How to choose a sportsbook as a beginner
There are a number of things to consider when you set about choosing your first sportsbook. At the end of the day, sportsbooks are there to make money, but some are much more ethical and fair about it than others. You need a sportsbook who will go easy on you and walk you through your first time, wining and dining you with generous bonuses.
To avoid a bad experience you will need to have done your homework. We do provide in-depth reviews of all the legal sportsbooks in the US, so we recommend you read each page to see which sportsbook suits you.
The most important thing to remember is that sports betting is effectively a game between you and the sportsbook. Both of you want to win the bet. That is fine, the most important thing is that you both adhere to the rules.
Here are the main factors you should consider as a newbie:
- Trustworthiness: As a beginner to sports betting you NEED to choose a site that is 100% reliable. Some sites cater for beginners and provide guides on how and when to place bets, as well as providing you with risk-free bonuses when you sign up, so you can enjoy a kind of trial period. All these things indicate a sportsbook, who still wants your money, but is committed to being fair about it. At bettingscanner.com we place a huge emphasis on the reliability and trustworthiness of sportsbooks. If we even sniff a hint of anything crooked, we will blacklist them from our site.
- Odds: You will need to brush up on your lingo as a beginner to sports betting. In the US odds, are also known as juice or vigs. The juice is what gives a sports bet value. When you place a bet you will need to weigh up the chance of your prediction occurring versus the potential payout. The majority of the sportsbooks currently in the US market, use large global odds suppliers, so there is a relatively narrow market average. However, the juice does vary between sportsbooks, especially as you drop to college-level sports. As a beginner, you shouldn’t place more emphasis on the odds than is necessary. Of course, they should be ok, but you are not going to win big at the start anyway. If you are serious about your sports betting you should be thinking long term. Once you have a dozen or so bets under your belt and have experimented with different betting forms you can start to prioritise the odds a little more.
- Payment Options: Have you ever been to a casino? It can be a little confusing when you have to buy chips from the desk at first right? Well, it’s the same system with online sports betting. With online sports betting, you will need to transfer money into your sportsbooks account. Then you can place bets from your sportsbook account, any winnings will be paid into your sportsbook account. To get your winnings in cash, you will need to withdraw the money from your sportsbook into your bank account (or PayPal or similar method). At the moment, in the US this is a really important thing to understand as a beginner to online sports betting. As not every state has legalised sports betting, not all banks have allowed transfers to sportsbooks. Each sportsbook will also have a different set of partnerships with alternative payment methods, such as PayPal and Neteller. This means that you will need to check that a) your bank allows transfers and b) what payment methods your sportsbook allows. You will also have to check that you can withdraw using the same method. Sometimes a sportsbook will allow bank transfers for depositing but not for withdrawing, which can leave you in a sticky situation.
- Signup bonus: This can be a great way for a beginner to get a feel for a sportsbook without spending all of their hard-earned cash. Many of the US sportsbooks currently offer some extraordinarily generous signup bonuses as they are looking to sweep up as many new customers as possible. This is good news for you beginners out there as these bonuses will payout free bets, which mean you can place risk-free bets. Some of these contain a lot of stipulations making them less suited for beginners and some are much more upfront with their bonus. Here is a list of what sportsbooks have the best signup bonuses for beginners. Interestingly, you will see that the biggest numbers don’t always rank the highest - that is because of those pesky T&Cs!
- Range of bets: We have not put this at the top of the list because as a beginner you won’t have the experience to place parlays or teasers. If you were new to swimming you wouldn’t jump in the deep end, would you? Well, it’s the same with sports betting. At the start, you will be focused on moneylines, which is predicting the outcome of a match and points spreads. Of course, you should still choose a sportsbook with a good range of betting types because you will, hopefully, expand to other forms.
- Range of sports: If you are looking to bet on the American Major Leagues, then all the major American sportsbooks we have on our site are open to you. There isn’t a sportsbook worth its salt that would launch in the US and not have the NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL covered. You will get some sportsbooks who have partnered with specific leagues or teams and when this is the case you will get a better selection of bets on those leagues and teams.
- MGM resorts are partnered with the MLB, NBA and NHL as well as the New York Jets (NFL).
- William Hill the British sportsbook has partnered with the NHL, the Vegas Golden Knights (NHL) and the New Jersey Devils (NHL).
