Betting on sports is a fun pastime that millions of people enjoy worldwide. Ever since people could compete, they started placing bets on the winner. In the 21st century, sports betting continues to be a popular hobby.

According to data from Statista, the sports betting market is worth a whopping $194 billion in 2021. In America, the number of sports bettors is expected to cross 23.1 million in 2023.

Given how strong the industry is, it makes sense to find safe and efficient ways to place bets. In this context, sportsbooks are one of the best ways to start placing sports bets. Of course, we now live in the digital age, so online sportsbooks are where it’s at. In this article, let us find out what online sportsbooks are and how you can find the best ones.

What Are Sportsbooks, and Why Do You Need Them?

Traditionally, sportsbooks are establishments that allow you to place bets on your favorite teams for a variety of sports. In the U.S., you can find most of them in Nevada, where they were originally known as “Turf Clubs.”

On the other hand, online sportsbooks are 24/7 platforms that allow you to make traditional money lines, point spreads, or even prop bets. With privacy being important to many, payment options nowadays often include cryptocurrency.

Online sportsbooks started becoming popular between the 18th and 20th centuries in the U.K. The country saw the rise of bookmakers and betting shops that accepted bets on various sports events.  During the same period, in the U.S., sportsbooks remained illegal due to federal prohibition but still existed in the form of underground betting.

While online sports betting is still illegal in several states in the U.S., sportsbooks are commonly used where legal.

What Should You Look for When Searching for Sportsbooks?

There are a number of factors to look at when perusing online sportsbooks. Reputation and reviews are arguably two of the most important ones. You have to be extra careful when perusing reviews as well.

Free Bets on Sign Up and Other Promotions

These days, many sportsbooks offer promotional offers like free bets on signup. If you are just starting out, this can be a great bonus to have. It’s similar to how online casinos offer free signup bonuses or free spins. They act as a great incentive to get potential bettors to sign up and start wagering.

You can easily find such promotions being advertised on online betting communities., BetMotion, and Noxwin are great options that offer free bets. Similarly, new players will get free bets when signing up with any of these 20 sportsbooks.

No deposit bonuses are also worth looking at when searching for a good sportsbook website. According to, such bonuses allow you to wager without using your own money. This can be ideal if you wish to try out the website and get a sense of the user experience.

Good Reputation and Reviews

Many establishments are aware that bettors do reputation and review checks. There is an implicit understanding that many establishments in the betting world pay for positive word of mouth.

As a result, it is common to see some users shill for sportsbooks and other establishments. When you see flowery praise, take a look at the poster’s profile and recent posts. You can’t do this on every site, but on places like Reddit, it becomes a litmus test of establishment quality. It’s alright to advertise, but trying to deceive the public is a giant red flag.

Fair Odds and Margins

You also want to look at sportsbooks odds. Take a bit of effort and compare the odds between different sportsbooks. For instance, in the U.S., money line bets are very popular. Different sportsbooks can have slightly different odds for the same bet and event.

Sportsbooks also tend to implement margins to make a profit for themselves. Ideally, you want to look for lower margins, but it’s not that simple. Places that have lower margins often have other ways to offset your advantage. You will need to do some digging to find options with the fairest policies.


Finding the best online sportsbooks is easy if you know what to look for. Sadly, the online betting world tends to have a lot of scummy sites that ruin the reputation of others. People are right to be afraid of visiting sites that seem less than trustworthy.

Thankfully, online betting communities have made it easier to spot and out scams. It’s going to be crucial that you only spend money when you are 100% sure about the establishment’s legitimacy. Remember, many of these sites operate outside the U.S., which can make it tough to retrieve your money.

On the bright side, more states are opening up to make online sports betting legal. Just recently, Vermont became the 38th state to make sports wagering legal. No doubt, bettors in other states are likely wishing legalization could come sooner.

As always, remember that, like any other habit, sports betting can become an addiction. If you are betting, do so rationally and never let emotions influence your bets.