The advantage of learning from a sports blog of over 10 years is we hear from thousands of readers the pros and cons of many of the best sports betting sites out on the market today.
As sports betting becomes legal across more and more states in the U.S., bettors will find an online marketplace filled with a sea of sports books ready, willing, and able to take their wagers. But, choosing the one that’s right for them is easier said than done, considering a lot of them often offer very similar services and benefits. That’s why we wanted to break it all down, to make it easier for potential bettors to choose which one best suits their needs and interest. Here are our reviews of the best sports betting sites, including what you can find from each one, the pros and cons, and our general thoughts about the services they provide.
Reviews of the best sports betting sites
Overview: When Duelo was still a nascent concept among its Los Angeles-based founders, the initial premise was simple: building a platform on which casual bettors would be able to play with and compete against each other, without having to worry about the whales coming in and dominating the bets, and/or having to pay the vigorish on a given wager made. Those were opportunities that appealed to a large swath of potential sports bettors, given that during within the first couple months of Duelo’s rollout in early 2019, over 15,000 players had participated in the contests offered — with over 1,000 of them receiving real cash winnings.
How To Play: In its initial rollout, Duelo offers what could be the Holy Grail of sports gambling: putting no money in, but receiving real cash earnings when you win. Users of all skill levels can enter daily “pickem” contests, in which they can predict the outcomes of professional and college sporting events based on the point spread, over/under, or which team will win outright in the head-to-head matchup. Whoever picks the most correct outcomes within the current contest will receive the pot offered for the contest
; in the scenarios where there are ties, the pot is split among the winners. And we’re not talking “small potatoes” earnings, either; most winnings range from $75 to $200 in payouts, with greater pots of $1,000 for larger sporting events. These contests are offered not only through the traditional web-based platform, but also on their mobile application available on iOS.
Features: Duelo is the rare site that does not require you to enter in any payment information when you first sign up. All you have to do is register online (either through the site or by downloading the app), and choose whichever contest in which you’d like to participate. While users are restricted to one entry per contest per day, they can actually earn additional entries by either by issuing invitations to the site (and having people sign up and participate through those invitations), or by earning 2nd place in a contest (effectively giving you a consolation prize for falling just short of winning). But where Duelo will start to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack will be in its next phase of gaming, where they fully incorporate the social gaming component which allows for content and discussion as an easy means to bet for all users. Users will be able to place bets from anywhere on the Duelo social platform and ultimately from anywhere on the internet. Eventually, the site will find and match users who want to take the opposite sides of a particular wager and reward the winners with both engage
ment points (providing an element of gamification through usage of the app), in addition to actual cash winnings. To further increase socializing within the app itself, the site will roll out features like expert picks and exclusive social media groups for users to discuss picks and events in a common space.
Payment Processes: On many online wagering sites, getting paid within two business days is something of a “best case scenario.” But with Duelo, it’s not only the norm but in many cases, might be on the long end of the spectrum. The site’s official payment policy states that payments are processed within 24 hours, and then sent to the PayPal or Venmo account of users shortly thereafter. However, a quick search of online reviews of the site reveals something even more impressive: verified users stating how they’ve been able to receive payments on the same day within minutes of cashing out. Given the world we live in, where online payments to one another take place instantly, Duelo has capitalized on the idea that nobody likes to wait for basically anything these days — especially when it comes to getting paid. Two things to note: the site does not appear to issue payments by check, and anytime you reach $600 in winnings in any calendar year, a W-9 must be submitted to the company, and any such earnings must be reported for tax purposes.
Overview: a fantasy sports fan who hasn’t heard about FanDuel (among the major players in the Daily Fantasy Sports world) is like a technology aficionado who hasn’t heard of a tablet device. One of the two major companies who burst onto the scene seeking to disrupt the way we think about traditional rotisserie or fantasy sports, FanDuel describes itself as the brainchild of its quintet of founders who came up with the idea during a brainstorm session in a backyard in Texas. Their premise: instead of having to nurture a single fantasy team for a long time, and having to wait the entire season for one singular payout, why not decrease the time each player is hooked to their team, and when they’ll get paid for making the right moves?
