Best Sports Betting Sites
The very best betting site will vary from person to person. Some people will prefer those with the juiciest bonuses. Meanwhile, others might follow some niche sport that isn’t well represented at most online bookmakers. Finally, some might demand their chosen operator caters to those wanting to bet on casino games and slots as well as sports.
Whilst there is no universal “perfect bookmaker”, there are a few things that many of the very best online sportsbooks have in common. They include:
- Expansive market selections – you’ll find a good selection of sports and other events to bet on at a great online bookmaker. At the very best online sportsbooks, there will be many different markets to bet on – even for smaller events.
- Welcome bonuses – many players choose their online sportsbook based on the welcome bonus alone.
- Reload bonuses – does the casino offer regular promotions after the player has completed any welcome bonus offered.
- User friendly software – how easy is the site to get around? Is it hard to find the markets you’re looking for?
- Modern features – does the sportsbook support the latest trends in the industry? Can you bet on esports or in-play?
- Loaded casino platform – is the company just a bookmaker or can you access a full casino using the same account information?
- Licensing – do reputable licensing agencies give their nod of approval to the company? Look out for licenses from the UK Gambling Commission and Malta Gaming Authority as examples
Benefit of New Betting Sites
Although there is a lot to be said for finding a betting site with a winning formula and sticking to it, there are plenty of great reasons to regularly try out new betting sites too. Chief of these is the opportunity to benefit from another welcome bonus, but there are some other good reasons too.
- New betting sites may carry different markets or might put their emphasis on an element of sports betting that your current site doesn’t specialise in. For example, the new site might offer esports betting – something of a trend within the industry.
- New betting sites may offer a different experience to that which you’re used to. Perhaps it’s easier to browse the site or maybe the colour scheme is just more appealing to you.
- Bonuses! If you only ever play at one online sportsbook, you will only every receive one welcome bonus. By trying many different betting sites, you will benefit from multiple welcome bonuses. This will significantly enhance your chances of winning from one!
Trends on Betting Sites
As mentioned, new betting sites might be quicker to embrace emerging trends within the online betting industry. Although betting on sports is a pretty old pastime, enjoyed the world over for more than 100 years, it’s definitely not stuck in the past.
As well as proving a natural fit to the internet, sports betting has evolved with technological advances. For example, online sportsbooks quickly saw the value in diversification, frequently offering online casino, bingo, poker, live casino, and other features. Many of the giants of the industry today serve as “one-stop-shops” for all things gambling online.
Recent years have seen bookmakers provide odds for in-play betting too, allowing punters to place bets on live action as it unfolds. Many sportsbooks will also stream selected events, allowing those wagering on them to watch along and place bets as and when they see fit during the match.
Another trend to emerge of late is that of esports betting. With competitive video gaming attracting huge audiences around the world, it was only natural that this modern form of digital sporting competition would prove attractive to those wanting to gamble.
Even more recently is the emergence of platforms that allow players to bet on themselves in online gaming tournaments. Much like a standard online poker tournament, players will pay a buy-in to the tournament, with those emerging on top taking a share of the pool.
A dynamic and highly lucrative industry that has been fast to embrace emerging technologies, we find it difficult to believe that sportsbooks will stop innovating anytime soon. We expect to see new trends emerge in the industry going forward and are watching blockchain, AI, and VR tech developments particularly closely.
Promotions from Sports Betting Sites
Traditionally, both online casinos and sportsbooks would rely on their geographical presence to lure customers. Without the means to access such services from home, placing a bet on a sporting event would usually involve a trip to the betting shop. Most people would understandably favour the bookmakers closest to them.
Online, this is a little different. It’s just as easy for a player to visit any one of thousands of online sportsbooks or casinos. It’s, therefore, much more important for companies to stand out from the crowd. One of the ways they do this is by offering promotions to new and existing players alike.
Matched Free Bets
One of the most typical sportsbook promotions will see depositors receive a free bet to place on a market of their choice. This will usually require players make a deposit and a bet to trigger the reward.
