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It’s no secret that online sports betting has existed in the US for some time, essentially since broadband became available. But until now, all of these sites (unless you’re in Nevada) have been illegal. You will find other sites that review these sportsbooks and call them “legal,” but that’s referring to these sportsbooks being permitted wherever they’re based, not in the United States. It’s intentionally misleading.

Now, you won’t go to jail for wagering on them, but the unregulated nature of offshore sportsbooks, most of them based in Costa Rica, means you have no guarantee of legitimacy or safety for your money. These sites, while they may occasionally be able to offer slightly better value, have no government agency regulating them. Capitalism does enable the best of these sites to rise to the top, and for the most part your investment is safe, but there are several ways in which things can work against you:

Data. It’s easy to decide a single-game bet winner based on the official score and stats, and you can have confidence that these sites will accurately declare winners based on actual scores. r gasquet But the prevalence of real-time betting, particularly mobile sports betting, means that there’s a need for reliable in-game data which often isn’t available in a box score. The location of a shot, speed of a pitch, or yardage gained on a punt are occasionally subjective numbers where different outlets may have different numbers. If an offshore sportsbook has one-sided action on a specific play and the outcome is up for interpretation, there’s nothing to stop them from choosing the more amenable figure, and you would have no recourse to debate it.

Live betting, however, will have to use verifiable data, and in many cases they will partner directly with the leagues to get access to all sorts of unique data, which means the outcome of your bet will be fair. Having this data has the added benefit of enabling a host of unique betting options that the offshore sites won’t be able to offer.

Law enforcement action. Sports betting is big business. Casinos and state governments, who receive tax revenue from online sports betting, have it in their interest to eliminate unsanctioned websites. While some level of unregulated site will continue to exist, it’s within the realm of possibility that law enforcement will begin cracking down on offshore sports betting sites. Business partners and affiliates are already being asked to choose between the legal sports betting market and the offshore market. Sites that are doing big business where sports betting is now legal may be the target of raids or be forced to shutdown. Remember what happened with online poker. If this happens and you leave your winnings, or just large deposits with these sites, whether it’s $100, $1,000 or $100,000, there’s a real chance you won’t see your money again. That’s why it’s not worth using offshore sites where legal sports betting exists.

Sports bettors who wager regularly must firmly understand the concepts of juice, also known as “vig,” and moneyline value in order to maximize profits, reduce losses, and, ultimately, establish long-term success. Juice represents a service fee that a bettor must risk in addition to their wager when they place a bet. electricity and magnetism study guide 5th grade There are two different important aspects of these concepts that one has to understand.

First, let’s talk about point-spread wagers. Point-spread football and basketball wagers typically require a standard 10% fee with most sports betting sites, which appears as “-110” next to the given spread. This means that in order to win $100, a bettor must wager $110. Simple enough. This service fee is only actually paid on losing bets. It’s also important to note that some sportsbooks will skew the point spreads if they see a disproportionate amount of money on one side of a proposition, and some sports betting sites will also manipulate the amount of juice charged on a points spread bet. Offshore books charge as much as -135 on point-spread football wagers, which is something bettors should run far away from.

A moneyline bet eliminates the point spread element dynamic and simply requires that the selected team wins. While it seems relatively easy, there is a catch—if a bettor wagers on the favorite, they will have to risk more money to do it. That makes sense. If a great team plays a bad team, and it cost the same to wager on either side, bettors would overwhelmingly take the better team. That would present a losing proposition for the house. Therefore, sports betting sites charge a varying fee on favorites and offer an additional payout on underdogs to entice bettors to that side. Seems like a relatively simple concept, yes?

Here’s where things get a bit more complicated, but this is important stuff. A 10-cent line is considered the most fair and ideal moneyline odds offered by sportsbooks, but it’s also more difficult to find. It is a line where the difference in two possible outcomes is only 10 cents. For instance, if, let’s say the Diamondbacks are listed as a -140 favorite over the Phillies in a given contest, and the Phillies are a +130 underdog, the difference between those two lines is 10. This represents what is thought to be fair value on both sides of the bet because the risk of betting on the favorite is proportionate to incentive of betting on the underdog. electricity vs gasoline It’s important to know, however, that some sportsbook will regularly juice up lines and create a much more significant disparity between the favorite and underdog. Some sports betting sites will regularly offer 20, and in some cases 30-cent lines (stay away!), which presents far less value to a bettor. There is significantly more risk in wagering on a favorite and significantly less incentive to bet on the underdog. This is not only bad in terms of value in a single bet, it’s a killer over the long-run.

Amazingly, many casual bettors don’t even know they’re getting taken advantage of by this. gas station car wash Too many bettors make the mistake of taking juiced up lines released by the best sports betting sites as gospel, falsely assuming that such lines are just the price of doing business, but that’s just simply not the case. Those who are willing to do their homework and shop lines across multiple sites can often find value. While saving $5 or $10 on a potential loss, or cashing a slightly larger payout thanks to more favorable odds on an underdog may not seem like a big deal in isolation, that money quickly adds up over a series of bets and is often the difference between success and failure. Let’s use the following scenario with $100 wagers before fees as an example:

A bettor takes five favorites, all listed at -120 to win. He goes 3-2 in those games. He earns $300 on his three wins, and loses $240 on his two losses, so he profits $60 dollars on those five bets. He then takes five underdogs listed at +110 and goes 2-3 in those games. He earns $220 on his two wins and loses $300 on his three losses, which is a net loss of $80. That means his loss was $20 on those 10 bets.

Now, let’s say a bettor does the exact same thing, but gets 20-cent lines instead. Now, the favorites are listed at -125. gas after eating dairy He still goes 3-2, but now he only profits $50. He takes the same five underdogs, but this time at +105, and again goes 2-3. He now has a net loss of $90 on those games. His combined total loss on those 10 games is now $40. Now, do that over an entire week, month, season, year, whatever. That line disparity has a SIGNIFICANT impact on your bankroll.

Full transparency: We are affiliates of the sites listed on this page. That means we receive a commission for referring you to them. However, since we are affiliates of all the sites, all that matters to us is that you choose the best site for you. Our aim is to provide a service to potential sports bettors. If our reviews or sports betting guides are helpful to you, then perhaps you’ll recommend us to a friend, sign up for our email list, or just read our site, such as our sports betting tips page. Rather than shamelessly plug only our partner sites, we give each of them a fair review, noting strengths and areas for improvement. We are much better served if readers get something out of our reviews and find out sports betting guide useful. We also do our best to keep this page and our reviews of sports betting sites updated for when apps have updates and new players enter the market.

We have been around for over 8 years and have a staff of professional writers who not only review, but also play, with their money, on each of these sites. We quite literally put our money where our mouth is. Unlike the old days of sports gambling, we feel the best path forward to a fun and sustainable world of sports betting is through transparency and quality, accurate content, without the scaminess of “locks” and a wall of bonus codes for sketchy or otherwise poor sites.