online betting

Online Sports Betting: The Complete Guide

Some people see sports betting as a challenging task but what they fail to realise is that if done right, it can be rewarding. In our ultimate sports betting guide, we have included some golden rules that if followed, you may experience a rewarding and enjoyable sports betting experience. By avoiding some of the tiny mishaps, it’s possible that you’ll get results without compromising on the thrill and excitement that sports betting offers.

Because bookmakers cover multiple sporting events, which come with different betting options, we’ve opted to cover only the most popular sporting events. This way, we can reach to as many bettors as possible and help them place their bets appropriately and consequently increase their odds of winning. Because after all, that’s our sole duty at Bookmaker Bonuses.

Whether it’s the just concluded Premier League, Europa League, or the upcoming Champions League final and the World Cup, we have you covered with this straight to the point guide. Below are some of the topics that we’ve included.

1. Some of the popular sports to bet on online

Over the past decade or so, betting and online gambling has grown to become a hobby that most people engage themselves in during their free time. Sports betting, in particular, is in debt to the continuous growth of different sporting activities that occur globally on a daily basis. Placing bets on these sporting events has proven to be a thrilling experience, right down to the last second and this is perhaps the main reason why people choose to bet.

But with more than 100 sporting events daily, how can one know the best option to choose?

Below, we look at some of the most popular and lucrative sports that you can bet on. We’ve chosen them mainly because they are not only the most watched sports but because they also offer the best markets to bet on.

  • Football: It’s a sport with a global appeal, and it, therefore, doesn’t come as a surprise that it happens to be the largest sporting event in terms of bets placed online. In the UK, there are different leagues including the EPL, Championship, League 1 and 2. In Spain, you have the Spanish Primera La Liga and Primera Division while in Italy and Germany, we have the Serie A and Bundesliga respectively. These are some of the most competitive leagues in the world which attract bettors online.

In addition, bettors also bet on other international competitions such as the World Cup, Europa League, and the Champions League.

  • Tennis: We all know of the Serena Sisters and their contribution to this great sport. And it’s because of such players that we always have to keep our eyes glued to the screen during the Grand Slam tournaments – both staunch tennis fans and those who enjoy watching them play. To add to the excitement, we decide to place a bet on the outcome of the event, and as such, we promote tennis betting.

In addition to the Grand Slam, you can also choose to bet on the French Open, the US Open, Wimbledon and many other tournaments throughout the year. Within the sport itself, there are usually more than 70 markets to choose from, further solidifying the reason why the sport is popular among bettors.

  • Formula 1: Watching as Lewis Hamilton complete against Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Valtteri Bottas or Fernando Alonso is thrilling to watch, but once you have some cash staked on either one of the drivers, the levels of adrenaline might spike to abnormal levels. And this is what we like about sports betting…the thrill and adrenaline rush!

Due to the number of viewers the Grand Prix attracts, there are a number of markets that you can choose from beside the main market: who will win the race.

  • Basketball: Any sports lover knows of Basketball and the appeal it comes with. It’s a popular sport across Europe and the US where it is ranked as the sport with the most number of fans after American football. When it comes to betting, the sport doesn’t offer as many markets as football and tennis, but it has enough to keep you thrilled and reward you.
  • Horse Racing: For centuries now, horse racing has been a popular sport among the Irish, Brits and Australians. However, Middle East countries such as Qatar and Dubai have in the recent decades been adapting it to supplement their traditional camel racing events. There are endless amount of races throughout the year and some of the biggest Sports bets are placed at events such as Cheltenham, The Grand National and Royal Ascot.

2. Different Types of Betting Odds

In sports betting, bookmakers use odds to indicate the possibility of an event happening. As a bettor, it’s up to you to use the odds quoted by the bookie to calculate the risk and the chance of it happening. The odds should also guide you on how much you should stake on your bet.

Before we delve deep into the different types of odds, below are important terms that you need to acquaint yourself with.

  • Stake: Refers to the amount you’ll be placing as your bet
  • Payout: The expected return should your prediction come true
  • Odds: This is the ‘price’ that the bookmaker offers you

Different types of odds

All bookmakers offer three types of odds.

Fractional Odds: They are usually indicated as two numbers separated by a slash, e.g. 4/2, 3/1. In our first example, 2 is used to represent the unit stake that you are placing as your bet, while 4 is used to represent your expected return, i.e., you stake £2, and if your prediction comes out right, you win £4. Therefore, the expected total return on this bet is £6.