How To Play: Anyone who’s played fantasy sports, and especially those who have either done so via an auction-based draft or through models where teams must be built according to a “salary cap,” will be very familiar with how to get going on FanDuel. Once you choose a particular type of contest you want to enter (more on that in a moment), you construct a roster of all the available players for said contest. Each player is given a “cost,” which is determined by FanDuel, and you construct a roster based on trying to fit all the best possible players within your allotted salary cap. For instance: if you have $50,000 to build a salary cap, and you’re playing in a fantasy football contest, you could choose to add Todd Gurley; however, if he costs $10,000, you have to weigh the potential cost-benefit scenario of him taking up 20% of your entire salary cap.
Features: Many people are fans of FanDuel (no pun intended) because of the wide variety of contests they offer. In addition to your standard “score the most aggregate points with the players on your roster,” they have several other types of contests as well. As the company name implies, their flagship contest is the “Head-to-Head” contest, where players take on one another directly (similar to how most fantasy sports sites operate). But players can also enter into weekly (or longer-term) leagues, choose a particular type of contest (i.e., which NBA players will hit the most three-point shots this week?), or “Beat The Score” contests that offer payouts to everyone who exceeds a certain scoring threshold.
Payment Process: One of the biggest reasons that people are fans of the new DFS sites is because they’ve made it very easy to withdraw their winnings. With FanDuel in particular, all you need to do is find the “withdraw” button within your user settings, and if you have a PayPal account, you can receive your winnings in as fast as 48 hours (note that requests are not officially started and processed until the next business day after they’re made, and that this time frame can take longer if you’re withdrawing funds into a different PayPal account than the one you used to deposit money). You’re also able to use the standard, garden variety of credit cards for making deposits, and because the company is located within the United States, you can even mail a personal check to a designated address for deposits.
Overview: If FanDuel is the Coca-Cola of the Daily Fantasy Sports world, then DraftKings is undoubtedly the Pepsi. Or, put another way, they’re the new kid that moved into the neighborhood that sought to steal everyone’s friends by showing off all their cool new toys and trends that most people had never seen before. Offering the same refrain that you hear from the Daily Fantasy Sports sites — daily contests, tons of payouts, numerous ways to win money, and deposit matching — they aggressively exploited that niche of fantasy sports players who either wanted another way to interact with their favorite sports, or simply flamed out of their traditional season-long league. But whereas FanDuel has earned a reputation for being more player-friendly DraftKings has received a significant amount of scrutiny for having “whales” — gamblers who use technology-based algorithms to choose the best lineups, and potentially enter several hundred entries at a time — dominate most of the contests, and thereby the payouts as well.
How To Play: DraftKings operates the same way as FanDuel (or any of the other major DFS sites): enter a contest, build a roster based on your available salary cap and designated player costs, and sit back and watch the action unfold. To their credit, DraftKings has done an excellent job in terms of a very easy-to-navigate user interface. It’s very easy to see what players you can choose, and once you choose them, they have handy widgets which show you the current status of your lineup, which positions you still need to fill, how much money you have left to fill out your lineup, and even the average amount you’re able to still spend on a given player to fill out your lineup.
Features: One of the best features of DraftKings is their offerings of contests that are for only for novices. In other words, if you’re new to the site, and have only participated in a limited number of contests, you can effectively participate in contests that are only for DraftKings “rookies.” Many people have found that these contests are far more favorable in terms of winning money since most of the “sharks” no longer qualify to play in these contests (since they’ve participated in too many contests already). But after your rookie status expires, there are still a ton of contests available for you to choose from. One of the more popular ones is the “Guaranteed Prize Pool (GPP)” contest, in which everyone in the pool receives money — even if the contest wasn’t filled out to its maximum capacity. In fairness, it might cost you $X to buy into the contest, and you might receive a sum less than $X depending on where you finish, but its still nice to see you come with some money. Further, if you buy into a contest only to have a contest not have the minimum amount of entries when it’s supposed to start, DraftKings will refund your money back to your bankroll.
