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Online sports betting — where to bet in the US

Melanie Hart Last updated on October 1, 2023

Checked by Geraldine S.Ian Z.

Crank up the excitement of a live sports game from the comfort of your home. That’s what online sports betting is all about. You’re taking someone’s favorite pastime — watching sports — and adding an element of risk and excitement into the mix.

Legal online sports betting may still be in its infancy in the US, but after the Supreme Court lifted the ban in 2018, many states are already boasting some first-rate sportsbooks offering top-notch bonuses. So without further ado, let’s jump straight in as we touch on various aspects of sports and online betting.

Ready to bet on sports?

You know what sports betting is all about and you just want to get straight to it. Well, as more states are legislating to ensure residents can enjoy legal online betting, more operators are entering the scene. So let us introduce you to the best sportsbooks the US has to offer.


Caesars sportsbook review
90/100 Expert rating by Ian Z. 94% Playscore based on Up to $1,250 Stakeback + 2,000 loyalty credits
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Good to know

  • Excellent rewards program
  • Fast payouts
  • Bet on 20 different sports

9 payment methods

VIP Preferred
Bank Transfer
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BetMGM sportsbook review
85/100 Expert rating by Anna M. 91% Playscore based on Up to $1,000 back in Bonus Bets
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Good to know

  • Strong odds on football
  • Stellar customer support
  • Live streaming and live data

14 payment methods

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American Express
Cash at Casino Cage
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Borgata sportsbook review
85/100 Expert rating by Ian Z. 85% Playscore based on Bet $20 get $100 in Free Bets
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Good to know

  • Great odds on football
  • Regular parlay boosts
  • Bet on 22 different sports

13 payment methods

VIP Preferred
Cash at Casino Cage
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American Express
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BetRivers sportsbook review
83/100 Expert rating by Ian Z. 86% Playscore based on Second Chance Bet of up to $500
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  • Many regular promotions
  • Huge number of sports
  • Trusted by many state licensors

6 payment methods

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bet365 sportsbook review
82/100 Expert rating by Ian Z. 89% Playscore based on Bet $1 get $200 in Bonus Bets
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  • Several user-friendly offers
  • Large parlay boosts
  • Includes virtual sports

7 payment methods

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21+. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler (call or text in Colorado).
PointsBet sportsbook review
80/100 Expert rating by Melanie H. 85% Playscore based on Ten free bets up to $1,000
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  • Request your own bets
  • Live streaming
  • Daily odds boosts
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OwnersBox sportsbook review
80/100 Expert rating by Anna M. 87% Playscore based on 100% match up to $500
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  • Twist on the traditional
  • User-friendly DFS platform
  • Available in 37 states

7 payment methods

Bank Transfer
American Express
ACH Network
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Fliff logo
Fliff social sportsbook review
80/100 Expert rating by Ramona D. 83% Playscore based on 100% up to $100 FC
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Good to know

  • Good sport selection
  • Offers college sports
  • Available in 41 states

5 payment methods

Bank Transfer
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ParlayPlay sportsbook review
78/100 Expert rating by Anna M. 86% Playscore based on 100% match up to $100 + $5 Promo Pick
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  • Mix of DFS with sports betting
  • Members Club rewards
  • Available in 27 states

4 payment methods

ACH Network
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Unibet sportsbook review
78/100 Expert rating by Anna M. 85% Playscore based on Match four bets up to $100
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Good to know

  • Award-winning sportsbook
  • Unibet community hub
  • Available in IN, NJ, PA, WV

8 payment methods

VIP Preferred
ACH Network
Cash at Casino Cage
Bank Transfer
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What sports can you bet on?

Any good sportsbook out there might overwhelm you with the vast betting choices on offer. We’re not just talking about sports here. Any event that is happening live and has an unknown, unpredictable outcome is fair game. That means players can now enjoy real money betting on anything from the outcomes of elections to who is going to win the next series of American Idol. 

Sports betting - Esports


Esports consist of any competitive video games played between individuals or a team. Popular Esports include LoL and CS:GO.