The likelihood of a 4/2 bet winning is 16%; based on the calculation 1÷ (4+2) ×100=16%

Decimal Odds: Decimal odds are the most popular alternative to the fractional odds. Personally, I normally prefer using them as they are easy to work with and straightforward. 1.25, 3.0, 15.025 are just a few examples of decimal odds.

If you choose to stake £200 at odds of 1.25, your expected return is £250, inclusive of the original stake. This implies that your expected profit is £50.

American Odds: These odds are distinguished by the positive or negative sign that precedes the numbers, and they are used to indicate the likelihood of the given event happening. Negative numbers are used to indicate short prices, while positive numbers are used to indicate long prices. This could be -200 or +300 for example.

When calculating the American odds, we use £100 as the baseline figure. For example:

  • -200 means that you’ll have to wager £200 in order to win £100. In the event that your prediction comes to pass, your account will be credited with £300 (inclusive of £100 winnings)
  • +300 means that you’ll have to wager £100 in order to win £300. In the event that your prediction comes to pass, your account will be credited with £400 (£100 plus the £300 win)

Types of odds
How do online bookmakers determine the odds?

Take a random tour on any bookmaker website and look at the different betting options; you’ll realise that there are different notations made on each event. For instance, in Football, we have the (1), (x) and (2). Selecting option 1 indicated that you’d be betting for the home team; (x) indicates you are betting for a draw while selecting (2) indicates that you are betting for the away team.

The event with the highest possibility of taking place is assigned the least odds, while that with the least chance of happening will receive the highest odds.

Before the odds are selected, there are usually so many factors that are considered including the history of the two team meetings, the past results as well as complicated calculations. Let me put it this way, no simple formula is used to determine the outcome of an event. Bookmakers use sophisticated computer systems and algorithms that have been specially designed for each sporting event.

It’s also worth mentioning that odds can change any minute, even before the start of the event depending on factors such as a player being injured, the weather, the pitch or track, among other unforeseen circumstances.

3. Which markets can you bet on?

The simple and most direct definition of markets when it comes to betting is the ‘elements’ that you’ll be betting on in any event. Different events offer different markets for the bettor. For instance, Basketball as a sport has different rules from Tennis. Therefore, it’s automatic that there have to be markets that are different in the two sports. And while American Football shares the same name with the regular football, they don’t have the same markets.

Any savvy bettor knows that when it comes to betting, there’s more to just picking up a winner because there are different markets to choose from and consequently different bets to place. For example, you can choose how many points or goals will be scored, what will be the winning margin, the number of cards in the event, who will take the lead after 20 minutes and so on.

Below, we’ve featured some of the popular markets that you can choose when betting on popular sports online.

  • Football: This is by far the sporting event with the most number of markets to choose from. You can opt to put your money on the number of goals to be scored in the match, the half with the highest number of goals, the number of cards to be given in the match, which team will be leading in the 20th, 30th, 40th or 80th minute, who will score a goal, two goals or more, among many other options. There are also Asian line markets, which are by far our most preferred betting option.
  • Tennis: There’s not much to pick from as far as betting markets are concerned when it comes to tennis. The only reason why most people usually choose to bet on this sport is that there are fewer surprises and as such, the odds are usually not as good as it is with football.

Try betting on who will win the match, who will be the ultimate finalist in the event, or who will win the event. To increase the thrill, choose the number of sets that you think will be played out. I like how innovative some bookmakers have become by including the option on whether or not a streaker is going to interrupt the match.

  • Formula 1: Who will be leading at the end of the first lap? At the end of the race, who will finish in the fifth position? Who will be the winner at the end of the race? These are some of the bets that formula 1 gives you.

Again, bookmakers have also introduced the innovative markets in Formula 1. For example, you might come across a market that lets you predict the total number of times the safety car will ride out. If you have heart conditions, I strongly advise you from trying the so-called innovative markets. 

  • Basketball: Armatures are only fixated on the NBA league but forget that there are also other competitions around the world. That’s why savvy bettors will also place their bets on Eurocup and Euroleague basketball competitions.

 As with other competitions, basketball offers the obvious market of the outright winner of the match. Additional markets to choose from include how many points will be scores in the match; what the final score will be among others.

Sports betting markets
4. How much information do you need before you start betting?

Every sport comes with its own unique rules, which results in different betting systems. Some sporting events only feature a few betting provisions such as ‘winning’ and ‘losing’. A good example of this is in eSports betting – a new digital sport that’s still trying to make its way into the market.

For sports such as Football, Tennis and Horse Racing, there are so many markets to choose from – which makes it more interesting and thrilling to bet on. It, therefore, goes without saying that you need to familiarize yourself with the important rules involved in the sport in order to effectively place a bet.