Payment Processes: If you’re fortunate enough to come away with substantial winnings through DraftKings, it’s a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that DraftKings has made it very easy to obtain your winnings — especially if you have a PayPal account. Cashouts via PayPal take no more than eight business days but can be delivered in as quickly as two business days. You can also receive your winnings via check, which will take up to three weeks for delivery. One thing to note: when you receive your winnings, you might see a slightly different number; that’s because they refund your initial deposit amount first, and then send you the balance. For instance, let’s say you deposited $100, and go on to win $1,000; let’s also say you decide to cash out $900. DraftKings will refund the first $100 to the payment method made for the deposit, and then send you the remainder ($800) via your cashout method of choice. However, the real “bad news” is that if you do earn winnings, you’ll have to report them in your taxes. DraftKings does require winners to fill out a W-9 form before cashing out. As the saying goes: there’s no such thing as a free lunch.
- WinView Games
Overview: WinView games brings the element of “holy matrimony” between the armchair gamblers and the recreational sports bettors, by allowing the latter to predict what’s going to happen on the forthcoming play or sequence during the game itself. Users can fire up WinView’s mobile application on their smartphone just as the game is starting, and “play along” as the game is taking place by making prop bets on what they think is going to happen next. Think the team with the ball is going to score a touchdown on this drive? Will the next guy to come to the plate strike out? Or how about whether the next play coming out of a time out be a three-point shot? WinView allows you to make such predictions, and compete against other users in real-time action.
How To Play: Eschewing the “old school” model of web-based sports betting, all the action takes place through WinView’s mobile application. And in terms of getting started on the app, it’s just a matter of a few taps. After creating an account and entering any payment information (at your discretion), you’re able to start playing. If you want to “interact” with a game that’s set to take place, shortly before the event begins, you’ll select that game among the schedule of upcoming games featured on the application. Once selected, you’ll be asked to predict the outcome of a few designated prop bets; for instance, if you’re watching the Golden State Warriors take on the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the questions might be “Will LeBron James make more three-point shots than Klay Thompson?” The answers to those prop bets will help determine your overall ranking in the contest you enter.
Features: WinView caters to the “freemium” and the “pay to play” crowds by offering both free entry and paid entry contests. Their free rooms are called “Ticket Only Tryouts,” in which everyone is competing for the highest possible point total, with the highest scoring players at the end of the game earning tickets. Those tickets can then be used to enter “Ticket-Entry Rooms,” which operate the same way as the ‘Tryout’ rooms, except with the highest scoring players walking away with actual cash. In terms of the paid-entry contests, they offer four types of rooms: Beginner (rooms for no more than 20 novice players at a time), Classic (multi-player rooms varying in capacity size), Multiplier (in which players can potentially earn up to 5x their entry fee based on their ranking), and 50/50 (half of the players who enter the contest earn some cash winnings).
Payment Process: After downloading the free application on their smartphone, users are given the option to link a PayPal account or major credit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover are all accepted) if they want to participate in paid-entry contests. To further entice new users to put some skin in the game, new users will get a certain amount of “cash matching” based on the available promotions at the time (i.e., deposit $10 and receive an additional $10). However, users who want to participate in only free contests are not required to enter in any of said payment types or amounts. For those looking to cash out, WinView’s website indicates that withdrawal requests require a verification of the user’s first name, last name, email address, and payment account information. If the requestor fails to validate said information within ten business days of WinView’s request, the company has a right to cancel your request. But assuming everything goes smoothly, once that information is validated, WinView’s payment processing can take up to five business days for deposits made back to your PayPal account. However, payment requests in the form of a check will require 14 days to deposit.
Overview: Simply put, think of 5Dimes as the Costco version of an online sportsbook — and we mean that in no derogatory way (after all, who doesn’t love Costco?). Instead of worrying about all the proverbial “bells and whistles” associated with the user experience, 5Dimes gets straight to the point: offering a no-frills place for bettors to find and make the largest variety of wagers possible. At one point in time, and it still might very well be the case today, 5Dimes offered the largest “menu” for possible wagers of any site available to North American bettors. Case in point? You could actually bet on games in which LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony played in back when the two of them were still in high school.
