To be able to determine the best betting sites there are a number of factors that should be considered. We have reviewed and rated many different sites and you can find the results below.
If you are interested in the factors that we considered, please read on.
Best Betting Sites for 2018
These are the current very best betting sites according to us. Read the in-depth reviews about each brand or continue directly to their websites to sign-up and claim a welcome bonus.
Factors to Consider
Here are some of the most important factors that should be considered when evaluating a betting site:
Is the bookmaker reputable/trustworthy?
Some brands are instantly recognizable, and there is little to worry about with regards trust and legitimacy at the likes of Bet365, Betfair, or Paddy Power. These brands are plastered all over TV screens and football stadiums across the UK and Europe, so it’s a pretty safe bet they can be trusted.
There are some others you might not be so familiar with, however. In those cases you should do some research and make sure the site is 100% legitimate.
One of the best ways to find out is to ask who the licensing body is. All online sportsbooks should have a license from an authority in the jurisdiction they operate from, and you can usually find this information out right on the front page of the sportsbook itself. Alternatively, ask the customer service team for more information.
Sportsbooks holding licences in the UK or EU countries are almost guaranteed to be trustworthy. These are some of the toughest regulators in existence. They run regular checks and uphold strict standards.
The other way is to find a review site you trust (such as this one) and stick with it. If a review site outlines some of the cons as well as the pros of a sportsbook in its reviews, it’s probably reliable. Sites which oversell and only point out the positives should be avoided.
What sports betting markets are available?
Most sportsbooks online will offer betting on major sports like football, boxing, tennis, UFC, cricket, and athletics.
Yet there is so much more to it than that these days. Thanks to the advent of live betting and betting exchanges there are now thousands of sub-markets, or markets within markets, allowing you to place an unbelievable array of bets on lots of possible outcomes.
For example, using Betfair or Bet365 will allow you to bet on much more than just the outcome of a football match. You will be able to get on who will score next, who the next corner will be awarded to, number of free kick or penalties in the game, how many yellow cards will be issued, and a lot more into the bargain.
Perhaps this won’t be of any major concern to you if you’re a straight down the line kind of punter who just wants to place bets on your favourite team or athlete.
That said, it’s nice to have options, and live betting allows you to take profits long before the final bell or whistle. Live betting also allows you to wear the hat of the bookmaker, offering bets on certain outcomes and raking in cash when you get it right. Just be prepared to pay out in accordance with the odds when you get it wrong!
Whether you choose to do that or not, the point remains, you need to know exactly what markets are on offer before signing up. You can find out in our reviews or on the sportsbooks themselves.
What free bets and other bonuses/offers are available?
Most bookies offer a free bet to get you started, but the offers themselves and the small print can make deals which look similar significantly different on closer inspection.
Here are some questions to ask about the free bets deals you come across:
- How much is the free bet worth?
- Can it be used in all markets or is it restricted to specific matches/games?
- What are the play through requirements before it can be withdrawn?
- Is this free bet given up front or is a qualifying bet required first?
- Is the free bet offer open to punters from my country?
Once you have figured out these questions related to the initial free bet or welcome bonus, you need to turn your attention to the other promotions and offers for regular bettors. After all, the welcome bonus won’t last forever.
What sounds better to you – a sportsbook offering a free bet up front and then leaving you to your own devices, or a sportsbook offering a free bet then a constant stream of risk-free bets, enhanced odds bets in and around special events, and cashback on losses?
It’s a no-brainer. Find the sportsbooks offering you the most bang for your buck. The best sportsbooks will offer you lots to keep you interested, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.
Is the site mobile friendly? Is there a mobile betting app?
If a sportsbook you are considering doesn’t have a mobile betting app it’s a pretty bad sign. Mobile gamblers are now in the majority and any sportsbook which hasn’t caught onto that is probably behind the times in other areas.
Most sportsbook apps will be compatible with Android and iOS devices, but if you use another platform such as a Windows phone you might have to do a little digging to find an app you can download, or stick to placing your mobile bets through your browser on the flash site.
Like the sportsbooks themselves, the apps differ greatly from site to site. Figure out the following before deciding which one to go with:
- Are there extra bonuses and free bets for downloading a mobile app? There often are, and you will want to take full advantage of this if so.
- Are there any limitations to the app such as restricted access to markets as compared to the desktop site? A good app should offer roughly the same, but it’s worth finding out up front.
- Does the app offer any extra features such one click cashout during game play to allow you to take profits or cut losses early?
- Does the app offer real-time alerts such as when matches which you have a stake in start or important events happen in games/matches? Top mobile apps should offer these.
- Is the app user-friendly and regularly updated?
- Is the app a sportsbook and casino all in one, or a sportsbook exclusively? Does it have any other extra features such as poker rooms?
All of these factors will make a big difference in your overall experience, so be sure to consider them all before making a choice.
What payment methods are available?
Nearly every sportsbook under the sun offers payment by credit and debit card, and most allow bank transfers.
Yet there are many more, often better, options today and it is worth considering whether the sportsbook you are considering offers them. PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, and a whole range of other payment methods can offer you extra advantages like privacy, anonymity, and extra security, since you will never have to share your direct financial details with a sportsbook site.
E-wallets like those mentioned above can also lead to faster payouts. That is perhaps the biggest advantage of all, and you can have your winnings the very same day as opposed to having to wait several days for them to clear at the bank.
Is there an intelligence/strategy section to the sportsbook?
This is probably only of concern if you’re a more serious punter who wants to take an in-depth look at some of the patterns in sports such as player/team form, historical results, and expert betting tips and predictions.
Some sportsbooks dedicate entire sections of their sites to providing troves of historical results and data, from outright football fixture results down to more detailed factors like how often a tennis player commits double faults in a game on average.
These site elements can be extremely useful and can not only open your eyes to things you might not have noticed before, but can also give you new ideas on how to bet for greater profit.
A great example of this is Ladbrokes’ The Grid. Coral bookmakers also have lots of extra features of this nature right down to explanations of sports rules so you can familiarize yourself with new sports, opening up new betting opportunities.
What other extra features does the sportsbook offer?
Sportsbooks have come a long way since the days of simple click pay betting, and some of the best sportsbooks online now offer an entire experience as well as the ability to bet.
For example, Coral bookmakers allow you to listen to or watch live sporting events as they unfold. Many bookmakers also feature automatic bet calculators allowing you to see exactly what you stand to gain/lose when placing multiple bets at the same time. Other offer forums and community chat rooms allowing you to bounce ideas and share tips with fellow punters.
All of these add to the overall experience you will have and can actually have an outcome on how much you win. Most of all, they make betting more fun, which is what it’s supposed to be in the first place.
Consider all of these factors before making a decision. Of course, there’s nothing to say you can’t try multiple different sportsbooks and find out for yourself through experience what’s on offer, but it’s best to at the very least read an in-depth review, getting the facts straight about what a sportsbook offers.
Happy betting. We wish you the best of luck!