There are also betting systems that you need to familiarize yourself with before you can start betting. Take, for example, Basketball as a sport. There’s the unique ‘spread betting’ system that involves spreading the points in the match between these two teams playing. These teams have to achieve these points for you to win. To effectively spread these points, you need to know the teams well. You must know who makes the difference in the match and under what factors do the teams perform well or dismally.

In simple words, I’m trying to say that you have to carry out comprehensive research before you place a bet. Extensive research will help you know which bets to go for at the end of the day.

5. How do you start online betting?

If you are new to online betting, the step by step procedure below should take you through the easy and straightforward process of placing your first bet.

Accessing Your Account

  • It’s pretty obvious that you can’t access an account that you don’t have in the first place. This the reason why you need to create one at any one of the reputable bookmakers online. There are hundreds of bookmakers online, and I’d strongly recommend that you look for one with a license from a reputable licensing body; one with a stellar reputation among bettors online and one that has plenty of bonus offers. Check out our review on the best recommended online bookmaker.
  • Once you’ve found your preferred bookmaker, the next step is creating an account. Just click on the ‘Sign Up’ or ‘Register’ button to complete this process. As part of the registration process, you’ll be asked to provide some personal and financial information. This is why you need to choose a site that’s licensed and known for offering safe and secure services. Also, you need to ensure that all the personal information provided is accurate and up to date to avoid having a difficult time during verification.
  • Once you’ve opened an account, complete the KYC process. This involves sending your government issued ID and a copy of your utility bill to the customer support team. This process is necessary as all bookmakers online are required by law to ensure that only people of legal age use their platforms as well as offering services to people within the allowed jurisdictions.
  • The next and important step involves choosing a payment method that best suits your gaming needs. There are more than 50 online payment options online, and their availability depends on your region. In the UK, we have more than 30 options to choose from across all bookmakers. I’ve heard and read in some countries, you can only choose from a handful of options – which usually don’t exceed more than 10.

Deposit limits start from a minimum of £10 and go up to a maximum of £30,000 per day. It’s worth mentioning that the payment option you opt to use for your initial deposit is the same option that you’ll use for withdrawing your winnings. It’s therefore important that you choose a method that meets all of your preferences.

William Hill New Account
Picking Your Initial Bet

If you’ve read this far, you must be excited or still confused. Don’t worry, it’s okay to feel so. I can remember my first bet online was a thrilling and exciting affair. I used to follow a tipster who I found on Twitter, and all he did was tweet BOOOOM! all the time (when a bet comes in). I literally couldn’t hold my excitement back, but as I came to realise, opening an account is just the start of a long journey ahead.

The reason why we’ve written this guide is to make things as simple as possible for you. And to achieve this, you must pay extra attention from now henceforth. But don’t get it twisted, all the information included before is equally important, but what I’m going to write will help you pick out your bets easily.

There are two ways through which you can bet online:

  1. Pre-match: It’s the most popular method used by bettors online. As the name suggests, pre-match betting allows you to place your bet before the event starts.

In pre-match betting, the number of markets varies from in-play gaming. If we consider a sport such as football, the number of markets varies from 29 to 130 pre-match markets. Once the event kicks off, this number reduces depending on other factors.

  1. In-play betting: Other bookmakers call it live betting, and for Betfair, they refer to it as in-running bets. In-play betting usually takes place after the start of the event until its conclusion. Unlike the pre-match bets, the number of markets is slightly lower. In football, for example, the number shifts from 130 to 70 or 80 for the top flight competitions and only a handful for the lower leagues.

During in-play, the odds shift depending on the event’s happenings. For instance, before the kickoff, the odds for more than one goal to be scored (over 1.5 match goals) in the Aston Villa vs Middlesbrough qualification match is set at 1.44 (or 4/9 as a fraction). At halftime, the scores remain 0-0, and the odds have shifted from 1.44 to 1.69 (or 5/7 as a fraction).

Evident from the example above, in-play betting enables you to get the best value of odds from the bookmaker. Any savvy bettor will, of course, tell you that this is the best way to place bets if you are to get any profit as long as you look at in-game statistics and monitor on how the teams perform.


This is where the real deal is. Once you’ve known the difference between pre-match and in-play betting, the next step is to place your bet. Follow the steps below.

