Sports betting is an immensely popular recreational activity in the United States – one that plays a significant role in driving the growth of the major professional leagues. However, many people don’t understand the basics of sports gambling or the activity’s legal status in the US.
This extensive guide is designed to clear up any questions one may have regarding this globally loved pastime. Not only will we share the best US betting sites, but we’ll also share information to make you a winning bettor, explain gambling’s legal status in the various states, and explore both the history and future of sports wagers.
So, what are the best sports betting sites for US residents? Here they are:
Our List of the Best Betting Sites for the US in 2019
|Bovada review||Play Now Bovada|| 50% bonus up to $250|
|MyBookie review||Play Now MyBookie|| 50% up to $1,000|
|Sportsbetting.ag review||Play Now Sportsbetting.ag|| 50% bonus up to $1,000|
|Xbet review||Play Now Xbet|| 100% bonus up to $300|
|BetOnline review||Play Now BetOnline|| 50% bonus up to $2,500|
- What Makes These Sites the Best
- Legalities of Online Gambling
- Types of Sports Bets Common in the US
- US Betting Bonuses and Promotions
- Favorite Sports League and Events
- Timeline of Biggest Sports Betting Dates
- Fantasy Sports Betting in the US
- Future of Sports Betting in the US
- Building a Foundation Gambling on Sports
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Makes These Sites the Best?
Before we dig deeper into the legalities of sports betting in the United States or teach you the basics of wagering at a sportsbook, you need to sign up with a proper US betting site. The options listed in our recommendations above weren’t included at random; they are the gambling operators that passed our intensive review process.
To recap, here are the best of the best US betting sites and why:
- Bovada – One of the most trusted names and very reliable when it comes to payouts. Bovada offers excellent betting options and a 50% up to $250 first deposit bonus.
- MyBookie.ag – A relative newcomer, MyBookie has quickly made a strong name for itself for US bettors. They offer a great user experience with a deposit bonus worth up to $1,000.
- SportsBetting.ag – As the name suggests, SportsBetting.ag is built around sports betting. They offer a large variety of options and include a 50% up to $1,000 bonus offer.
If a website is shared on LegitGamblingSites.com, you can rest assured it possesses the following qualities.
Safety, Reliability, and Legitimacy
The reason this website exists is to stop bettors from falling victim to scammers and rogue gambling operators. With tens of billions of dollars wagered online annually, unethical site owners are always trying to steal money from unsuspecting customers.Our top priority is guaranteeing that any US betting sites recommended here will be safe, legitimate, and reliable so that you can focus all of your time and energy on winning bets. Let us worry about weeding out the undesirables.
A Wide Variety of Events and Wagers
The US online sportsbooks shared here offer tons of professional sports leagues and events for bettors to choose from and a wide variety of unique wagers within each individual contest.For example, not only does a site offer betting odds on NBA games, but they provide NBA futures, moneyline, point spread, parlay, and live betting options for each matchup.
Variety allows bettors to pinpoint specific conditions upon which they want to wager. It also significantly lessens the potential for boredom or burnout.
Favorable Betting Odds
As you’ll soon learn, either in this guide or through trial and error, sports betting is all about the odds. To a novice, betting may seem more about predicting which side will win in a contest or hitting a high percentage of your picks. But as you develop your skills, you’ll find that successful sports betting is more about finding value and getting bets at the right price.The online betting sites found in our recommendations offer fair betting lines consistent with the numbers posted by oddsmakers all across the USA. They also won’t take too much of a vig, which is how the bookie builds an advantage for themselves into the line. The vig (or vigorish) is typically 10%.
A User-Friendly Mobile Experience
There’s no denying that in today’s marketplace, any website worth its salt should offer an easy-to-use mobile gaming experience to consumers. Our experts take compatibility with mobile platforms into account when vetting US online betting sites, and this factors into the overall rankings.Customers prefer the convenience of being able to place a wager at any time from any location. In sports betting, timing can be critical; odds are pulled off the board once a game begins, and buying picks at the right price is a crucial aspect of profitable gambling.