Sports betting - Horse Racing

Horse racing

Horse racing is a popular sector with races differing in distance, obstacles, and where the jockey’s seated. 

Sports betting - Boxing


US boxing betting has been popular since Dempsey and Johnson. Popular wagers include the outright winner and method of victory.



This American institution needs no introduction. Here, Parlay bets are probably the go-to wager type as they have higher potential payouts.



Huge in Europe, online soccer betting earned the European football industry half a billion dollars in betting sponsorships in the 20/21 season.

Sports betting - Tennis


 There are three main types of wagers in tennis: the moneyline, the game spread and set spread. These help balance out the lower variance.



Almost as popular as football, basketball betting is legal in around 20 states, though some limit college sports. A popular option for live betting.

Sports betting - golf


Let’s face it, America loves golf. 3 out of the 4 major world championships have a foothold  in the US sports betting online market.

Sports betting - Rugby Union

Rugby union

Inaugurated in 2017, the popularity of the sport has been rising in the US and Major League Rugby may soon rival European viewership.

Sports betting - Mma

Mixed martial arts (MMA)

The sport started out in the 90s, and MMA sports betting followed. Any serious sportsbook will offer UFC bets these days.

Sports betting - Cricket


Cricket makes in-game betting popular. From the Ashes to T20, who doesn’t love slow-motion baseball?

Sports betting - Auto Racing

Auto racing

From Formula 1 racing to NASCAR, auto racing offers endless types of sports betting options, from outright wins to podiums and futures.

Sports betting - Baseball


Rivals football and soccer for the number of individual bets per game. Sportsbooks such as BetMGM partner with MLB to offer real-time data.

Sports betting - Hockey


Who’ll win the Stanley cup? Well, nobody knows yet. But that’s one super-popular bet at the start of the NHL season.

Sports betting - Table Tennis

Table tennis

With tournaments like the World Table Tennis Championships and the ITTF World Cup there’s no shortage for table tennis fans to choose from.

Sports betting - Politics


Many sportsbooks also offer bets on the outcome of political events. These are normally straight bets such as which way a state will swing.

Sports betting - Entertainment


Some of these include who’ll win American Idol, who’ll win the best director award at the Oscars, and even who’ll be the next James Bond.

Popular sports events you can bet on

All year-round, no matter the season — and who doesn’t like an NFL game where the gridiron is covered in snow — there’s some form of sporting event going on. Many of the major sports leagues run annually, and other international events run every 4 years, such as the World Cup or the Olympics. This means there are plenty of chances for players to try their luck and place a betting payment.

In the US, the three most popular sporting events are:

  1. National Football League (NFL) every February holds the Superbowl the NFL betting event of the year
  2. Major League Baseball (MBL) concludes in October/November in a best-of-7 game World Series.
  3. National Basketball Association (NBA) crowning their yearly champions in the NBA Finals in June.
  • Online sports betting - MLB logo
  • Online sports betting - NBA logo
  • Onlien sports betting - NCAAB logo
  • Onlien sports betting - NFL logo
  • Onlien sports betting - NHL logo
  • Onlien sports betting - PGA Tour logo
  • Online sports betting - US Open logo
    US Open

Since 2018, when New Jersey won their Supreme Court ruling stating they can legalize sports betting, every state in the US can legislate to allow betting on sports. Before that, betting on sports was only legal in Nevada.

Now we’re seeing many states have either already legislated to make sports betting legal, or are in the process of finalizing legislation. Every state has the power to make its own rules and it’s the reason why some states have an online sportsbook but others don’t. For example, you can play at Tennessee online sportsbooks and Louisiana sports betting sites, but those states are yet to legalize online casinos.

Out of the 50 states, 32 have already regulated retail sports betting and many of these have also legislated to allow online regulated sports betting. Some even have esports betting on the cards, but the situation is more fluid there.

Most states allow fantasy sports betting, as it’s seen more as a game of skills rather than pure gambling.

Another 15 states (Alabama, Alaska, California, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Hawaii, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Vermont) are moving towards legislation.