- FanDuel have partnered with the NBA and NHL as well as the New Jersey Devils (NHL).
- BetStars have partnered with the NBA.
- Caesars have partnered with the NFL, The Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), Baltimore Ravens (NFL) and The New Jersey Devils (NHL).
- 888Sport have partnered with the New York Jets (NFL).
FAQS about sportsbooks for beginners in the USA
Where can you sign up to a sportsbook?
The most important thing when you are signing up to a sportsbook is that you collect your signup bonus. This is especially true for American sports bettors who can pick up some incredible bonuses in 2019.
To do this you need to signup with the promo code. To do this you can click on your sportsbook of choice on our site and you will be redirected to the signup page where you can enter your promo code and collect your welcome bonus!
Can you signup to a sportsbook if you have never bet?
Of course, the sportsbooks we list on our site are all trustworthy sportsbooks that you can signup to without having any or little experience. They will offer you a welcome bonus which you can use, as a risk-free way of testing the water. We recommend you start small at the beginning.
How long does it take to learn how to bet on sports?
It depends on how serious you are. Very few people can make a living out of sports betting and even they are still learning. Sports betting is a mixture of luck and skill, so even if you put in the hard work you can still lose your money. We would say though to be able to achieve a decent level of proficiency you will need to bet regularly for around 4-5 months.
How much should you wager as a beginner?
The amount you can wager depends on how much money you have and how much you are willing to spend. The amount you deposit into your sportsbook account is very much up to those two factors and we can’t tell you that. However, once that money is in, as a beginner we recommend you spend a small number of units on each bet.
A unit is a percentage of the total starting amount in your account. So if you deposit $100, you can break it into 10 units, so 1 unit = $10. Then you can place bets of 1 unit at the start.
Is there beginners luck in sports betting?
Nice try, but no. In the long run, you will almost definitely lose your original deposit. Sports betting is a mixture of luck and skill. So, it is true that at the beginning you rely on luck more than skill. However, that does not mean you will be any luckier!
Is there a system beginners can use for sports betting?
Systems in sports betting can work, but it has to be personal to you. There are a number of people who claim to have systems that can guarantee you win, but either they are con-men or sportsbooks will have sussed out the systems long ago. You need to work out what system works for you according to how much you have to bet, your areas of expertise and how much time you can devote to betting. To work all of this out takes time and practice.
Almost every sportsbook out there at the moment in the US offers a sports betting app. Therefore this factor should not be too much of a concern to you. However, if you are going to live bet, we would recommend you really think about which sportsbook has the most RELIABLE app. Live betting, or in-play as it is known, requires a seamless betting experience as any delays could prove costly.
What type of sports bettor are you?
This is an important question you need to ask yourself. What sort of sports bettor am I, and what sort of bettor do I want to become? Once you have a good idea of this, then you can think about what sportsbook you would like to be associated with in the long run.
For example, if you are interested in both the NBA and NHL and wish to place a bet every week, preferring to deposit smaller amounts regularly, rather than a large sum all at once, then FanDuel could be the sportsbook for you. The sportsbook has partnerships with both leagues, and offer a great selection of bets and juice on them. They also have an excellent loyalty program which rewards customers for depositing and betting regularly.
We suggest you think about the following:
- What sports interest you
- What leagues, in particular, do you follow
- What teams do you know most about
- How often you will bet
- How much you can bet
- Which state you are based in
- Whether you will bet through an app or desktop
Once you have answered all of these, you can go through the list of sportsbooks to choose which one fits best with your requirements.
When to sign up to a sportsbook
This very much depends on where you are. Every US state is at a different stage of its sports betting legislative process, so we have broken it up into three different categories:
- New Jersey and Nevada: ASAP! If you are based in either of these states you have found yourself at a real sweet spot! Sports betting is still so new that sportsbooks are offering outrageous promos and signup bonuses - which won’t and can’t last forever. Yet, sports betting has been around long enough that you have a wide enough selection to choose from. Competition is always good for you as a customer and these states certainly have it.
- Philadelphia: Late 2019. Currently, it is only SugarHouse that is up and running in the state, so we recommend you stick around till the second half of the year, before you signup to a sportsbook.
- Delaware, Rhode Island, Mississippi and West Virginia: Early 2020. There are currently no sportsbooks up and running online as yet, so you’ll have to stick around till 2020.