Your Choice of Banking Methods
Before you can place any bets, you must first open an account and make a deposit to fund it. However, in the United States, this isn’t always as straightforward and simple as you may expect. Thanks to some outdated gambling laws, some financial institutions are forbidden from processing transactions between account holders and known gambling operations.Due to these rules, most US bettors cannot transfer money straight from a checking or savings account into their online sportsbook bankroll. You may need to use a credit card (many credit companies ignore the aforementioned laws), e-wallet, gift cards, or Bitcoin to deposit and withdraw money. We prefer sites with plenty of financial options to ensure there’s a banking method available to everyone who wishes to gamble.
Excellent Customer Service
No matter how trustworthy and legit a US betting site is, there’s always the possibility of something going wrong or not working correctly; that’s just the internet. It’s how a website handles these situations that matters most. That’s why we put serious significance on a sportsbook’s customer service department.It’s critical that bettors be able to get a response or resolution to their problem as quickly as possible. We check for multiple forms of contacting the help desk, then test them all to ensure they are actively working and monitored. Our team of experts also combs through reviews of prior users, searching for any red flags and patterns of customer service complaints going ignored or being delayed.
Fast Payout Speeds
The vast majority of online gamblers that have been scammed aren’t aware there is anything shady about their site until they try to withdraw their earnings. Delaying or outright denying withdrawals is a hallmark sign of a rogue gaming operator.Websites will set ridiculously low weekly/monthly limits on how much may be cashed out at a time or purposely drag their feet in processing the requests. They use long delays in hopes of boring their customers into making additional wagers.
Our recommended US sports betting sites won’t give you the runaround on withdrawal requests. All of their payment timelines are consistent with the fastest processing times available for each respective banking method.
Bonuses and Loyalty Rewards Programs
Another huge factor in a reader’s choice of which US betting website to use is the bonuses and loyalty rewards programs. Betting sites in the US will offer sign-up and deposit bonuses, which often double the size of a bettor’s bankroll before they ever place a single wager!The loyalty rewards programs allow gamblers to accrue points or reach certain tiers depending on how much they bet on average and how frequently. The more you play, the higher the returns. Prizes can range from site merchandise and free plays to cash back for losses and even vacations or vehicles.
When we take all of these variables into account, we’re left with the premier US betting sites on our list of recommendations!
Legalities of Online Gambling in the US
Finding the best US betting sites is lovely and all, but is online sports wagering even legal? In the United States, that can be a complicated question to answer – especially now, in what is a monumental transitional period for the industry.
As always, the bulk of the confusion regarding the legalities of online sports betting is due to the conflict between states’ rights to a certain degree of autonomy concerning gaming, and federal laws and statutes. That being said, the lines are becoming a little less blurred thanks to a recent decision by the Supreme Court.
Striking Down PASPA and the Spread of US Sports Betting
In 1992, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was passed by the US Senate Judiciary Committee. Often referred to as “PASPA,” this law not only banned US sports betting at the federal level, but it also barred states from legalizing at the state level in the future. However, Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon – states which already had legalized gambling – were all grandfathered in and allowed to continue their regulated gaming industries.
This law was supported by the NCAA and the major US professional sports leagues and was meant to keep gambling from corrupting the integrity of the games. Although, between the sportsbooks in legalized states, tribal reservations, and online, the bill did little to prevent controversies such as the NBA’s Tim Donaghy scandal, where a referee was influencing games on behalf of an organized crime syndicate.
Then, in 2012, the state of New Jersey voted and passed a law legalizing sports betting at state-licensed locations. It was immediately challenged in court by the NCAA, with the other leagues soon joining the pro-PASPA side as well. Both the District Court in New Jersey and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the leagues but left the state with another move.
The Appeals Court ruled that New Jersey could repeal existing laws without violating PASPA. The state wasted no time, voting to repeal a former state law outlawing sports betting in 2014. Once again, the NCAA – along with four sports leagues – filed suit, and once again, they won in District Court and Appeals Court.
New Jersey then petitioned the United States Supreme Court to decide on the constitutionality of PASPA. The case was accepted in June 2017, with oral arguments scheduled for December of that year.
Ultimately, PASPA was deemed unconstitutional for violating provisions of the Tenth Amendment. Essentially, if one state is allowed the autonomy to pass specific laws, all must have those same rights. Just like that, forty-six other states had a decision to make concerning sports betting.
