There are a lot of online bookmakers around. Sports Book Review has a list of online sports books, totaling about one thousand. However, you won’t use anywhere near this number. Most bookmakers are honest and reputable, and you’ll soon learn which ones you prefer to use. There are a lot of good bookmakers out there, and a few sportsbooks we recommend when new to sure betting.
Get familiar with the bookmaker websites
There are a few key things to know about online sportsbooks. One thing to keep in mind is that some bookmakers might not accept customers from certain countries. But the most obvious is, of course, that they have different websites. It takes some time to get familiar with a new bookmaker, and we recommend that you get used to the different layouts, account settings, betting procedures and so on, before you start placing bets on the bookmaker.
Also the more sportsbook accounts you have, the more arbs you will be able to place.
It’s always good to be prepared if you need to make a quick deposit with a bookmaker, so you don’t have to start searching through the webpage when you’re in a hurry. The most important differences are listed below:
Sports and Leagues
Different bookmakers have different bets available for various sports and leagues. The better known a sport and league is, the more bookmakers that will offer bets on it. For instance, almost every online sportsbook offers odds on the English Premier League, but not many bookies offer odds on the Korean Third Division.
Different bookmakers have a wide range of different odds types to bet on, such as 2-way, 3-way, Asian Handicap, total points, set betting, and correct score. These will be explained further later on in the guide.
Deposit and withdrawal differences
About 80% of the sportsbooks out there have free deposits and withdrawals. Some books offer, for example, only one free withdrawal in a specified time frame (i.e. one withdrawal per fortnight). Also, there are some differences in deposit methods, but most of them support VISA and MasterCard, as well as E-Wallets like Neteller and Skrill.
Some books need verification documents before any withdrawals are made. These documents are often a photograph or scanned copy of your passport or driving license, a recent utility bill (such as an electric bill) on which your name and address is shown. The bookmakers have these security measures to verify that you are actually who you claim to be. Some books even require this verification to be made within a timeframe of your first deposit.
Maximum stake information
When you are in the process of placing a bet at a sportsbook, some of them show the maximum stake you can place, and some don’t.
For instance, if you hover your pointer over a bet at Pinnacle, you often see the max stake that can be placed on that event. At Gamebookers for example, you have to click on “show max” after you have placed the match on your bet slip in order to see the max stake for that event. There are also books like Bwin for instance, that don’t show the maximum amount until you confirm your bet. This means that you don’t know if you can place a certain amount until after you press confirm. Only then will you know if your bet will be accepted or not.
The betting procedure
Different books have different betting procedures. Because there are a few different variations, it’s important to get to know all of them. The best way to do this is to practice, first without actually placing money on an event, and later on with small sums to get to know the bookmakers’ different steps.
Let’s take Pinnacle and Bwin as examples of the various betting procedures in a 3-way event (1X2).
- At Pinnacle, you enter your wager amount into the wager box under the “Money Line” column (you also see the max stake on the same page). After you have entered an amount to bet, you press “Submit Wagers” and you are directed to a confirmation page. This is the page where you can review you wager (check that you’ve chosen the right event and confirm your wager amount) and see if the odds have changed since the last step.
- If the odds haven’t changed, you click “Confirm”. This will direct you to another page, where you can see if the bet has or hasn’t been confirmed. In effect, there are two steps to place a bet at Pinnacle. The “enter amount”-step and the “confirm”-step.
- At Bwin you click on the outcome you wish to bet on. This adds the event to your bet slip. Enter your wager amount in the box on your bet slip and click “Next”. This takes you to your bet slip confirmation step. If you click “Place bet”, your wager will be processed. There is a catch here though, Bwin doesn’t show the max stake or max winnings on a specific event until after this step, which means that you may have to lower your stake and confirm the bet again if it gets refused the first time.
The two steps above (maximum stake and betting procedure) are crucial to know about when starting out with sure betting.
It means, for example, that if you are placing a sure bet between Pinnacle and Bwin, and you confirm your bet on Pinnacle before you confirm on Bwin, Bwin might have a maximum stake on the event and you´ll be forced to wager a smaller amount than you need to. Avoid this issue by confirming on Bwin before Pinnacle. Always confirm your bet on the bookmaker that you think is least willing to accept your bet first.
We recommend you carefully test the bookmakers betting procedures before you start betting with larger amounts.
There are a lot of bonus offers out there that are very valuable to you (and your bankroll) when you start your sure betting career. If you don’t have any accounts with any bookmakers, there are potentially thousands of dollars of bonuses out there for you to grab. Different bonuses have different requirements, based on the amount you deposit, the amount you wager and so on.
Read the requirements on each bookmaker thoroughly. When sure betting, your turnover will be big – making the bonuses potentially large, and relatively easy to collect. This is explained in detail in the “Taking Advantage of the Bonuses” section later on in this guide.
The bookmakers have different rules from one another on certain sports. Tennis matches are the most common sport to have different rules on. There are 4 different tennis rules on the market today, and they can be categorized as follows:
- Ball Served
- 1 Set Completed
- 2 Sets Completed
- Match Completed
Read more about these different tennis rules in our FAQ page.
It can be extremely risky mixing rules in a sure bet, and therefore we do not recommend doing it if you do not fully understand the risks of it. Mixing rules is not sure betting, it’s gambling.
How much should I bet on a single match with my bankroll?
This is a difficult question to answer, as there are so many variables to take into consideration. The bet size will depend on a number of factors, including how well known the match is, which bookmakers the bet is at, which market and so on. A 3-way bet on a well-known match can have big limits, while the “correct score” or “halftime/fulltime” market may have much smaller limits.
If you have no idea of the bet size however, you could bet on a sure bet with a total stake of around 5-10% of your total bankroll as a guideline (however, you should never bet more than you are comfortable with). You could be betting on up to 10-20 games/matches every day. This means that it is important you have money ready to bet on a good sure bet when the opportunity arises. Also, the match you bet on might not be for a couple of days, which means that you sometimes have funds locked up pending game completion.
One thing that may be more important than bet size however, is a basic strategy to keep your bookmaker accounts balanced. This will be addressed in the “Bankroll management” section of this Ultimate Guide to Sure Betting.
What bet amount is the minimum to start sure betting with?
First, you should take a couple of days to place sure bets without actually placing any money. This is called paper trading. Paper trading will give you valuable experience of the steps you have to take on different bookmakers. You should keep a record of the paper transactions, such as deposits, bet amounts etc., to get familiar with the process of sure betting, and watch as your fictional investment increases (the concept of paper trading is explained in detail in the next chapter).
When you feel comfortable with paper trading, it’s time to start out with betting a total stake of around $50 per bet. This way, you become even more comfortable with surebetting, and if you make a mistake (betting on the wrong match, wrong odds, different event dates and so on, discussed in the “Risks and how to avoid them” chapter), it will not cost you too much.
How many bookmakers do I need to have accounts at?
You can start with as few as 5 bookmakers, but we recommend starting out with around 10. The number of bookmakers will also depend on your bankroll. For instance, if you have a total of $500 to bet with, 10 bookmakers will be too many, as you should always make sure to keep your bookmaker accounts funded for the next few potential bets.
Recommended bookmakers to start with
If you’re unsure what bookmakers to start with, see our list of recommended bookmakers for sure betting. They have high odds and are very often involved in arbitrage opportunities. Some of them are also sure betting friendly and won’t limit you. Before registering, you might want to get a VPN to protect your privacy and bet without limits for longer.
Also see our list of all our supported bookmakers.