How To Play: Again, to borrow a line from the film Field of Dreams, 5Dimes is basically ascribing to the “if you allow people to wager on it, the bettors will come” philosophy. There’s the ability to make wagers both before and during the game for all of the major sports and sporting leagues: the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, college sports, soccer, golf, tennis, boxing, Aussie Rule football, and the UFC. But on top of that, 5Dimes is the place where you can make bets on current events and pop culture — looking to make a bet on who will win the upcoming Presidential election? How about the 4th of July hot dog eating contest? Have a favorite for the Scripps National Spelling Bee? At 5Dimes, there’s a bet for that.
Features: By and large, you’ll find the same features at 5Dimes (despite the antiquated website) that you would at most sportsbooks. But one of the major differentiating factors of betting through 5Dimes is the ability to received a reduced “juice” or vigorish. For example, the odds for the majority of bets you’ll see start around -110, meaning for you to win $100 on said odds, you’d have to bet $110. However, with 5Dimes, you might see the big reduced by as much as 50%. That means you can find many games where the line is anywhere between -107 to -105. Make sure that you ask for the Reduced Juice feature when you first sign up.
Payment Process: Getting started on 5Dimes is relatively straightforward. New users who use a credit card to sign up will have to make a minimum deposit of $50 and are a capped at a maximum deposit of $500. Any fees incurred as a result of this deposit are refunded by 5Dimes, and the site itself doesn’t charge additional for credit card payments. The $500 limit via credit cards might seem quite low, and that’s because 5Dimes chooses to raise the limits for deposits by encouraging users to use Bitcoin; for those transactions, the floor is lowered to $25, and the ceiling is raised to $10,000. For a site that might appear to be as “low-tech” as 5Dimes, that same description doesn’t apply to their payouts. Rather, they’ve consistently received strong reviews for the speed and ease in which users can receive their winnings. While there are fees for bettors to receive payments via check or money order, there is again a benefit for those choosing to enter (or cash out) via Bitcoin, in terms of the fees being waved for this method.
Overview: Those individuals who happen to be fans of major sports podcasts or follow certain influencers on social media have almost undoubtedly come across an advertisement for MyBookie.ag. Having launched in 2014, the company has made a tremendous advertising push since then, trying to capture positioning in the minds of the most novice and/or unaware sports fans who may have some initial interest in sports betting. As a result, the influx of customers they’ve received since then has allowed them to develop one of the better online sports betting experiences among all the sportsbooks.
How To Play: Given the “newish” nature of MyBookie in the online sportsbook world, it’s no surprise to see that it boasts one of the cleanest interfaces you’ll find. People at the novice level and above, when it comes to sports gambling, will very easily be able to find their way around the site and quickly select the wagers they want to make for the usual menagerie of sporting events and leagues. The same straightforward and easy-to-navigate description also applies to their live in-game action. The site can get a little clunky for those who are choosing to make parlays and teasers, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty simple — it just takes a few tries before you learn how.
Features: here MyBookie chooses to distinguish itself from the crowd is by providing features that will be of most interest to two particular niches of sports fans: the ones who want the greatest possible variety of wagers to make, and those who want the ability to make as large wagers as their bankroll will permit. In terms of the former, bettors at MyBookie will find a diverse range of prop bets for any particular sporting event, that exceeds the usual lines and over/under; they’re clearly looking at the fantasy sports aficionados, who want to be able to bet on the statistical performances that will take place in a game, as one example. And for the “high roller” crowd, there does not appear to be any list of betting limits stated for many of their events. While the site does have the right to refuse bets of a certain amount, that’s decided on a case-by-case basis.
Payment Process: MyBookie offers several different enticements to get new users to register and deposit funds onto the site, mostly because it can be something of a chore for people choosing to use the traditional deposit methods. While the company does offer 24/7 customer service and the ability to make deposits during regular business hours (aiming for optimal customer service and fewer deposit fees), those who choose to make their deposits by credit cards (and especially debit cards) will often have their bank refuse the initial deposit out of fear of fraud. The customer service representatives are very helpful in trying to help overcome this, but that process can be something of a pain when you’re first trying to get on the site. Like most other sports books, you’re able to make deposits via Bitcoin, with the maximum deposit through that channel being $1,000. There isn’t much data on the average turnaround time for withdrawals via MyBookie, but they do waive all fees for withdrawals in the form of Bitcoin. However, payment via eCheck and/or Wire Transfer do incur fees, dependent on the size of the withdrawal.