The free bet will often be for the same amount as the deposit and subsequent first bet. This is known as a 100 percent matched bet. However, the total free bet amount will be capped. You can’t just deposit $10,000 and receive $10,000 in free bets, for example!
Other percentage free bet matches exist too. You might find promotions offering to match 25, 50, or even 200 percent of a first deposit and initial bet in free bets.
It’s important to note that terms and conditions do apply to free bets. These make it less likely that the player will end up a winning from a promotion. Look out for the following rules associated with free bet promotions:
- Minimum odds – players are discouraged from betting on “dead certs” with free bets with the requirement to bet with minimum odds for both qualifying bets and free bets.
- Stake not returned – another measure to stop players almost guaranteeing profits by betting on huge favourites. If you used a $10 free bet to bet on a 9/1 horse and it came home first, you’d receive $90 instead of the $100 you’d take had you used your own money. If you won on a big favourite, your $10 free bet would only return a few dollars.
- Time restrictions – free bets will expire after a set period. Players who fail to use them in this time will forfeit the promotional bet.
- Maximum odds – some casinos will enforce maximum odds as well as minimum ones. However, this is pretty rare since bookmakers usually have larger profit margins on serious longshot bets.
- Market limitations – you might find that some markets are excluded from using free bets. One popular sportsbook runs a promotion that awards a free bet to be used in-play only. Others might exclude each way bets on horse races, or various other markets.
Although it’s most common to receive a matched free bet when registering with a new account, casinos will award them at other times too. Sportsbooks will often roll out their biggest promotions when they’re expecting there to be a surge in interest. Typically, they come during large sporting events – the FIFA World Cup being a great example – or when lots of people are off work, like Christmas.
Subsequent free bets awarded after a welcome promotion will usually have slightly more stringent wagering requirements and are more likely to be limited with regards the markets that bettors can use them on. This is because they usually promote betting on a specific sport, rather than serving as a lure to players interested in any sports betting.
Another form of promotion popular at sports book is deposits being matched with bonus funds. This differs from the free bet in a few important ways. However, we’ll first detail the similarities:
- Most commonly awarded to new players but we do see bonus cash awarded as reload bonuses too.
- Usually a 25, 50, 100, or 200 percent match of a first deposit.
- Terms and conditions apply to the use of funds (time restrictions etc.)
The main differences between these two sportsbook promotions is that bonus cash will almost always need wagering. This means that the bonus cash and/or deposit associated with the offer will need to be bet again a certain number of times. They actually function similarly to casino bonuses, although often with smaller playthrough requirements.
Whereas free bets will be “stake not returned” – to encourage betting on less likely markets – bonus cash usually is not. The cash will function in exactly the same way as real money, with one large exception. Players cannot withdraw it until the terms and conditions are satisfied.
As mentioned, modern online sportsbooks will typically diversify with casino games. Many will separate their sportsbook and casino, providing welcome promotions for each. After you’ve used your free bets or sportsbook bonus cash, those interested in other popular forms of gambling should check out the other sections of their chosen betting platform. They might discover that each individual department (casino, poker, bingo, live casino, etc.) runs their own welcome bonus.
Sportsbooks and casinos are always changing their promotions. For this reason, we always recommend checking the box that gives the operator the right to contact members with new and exciting promotional offers. What you might have dismissed as junk mail from a gambling service will frequently be information about free bets and bonus cash.
How to Bet on Sports Online
Betting on sports online is really easy. You first need to find a reputable online sportsbook. Since you’re here, you’re lucky enough to already have a list of many of the best bookmakers serving the New Zealand market. BestBonus.nz and its experienced team have vetted all of our suggestions, allowing our visitors to get on with betting on their favourite sports with confidence.
- After finding a sportsbook that takes your fancy, give it a click to visit the operator’s website. At this point, if you plan on claiming whatever welcome bonus promoted by the casino, we highly recommend a thorough reading on the terms and conditions. This will give you all the information you need to claim and use the bonus funds in accordance with the company’s policy.