50 States. 50 Independent Gambling Jurisdictions
At the time being, sports betting is a state’s rights issue exclusively. In response to the PASPA repeal, many regions have already begun writing up legislation and voting on gaming legalization. Some others are unlikely ever to permit the gambling industry to move within their borders.
The United States is a country made up of fifty unique gambling jurisdictions with their own regulatory bodies and licensing procedures. For a more in-depth breakdown of which betting activities are allowed within each state, check out our guide dedicated to US gambling laws.
Possible Federal Oversight of US Sports Betting
Something to watch for in the future is the US Congress poking their nose into sports betting once again. Since the Supreme Court repealed PASPA, we’ve been hearing senators like Orrin Hatch and Charles Schumer openly discussing the possibility of new legislation that would give the federal government power over the states.
If a state wanted to legalize sports betting, they’d first need to receive approval from a federal licensing body. While some groups have reacted positively to the new proposals, including the NCAA and professional sports leagues, states like Nevada with long-standing gambling laws and well-entrenched regulatory bodies are not enthusiastic about federal meddling.
Like the 1992 PASPA bill, this new federal oversight law was introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch. It shows an intent by the government to get involved rather than leaving legalization up to the states alone. This will be a crucial upcoming legal battle that very well may determine the course of the online betting industry in the United States going forward.
Noteworthy Gambling Laws in the US:
Passed with the Wire Act, it’s basically the same law, only it deals with the act of traveling across state lines carrying picks and/or bets rather than wiring them. Again, this was meant to cripple organized crime, not impact the average individual bettor
This is the third bill from RFK meant to work in conjunction with the Wire Act. This law outlaws the delivery of devices and tools used for bookmaking, whether they be computer disks or betting slips, from venturing over state lines.
This law is yet another passed with stopping the mafia in mind. In states without legalized gaming, organized crime syndicates were opening secret casinos. This bill defined an outlaw casino operation and was used to prosecute mafia members operating locations with more than $2,000 in gross revenue any given day and five or more employees.
The RICO act was a law passed that allowed law enforcement to use an organized crime operation’s money against them. If the government can prove their money financed illegal activities, the financier is punished as if they committed the crime themselves. This was an excellent way to prosecute mob bosses and shut down illegal betting rings.
PASPA was passed in 1992 as an effort to crack down on sports betting’s perceived corrupting influence on amateur and professional sports alike. While four states were grandfathered into allowing legalized betting, the rest of the jurisdictions were banned at the federal level. Furthermore, the bill barred the remaining states from passing their own sports betting laws. This was eventually challenged by the state of New Jersey and found unconstitutional in 2018 for violating a portion of the Tenth Amendment.
This law was passed in an effort to prevent money laundering. It makes owning any percentage of an unlicensed money transmitting operation unlawful.
This is an interstate commerce law designed to stop businesses from purchasing state lottery tickets and selling them in another jurisdiction outside of state borders. Now, it’s only legal to sell lottery tickets within the region for which they’re meant to be played.
This law was amended to allow interstate pari-mutuel betting over the internet or telephone under specific circumstances. As long as both sides involved in a transaction are located in regions with legalized track racing, it’s acceptable to make bets remotely over state lines.
UIGEA is the law most likely to cause minor inconveniences for US residents hoping to bet online. This bill blocks gambling operators from accepting money from gamblers located in jurisdictions where gaming is outlawed. It is also meant to prevent financial institutions from permitting transactions between their customers and known gambling providers.
Types of Sports Bets Common in the US
One of the best things about sports betting in the United States is the variety of wager types at your disposal. There are many different ways of betting on the same game or event. You can wager on the winner of the contest straight-up or with a point spread handicap, bet on the total number of points or goals scored, combine several different picks into one parlay card, and much more.
With futures bets, you can pick a winner for the championship before the season starts, while props let you isolate any number of factors to bet on, such as “which athlete will score a touchdown first” in an NFL football game.
