bet of £10 at odds of 2/1 would be calculated as: 2 divided by 1 = 2, 2 x 10 = 20. That's a win of £20, plus your initial stake of £10, making a total return of £30.
These represent the multiple of your stake that's returned in the event of a successful bet, including your initial stake. So if you made a successful bet of £10 at odds of 1.5, you'd get 1.5 x £10 = £15. Decimal odds of 1.5 are equivalent to fractional odds of 1/2.
These odds are totally different and can be negative or positive. Negative numbers indicate how much you must bet to win $100 (or £100, €100 etc), so odds of -140 mean you must bet $140 to win $100. Positive numbers indicate how much you'd win from a $100 bet. So odds of +160 would mean a win of $160. To work out how much you'd win on a different bet amount, you just have to scale the figure up or down proportionally. So a £1 bet at 140 would win £1.40.
Online bookmakers employ a large number of odds compilers, whose job is to price up markets and create odds for the events. You might think that this involves a lot of work predicting likely outcomes, but the key job for these teams is to make sure that there's a roughly even number of bets for and against a certain outcome – the idea being that they don't lose too much money if punters successfully pick a winner. This means that the betting odds on show aren't actually a reflection of the likelihood of something happening, but rather a reflection of where people are wagering on sports.
Volume and variety are key differences. Online betting gives you access to things you cannot find in a high street bookie shop. You won’t find a market for lower-tier Australian volleyball in a shop, but you will online. Market variety will be more comprehensive online too. You’ll get dozens of markets for a football match online.
Online betting has different features too. In-play betting, live streaming and early cashout are just 3 examples. You can also place a bet online at 6.00am! In-play betting is the practice of betting on an event while it's underway. This allows you to change your mind, place a new/different bet or capitalize on in-play betting odds. This can only be done by betting online or through betting apps.
Cashing out: Odds are updated moment-by-moment online as the event progresses meaning online punters can sometimes cash out early allowing players to withdraw (or cash out) their bet for a fixed sum, if they believe that the bet is likely to fail later in the event, or if they've given up on it and want to claw back losses.
Another unique feature of the online world is online betting exchanges- these operate a little differently than typical betting in the shop; instead of holding the cash to bet against customers themselves, online betting exchanges act like a financial market in which punters bet both for and against an event outcome. Most betting shops will not offer exchanges so players must turn to online betting.