In Idaho and Wisconsin, there’s no movement towards allowing any form of sports betting. In Utah, it’s unlikely that sports bets will ever be legal in the near future. Anti-gambling is in the state’s constitution, and they’re firmly opposed to gambling in every form, including sports bets.

StateOffline sports bettingAvailable sinceOnline sports betting
Arizona sports bettingYes2021Yes
Arkansas sports bettingYes2019No
Colorado sports bettingYes2020Yes
Connecticut sports bettingYes2021Pending
Delaware sports bettingYes2018No
Florida sports bettingPendingN/APending
Illinois sports bettingYes2020Yes
Indiana sports bettingYes2019Yes
Iowa sports bettingYes2019Yes
Louisiana sports bettingYes2021Yes
Maryland sports bettingYes2021Coming soon
Massachusetts sports bettingYes2022Yes
Michigan sports bettingYes2020Yes
Mississippi sports bettingYes2018No
Montana sports bettingYes2020No
Nebraska sports bettingPendingN/APending
Nevada sports bettingYes1949Yes
New Hampshire sports bettingNo2019Yes
New Jersey sports bettingYes2018Yes
New Mexico sports bettingYes2018No
New York sports bettingYes2019Yes
North Carolina sports bettingYes2021No
North Dakota sports bettingYes2021No
Oregon sports bettingYes2019Yes
Pennsylvania sports bettingYes2018Yes
Rhode Island sports bettingYes2018Yes
South Dakota sports bettingYes2021Only on casino premises
Tennessee sports bettingNo2020Yes
Virginia sports bettingYes2021Yes
Washington sports bettingYes2021No
Washington DC sports bettingYes2020Yes
West Virginia sports bettingYes2018Yes
Wyoming sports bettingNo2021Yes

Sports betting is not available (at the time of writing) in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin. 

Things to consider when betting on sports

If you’re new to online sports betting you might be feeling slightly overwhelmed at the amount of choice you’re presented with when accessing a betting site. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. But, once you get to grips with a few terms and maybe even try out a few straightforward bets things will start getting clearer.

The best online betting sites will have information within the bet slip to help you out. Many will also give you information such as the final payout of your bet so you know exactly how much you might win.

In this section, we talk about the main components of online sports betting. Areas such as betting odds will help you get the most bang for your buck, while betting offers can stretch your bankroll further. Some sportsbooks do live betting and cashouts better than others too. We also look at the payment methods offered (for instance, is it one of the sportsbooks that accept PayPal?), safety measures the operator is taking, and mobile performance.

Betting odds

These are the foundations of every sports bet. When you choose which team or player you want to bet on you‘re shown a number that represents the payout you’ll get if that player or team wins. This is the most important factor in betting, and you need to have a good grip on what the odds mean before making a bet. In the US, we use moneyline odds. The odds are presented with a number and + or – next to it. A – indicates the number you have to bet to win $100. The underdog is normally shown with a + and this shows the amount you would win if you put up a $100 bet. If you win, your initial stake is always returned back to you together with your winnings.

Live betting

With the advancement of technology and mobile, we’re now able to place bets in real-time as the event is happening. Bookmakers have fixed odds before the match but the odds are in constant fluctuation during the game. Live betting gives you the chance to predict outcomes within live games. Some bookmakers will also provide in-depth, granular information to help you predict the different outcomes.



This is an important safeguard in online sports betting. Say you’re doing some football betting, but you change your mind at the last minute. Cashout gives you the chance to collect your betting payment before the game starts. Online bookmakers will also offer the chance for you to cash out your winnings before the game ends. Think your team is doing well now but might tire out at the end of the game? Then your best bet is to cash out early and collect whatever is left of your stake or any winnings accumulated. 


Betting offers

This is how you can make your money go further. Online sportsbooks will always have some form of offer to entice you into placing a bet with them rather than a competitor. Sports welcome offers include risk-free bets, where you’ll get your money back if you lose the bet, and bet match  — where the bookmaker will match your stake, sometimes even doubling the amount of your wager. A good sportsbook will also have a selection of weekly offers depending on sports. 

