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How To Bet on Sports Online in 2024

Jay Leonard
Last updated: | 15 min read

If you enjoy watching sports, you may have considered sports betting. Sportsbooks allow you to wager on a variety of leagues, from the NFL to the NHL — and on a variety of outcomes, ranging from which team wins the game to which player wins the MVP award. Like most modern businesses these days, sportsbooks operate both in person and online.

how to bet on sports online mobile app

If you want to wager on a game without leaving home, you’ll need to know how to bet on sports online. We explain everything you need to know about sports betting online, whether you’re a novice bettor looking to get started or a more experienced gambler seeking new online betting platforms and sports wagering tips.

Is It Legal To Bet on Sports?


For a long time, sports betting was effectively illegal in most US states. In 2018, however, the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), changing the sports betting landscape nationwide. Nowadays, over three-quarters of US states allow some form of legalized sports betting.

As of June 2024, sports betting remained illegal in a dozen states. However, some people play using offshore sportsbooks.

States Where Sports Betting is Illegal June 2024

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • California
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah

Sports betting is legal in the other 38 US states (including Washington, DC). Check your state laws to see whether you can legally engage in mobile sports betting, for example, you can check our California sports betting apps guide here to see more about the CA betting laws.

States Where Sports Betting is Legal June 2024

  1. Arizona
  2. Arkansas
  3. Colorado
  4. Connecticut
  5. Delaware
  6. Florida
  7. Illinois
  8. Indiana
  9. Iowa
  10. Kansas
  11. Kentucky
  12. Louisiana
  13. Maine
  14. Maryland
  15. Massachusetts
  16. Michigan
  17. Mississippi
  18. Montana
  19. Nebraska
  20. Nevada
  21. New Hampshire
  22. New Jersey
  23. New Mexico
  24. New York
  25. North Carolina
  26. North Dakota
  27. Ohio
  28. Oregon
  29. Pennsylvania
  30. Rhode Island
  31. Tennessee
  32. Vermont
  33. Virginia
  34. Washington
  35. West Virginia
  36. Wisconsin
  37. Wyoming

Differences Between Online Betting and Betting in Person


The majority of US states that have legalized sports gambling offer both online and in-person betting, although a handful only offer land-based options at casinos, racetracks, and other establishments. You may have even participated in sports betting at a land-based venue but haven’t yet learned how to bet on sports online. While the two options share the same basic principles, there are some differences between betting online and betting in person:

  • Convenience: The most striking advantage of online sportsbooks is convenience. Depending on where you live, you may not have a sportsbook around for hundreds of miles. Even if you do, you may not want to leave the comfort of your home to place a bet. Online sportsbooks allow you to bet on virtually any game from virtually anywhere — especially while watching your favorite sport. They often also provide a wide array of payment options, from credit cards to cryptocurrencies.
  • Choice: If an in-person establishment doesn’t have the sports market you’re looking for, you’re out of luck (or you have to move to a different land-based sportsbook). However, when you’re betting on sports online, you simply switch to a different mobile sportsbook. The number of sports betting opportunities in cyberspace is nearly unlimited.
  • Cost: While the ultimate cost of sports betting depends on how much you win or lose, it can be cheaper initially to place bets online. That’s because you don’t have any travel, lodging, or food and drink expenses when using a mobile sportsbook.
  • Atmosphere: The difference in the gaming environment may be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your preferences. Some people like being able to bet from home, while others prefer the lively atmosphere of in-person sportsbooks.
  • Cashout Speed: This might be the one area where in-person sportsbooks hold the clear edge. At online sportsbooks, crypto cashouts are often instant, but traditional (fiat) currencies require longer processing times. Some online sportsbooks may take several business days to issue payouts by check or wire transfer. This is a stark contrast to land-based sportsbooks, where you simply cash out at the counter.

Crypto and Traditional Online Sports Betting


As online shopping and entertainment options have expanded exponentially over the last few decades, so have the ways to deposit funds at online sportsbooks. In addition to conventional fiat payment methods like credit cards, checks, and PayPal, many sportsbooks accept cryptocurrencies.

Some crypto sportsbooks allow you to deposit, play with, and withdraw entirely in digital currencies, either one of the recognized crypto coins (like Bitcoin) or the casino’s own tokens. Other sites allow you to buy and sell crypto coins using fiat payment methods. In this case, you have to rely on the casino exchange rate and may also have to pay a fee for the conversion.

If you have the option to deposit funds with crypto — which may come with better bonuses and promotions than fiat deposits — you may wonder how crypto betting differs from traditional online sports betting. Once you’ve deposited funds in a digital currency, the rest of sports betting works pretty much the same.

