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How to place a bet online?

Online betting is a popular pastime for millions of sports fans, but some people are still sticking to traditional betting shops because they aren’t familiar with this channel. With so many bookmaking sites to choose from and countless bits of information to process, the experience can be a bit overwhelming for a novice bettor. In reality, placing a bet on a bookmaking website is very simple and intuitive once you become accustomed to basic terminology and mechanics. Most people tend to play on a single website, which makes it even easier to find the intended content and place a bet quickly.

This short guide will teach you the basics of online betting at bookmaking websites. It attempts to answer a series of elementary questions that new players might be puzzled with, including:

What are bookmakers actually offering?

At bookmaking websites, you can wager money on the outcomes of sports events, including final score of the game as well as a number of other factoids. A wager can only be made based on a bet offered by the bookmaker, with possibilities to choose either side at the agreed odds.

The odds are calculated separately for each event and each type of bet, and determine the payout in case the wager is won. For example, 1:2 odds mean that $2 is paid out for every dollar bet, while 2:1 odds would return only $0.5 per dollar. Favoured teams are typically assigned lower odds, since they have a higher chance of winning and bettors need to be motivated to pick the other side.

Winnings from online bets can be withdrawn to a bank account or e-wallet account, or wagered again on the same website.

What types of bets are available?

There are countless types of bets that can be taken individually or combined (parlayed) on the same ticket. The most usual bet involves picking the winning team (or competitor in individual sports), either outright or after a certain amount of points (‘handicap’) has been added to the other team’s total.

It’s also possible to guess which players will score the most points/goals, which team will be ahead after the first half, whether the total number of points will exceed a certain fixed value, or a number of other events happening during a match.

In recent years, in-game betting has grown increasingly popular; with this type of bet it’s possible to place wagers while the match is in progress, with odds dynamically updated based on the current balance of power.

What sports should you bet on?

Good bookmaking shops allow their players to choose from dozens of sports, so there is no shortage of options to bet on, even on a slow day. However, it’s unwise to bet on sports you never watch, since it’s difficult to recognize good (or bad) odds in a completely new field.

Inexperienced bettors should probably stick with competitions and teams they actively follow, while veteran players can sometimes venture in a more exotic direction when the circumstances are right.

The most popular disciplines for betting are major team sports like soccer, basketball, American football and cricket, while racing events such as equestrian or auto races receive a lot of action as well.

How to find the best odds on the internet?

One big advantage of online betting is the ability to quickly compare offers from various bookmakers and identify the most favourable odds. This can be done in several ways – some players have accounts on multiple websites and can easily pick up new odds as they are released, while others use aggregator sites where head-to-head odds comparisons can be found.

Finally, some players read expert articles and search for savvy tips to stay ahead of the curve and ensure they play the most lucrative odds. Either way, conducting some research before making a bet is highly recommended, even if you are wagering just a small amount.

Bookmaker/CasinoBonus Terms and ConditionsBonus Code
bet365£100 Bet Credits
Open Account Offer: Upto £100 Bet Credits for new customers at bet365.Min deposit £5 and 1x settled bet requirement to release Bet Credits. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply.
William Hill£30 Free bet
New online customers only, min £10/€10 stake, win only, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 3 X £10/€10, 30 day expiry, free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply. T&Cs Apply, 18+.
Lvbet50% upto £50
Register at LVBet with JOHNNYBET code. Min deposit: £10. Max bonus: £50 (based on the first deposit amount). Wag. req. 15x (Only combi bets with min 2 selections using minimum odds of 1.25 each with the final odd of at least 1.80). T&Cs apply, 18+.
Unibet£40 Money Back
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in.
Netbet50% upto £50
Matched Free Bet up to £50/ dep. & bet £10 or more single bet on any sport / min. odds of 1/2 to qualify. T&Cs apply, 18+.
Winner100% upto £200
New customers, 18+, UK residents only. Make your first deposit and Qualifying Bet of min £30 cash at Minimum odds of 1.5 on any sport market and receive a match bonus of 100% up to £200 once your bet is settled. The maximum amount of bonus you can receive is £200. Deposits made using Skrill, Neteller, PaySafeCard and Ukash will not qualify for this promotion. Each-way, Handicap and Virtual bets, will not qualify. Player must wager their “BONUS + DEPOSIT” amount 8 times at min odds of Evens (2.0). Wagering is with real money first. Ante post bets, Each-way, Handicap and Virtual bets will not count towards wagering requirements. Only 1 qualifying bet per event counts towards wagering requirements. The bonus amount can never be withdrawn. Real money balance can always be withdrawn. T&Cs Apply

Should you pay to join a betting website?

There is no need to pay for membership because there are literally dozens of websites where it won’t cost you anything to join. In fact, the best bookmaking websites award large welcome bonus packages to new players to help them finance their first few bets. Websites that charge for membership are possibly fraudulent as well, since no legitimate providers can operate successfully this way in the current market.

Thus, you should search for your betting provider exclusively among free websites that enjoy good reviews in online forums. Given the abundance of first-class betting brands on the internet right now, this mission should be rather easy to accomplish.

How to win at online sports betting?

Every wager carries a certain amount of risk, but some players still manage to win more often than they lose. A variety of strategies can be applied to this end, depending on player’s sports knowledge, volume of available funds, and level of dedication to tracking good odds.

Deep pocketed players often pick relatively safe options and stake them with large amounts to secure solid payout, while less risk averse players often hunt for big upsets that can allow them to win large sums with a comparatively meager buy-in.

Advanced players develop systems to hedge risks and maximize winning opportunities, but it takes a long time (and a lot of near misses) to acquire skills of this kind.

How to bet responsibly?

Online betting should be a fun activity that doesn’t significantly impact your personal finances. Some players become tempted to bet more than they can afford or start betting compulsively in the hopes of covering past losses, but this kind of mindset can only cause trouble.

Most bookmaking websites operate based on responsible betting policies and provide players with professional advice regarding safe and sensible ways to play. When practiced in moderation, sports betting is a hobby that might pay off from time to time, but it shouldn’t be regarded as a major source of revenue unless you are a professional bettor with years of experience behind you and a large budget to support your gambits. 

If you are facing any issues, we advice you to visit BeGambleAware website for professional help.