Overview: At first glance, potential online gamblers will look at BetNow and not necessarily see very much different from what’s offered at many of the major online sports books. The site offers the ability to make wagers on lines and futures, offers live betting during the events themselves, and hosts a wide number of casino games as well. That’s why, as the sportsbook burst onto the scene in 2015, it sought to differentiate itself from the competition with a radical if not obvious modus operandi: offer as many wagers possible, but position their platform as a whole in a way that’s focused on enticing users to deposit money and make bets.
How To Play: As part of a user interface that’s designed to make bettors want to come and come often to the site, BetNow certainly ascribes to the “keep it simple, stupid” philosophy. Once you’ve deposited the funds you want to have available for wagering, you’ll be able to utilize an ad-free home page that’s very easy to navigate. On the left of the page, you’ll see the menu where you can access all the different types of betting options available. And for those who want to participate in live-betting action during an event, they’ll easily be able to find the “In-Play Betting” link that takes you to the page showing all the games available. Like any major sportsbook, you’ll be able to wager on the major North American sporting leagues, combat sports, soccer, and more. Some users do find that the selection of available sports isn’t quite as all-encompassing as you might find on other sportsbooks.
Features: As mentioned, BetNow tries to distinguish themselves by offering some of the “little things” that many bettors complain about with other online sportsbooks, hoping that those things result in a big difference. For instance, BetNow offers substantially higher betting limits, which directly caters to the betting “whales” (who are often frustrated with the lower caps on wager amounts in other sports books). Also, BetNow not only offers far more generous returns with their teaser and parlay odds, but they even offer the ability for betters to make their own lines.
Payment Process: One area where BetNow might be quite as “user-friendly” might be they withdraw processes. The turnaround time is very much in line with what you’d see from competitors, with payouts being received anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the payout method requested. However, while the majority of sites offer free withdrawals, this is an area where BetNow is lacking. Even through cryptocurrency withdrawals, BetNow charges a 2% service fee on all withdrawals made. To mitigate this at some level, BetNow will cap the maximum service fee on checks paid out at $85, which will help out users who want to receive their funds via check (BetNow offers payment in this form up to $3,000). Further, receiving payment via MoneyGram or Western Union will have service fees capped at $35 and $50.
Overview: One of the original gangsters of the online sports betting world, having started their operation in 2004, BetOnline.ag describes themselves as “more than just an online betting platform.” In all fairness, their “more” isn’t necessarily about being something that transcends the idea of sports gambling as a whole but rather speaks to their position of trying to offer what they deem to be the best sports gambling experience in the marketplace. Said best-in-class approach, to them, includes offering “cutting-edge technology, enticing promotions, and the latest sports betting odds.” Of course, given some of the negative publicity they received back in 2011, when they rolled out the poker section on their online betting platform, some of their self-described aspirations might have to be taken with the proverbial grain of salt.
How To Play: By and large, BetOnline.ag is your standard fare “one-stop online gambling shop,” offering action on all the major sports and sporting leagues, horse races, and online casino games. In terms of the latter, there are a multitude of casino games offered, ranging from 19 different types of online slots, 17 video poker games, and upwards of 25 additional casino games. Many users choose BetOnline because of the higher-than-usual betting limits the site allows on their wagers. For instance, whereas most markets and sites will limit wagers at somewhere around $3,000, some of the wager limits on BetOnline can be as high as $25,000.