In this section, we’ll look at all of the primary forms of sports betting available to bettors in the US. Also, be sure to check out the examples to get a better visual of how these wagers work. The most popular types of bets made in the US are as follows:
- Point Spread
- Prop Bets
- In-Game Betting
Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ve probably made a moneyline bet in your life. Moneyline wagers are the most basic form of sports betting available, both in and outside the United States. It’s merely a bet on a competitor or team to win the game. There are no point spreads or other conditions that must be met; it’s strictly a pick for the winner of the contest.
But in athletic events, rarely do both sides have an equal chance of winning. Naturally, some teams or athletes are better than others and have a much higher probability of earning a victory. The way these varying odds are treated when betting the moneyline is through the use of either a positive or negative three-digit number.
The team that’s expected to win is called the “favorite,” and their odds are expressed as a negative value – for example, -225. That means that to wager on the favored side, you must stake $225 to win $100.
Conversely, the competitor deemed less likely to win is called the “underdog.” Underdogs are the most profitable of the moneyline bets and can increase a bankroll even if you win a relatively low percentage of your picks. Their odds are presented as a positive number, like +190. This means that for every $100 staked on a winning bet, the return is $190.
To learn a great deal more about moneyline wagers, check out our article dedicated to the subject:
Here at LegitGamingSites.com we like to make sure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice when it comes to your gambling. For more some more details on moneyline wagers check out some of our articles below.
Point Spreads/Handicap Betting
In competitions between two uneven opponents, point spreads can be used to attract an equal number of bets on both sides of the line. By applying a handicap, the oddsmakers can bring a contest to almost a 50/50 chance of either team winning.
In high-scoring sports like football or basketball, the spread can grow as large as necessary to even the odds. For example, in a one-sided matchup between the best team in college football and the worst, the favorite may be laying as many as 50 points or more!
Whatever number the spread is set at, that’s how many points the favorite must exceed in their margin of victory. So, a 51.5-point favorite must win by 52 or more points to “cover the spread” and win their bet. Meanwhile, wagers on the underdog will win as long as the lesser squad keeps their opponent within 51 or fewer points.
In games with lower average point totals, point spreads are treated differently. Rather than adjusting to the talent gap, a fixed 1.5-point handicap is applied. Because these spreads stay constant, the odds aren’t always similar for both sides.
The Boston Red Sox with their ace on the mound may still be significant favorites, even after laying 1.5 points. The betting lines will move closer to the middle, but not as far as you see with adjustable point spreads.
In the low-scoring sports, these wagers aren’t necessarily called “point spreads,” even though that’s what they are. For each game, the 1.5-point handicaps have their own name.
- In baseball, they’re called the run line
- In soccer, it’s the goal line
- In hockey, it’s known as the puck line
We give a more detailed look into point spread betting in the following sports betting guide:
As always our goal is to ensure that you have all the information you need to make an informed choice when it comes to your gambling. For more details on spread betting check out some of our articles below.
You may want some action on a game without the stress of having to choose a winning team. If so, totals bets could be precisely what you’re looking for. These wagers concern the total number of points scored in a contest by both sides combined. The oddsmakers set a point total; then bettors decide whether they think the actual total will fall “under” or “over” that line.
Sometimes, due to certain conditions or matchups, handicappers may have a prediction for the type of game that will be played without having a clear idea of which team will come out on top. High wind speeds in an NFL game, for example, will usually result in the “under,” regardless of the participants.
You’re just gambling on the flow of the game. Like spread bets, both sides will have odds relatively close to even money, with -110 being the typical starting point. With serious action, you may see a line move to -130 or so, but it shouldn’t be more drastic than that.
You can find much more detailed information and strategies for totals or over/unders betting by reading the following article:
To learn more about the intricacies behind totals and over/under betting and how they relate to the NFL, College football, and March Madness
One way to get incredibly favorable odds, even on the best teams, is to place your championship picks exceptionally early. Futures bets are a way to wager on things that won’t be decided for long periods of time, such as league champions or the winners of annual honors like the Heisman Trophy or league MVP.
The betting lines for these wagers are typically released immediately after the end of the previous season. They are adjusted throughout the offseason in response to various talent acquisitions, trades, and other changes, but for the most part, you can always find excellent odds prior to the next season starting.
Here are some examples of futures bets in various leagues and sports.
