How to Bet on Sports Online

Learn everything you need to know about placing a bet with an online bookie (did I miss something?)
How to bet on sports

Ok Betting Ladies, in this article I’ll take you through everything you need to know about sports betting in the U.S., and I’ll do my best to prepare for making your first bet with an online sportsbook.

There is a lot to cover here so if you are looking for the TD;DR version, I’ll save you some reading time, OK, but you have to promise to come back and read the whole thing later 🙂

TL;DR – How To Bet on Sports Online

To make a sports bet with an online bookmaker in the U.S., follow these steps

  1. Check if sports betting is legal in your state. You don’t need to live there, but you need to be physically present in a state where you can bet on sports
  2. Pick the sportsbook you want to use. Research each bookie’s features, customer service, rewards program, and sign-up offers
  3. Open an account. We recommended BetRivers and BetMGM. When signing up, use our promo code BETLADY. Once you’re in, make a deposit into your account
  4. Learn the betting basics. Read up on how odds work and learn the basics bet types: spreads, totals, and moneyline
  5. Decide how much you want to bet. Make sure that amount is never more than you can afford to lose
  6. Place your bet. Decide what team or player you want to on – then place your bet
  7. Check if your bet hit. Celebrate your wins, or cry a little if you lose (but if you do lose, it’s no biggie as you can afford it, right!)

Now, if that wasn’t enough to get you started, let’s go into a little more detail about each section. Sports betting isn’t rocket science, but there is more to it than what I list below.

Let’s jump in!

Step 1: Check if Sports Betting Is Legal in Your State

Betting has been legal at a Federal level since May 2018. This means that each state has its own regulations, and rules vary from state to state. For example, it’s not legal in California, where I live.

There was a vote on Prop 26 and 27, either which would have given us some option to bet legally within the Californian borders, but both those bills were shot down at the end of 2022 despite record-high lobbying spending, so to bet here you’d have to go to Arizona or Vegas.

At the time of writing this, you can bet on sports in these states, either online or in person (a.k.a. retail sports betting)

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
West Virginia
Where sports betting is legal online and in-person

Step 2: Pick the Sportsbook You Want To Use

There are quite a few sportsbooks to pick from here in the U.S., more than 40, to be precise. Now, there are good news and bad news.

The first good news is that the list of the sportsbooks that have been tried, tested, and that are likely sticking around for a while is not that long. You might have heard of DraftKings and FanDuel, right? Well, there are a few more operators in that group of reputable brands, such as BetMGM, Caesars, WynnBet, and Bet365. 

The second bit of good news is that we have hand-picked a sportsbooks that we recommend you to sign up with, and that is BetRivers and BetMGM.

Click this link >> and don’t forget to use our own code: BETLADY

What To Look For When Selecting an Online Bookie

Every sportsbook is going to have some unique features; the question is: which of them matters to you?

In some sense, choosing a betting platform is no different than choosing any other provider, really, and the same is true for online casino platforms, bingo apps, and other forms of gaming platforms.

Frankly, you might not know which bookie that you’ll end up using the most until you try, and for some of us, betting on various sportsbooks is the way to go. The most important consideration is that the sportsbook is legal in the U.S. and safe to bet on. The rest are cosmetics and nice-to-haves. 

Now, with that mentioned, here are a few things to consider when deciding between one sportsbook and another. 

  • Reputation. Make sure the sportsbook is reputable and has a good track record. You can check online reviews or read customer testimonials.
  • Security. The sportsbook should use the latest security measures to protect your personal and financial information. Look for a sportsbook that is licensed and regulated by the local gaming authorities (they vary from state to state).
  • Bonuses and promotions. Most sportsbooks offer some form of sign-up bonus or other promotions to those who sign up for the first time. I would say that it doesn’t hurt to browse the various books’ offers to compare which one you like the most before you choose a sportsbook. That said, in the end, if you are a regular bettor or you are thinking about betting on more events than just the Super Bowl, say, then the bonus is probably less important here. What matters is if you like the platform (and how the book checks out on some of the other items on this list). 
  • Payment options. The sportsbook should offer a variety of payment options so you can deposit and withdraw funds easily. Look for a sportsbook that accepts your preferred payment method. 
  • Customer support. The sportsbook should have a good customer support team that is available to answer your questions and help you with any problems. If you are planning to bet outside of working hours, or if it’s important to you to be able to speak to the customer service team at any time during the day, go with a sportsbook that you can contact 24/7.
  • Sports coverage. The sportsbook should offer a wide range of sports betting options. Make sure to choose a sportsbook that offers betting on the sports you are interested in. This is usually not a big issue, but there are cases where the odds are limited. The good thing is that you can browse the sportsbooks before you sign up to get an idea of what sports they offer odds for.
  • Odds. The sportsbook should offer competitive odds. Compare the odds offered by different sportsbooks before you decide which book to sign up with. Note that these odds might not vary a ton, so unless you bet big, I’d say that there are other factors that matter more. 
  • User interface. The sportsbook’s website or app should be easy to use and navigate – this is a given. Make sure you can easily find the sports and betting options you are looking for. The only way to do so is to down their app or try their browser version to see if you like what you see. 

