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Online bookies can vary massively, so we’re here to make sure you make the right choice for every single bet.

We compare all of the important matters, such as the odds on offer, the range of sports to bet on, banking methods available and more, meaning you can get straight down to what matters - betting on online sports.

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Introduction to Sports Betting

Betting on sports has exploded in recent years, with the advent of online technology making it easy to bet on whatever you want, anytime and anywhere. The UK has one of the largest online betting markets in the world, with hundreds of bookmakers available, all wanting to take your bets and offering a range of different offers and bonuses in order to get you wagering with them. What was once a potentially expensive hobby for middle-aged men in flat caps, sitting in smoke-filled betting shops, has now become a completely modern and fashionable venture which is attracting people of all backgrounds.

How Does Sports Betting Work?

Sport provides the greatest drama available on this Earth - with no scripts or storylines, anything can happen. Whether football or tennis, sports always involve wildly differing opinions, and most sports fans think that they know more about their favourite sport than anyone else. This is where sports betting comes in.

Betting on sports gives us the chance to put our money where our mouth is. The adrenaline of watching your bets in action and the excitement of seeing your bets come through is really hard to match.

The Advantages of Online Sports Betting

Betting has long been a favourite pastime in Britain, but betting online is the favoured medium for most now rather than going into shops. Some of the reasons why most of us prefer to bet online include:

Better Odds

The internet allows us to compare odds from a wide range of bookmakers and all with just a few clicks of a mouse or a few taps on a smartphone. At high street bookmakers we are confined to a single bookmaker’s odds, so by betting online we are getting far better value for our money and giving ourselves far more betting options.

More Markets and Sports

Just as betting online allows us to have access to a better range of odds, it also gives us the opportunity to bet on a wider range of sports and a bigger selection of markets. Different bookmakers specialise in different sports and markets, so having the internet at our fingertips really gives us better value when it comes to sports betting compared to being confined to a single betting shop.


Nearly every household in the UK has the internet, and even when out and about we have access to the internet via mobile data and free WiFi at many public locations. That means we can bet from almost any location, whether sitting on the sofa watching the game at home or watching in the pub with mates. No longer do we have to make the long trip to the bookmakers to place our sports bets.

Faster Payouts

It was bad enough that we used to have to go all the way to the bookies to place our bets, but, if they won, we then had to make the same trek back to collect our winnings. Now, with online sports betting, we have access to our winnings immediately - allowing us to continue betting or use our winnings straight away.

Bonuses, Free Bets and Promotions

Just as we have more choice with our sports, markets and odds, we also have the opportunity to get access to great offers, bonuses and free bets to give even more value to our betting. With online betting, we have the world at our fingertips when it comes to betting on sports.

How Does Sports Betting Work?

Sport provides the greatest drama available on this Earth - with no scripts or storylines, anything can happen. Whether football or tennis, sports always involve wildly differing opinions, and most sports fans think that they know more about their favourite sport than anyone else. This is where sports betting comes in.

Betting on sports gives us the chance to put our money where our mouth is. The adrenaline of watching your bets in action and the excitement of seeing your bets come through is really hard to match.

Types of Betting Offers & Promotions

Online bookies are all competing for your bets, and as a result, we have a huge array of offers and promotions available to us when opening an account with an online bookmaker. Knowing the difference between the offers and promotions available is vital to making a success of our online sports betting.

Deposit Bonus

Many bookies will offer a deposit bonus for new members, in which you will receive an extra amount of money when you make your first deposit. What you get varies depending on the bookmaker, with anything from nothing to a 200% bonus on your deposit. Most will require you to bet through your deposit amount a certain number of times before you can withdraw, so make sure you read the terms and conditions before you deposit your money.

Free Bets

Some bookies will offer free bets instead of a deposit bonus. Again, the terms will vary from bookmaker to bookmaker: some will offer a free matched bet, where your free bet will be equal to the value of your first bet, while others might give you a selection of free bets simply for placing your first bet. Some bookies will also offer free bet offers to existing members, so it is worth checking out the free bet offers than a bookie will give you past simply signing up.