- NBA Basketball
- NBA Championship
- Western Conference Champions
- Eastern Conference Champions
- Most Valuable Player
- Defensive Player of the Year
- Sixth Man of the Year
- Coach of the Year
- Rookie of the Year
- College Football
- National Championship
- College Football Playoff Entrants
- Heisman Trophy Winner
- Various Conference Championships
- Major League Baseball
- World Series Champions
- American League Pennant
- National League Pennant
- Cy Young
- AL and NL MVPs
- NFL Football
- Super Bowl Champion
- NFC Championship
- AFC Championship
- Most Valuable Player
- Offensive/Defensive Rookie of the Year
If you’d like to learn more about futures bets and maybe learn some strategies for winning them more often, check out the following article:
Looking for some more details on the subject? Take a look at some of our other articles on futures bets for specifics when it comes to the NFL and MLB.
Prop (or proposition) bets give sports bettors an infinite amount of flexibility regarding the conditions they’re betting on. You’ll see lines offered on individual players, such as “Will Tom Brady throw more than 2.5 touchdowns?” or “Which player will commit the first penalty?”
These wagers can cover absolutely any aspect of an upcoming contest, and they often get incredibly creative and fun, especially for massive events like the Super Bowl. That’s when you’ll see betting odds offered on things like the coin toss, the color of the Gatorade dumped on the winning coach, and the length of the National Anthem.
But proposition bets aren’t reserved exclusively for the big events anymore. Most online sportsbooks offer them for every contest. They usually aren’t as quirky as what’s available for the Super Bowl, but you can still wager on individual players’ performances, specific circumstances such as “over/under 11.5 total hits” for a baseball team, or “who will score the first free throw?” in a basketball game.
We have a more detailed guide discussing the ins and outs of proposition wagering at the following link:
Our goal is always to give you as much information as possible so you can make the best choices when placing your bets. For some more details about the specifics of prop bets take a look at some additional articles below.
One form of gambling that’s been growing in popularity in recent years, especially with the increases in internet speeds and mobile gaming, is live or in-game betting. While most betting lines are pulled from the board as soon as a contest begins, this style of wagering doesn’t start until the action is underway.
While the game is being played, bettors may gamble on a wide variety of things, while the odds adjust in real time in response to what’s happening on the field or court. You have the usual wagers on the winning team or point totals, which can be bet at more favorable odds if you time your picks correctly, as well as a range of in-game-betting-specific props.
For example, you may want to put some action on “the next player to commit a shooting foul” in an NBA game or “next player to score a rushing touchdown” in American football. In-game betting is such a unique form of sports betting; it has its own set of systems and strategies specific to live action. If you’d like to learn more about the specifics of this dynamic form of betting, check out the following article:
Wondering about the details of how live/in-game betting works for your favorite sport? Take a look at some additional articles below for horse racing and the NFL.
US Betting Bonuses and Promotions
As we mentioned briefly in earlier sections, a cornerstone of the online gambling marketplace is gifting players various bonuses and perks. There are two basic classifications of bonuses: entry-level and loyalty rewards.
In this section, we’d like to present you with some pros and cons for each of the common bonuses provided by our favorite US gambling site recommendations.
Sign-up bonuses are offered to potential customers who have not yet opened an account and are usually new to online gambling. In exchange for filling out the required personal information and opening a new betting account, the player receives free bet credits which they can use to try out the website/software.
- Sign-up bonuses allow you to check out the customer-only areas of a betting site without having to deposit money first. They also let you test the various wagers, going through the bet-placing process without any risk involved.
- The only downside to these perks is that if you win, you don’t receive any money. You’d have to fund an account with real cash first.
Deposit bonuses are the most common that you’ll find, with the terms of the deal usually included as part of our list of recommendations. For example, you’ll see offers to “match up to 100% of your initial deposit.” If you transfer $200 into your site account, they’ll include $200 of their own, doubling your starting bankroll.
- Free money is always welcome! This added cash comes at a time when most novice bettors are still learning the ropes and figuring out which sports and events they like to bet on or which wagers they win most often.
- The downside is that many of these cash prizes come with some strings attached. It’s understandable; the US betting sites would be wiped out in a week if anyone could receive their deposit bonus and then withdraw the whole load.