- Once you’re comfortable with the terms and conditions, you can ahead and create an account. Click “register”, “signup”, “new account”, or similar, and fill in your personal details when prompted. It’s very important to use your real identity here because gambling services will check, usually prior to making a withdrawal. It would be dreadful if you used a fake name and email address, won a packet, and then just couldn’t withdraw whatsoever.
- After filling in all the required fields and hitting “submit”, you will usually need to verify your email address. Just visit your email inbox and wait for a message from the casino. Follow the link in the email and sign in when you arrive at the sportsbook website again.
The next step is to make a deposit. There might be an automatic prompt to deposit when you first sign in or you might need to click “account”, “deposit”, “bank”, or similar. Given that online sportsbooks need players to deposit to make money, the option to load funds to your new account is usually very obvious!
Select the deposit method you wish to use and fill in the relevant fields to complete your deposit. It’s important to note that those welcome bonuses that require the use of a bonus code will usually request it at this point. It’s vital that you observe any requirements mentioned in the terms and conditions to the letter. Failure to do will usually void any bonus funds.
Placing Your First Bet
Once you have your account loaded up and ready to go, it’s time to make a bet. Navigating around the various fixtures and markets available is usually straightforward enough. You’ll find different sports listed on the navigation bar at either the top or along one of the sides of the main window. Within each of these will be different leagues and competitions with upcoming games and available markets listed within each one.
- Let’s say, for example, you wanted to bet on New Zealand winning the Rugby World Cup. You’d first click “Rugby”, then “World Cup” in the listed competitions. You would then need to choose between betting on individual matches from that competition or outright results. In this example, you’ll want the “Outrights” section.
- You should find a list of all the teams playing in the World Cup with the odds offered by the bookmaker listed next to them. Find “New Zealand” amongst the options, check you’re happy with the odds (probably quite low!) and click the market to add the selection to your betting slip. The slop probably appeared on the screen when you clicked your chosen bet.
- On the bet slip, check again that you’re happy with the selection and the odds offered, enter the amount you want to bet, and click “submit”. You should receive a message saying that the amount you bet has been deducted from your balance and that your bet has been placed.
Note when using free bet welcome bonuses: When using a matched free bet promotion, it’s common for the casino to only award a free bet equal to the size of the player’s first (and qualifying) bet. If a casino ran a 100 percent match deposit bonus up to $50, to receive the full $50 as a free bet, players would need to deposit $50 or more and bet $50 or more. If they deposited $50 and only bet $10, they would receive a free bet of $10.
The odds or price of a bet refers to how much the sportsbook is prepared to pay those correctly backing that market. You will see odds displayed in many forms and players can usually choose which they are most comfortable with in one of the menus.
You’ll find the different odds formats detailed below:
- Fractional: Odds displayed as 2/1 or 5/4 are known as fractional odds.
- Decimal: Odds displayed as 1.5, 2.0, 10.0, etc. are known as decimal odds.
- Moneyline: Odds displayed as a plus or negative number out are known as moneyline or Vegas odds.
If you’ve not much experience with sports betting, we recommend using decimal odds. These are the easiest to get your head around since you just multiply the number by the stake to work out potential winnings from a bet.
The higher (or in betting lingo, the longer) the odds are, the less likely the sportsbook perceives that outcome to occur. For example, a rugby match between Romania and New Zealand would almost certainly see bookmakers giving a much higher price for Romania to win. As one of the more successful teams in the sport, New Zealand would be expected to comfortably win such a game.
If the odds given were low, no one would bet on Romania in this example. If they are expected to win just one game in ten and the sportsbook is only going to double your money when they do, such a bet would be a dreadful losing proposition in the long-term.
The business of sportsbooks is to ensure that all of their bets are losing propositions for bettors but to do so in such a subtle way that the punter feels like they are still getting a good price. In the above example, you would be more likely to see Romania priced at 7/1 (8.0). Having the potential to win eight times the stake makes the bet much more inviting but still provides a profit margin for the sportsbook.