Money Back

Another popular offer type is ‘money back’, where you’ll get the value of your bet back, either as a free bet or as cash, if certain conditions are met. The terms depend on the offer and the bookie, but examples include money back if your horse loses by a head or less, if a football game results in a 0-0 draw or if one leg of your accumulator loses. These offers can give you a good boost as you look to place your bets with our recommended sports bookmakers.

Price Boosts

Speaking of boosts, another promotion becoming more and more popular is price boosts. In these, a bookie offers new members hugely inflated odds on a popular bet, with extra winnings often paid in the form of free bets. There are usually limits to the amount that can be bet, but these price boosts can give you a good head start for your sports betting with a new bookmaker.

Betting Types

Mobile Betting

We now live in a world where our mobiles are miniature computers - we use them for all of our online needs. Bookmakers have risen to this trend, allowing us to bet easily and seamlessly from our mobile devices by adapting their desktop sites into simpler mobile betting sites as well as creating betting apps to meet our on-the-go needs. All of the major bookmakers will offer a different experience when you bet on your mobile, giving you the flexibility to know you can place and track your bets whether sitting at home, watching the match at the pub, or out and about.

Live or In-Play Betting

Another fairly recent addition to the sports wagering world, aided by the use of mobile devices and the 24/7 betting culture of today, is the popular in-play betting. The best part of in-play betting is that no longer do we have to pick all of our bets before a game or event has started: in-play betting gives us the opportunity to react to the happenings of a game and place our bets as the events are unfolding. As soon as a game or event has started, bookmakers will offer prices for the action as it happens, with the prices for different markets changing with every crucial moment and with every second that comes off the game clock.

With in-play betting, players even have the ability to cash out a bet and take the winnings before an outcome has been decided (or to cut our losses and take a reduced price if a bet isn’t going our way). The use of in-play betting gives a whole new level of adaptability to punters while watching a sporting event, and gives players the opportunity to make more money from sports bets as a result.

Many bookmakers will also now offer the opportunity to watch a number of events through live streaming, so long as you’ve placed a bet on that event or have money in your account. The best live betting sites will give you the opportunity to watch games that we wouldn’t be available to view on your standard TV channels, allowing us to make informed decisions and bringing us closer to the action than ever before.

Exchange Betting

Betting using the exchanges removes the place of the bookmaker in betting. Instead of betting against the bookie, we bet against each other, meaning we can both back a bet as well as ‘lay’ it, in which we actually take on the role of a traditional bookmaker. The odds on an exchange are usually better because there isn’t a bookmaker and so, therefore, no margins are worked in; however, most exchanges charge a percentage levy on the amounts you win.

Spread Betting

Sometimes, sports matches can be quite one-sided, making them less interesting from a betting point of view - if we back the underdog, we’re extremely unlikely to win, and if we bet on the favourite, we’ll win next to nothing or have to bet large amounts to get a decent return. This is where spread betting comes in - the bookmaker chooses a margin which should make the teams equal, whether 3 goals in football or 20 points in basketball. We can then bet on either team at near to even money to ‘beat the spread’, adding betting interest to otherwise one-sided matchups.

Pari-Mutuel Betting

Unlike fixed-odds betting, where we know our winnings at the time we place our bets, pari-mutuel betting works in a different way. All of the money bet on an event goes into a pool, with the total prize pool shared equally between the winning tickets, dependent on the amount staked. Of course, the bookmaker has to make money, so their margins are removed from the pool before it is split, but betting with pari-mutuel can give us wildly different returns from using traditional bookmakers, offering especially good value if you are betting against public opinion.