- To protect themselves, gaming operators attach “rollovers.” Rollovers often exceed 25x, which means that you must bet twenty-five times the amount you were given before being allowed to withdraw. So, for a $100 bonus, you’d need to make $2,500 in various wagers before touching your account money.
Loyalty Rewards Programs
“Loyalty rewards” can have a much broader meaning than the entry-level gifts. These are bonuses provided to long-time patrons as a token of appreciation – and to keep them coming back.
Depending on the style of the rewards program and one’s betting habits, these can exist as pleasant little gifts delivered from time to time or become extravagant prizes in exchange for high-rollers’ repeat business.
- It’s nice to feel appreciated, and the loyalty rewards prizes can be quite valuable. Cash-back (without rollovers), merchandise, and gift cards are all common bonuses.
- These rewards programs can potentially inspire players to bet irresponsibly in hopes of hitting a higher tier or level, which may lead to problem gambling.
Differences Between US and UK Bonuses
Now that we have a better understanding of what US bonuses and promotions look like, we’ll take a look at how they compare to the UK, where online sports betting has been legal since 1963.
After some analysis between popular US and UK betting sites, we discovered the following:
- UK betting bonuses tend to be a significantly lower value (UK – £30, US – $250)
- US betting sites are more likely to offer cash bonuses
- UK betting sites are more likely to offer unique/conditional promotions, such as “Get your bets paid out if the team you back goes 2 goals ahead”
- US betting bonuses, since they’re often larger, will have a higher rollover requirement before you can cash out your winnings
Although US bonuses tend to have more restrictions on withdrawing your bonus, a sharp sports bettor can utilize those large promotional offers to rake in some substantial profits.
If you’re not interested in scouring the internet for the best US betting site bonuses, don’t worry; we’ve done the work for you.
Below, you’ll find a list of our top recommended US sportsbooks with the best bonus offers available!
The Best US Betting Sites for Bonuses and Promotions
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|MyBookie review||Play Now MyBookie|| 50% up to $1,000|
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|BetOnline review||Play Now BetOnline|| 50% bonus up to $2,500|
Favorite Sports Leagues and Events for US Bettors
Sports betting is already popular in the United States, but following the repeal of PASPA, it’s only growing and becoming more accepted by the public with each passing year. The following leagues and sports are the most heavily wagered on in the US and are ranked in order from most favorite to least, according to recent poll numbers.
There’s no bigger sport in the United States than football and no bigger league than the NFL. Each season, the Super Bowl – football’s championship game – brings in more gambling revenue than any other single sporting event of the year. The season runs from early September through the first Sunday in February.
Basketball is the second-most heavily wagered sport in the United States. While the NBA and professional basketball draw the most betting attention throughout the year, it’s college basketball that boasts the most betting action for a single event. Every year, March Madness trails only the Super Bowl in terms of the amount wagered.
Horse racing is actually the third-most popular sports betting activity in the US. Sportsbooks take bets on the various races at different tracks all year long, but it’s the Triple Crown events that attract loads of money. The three most significant races of the year in the US are the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Whenever a horse looks like a promising contender to win all three, betting activity skyrockets as casual fans are drawn to the history-making events.
Baseball is in fourth place. The MLB may lag behind other leagues in terms of overall betting action, but it’s one of the best sports for handicappers. The long season and droves of data make this sport a gambler’s dream and one of the easiest games for smart bettors to find an edge. Both the MLB and college World Series attract lots of attention and betting dollars.
The National Hockey League is still lagging behind the other major professional sports in the United States, both in viewership and betting popularity.
