Let us ask you a question.
What do you do before you shop? Before you buy something expensive?
We don’t know about you, but we usually window shop first.
We’ll look online or browse a couple of stores to see which one has the best deal and has the product (with features) we want at the lowest price.
And you know what? Sports bettors do the same thing. The smart ones, anyway.
Smart sports bettors check the odds or lines offered by a handful of different sportsbooks – sometimes even more if their bankroll can handle it – before they choose where to place their bet.
Often times that can be the one thing that determines whether they make a profit or not.
Well, the next best thing is to join a sportsbook that consistently offers the best prices. In fact, you should join two or three of them (for reasons we’ll talk about later).
How do you find these sportsbooks? You can do the research yourself, but if you could do that, you probably wouldn’t be here right now. You’d probably be out on your own making profitable bets.
A much faster and simpler option is to piggyback off of our hard work. We’ve already done the research for you. You’ll find the best sportsbooks that consistently offer the best odds and lines in the list below.
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For example, say you compare lines from two different sportsbooks. One is offering -105, while the other is offering -110 on the same match.
It makes far more sense to take the line at -105 than -110.
You might roll your eyes at this. There’s hardly a difference there, you think – nothing worth worrying about.
But you’d be wrong.
Say you only plan to bet $1. The difference here is a mere $0.05. But say you make one bet every day. That’s $1.50 you’ll save over the course of a month – or a little more than one free bet.
Now think about it if you were to bet $110 vs. $105. That’s a $5 difference. One bet every day adds up to around $150 per month. For most people, that’s an amount worth saving.
Next, imagine if you were betting $500, $1,000, or as much as $10,000 per bet. Do you see how much you can save when you don’t ignore something as “trivial” as the difference between a -105 and -110 line?
The bottom line – the larger your bets and the more bets you make, the more money you’ll save.
And besides, it’s easy money when you consider that all you need is an account with the sportsbook(s) that (consistently) offer the best prices.
Take two lines from two sportsbooks – Book A offers a spread of -6, while the Book B has a spread -5.5. Seems like a tiny difference, doesn’t it? Like the difference between a -105 and -110 moneyline?
But the latter is the easier of the two to achieve. The team only needs to win by 5.5 points for you to get a return for betting on them.
Which is easier? Beating a team by 5.5 points or beating them by 6? Clearly, the smaller of the two is the easiest.
Not every point difference matters. We explain why in just a minute.
The fact that beating the 5.5 point-spread is easier than 6 has a long-term positive expected value in itself. It’s going to happen more often, thus you’re going to make more money betting it. But then things compound when you also compare and find the best moneyline.
Not only are you going to beat the spread more often by betting at Book B – which means you’ll make money a little more often than with Book A – but you’ll also save (or make) $10, too.
Do you see how powerful this is? How you can explode your long-term expected value at an exponential rate? All by simply finding these seemingly little differences between sportsbooks.
Or by simply joining sportsbooks who offer this kind of value often.
We want to play devil’s advocate for a second. Having a bit of difference between point spreads doesn’t guarantee it’s a good deal. Sometimes the difference is too small, or for some other reason, the bet itself doesn’t make much sense.
Say you’re looking at the Patriots vs. Bills game. One sportsbook (Book A) has Buffalo at +6.5 and another (Book B) has them at +7. Both have a standard vig of -110.
Clearly, taking Buffalo at +7 is the best deal because if the Patriots win by 7, you’ll get your money back, while anyone taking Buffalo at 6.5+ will lose.
While this half a point difference seems small, for this bet (and game) it makes sense and will add up over time.
But say we look at another game – the Patriots vs. the Steelers. One sportsbook (Book A) offers New England at -1.5, while another (Book B) has them at -2.
The chances of New England winning by exactly 2 points is very slim (and while too large a topic to cover here, it’s also not enough of a difference to overcome the house edge when betting at -110).
The point spreads that matter will vary from sport to sport. For example, the key numbers for the NFL are 3 and 7. Knowing this, you should look for sportsbooks who offer different moneylines and point spreads that are around these numbers.
This goes to show how much experience can help, too. And why it’s important to focus on a couple of sports until you become a consistently profitable bettor.
It also shows why professional sports betting – and all the work involved – isn’t for everyone, which is another way of saying that you’re better off sticking to one of our recommendations above. Because you’ll have your work cut out for you if you want to do the legwork yourself.
So far we showed you why price matters, but also why you should look at point spreads, too.
But that still doesn’t cover everything. There are still three things you should think about other than price before choosing a sportsbook, much less what you’re going to bet on next.
Some sportsbooks have dual lines.
Dual lines are two different lines or odds – one for the public, and the other for the professional or advantage bettor.
Bovada is a good example of a sportsbook who has dual lines. New accounts start off with the same lines as everyone else. But if Bovada gets the feeling that you’re a +EV bettor, they’ll change your account and give you different (worse) odds.
Here’s an example from an old 2+2 thread of this happening to someone else:
New England Patriots -7.5 (-105)
New York Jets +7.5 (-115)
I log into my account, and this is what I see:
Houston Texans -3.5
Detroit Lions -3.5
New England Patriots -7 (-115)
New York Jets +7 (-105)
Once again, it’s a small difference – but these are differences that will add up over time.
We point this out because if you’re a halfway decent bettor, there’s a chance this can happen to you. And it will ultimately impact your decision as to which sportsbook you should join.
The same idea applies here. All things being equal, you just want to find a sportsbook that’s offering the best lines.
But what if the sportsbook offers discounts, dime lines, or reduced juice? That should play a role in your decision, too.
Many sportsbooks, like 5Dimes and BetOnline, offer dime lines and/or reduced juice. They have certain rules for betting these matches or taking advantage of these promos. But if you plan to make lots of bets, they’re worth a look.
Most online sportsbooks are “betting exchanges.” Exchanges charge a commission, which is calculated as a percentage on the net winnings for each customer on each event or market.
This is a cost that ultimately affects the lines/odds you pay. It’s a hidden cost.
The upside – when compared to traditional sportsbooks like Pinnacle – is that the odds you pay are still usually better than the odds offered by traditional sportsbooks.
On top of that, traditional sportsbooks like Pinnacle – which have tons of good things about them – don’t offer promotions, and they have odds that are tough to beat. That’s how they make their money (instead of charging a commission).
Here’s what to take away from this:
There is give and take, or pros and cons, with either kind of sportsbook. You have to decide if finding the sportsbook with the best odds/lines is the best thing for you, or if there’s something better or something that you’d rather have (like a bonus or something).
Chances are that you stopped by this page to find the sportsbooks that offer the best odds or lines. But you probably didn’t expect to learn that it doesn’t always come down to that – there are other things you need to think about.
Like anything else sportsbook-related, this can get as complicated as you want. Most people reading this will probably do just fine choosing one or two of the sportsbooks we’ve found to consistently offer the best lines.
For everyone else, hopefully the information above gave you something else to think about, and above all will help you to make a little bit more money betting on sports.