How to Place a Bet

Placing a bet has never been easier, but each bookmaker will vary in their processes. Generally, most online sports betting sites will feature a homepage with links to all of the sports they offer, as well as other features such as in-play betting. By clicking through to your preferred sport, we can then find the matches we want to bet on. When you get to the match you want, scroll through the markets until you find the bet you want, then simply click on the odds to add that bet to your ‘bet slip’. You can add more than one individual bet to your slip, allowing you to make accumulators. Otherwise, simply choose your stake, click ‘place bet’ or the equivalent, and you can relax and follow your bet in action.

Safety & Security

Bookies will store your deposited cash in a secure and separate account, although the level of protection varies from bookmaker to bookmaker. We only work with the leading sites, so you can rest assured that when finding a bookmaker through our links, you will be safe and secure.

One important - and easy - thing you can look for and quickly identify is whether the site is employing SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer technology. This ensures the security of internet connections. Simply look in your browser’s address bar, and if the URL is preceded by the word ‘Secure’ and a padlock symbol, the site is using SSL. This also applies if the site’s URL is preceded by “HTTPS” rather than just “HTTP”. SSL is essential for keeping your personal information - including banking details - private and secure.

UK Regulation

In the UK, betting regulations aren’t particularly strict, and so long as you are over 18, you are fine to bet on whatever you want, whether in a shop or online. Of course, a sports betting site can’t ID you when you sign up and deposit money, so a lot of sites will do sporadic ID checks for new accounts, in which they will ask you to send an image or your ID in order to verify your age and identity. If you don’t or can’t provide this, they won’t let you withdraw your money.

The best bookmakers are extremely secure and must have a sports betting license in order to comply with UK regulations, which is provided by the Gambling Commission. The Gambling Commission is also responsible for making sure that betting companies follow regulations such as those which prevent problem gambling or money laundering, making sure that the whole process of betting on sports is completely transparent, with the ability to issue fines and revoke licenses when necessary. Their aim is to "keep crime out of gambling, to ensure that gambling is conducted fairly and openly, and to protect children and vulnerable people". The regulation of financial spread betting is conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Betting Strategies

When it comes to winning at sports betting, there are a few strategies that can help us on our way:

Specialise in One Sport - Know Your Players and Teams

The more knowledge you have, the better informed you will be, and therefore the more likely you are to make a good bet. Keeping up to date with the latest injury news can give you a big boost while understanding how a game’s likely outcomes can change will allow you to make good in-play betting decisions. Knowing the personality of a player or team and how consistent they are can help you find good bets while knowing how much a team relies on a star player can help you find a good bet if that player is missing or out of form. Find a sport you love, specialise, and you’ve made your first step towards beating the bookies.

Bet With Your Head

There are a number of elements when it comes to sports betting that can cause us to make bad decisions, and these usually come from betting with your heart rather than your head. Betting on a team because you like or support them isn’t likely to result in long-term success, while betting against players or teams because you have lost bets on them in the past is another bad way to bet. The best way to win at betting is to be calm, rational and look at the facts when placing your bets.

Avoid Chasing Losses

While winning at sports betting is one of the greatest feelings on the planet, there will inevitably be times when we have a few losses in a row - it is simply the law of averages. A common mistake people often fall into is chasing losses - trying to reclaim previous money lost with a quick bet that would wipe out all the losses. While these can, of course, win, the desperation to get back to even can make us less rational and not put enough thought into our bets, while betting when angry usually leads to more anger! A good piece of advice is to only bet what you can afford to lose, and if you do lose it, accept it and move on.

Bet Using Value

Finding value is the key to winning your sports betting. Value means you are getting great odds with the chances of your bet winning, in your mind, being better than the chances that the odds represent. For example, if the odds of a team winning are evens (1/1), then the bookies are assuming there is a 50/50 chance of that team winning. If you think the team has a 60% chance of winning, then you are getting good value with your even money bet. Don’t bet on something just because you think it has a good chance of winning, but make sure that the odds you are taking represent good value first.

What Sports Can You Bet On?