Step 3: Sign Up and Create a New Account

In these steps, there are a few things that need to happen. Luckily for us, Hannah has created a 5 part video series that takes you through everything you need to know about signing up for BetRivers sportsbook, which is our partner bookie we recommend users bet on.

I’ll include one video from that posts, but make sure to check it out for the details on how to sign up with BetRivers.

Step 4: Add Funds

Now that you have created your sports betting account, the next step is to add funds to your account so that you can make some wagers. You will want to make sure that you have added the bonus code before adding funds so that you are able to cash in on the big reward. 

There are going to be a number of different options to use when you try to add funds, and it’s up to you to choose the option that works best for you. Simply choose the option that you want to use, and then select the amount that you want to deposit. 

After you have submitted your deposit, you are going to want to check and make sure that the funds are processed correctly. 

Step 5: Placing Your First Bet

You signed up for a sports betting account in order to make bets on sporting events, and we are now at that step. Before you can place a wager, you are going to have to figure out what sport or game you want to wager on.

You will be able to sort your betting options by sport, and there will be a menu that has everything laid out so you don’t have to search. After you have selected a game, then you will be able to make the bet that you want to make. 

After clicking on a bet, an interactive bet slip is going to pop up and show you what the odds look like. You will be able to add different amounts to that bet slip and see how much you can potentially win if you make a correct wager. 

Once you have everything set up the way that you want, you will want to hit the submit button, and your wager is going to be placed. You will repeat the same process for every single bet that you make, and that includes if you are making an in-play wager. 

Step 6: Cashing Out

After you have won some of your bets, you will start to notice that the amount of money in your account has increased. You can always check your available funds by logging into your account and then going to the page that shows a history of your money.

After you have started to win some money, the next step will be to cash out, or make a withdrawal to collect your winnings. Just like with making a deposit, you are going to find that there will be some different options to use. 

Typically, the method that you use to make a deposit will determine what cashout options are available to you, but that won’t always be the case. Be sure to choose a cashout option that doesn’t include fees, as you are going to want all of the money that you won. 

Most withdrawal requests will be processed within two business days, and you should receive your winnings shortly after that. 

Quick Tips When Betting Online

To wrap this up, I have added a few tips to bear in mind when betting online.

Know that, being familiar with the basics is a huge part of the process, but that’s not going to guarantee winning. Frankly, sports betting is gambling so nothing will. That said, there are some tips worth sharing, and following these should put you on the right path. 

As you get more comfortable betting online, you will be able to come up with your own tricks but follow the tips below as you are just getting started. 

Learn the Basics of Sports Betting

As you have noticed, the act of making a wager is not that difficult, but there is so much more to learn. If you are going to be a successful sports bettor, then you are going to have to learn the basics of sports betting

There are so many different types of betting options out there, and you at least need to familiarize yourself with all of them. You don’t want to stare at a list of betting options for a game and not understand what you are looking at. 

It’s not necessary to become a sports betting expert right away, but it should get better over time. Make sure you spend some time doing research before you get started so that you don’t continually make losing bets. 

Understand Odds

Knowing how to read odds and understand betting lines is extremely important if you are going to bet on sports. This might seem overwhelming at first, but it’s something that you will get better with over time. 

Hm.. don’t we have a video explainer – yes we do!

The betting odds can tell you many different things, and you can really handicap a matchup in just a few seconds when looking at the odds. You will know which team is expected to win a certain matchup and also know how much you can win by making a certain wager. 

We could write thousands of words to go into greater detail about understanding odds, but just knowing the basics will be enough to begin. The good thing is that odds tend to be the same for every betting type, and you don’t have to continue to learn more about them as time goes on. 

Managing Your Bankroll

Another important aspect of betting on sports online is managing your bankroll so that you are able to stay in the industry for a long time. When it comes to managing your bankroll, there are a few different steps to take. 

The first step is to choose the amount of your initial deposit, but that shouldn’t be the entire amount that you are going to use. You also want to keep some in reserve in case you don’t win or you find another great bonus or promotion to take advantage of. 

Choosing the size of your betting unit is another important step, and the best bettors would tell you that keeping that unit the same size is the right play. This will ensure that you aren’t putting too much emphasis on just one single wager and you are remaining consistent. 

Staying Safe Online & Data Privacy

Every online sportsbook is going to provide a layer of safety and security, but you also want to make sure that you are protecting yourself as well. This account is going to have money on it, and your personal information is going to be there as well. 

To stay safe, just follow common sense. When you are choosing a username and password, pick something that can’t be easily guessed by others. Don’t ever share that login information with anyone else, either, as that will give them a chance to steal your identity. 

This is your sports betting journey, and you need to take the appropriate steps to ensure that no one else is able to join you. 

Betting with Discipline 

The best sports bettors are those who are able to show patience throughout this journey but also know when to take advantage of good betting opportunities. We think of this simply as betting with discipline, and you need to have this attribute right away when wagering on sports. 

There will be days when you won’t find any good betting options, and you have to be willing to sit those days out. If you are planning to make a parlay bet – which is when you get on multiple bets in a sequence – then limit that bet to just 3-5 legs. 

Having discipline and showing patience will put you on the path to being successful.