Mobile betting

Any decent sportsbook will have a solid mobile sports betting site, giving you a chance to place your in-game bets with ease. It’s not just about a glitch-free experience but also about displaying the game information clearly and in real-time. A good sportsbook will also offer to stream the game live and if that’s not possible due to TV licencing rights, they’ll offer a sports UI complete with geometric data.

Sports betting tips and guides

We need to be clear here, betting on sports is not a straightforward affair and you need to have a good degree of knowledge of the sport. Some people think that you need to live and breathe a sport before you make a bet on it — but that’s a bit of an exaggeration. The best chance you have at making successful bets is if you follow the particular sport, and you’re able to make informed deductions about an event.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take a chance on an online sports bet if you’ve never watched a game. Unpredictable sporting upsets happen all the time — and it’s exactly that, that makes online betting a mix of skill and chance.

So sports knowledge does go a long way, there‘s always an element of chance and risk. The favorite may not always have the best performance, players may be injured, the weather may not be favourable to a certain team and myriad other factors. That doesn’t mean you can’t play smart, and that’s why we’ve created a series of guides to help you bet smart.

Betting guides (coming soon)

Person using a betting calculator

Betting calculator

Person with money looking at upward gift

Betting strategies

Person making money from sports betting

Making money when betting

Gifts and sport balls in betting context

Risk-free bets

How to bet on sports — Types of wagers

Each sport lends itself to different types of wagers. The most straightforward ones are the moneyline bets where you pick the winner straight up. When the two teams are evenly matched a moneyline bet won’t yield any good returns so the best way to get a better wager is to combine it with other bets in a parlay. You’re increasing the risk here as all bets have to be correct in order to win but you do end up with better odds.

These are the simplest of wagers but as sports betting evolves so do the types of wagers. We’re talking about over/under bets for example, where a bettor tries to predict a number from a game statistic (like the number of goals in a match). Then there’s a total bet where bettors predict the exact number of say goals during a football match. The list goes on and you can read our in-depth guides to the different types of wagers by clicking the appropriate link.

  • betting icon
    Hedge bet
  • betting icon
    Moneyline bet
  • betting icon
    Parlay bet
  • betting icon
    Point spread bet
  • betting icon
    Prop bet
  • betting icon
    Round robin bet
  • betting icon
    Teaser bet
  • betting icon
    Total bet


What is sports betting?

Sports betting is the act of placing wagers on the outcome of a sporting event, like a football game. After all, what’s better than watching a game and supporting your team? Well, having a little personal stake in the matter, of course. In the US, sports betting became legal in most states after a Supreme Court ruling in 2018.

How does sports betting work?

A sportsbook or bookmaker will offer odds on the outcome of an event. The underdog will always have better returns than the favorite. But since nothing is set in stone and there are endless factors that can affect the outcome, the choice on who to bet on is entirely up to you. If you’re correct, you win your stake together with whatever the odds pay out.

How to read a betting line?

A betting line will give you the information set out by the sportsbook, which determines the odds, and highlights who’s the underdog and who’s favorite to win. The margin between the two sets the parameters for wagering on the two possible outcomes.

What does the + and – mean in sports betting?

These are seen in American odds (moneyline) and show the bettor the odds on a match or other event. The – indicates the favorite and shows the amount you need to stake to win $100. The + shows the underdog and indicates the amount you’ll win if you stake $100.

What does PK mean in betting?

A PK or pick’em, is a point spread where both teams’ chances of winning are very similar. Sometimes this is shown as +0 or -0. This means both teams are evenly matched.

What’s a unit in sports betting?

Units are a form of measurement that indicate the size of your bet on a game. These are personal measurements and every player will have a different idea of what a unit is to them. The most common scale goes between 1 and 5 with 5 being a bet of great value. This is a way to keep your accounts in check and help you decide the amount you put on a bet. It’s largely dictated by the amount of money you have in your account. Ideally, you should never bet more than 5% of your account on a single game. In this case, if you have $100 in your account, and you decide 1 unit is 1%, then the maximum you can bet on one game is $1.

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