  1. Click on the sports section to choose the event that you want to bet on. It could be football, golf, tennis, cricket, horse racing or any other event for this matter. I’m a big fan of football betting, so I’ll select that.
  2. Once you click on the football option, a list of all competitions will be made available. If you want to bet on UK matches, select the UK list button. If you want to bet on Israel, look it up in the European category. Therefore, I wish to bet on the FA final between Chelsea and Man United, I’ll select the UK List button and highlight the match to reveal the markets
  3. All the markets will be made available. The main page contains a summary of all the other markets under one section. This could be full-time result (which team will be leading after the 90 minutes), double chance (you eliminate the risk by selecting either team 1 or draw (1X), 2 or draw (2X) or one of the team to win after 90 minutes (12) among many others.
  4. The beauty of betting is that you can place multiple bets under one bet slit to form an accumulator bet. So, once you are done with your selections, enter the stake and select the place bet option to successfully place your bet.

5. Explaining Your Bet Slip

The bet slip is the part of on your screen where all the information pertaining your bets is listed on. It includes the teams or events that you have chosen, the amount that you’ve wagered and the expected returns should your prediction come to pass.

However, with continued innovation and competition among bookmakers, there has been an increase in extra features. If you are using a Bet365 or Ladbrokes bookmaker, you should come across these extras.

  • The Cash-Out Feature – Normally located on top of the bet slit, the cash-out feature enables you to pre-maturely collect your winnings before the end of the event. Normally, it should enable you to lock in a profit or avoid losing your money if your selection is going sideways. 

In sports betting, only sports that are limited to in-play betting have this feature. Also, markets such as to win either half, player to score, result both team to score among others don’t have the cash out feature. Therefore, if you are betting while targeting the cash out, it’s important that you choose markets that include this specific feature.

  • Auto-cash out – Works with the same principle as the cash out feature only that you get to pre-determine the amount that you’d like the bookmaker to pay out automatically. You can use the auto cash out feature in two ways; one cash out the whole amount or select only part of your profit to be cashed out.

This feature is particularly useful if you are a busy person and don’t have time to follow up on the events.

7. Different Types of Bets That You Should Consider

Arb(itrage) Betting – Arbing as it popularly known as one of the most controversial systems in sports betting. It was designed to offer bettors minimum risk and the possibility to make long-term profits.

Also known as ‘surewins’, ‘miracle bets’ or ‘matched betting’, it lets you capitalise on the variation of odds offered by the bookmaker to make a profit regardless of the outcome. In Arbing, you’ll be laying (backing the event not to happen) as well as backing (supporting the event to happen) simultaneously. If the outcome is a draw, you lose your bet.

Handicap Betting – Also known as points betting, line betting, or the spread, it is a common practice in points based events such as tennis, rugby, basketball and football but it can as well be used in racing events, more especially in horse racing.

When you are placing a handicap bet, you’ll be giving a virtual disadvantage or advantage to one team in order to even out the competition.

For example, in the FA cup final, Manchester United are favourites to win against Chelsea. When you place a 2-0 handicap advantage to Chelsea, you’ll be implying that Chelsea has to win with a margin of at least two goals to win the bet, i.e., 2-0; 3-1, 4-0, 5-3 and so on. If they win with only a margin of one goal, you lose your bet.

Spread Betting – This is a popular form of placing bets in Forex trading, which involves speculating on how shares, indices, currencies and commodities will perform on the stock exchange. But over time, it has also found its way to the sports betting industry.

Spread betting is different from the other forms of betting as it involves betting on the movement of the market instead of the outcome of the event. Therefore, whereas in other forms of betting you’ll be placing your bet on the outcome of the event at fix odds as shown by the bookmaker, in spread betting, you’ll be betting on a range or ‘spread’ of outcomes. Your bet is a winner if you successfully manage to predict whether the eventual outcome will end up below or above the spread.

Accumulator Betting – Many bettors online misuse the term accumulator betting. You’ll find someone who’s placed two or three bets in one bet slip referring to it as an accumulator bet, but in reality, it’s not. You have an accumulator bet once you have at least four selections included in your bet slip. This type of betting is incredibly popular as it offers huge win potential due to its higher odds.

What is important to note about an accumulator bet is that all your selections must come to pass for it to pay out. If you have a selection of Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool to win, and say Arsenal lose, your accumulator bet is void. During in-play, if one of your accumulator bet is behind, there will be no cash out. 

Yankee Betting – In simple words, when you are placing a Yankee bet, you’ll be placing 11 bets on four selections appearing in different bets, i.e. four trebles, six doubles and one fourfold (four bets) accumulator. You win the bet is two or more selections come to pass.


We hope you enjoyed our gambling guide and have learned more about betting on Sports. Want to start betting and claim all the available free bets and bonuses from online bookmakers? Find all the latest sports betting offers right here on our website!