Best Sports to Bet On
For the recreational bettor, the best sport to bet on is obviously going to be the one that they actually enjoy watching or take some interest in. It might be cricket, rugby, soccer, or even something more obscure like skiing or handball.
Whilst it’s possible to find both long and short odds propositions in practically any sport, some are more known for their juicier prices. A good example would be comparing a soccer match to a horse race. Even the biggest underdog in a league is unlikely to be priced any longer than around 12/1 when going up against the champions. Closer odds are much more common in any sport where two teams face off against each other.
By contrast, a sport like horse racing, which could see as many as 40 competitors take part in the same event, will often provide much longer odds. You’ll probably never see a soccer team priced at 500/1 but in huge horse races like the UK’s Grand National, such odds are much more common.
Betting on eSport
As mentioned, esports betting is perhaps the latest trend to take the betting industry by storm. With competitive video gaming growing immensely in popularity over recent years, it was only a matter of time before traditional online bookmakers started offering odds for the digital tournaments.
Popular games for large organised tournaments between professional players include:
- League of Legends
- DOTA 2
- Heroes of the Storm
With thousands of events every year and crowds of spectators growing, increasing numbers of sportsbooks are starting to offer this innovative and exciting new form of competition.
However, esports betting isn’t just a spectator pastime. Innovative new platforms actually allow players to bet on themselves in organised tournaments. This mirrors the organisation of a poker tournament, where each player pays a buy-in (with small fee to the platform itself), and competes until there is an eventual winner.
Just like with online poker tournaments all the buy-ins are pooled and a percentage will go to the eventual winner, runner up, third place, etc. Few platforms offer this kind of betting at the moment but as esports continues to grow in popularity, we expect to see more.
How to Become a Sports Betting Expert
Many people profess to be good at sports betting. However, the consistent profits of sportsbooks show that the true experts are the bookmakers themselves.
That said, it is indeed possible to bet on sports professionally. Doing so will require deep knowledge of sport you follow, constant care to stay up-to-date with developments in specific teams, and also a strong understanding of probability.
The principle itself behind betting for consistent profits is simple enough. Bettors must ensure that the amount the bookmaker is willing to pay out exceeds the likelihood of that event occurring. If the probability of Team A beating Team B is one in two, the bookmaker would need to be offering odds of 1/1 or greater for this to be considered a good bet.
The following basic example illustrates a profitable bet. If Team A has been winning absolutely everything, has the best players in the league, and has no underlying issues that could cause upset, and it plays against the bottom or the league who has its three star players missing and hasn’t won a game all year, they are obviously going to be the favourite. You would expect to see Team A emerge victorious more often than they either drew or lost.
Our hypothetical (and probably very unprofitable) sportsbook offers a price of 9/1 for Team A to beat Team B. Each time a $10 bet on this market comes in (more often than not, remember), the casino will pay our bettor $100. When the bet doesn’t come in, the company makes $10.
If it were possible to play out the match 10 times and Team A beat Team B 8 times in total, the casino will have paid out a total of $800 and received just $20. The player has taken advantage of some admittedly shocking bookmaking and profited from it.
Obviously, these kinds of bets don’t happen very often and they’re never this exaggerated. Sportsbooks employ vast teams of professionals to constantly analyse and update odds to avoid extending profitable propositions to players. For this reason, many professional and skilled bettors prefer betting exchanges where they themselves can set the odds and offer them to other punters. However, this is an advanced topic that would require another article of equal length to fully detail.
Sportsbooks serving the New Zealand market accept a wide range of deposit and withdrawal methods. Although they will vary slightly from operator to operator you will usually find the following payment systems accepted:
- Credit or debit card.
- Bank transfer.
- eWallets (Neteller, Skrill, etc.)
Slightly less common are the following payment methods:
- Pseudo-anonymous systems like Paysafecard.
- Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Different payment methods will have different deposit and withdrawal times. Credit, debit, and eWallet deposits are usually instant, cryptocurrencies will take a matter of minutes, and cheques and bank transfers might take several days.
In terms of withdrawal times, credit and debit cards will require between a few days and a week, eWallets will take one or two days, cheques and bank transfers might take up to two weeks, and cryptocurrencies might arrive in just a few minutes.
Different sports betting platforms also enforce different limits on deposits and withdrawals. Most will require a minimum deposit of $10 irrespective of the payment method used. Withdrawal limits are usually in place too but will be much too large to be of any real concern to most bettors. You can check the terms and conditions of the sports betting service you want if you think you might need to withdraw tens of thousands or more.
Which sportsbook offers the best odds?
Odds are dynamic – meaning they’re always changing. Bookmakers weigh a variety of factors to come up with their odds and sometimes they will differ from company to company. That’s not to say one bookmaker’s odds will be consistently better though.
It is possible too that some platforms that specialise in more niche sports might offer more representative odds of the actual probabilities of a given event in a game occurring.
Can I sign up to the same sportsbook twice to get a second welcome bonus?
No. Welcome bonuses are for new players at a casino only. Sportsbooks that suspect a player is signing up for a second account will usually freeze both accounts and ban them from the service.
Can I break a free bet into smaller units to bet on more sports with it?
Usually no. A $50 free bet will be good for a single $50 bet. Some sportsbooks will promote an offer like “$50 in free bets”. However, rather than award a single, divisible $50 bet, it will probably be 5x $10 bets or 2x $25 bets.
I placed my qualifying bet and didn’t get my free bet, what went wrong?
Probably nothing. The terms and conditions of a free bet promotion will usually require that the qualifying bet settles before the sportsbook issues free bets. Even then, there may be a clause stating that players must wait 24 hours before they will receive the bet.
If you still didn’t receive the bet after the period stated the terms passes and you’re sure you satisfied the other requirements for the promotion, contact the platform’s support team.
Can I withdraw using a different method than that which I used to deposit with?
Casinos and sportsbooks have policies in place to stop money laundering. As part of these policies, players must use the same method to withdraw as they used to deposit.
However, on rare occasions it’s not possible to use the same method. If you hadn’t made a deposit for a while and continued to play off your bankroll for months or even years, it’s entirely plausible that you could have switched bank providers in that time. In these circumstances, online sportsbooks will allow players to use different methods. However, they will require stringent identity checks beforehand.
Can I use my sports betting bankroll on casino games?
At most sportsbooks offering casino games, you only need a single account to access any of the company’s products. Funds deposited to that account will be available in any of the operator’s departments.
It’s worth noting that some platforms, will require players to transfer funds from one section of the site to another. However, this is part of the site’s system and will not require subsequent deposits.
Why is my sportsbook suddenly limiting the size of my bets?
Sportsbooks that suspect a player has been taking too much value from promotions, or profiting using arbitrage strategies may limit a player’s stake size. They will usually be quite open about their reasons via customer support channels.
I’ve not had a bonus for ages! Can I ask for one?
If you feel like a sports betting platform is being stingy with its bonuses, let them know! Contact customer support and tell them you’re thinking about joining another platform. Online gambling companies are in fierce competition with one another and a few free spins is a small price to pay to keep a loyal customer.
My deposit was rejected, what can I do?
If your deposit was rejected by a sportsbook, the first thing you should do is check that you actually have enough money on your account. An unexpected bill coming out of our account could have taken your gambling funds before you had chance to spend them.
If you check and you do indeed have funds in your account, there might be some other option. In these instances, customer support will probably tell you to contact the payments service provider. Sometimes card companies will put blocks on potentially suspicious transactions. Confirming that it was you making a genuine transaction should lift any restrictions.
I’ve lost the card I used to deposit and now want to withdraw, what can I do?
If you no longer have access to the deposit method you used originally, contact customer support to explain the situation. They will advise you on how to add another payment method. Be prepared to submit photographic identification and proof of address.