However, there are some differences to look out for, including the following:

  • Speed: While credit card deposits are usually fast, other forms of payment can take hours or even days to process. The same is true for withdrawals using methods like checks and wire transfers. Crypto payments, on the other hand, can be virtually instant for deposits and sometimes also withdrawals.
  • Anonymity: Reputable online sportsbooks accepting fiat payments require identity verification, a process known as KYC (know your customer). Crypto casinos and sportsbooks, however, often don’t require bettors to submit personal information, which allows players to wager more anonymously.
  • Higher potential payouts: Crypto sportsbooks often give higher odds to players. In addition, they frequently don’t charge for cashouts in digital currencies, so you can keep more of your winnings.
  • Earnings Limits: Regular sportsbooks serving people in the United States often restrict bettors from winning too much. Crypto sportsbooks don’t usually limit players’ winnings.
  • Value Fluctuations: Although all currencies can go up or down in value at any time, crypto coins tend to fluctuate more dramatically than fiat currencies. When you bet in digital currency, this could work against you or for you. If the value goes up, you compound your wins. If it goes down, you compound your losses.

Key Sports Betting Terms


If you’re new to sports gambling, there are a few basic key terms you will want to know before making your first wager.

Favorites and Underdogs

The favorite is the team that the oddsmakers expect to win a game, while the underdog is the team expected to lose. When reading odds for a game, you will see favorites marked with a minus sign (-) and underdogs marked with a plus sign (+).

The numbers that come after the +/- show how big or small of a favorite (or underdog) each team is. The greater the number, the more likely the predicted event is to happen. For example, a -500 indicates a heavy favorite, while +120 indicates a slight underdog.

Moneyline Bet

One of the simplest and most common types of sports bets is the moneyline. You simply need to pick a winner. Moneyline bets use American odds (which we’ll explain later) to calculate the winning chances and the payout. For example, if you wager on a predicted favorite at -400, you are placing a moneyline bet.

how to play sports online moneyline bet

Spreads

Point spreads, sometimes just called “spreads,” refer to the expected difference in the final score between two teams. Spreads help even out the matchup between two unbalanced teams.

Point Spread Bet

If you place a point spread bet, you are wagering on a spread, or a margin of victory. For example, if you see a spread of +7, it means the underdog not only has to lose but has to lose by at least seven points to cover the bet. You may see a large spread, such as -20 for college basketball, or a small spread, like +1.5 for major league baseball.

Juice

The juice refers to the cut that sportsbooks take from bettors. For example, if you see American odds of -110 on an NFL game, that means you would need to wager $110 to win $100. The sportsbook keeps the $10 of “juice,” which is how it makes a profit.

Totals

Totals are bets on the expected total number of points both teams will score in a game. If you’ve heard of over/under odds, this is another name for totals. Oddsmakers predict a combined score for a game, and you can wager on whether you think the actual score will end up “under” or “over” the expected total.

Parlay

Parlays enable bettors to combine multiple wagers into one ticket. To win a parlay, you must win every bet in the series. For example, you could create a parlay ticket combining two MLB games or a parlay ticket combining one NFL game, one NBA game, and one NHL game. Having to win all three “legs” of a parlay makes the ticket more challenging to win, but parlays usually offer bigger payouts.

Teaser

Teasers allow you to manipulate expected point spreads in your favor. A common teaser in NFL bets is the two-team, six-point teaser. Like a parlay bet, you have to correctly pick both legs of the bet. If you see a point spread of +8 in a football game, a six-point teaser will result in a new spread of +2. Because teasers make bets easier to win, you will receive a lower payout for these types of wagers.

Prop Bet

Rather than focusing on the outcome of a game, proposition bets (or prop bets) focus on the performance of an individual player or team. You could place a prop bet on the number of interceptions a quarterback throws or which team scores first. Some prop bets have nothing to do with the game at all, like whether it snows that day or which celebrities in attendance will appear on TV.

Futures Bet

Futures bets also have nothing to do with individual games, but rather focus on events occurring at some point in the future. These high-risk, high-reward bets may include which team will win the World Series, which player will win the MVP award at the end of the season, or how many touchdowns a quarterback will throw in a season.

How To Place a Bet


Now we get to the nitty-gritty of how to bet on sports games online.

1. Choose an Online Sportsbook

The best online betting platform for you depends mostly on personal preference. Different sportsbooks have different betting markets, welcome bonuses, or ongoing promotions. You may even want to make a shortlist of your preferred sportsbooks and sign up for more than one.

how to bet on sports online sign up

As you decide for yourself the best way to bet on sports online, you may find that different sportsbooks offer different odds and you can choose the one you like most for any given game.

2. Verify Your Location

If you’re wondering how to bet on sports online legally, expect to complete a location verification check at your chosen sportsbook. Legal mobile sportsbooks use geolocation technology to make sure that you are within the state.

For that reason, you’ll need to know whether your state allows mobile sportsbooks. Florida, Maine, and Vermont have legalized sports betting but didn’t have any operational establishments as of June 2024. Additionally, although the following states allow in-person sports betting, they didn’t yet offer online sportsbooks as of June 2024: Delaware, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wisconsin.