Features: Interestingly enough, despite the “.ag” extension, BetOnline is one of the few distinctly American online sportsbooks. In fact, while many sportsbooks restrict the countries for which residents can play, BetOnline is open to nearly every country in the world, with the exceptions of Australia, France, Malta, and Panama. Also, the company has focused on training their customer service managers and representatives to be focused on ensuring that their users have the best possible experience overall, as opposed to trying to get users to deposit as much money as possible into the site. Sure, they’ll still try and do the latter through enticing sign-up and reload bonuses (including matching bonuses of up to $1,000 in some cases), but it’s good to see that they care about things other than that.
Payment Process: Once again, the site is very welcoming of deposits made through cryptocurrency, evidenced by their maximum deposit being as much as $25,000 through this payment method, and their 35% reload bonus offered on every qualifying deposit via Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin. Of course, users can still “buy in” through the more conventional payment methods, including credit cards (Visa and Mastercard only), Money orders, or Cashier’s check. However, users should note that withdrawals cannot be made back to credit cards, but instead are given out in the form of checks, wire transfers, or a chosen form of cryptocurrency.
Overview: The best way to think of Bovada is a one-stop, all-encompassing emporium for online gambling for those people residing in North America. As the North American “branch” under the larger umbrella of Bodog, Bovada gains the reputation and trust their parent brand has gained among international gamblers all over the world. Further, for those individuals who either aren’t interested in or want to take a break from the usual sports betting, Bovada also offers Poker and other casino-based games on which wagers can be made as well. One important thing to note: bettors who reside outside the United States, Mexico, or Brazil are restricted and not eligible to play at Bovada.
How To Play: As you might expect, given its location, Bovada offers all the traditional betting methods for a vast variety of sporting events in North America, including but not limited to the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, UFC (and other Mixed Martial Arts leagues), Olympics, and even eSports. And, of course, you’re still able to lay down wagers on individual-based sports like boxing, golf, auto racing, tennis, and more. Just like with any other sportsbook, you can make wagers based on the all the usual odds and lines, as well as prop bets, futures, parlays, and teasers. And again, if sports betting isn’t your particular cup of tea, there are a variety of ways to try your gambling luck. In terms of casino games, thanks to their partnership with different software companies, Bovada also offers more than 150 casino games. That includes over 100 different types of slot games, six different styles of Blackjack alone, and 15 major card games that you’d find at any casino, including Baccarat, Pai Gow, different variations of Poker, and more.
Features: Because of their ease in making wagers, overall user interface, and a variety of ways to make bets, Bovada is considered by some to be one of the best sites for entry-level online gamblers. In addition to having an interface that’s rather intuitive to even the more novice gamblers, the site also has the option of being shown in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Bettors aren’t required to download a mobile application, either, for using Bovada through their smartphone or wireless device; they simply need to go to the Bovada site, and they’ll be redirected to their mobile portal, as appropriate. For new enrollees, Bovada usually has ongoing “deposit match” offers, where the company will provide a 50% match in funds for deposits up to $250.In terms of the gambling itself, in an effort to further capture the interest of sports bettors even after they’ve made their wagers before the start of an event, Bovada now offers live betting during the contest itself through its “Bovada Live” feature. Through this feature, bettors can make bets on the outcome of a given drive, at-bat, basketball possession, and more. Bettors can lay down wagers for as little as $1, and no more than $100, for these types of bets.
Payment Process: Bovada requires users to deposit funds upfront, with which they’ll make wagers. All wagers are made in U.S. Dollars, meaning users can make deposits through the major credit card types (Visa, MasterCard, and American Express). Unfortunately, Bovada does not accept deposits made via PayPal nor Visa gift cards. Further, given the currency’s exponential rise in popularity over the last few years, Bovada now accepts deposits through Bitcoin (and Bitcoin cash). In addition, the rise of users withdrawing funds in the form of Bitcoin continues to be one of the most popular forms of payment, which Bovada thankfully allows as well. In general, most third-party review sites have commended Bovada for their processes in allowing players to withdraw funds. For those who prefer a more “tangible” form of payment, players can expect to receive payments either in their bank account or even in hand (via a courtier check) in a handful of weeks, with little friction in cashing out. One note to keep in mind: Bovada will only issue checks with a maximum amount of $3,000, and while they’ll provide the first check free of charge, multiple withdrawal requests via a check will incur costs to facilitate.
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