Timeline of the Biggest Annual US Sports Betting Dates
- NFL Playoffs (January 5-January 20)
- NHL All-Star Game (January 25-26)
- NFL Pro Bowl (January 27)
- NFL Super Bowl (February 3)
- NBA All-Star Weekend (February 15-February 17)
- March Madness Selection Sunday (March 17)
- March Madness First Four (March 19-20)
- Baseball – Start of the 2019 MLB Season (March 20-September 29)
- March Madness Rounds 1 and 2 (March 21-24)
- March Madness Sweet 16 and Elite 8 (March 28-31)
- Horse Racing – Dubai World Cup (March 30)
- March Madness Final Four (April 6)
- March Madness National Championship (April 8)
- NBA Playoffs (April 13-May 30)
- Horse Racing – Kentucky Derby (May 3-5)
- Horse Racing – Preakness Stakes (May 16-18)
- Golf – PGA Championship (May 16-19)
- Soccer – FA Cup Final (May 18)
- NBA Finals Begin (May 30)
- NHL Stanley Cup Finals Begin (Late May, Early June)
- Soccer – Champions League Final (June 1)
- Horse Racing – Belmont Stakes (June 7-9)
- Golf – U.S. Open (June 13-16)
- Tennis – Wimbledon (July 1-14)
- Golf – British Open (July 18-21)
- Tennis – US Open (August 26-September 8)
- Football – Start of the NFL Season (September 5-December 29)
- Hockey – Start of the NHL Season (October 3-April 6)
- Basketball – Start of the NBA Season (October 16-April 10)
- MLB World Series Begins (October 22-October 30)
- Horse Racing – Breeders’ Cup World Championships (November 1-2)
Fantasy Sports Betting in the US
Over the past decade or so, the growth of fantasy sports has drastically increased fan interaction with various games – football, basketball, and baseball in particular. There are now two primary forms of fantasy sports, season-long leagues, and daily fantasy sites.
The oldest form of fantasy sports is season-long leagues. Regardless of the sport, these leagues run concurrently with the actual seasons. Players or “owners” draft a team of athletes at the beginning of the season, then those players’ stats are applied to the fantasy team, just as they would be their actual team in real life. At the end of the year, there’s a playoffs and championship game that determines the league winner.
Daily Fantasy Sites
Daily fantasy is closer to traditional sports betting. Every day, you pick a new team rather than carrying the same roster through the entire season. In recent years, daily fantasy has exploded in popularity, especially in the NFL. Owners can participate in a variety of different daily tournaments, some with a single winner who collects a hefty prize purse, and others where every player in the top fifty percentile collects winnings.
Future of Sports Betting in the United States
The future of sports betting in the United States is simultaneously extremely promising and somewhat in flux. While the repeal of PASPA opened the door for nation-wide legalized sports betting, recent interest from Congress in regulating the industry at the federal level is somewhat alarming. Regardless, since the Supreme Court decision, there have been some exciting developments.
In fact, things are moving so quickly that the United States is expected to be the world’s most substantial sports betting market by the year 2023.
Collaboration Between Sportsbooks and Professional Leagues
We’re already seeing a number of partnerships formed between gaming operators and professional sports leagues. MGM Resorts has already signed eight-figure deals with the MLB, NHL, and NBA, giving the gambling giant the right to use official stats and data from the leagues in their sportsbooks.
This will likely make way for numerous forms of in-game betting and other exciting deals as these two industries continue to find exciting ways to engage fans. When MGM partnered with the New York Jets recently, a form of wagering called “I Called It” was created. This game allows bettors to gamble on what will happen next in ongoing Jets games.
We’ve also recently seen William Hill, a massive global gaming provider, endorse two different NHL teams. As these partnerships continue to be formed, even more exclusive games and specialty bets will undoubtedly emerge.
Increased Popularity for All Leagues
Similar to the effect fantasy sports have had on football in particular, the spread of sports betting will only drive higher interest and viewership numbers to professional sports leagues. Live athletic events are already some of the most valuable properties on television, as they’re some of the only programs viewers must tune in live for, rather than watching on demand (which allows one to skip commercials).
With a strong push towards interacting in-game betting coming, consumers will be incentivized to watch more games live, so they may engage in gambling activities. As gaming providers continue to find new and innovative ways to offer wagering opportunities, this effect on the professional leagues will only grow. Soon, they’ll feel silly for having ever tried to stop the spread of sports betting in the United States.
We are already seeing a push towards more innovative forms of live betting for US customers. With legal sports betting establishments needing to compete with offshore options, operators will be looking to utilize the latest technology to create a more entertaining gaming experience. There’s been talk of virtual reality, the emergence of esports, and even cyborgs!
Read ESPN’s piece on the future of sports betting here.
Building a Foundation for Betting on Sports
Before you rush into your first sports bet, you should first prepare yourself by learning some of the terminology and building a solid foundation for a beginning gambler. In this section, we link to some of the essential guides and articles to help you start your sports betting career.