3. Create a New Account

Most sportsbooks make signing up for a new account fairly simple. You typically need a username, password, and valid email address. From there, the exact details required may vary by sportsbook, but can include the following:

  • Full name
  • Current home address
  • Date of birth
  • Telephone number
  • Social Security number (or the last four digits of your SSN)

After the sportsbook verifies your details, you can usually start playing right away.

4. Deposit Funds

Before your first bet, you need to deposit funds. You can do so by visiting the banking tab of the sportsbook, which may have one of several names, including “Cashier,” “Deposit,” or “Add Funds.” You can usually find this tab in the upper right-hand corner of the sportsbook lobby homepage.

There you will also see the available deposit methods, which may include credit cards and debit cards, bank transfers, checks, PayPal, or any number of digital currencies. For a seamless betting experience, make sure to check which withdrawal methods the sportsbook supports. Many online sportsbooks allow more payment methods for adding funds than for withdrawing them.

If the sportsbook needs to verify your identity, you might need to submit additional documentation. Usually, a current driver’s license or state ID suffices. You may also have the option of verifying your identity with your passport or birth certificate.

5. Place a Bet

The last step of how to bet on sports online is placing your first wager at a sportsbook. To pick the sport, you can browse through the available options that may include domestic leagues, international athletics, and sometimes niche sports. Then, select the sport you wish to bet on.

The sportsbook should display the available games and betting options for each of those games. To bet, you simply click on the line you want. That sends the wager to your bet slip, which asks you for the amount you wish to stake and shows you the potential payoff for winning. Finally, you have to confirm your bet to finalize it and send it to the sportsbook.

How Do Sports Betting Odds Work?


A crucial part of learning how to bet on sports online is learning how betting odds work. There are three main types of sports betting odds: decimal odds, fractional odds, and American odds. While they are just different ways of providing the same information, different versions are popular in different parts of the world.

Decimal Odds

Favored in most of Europe (outside of the UK), decimal odds represent the total payout for every $1 wagered, including your stake. For example, if you see decimal odds of 3.0, that means you stand to win $2 for each $1 you bet, plus your $1 wager. If you successfully bet $200 at 3.0 odds, you would receive a total payout of $600: $400 in profit and your $200 stake.

Fractional Odds

Also known as British odds, fractional odds don’t include your stake in the number. You may see fractional odds written as two numbers with a colon, dash, or slash between them. For example, odds of 10-1 represent that you stand to win $10 for every $1 that you wager. If you successfully bet $100 at 10-1 odds, you would receive $1,000 in profit, plus your $100 stake.

American Odds

American odds are a bit more complicated — they focus on winning or risking units of $100. Most popular in the United States, these are the odds you see in money lines.

For example, you may see moneyline odds like this:

  • Denver Nuggets: -199
  • Los Angeles Lakers: +166

This means that the Nuggets are the favorite in this matchup and that you would need to stake $199 to win $100. The Lakers are the underdogs, and you would win $166 for each $100 you stake on a successful bet on that team. American odds don’t include your stake, which you would get back on top of your profit.

Most Common Mistakes When Betting on Sports


Now that you know how to do sports betting online, what are some sports betting pitfalls to avoid?

  • Betting with your heart: We all have our favorite teams, but that doesn’t always make them good bets. Don’t let your feelings get in the way of smart betting choices. Also, try to stick to other decisions you make intentionally, such as the maximum number of bets you place in a day.
  • Believing in the gambler’s fallacy: You may think that if a certain event hasn’t happened recently, it is more likely to happen soon. This flawed logic leads you to believe things that simply aren’t true and make flawed betting decisions accordingly.
  • Failing to shop around: Having accounts at various online sportsbooks makes it easy to shop for the best line, which gives you a better chance for long-term success.
  • Risking more than you can afford: It’s tempting to play one more game to make up for your losses, but good bankroll management by only betting money you have on hand can help you avoid getting in over your head.
  • Neglecting to do your research: It’s generally good advice to bet only on the sports you know well. That way, you’re in a good position to know whether the odds set by oddsmakers seem too high or too low and adjust your bets accordingly.
  • Chasing big payouts: You may find yourself tempted by opportunities with big dollar signs attached. Always remember that many parlays and other bets with massive potential payouts usually come with massive potential risks.

Final Thoughts on Online Sportsbetting


If you’ve come this far, you should now have a basic understanding of fundamental betting terminology, how to read odds, and the steps for placing a sports bet online. You are now in a better position to understand the world of online sports betting and to evaluate the types of sports bets you can make at mobile sportsbooks.

Betting on Sports Online FAQ

How can I place a sports bet?

You can place a sports bet by visiting a sportsbook in person or online. If you want to know how to bet on sports online, you will need to follow these initial steps: create an account, verify your location, and deposit funds. You then select the sport, the game, and the bet type for each event. Finally, enter the wager amount and confirm your bet to send it.

What is the best way to bet on sports?

The best way to bet on sports depends on your personal preferences. Many people find online sportsbooks convenient because they don’t need to leave their location. Mobile sports betting allows fans to place wagers while watching their favorite sports at home.