Football is the world’s most popular sport, with major leagues in every continent, and this means that when it comes to placing bets there is always something there for us. Every sports betting site worth its salt will offer wagering on the sport, so you should research the  best football betting sites.  Football fans are everywhere in the UK, and everyone has a different opinion – and a number are willing to back that up with a wager come the weekend. The sport isn’t consigned to 3pm on a Saturday afternoon anymore, though, and we see English football on nearly every night of the week. European and international football gives us matches during every season, and with growing leagues around the world, there is bound to be a game on for betting whatever the hour.

Horse Racing

Horse racing, the sport of kings, is the traditional sport on which to wager, and still gets huge revenue from betting, providing the ultimate battleground between bookmaker and punter. With some races featuring 10 or more horses, we often get some long odds. This yields a staggering variety between bookmakers, making it vital to choose wisely when finding  your horse racing betting site,  with many now also offering the chance to watch the race once a bet is placed. The long odds also mean potentially big wins from relatively small wagers, making it one of the most exhilarating sports for wagering, especially as the action is usually contained within an adrenaline-fuelled few minutes. Whether you pick your horse on form, trends or even by its name or colour of the jersey, horse racing provides an exciting platform for your sports betting.


Boxing is another sport that has always been popular with the punters, and that still rings true today. The intense buildup to the big fights splits pundits and bettors alike and means we have plenty of people willing to place their money on different outcomes. While there are a number of fights every weekend to get stuck into, the big fights usually come only every few weeks, so there is plenty of time to discuss and debate when choosing your  boxing bookmaker  and your best bets before settling in for a late night of raw fighting action in front of the pay-per-view channel.


Rugby is one of Britain’s oldest and most favourite sports, with betting available on domestic and international events all year round. Rugby doesn’t have the same level of coverage as football, for example, so it’s vital to make sure that you  pick the rugby bookmaker  that will offer the best markets and odds for rugby betting. The most exciting events on the rugby calendar include the Six Nations, held across February and March, and the World Cup, which is held every four years. In between, action in the Premiership, Pro 12 and Heineken Cup for Rugby Union, and the Super League and Challenge Cup in Rugby League, gives us plenty of rugby wagering options. With markets ranging from the total points scored, to handicaps and overall winners, there is something for everyone when placing bets on rugby.


Golf is a great sport for betting and is the one sport where we can consistently find winners at double, or even triple-figure odds. As well as finding the overall winner from large pools of golfers, there are plenty of other options when placing bets on golf, including wagering on matches between specific players, which can be used to build up accumulator bets. There is also plenty of opportunity for in-play betting, with the four-day tournaments allowing for plenty of twists and turns. One of the number of reasons why  choosing the right golf bookmaker  is imperative is the huge variety of odds on offer, as well as the different each way terms offered when betting on overall tournament winners. There will also be a big difference in the extent of each site’s in-play coverage, so make sure to make the right decision before picking your golfing bookmaker.


Tennis is a truly exciting sport to bet on. The momentum of a game can change in an instant, meaning we can see odds fluctuate with every point, offering plenty of in-play betting opportunities. There is also the ability to bet on a wide variety of markets, ranging from placing bets on the winner of the next point, to the winner of the game overall. We can also bet on the total number of games and sets, so there is plenty to keep you happy. There are loads of tennis games being played each day, and many sites will give you the opportunity to watch your games live on their site, so  picking the right tennis bookmaker  is especially vital if you want to watch the action live, with many games not available to watch on TV.

More Sports to Bet On

As well as the traditional betting sports, there are a  number of other sports  which are gaining increasing popularity with punters in the UK and which are worth looking at if you want to expand your horizons. Tennis is a constantly evolving sport, with odds changing all the time and a number of markets to choose from ranging from individual points to overall matches. Cricket is another that can see odds significantly changing in the space of one delivery, adding to the excitement of the action. If you like combat sports, but maybe boxing isn’t your thing, then UFC is an evolving sport which provides high drama and great entertainment with consistently competitive fights, while darts, snooker and F1 are all readily available to watch live and can provide betting opportunities for the savvy punter.