Glossary of Online Sports Betting Terms
You’ve probably already noticed some terminology used in this guide that you’ve never seen before. Whether you’re curious to know what the “vig (or vigorish)” is or need to define what exactly is a prop bet, our glossary of common online sports betting terms should have you covered:
Sports Betting Frequently Asked Questions
You may also want to turn to our frequently asked questions page dedicated exclusively to the topic of sports betting. There may be questions you haven’t even thought to ask that will help you build your foundation of gambling knowledge faster.
Finding Legitimate Betting Sites
As we mentioned in the earlier section about the qualities we look for in a US betting site, our primary mission at LegitGamblingSites.com is to pair new online sports bettors with the very best internet-based sportsbooks. Our mission is to ensure that our readers are using trustworthy, reliable, and reputable gambling providers rather than the numerous scam sites out there.
If you’re interested in how we determine a US betting website’s legitimacy, check out this article:
Understanding Betting Odds
Depending on the types of wagers you choose to make online, you may see the betting odds expressed in different formats. There are actually three styles in which betting lines are always expressed:
Moneyline (or American) odds are represented by a three-digit number which will either be positive or negative. If the number is precluded by a “+,” that side is the underdog. The three-digit number tells you how much money you’ll win for every $100 wagered. So, if Team A is a +300 underdog, a winning $100 bet would earn $300 in profit.
The side with the negative three-digit number is the favorite. They have the higher probability of winning and will feature a “-” before the odds. This number shows how many dollars you must stake in order to win $100. For example, Team B is heavily favored at -275 betting odds. One would have to risk $275 just to earn $100.
Decimal odds are usually found in European sportsbooks, while the moneyline system is more common in the US. Fractional odds express probability in fraction form, such as 20/1. That number is read as “twenty-to-one,” meaning $20 in profit for every $1 wagered. Horseraces typically utilize fractional odds, which is typical for bets with an entire pool of potential winners like golf or futures lines.
If you’d like more examples of the different odds formats and how you can convert easily from one style to another, check out the following guide:
The biggest mistake novice bettors make is thinking sports betting is all about picking winners. While that can certainly be true, it’s finding positive value and understanding how to intelligently take risks that will make you successful.
The basic concept is only to make wagers when the actual likelihood of an outcome occurring is higher than the implied probability, which we get from the odds. In the following article, you’ll learn all about “implied probability” and how to convert any gambling odds into a percentage to compare with what you believe is the real probability.
We’ll go into much greater detail breaking down the core philosophies of winning sports betting and how you should be approaching every wager if you’re hoping to profit long-term.
We can’t express enough how crucial it is that you’re a responsible gambler. By understanding and utilizing sound bankroll management, you can organize your sports betting in a way that 1) allows you to properly use betting systems and strategies to make real earnings and 2) keeps you from staking more money than you intend to or falling into patterns of problem gambling like chasing your losses.
We’ll go into more detail in the following article and share some tips for creating and managing your bankroll and creating a staking plan:
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Is online sports betting legal in the United States?
Technically, yes, but that also depends on your location. In some states like Nevada and New Jersey, online sports betting is already legal. Other regions are currently in the process of passing sports gambling legislation now that the federal ban on the activity has been repealed.
Regardless of your location, you can utilize offshore betting sites without any risk or fear of punishment. There are no laws against individual bettors accessing gambling operators in other jurisdictions.
How do I know if a betting site is legitimate?
That can be quite challenging! Luckily for you, that’s where LegitGamblingSites.com comes in! We employ a team of experts who are continuously researching new betting sites and putting them through a rigorous review process to ensure safety, reliability, and legitimacy.
You can find our reviews here: Site Reviews
What’s an offshore betting site?
Offshore” just refers to betting sites that accept US players while operating from outside the borders of the state or country in which you’re residing. Many of the websites are hosted in Antigua and Barbuda, Costa Rica, Gibraltar, and the Isle of Man.
You can learn about all kinds of offshore gambling jurisdictions in our online gambling laws guide
Do online betting sites use real money?
Yes, absolutely! The sites listed here allow bettors to deposit real cash into their gambling account and play for actual rewards.