How To Bet Online – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide For 2021

Want to learn how to bet online? Our guide gives you all the steps to starting your online betting journey including how to choose and register at a betting site, betting online vs. betting in shops, understanding fractional and decimal odds, in-play betting, promotional offers, bookmaker margins, the best betting sites for beginners, and the top betting tips for beginners.

Best Betting Sites We Recommend for Beginners

#1
bet365
  • Sports betting giant with 35 million customers
  • Brilliantly designed site
  • Excellent section, dedicated to sports statistics
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY

Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. #ad

#2
888sport
  • One of the most trustworthy betting companies
  • Founded in 1997
  • Good VIP reward system
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY

Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30F - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Casino Bonus must be claimed within 7 days • To withdraw bonus/related wins, wager bonus amount x40 within 14 days • Wagering req. vary by game • Deposit methods, Withdrawal restrictions and Full T&C’s apply

#3
Ladbrokes
  • Over 15,000 employees
  • More than 30 sports available
  • A comprehensive online betting exchange on offer

18+ Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply.

#4
Quinnbet
  • Lots of sports and markets
  • Extensive range of promotions
  • No deposit welcome bonus

18+ | New players only | Min deposit req. £10 ; excludes deposits via Neteller/Skrill | Min Odds 1/1 (2.0) | Max FreeBet £5 | Excl Horse Racing | T&Cs apply

#5
Coral
  • Over 1800 UK stores
  • Well over a dozen promotions
  • An excellent quality of odds on offer

18+. UK+IRE only. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first bet £5 a odds 1/2 or more. Tote and Pool excluded. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £20 credited as 2 x £10 free bets. Not valid with CashOut. Free bet valid for 7 days. Free bet stake not returned. 18+ T&Cs Apply.

#6
Unibet
  • Live stream your favourite sports
  • Multinational: available in over 100 countries
  • £10 free bet every week, as a part of the in-play free bet club
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY

Unibet Sports – Money back as Bonus up to £40 + £10 Casino 18+ begambleaware.org. New customers only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply. #AD"

#7
32Red Logo
32Red
  • A wide range of fascinating betting products
  • A feature-laden live betting arena
  • Dedicated pre-match and in-play statistics
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY

18+ begambleaware.org Opt in. Min. Odds Evs, Min.depsoit £10, Max. £10 stake, Max. additional profit £100. Skrill and Neteller deposits are not eligible - See full terms #AD

#8
BetRegal
  • Sports betting and casino games from a single source
  • Excellent gaming experience
  • In-depth statistics for pre-match, and in-play games

New Customers Only. Max one £10 Free Bet. Qualifying bets must be placed at odds of 1/1 or greater. Paid as bonus token with min 4/5 odds req. Skrill, Neteller & PayPal not eligible. T&Cs apply. 18+

#9
William Hill
  • One of the most popular bookies around
  • Over a dozen promotions
  • Unique special bets outside of sports
T&Cs APPLY, 18+ ONLY

18+. Play Safe. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply.

#10
Marathon Bet logo
Marathonbet
  • Over 1.5 million users
  • Multilingual customer service team
  • Outstanding odds up to 98%

New Customer Offer - Open to new accounts only. Deposit £20 and turnover your deposit five (5) times on the Sportsbook - trebles and accumulators (with three or more selections only), minimum odds each selection 1/2 (1.50) - and you’ll receive a £20 Free Bet. Additional deposits may be required in order to fulfil the turnover conditions, which must be met within 90 days of depositing. Bets placed using Free Bets or Bonus funds, or bets that have been Cashed Out, do not count towards turnover requirements. The Free Bet will expire seven days after being credited and can only be placed as a win only single bet on the Sportsbook. Free Bet stake not included in returns.

 

How To Bet Online? Best Betting Sites for Beginners

Below are the tried-and-tested best betting sites for beginners looking how to bet online on sports.

#01 Bet365

#02 888sport

#03 Ladbrokes

#04 Quinnbet

#05 Coral

#06 Unibet

#07 32Red

#08 BetRegal

#09 Marathonbet

#10 William Hill

 

Betting Online vs. Betting in Shops

While betting in shops allows you to place a bet, and retrieve your reaped winnings instantly, there are many more advantages to betting online, when compared to betting to a betting shop.

The best online betting sites in the business, offer a variety of payment options, several wonderful promotional offers, VIP/loyalty schemes, easy-to-use mobile apps, feature-laden live betting arenas, increased security, and several other fantastic betting features which betting shops simply cannot provide.

The maximum withdrawal limit that is associated with a betting shop, is considerably lower than that on offer at a betting site. You must visit a betting shop physically while betting online allows you the comfort of betting on the go.

The transition from betting shops to online betting sites is becoming prevalent by the day. Check out our full guide to betting online vs. betting in shops.

 

Choosing a Betting Site

Apart from the quality of odds that a bookie offers, there are several other factors that you should consider when it comes to choosing a betting site. First and foremost, a good variety of payment options is a necessity. The provision of a good welcome offer, and promotional offers, is a good sign.

A good betting site should offer odds on a variety of popular, and unique sports betting markets in numerous sports and leagues from all over the world. Betting features like cash out, and bet builder which take the betting experience to the next level are also crucial.  A good betting platform offers an option to live stream matches, and pre-match and in-play game statistics.

A variety of responsible gambling tools, a streamlined design, around the clock support, a well-crafted sportsbook app, and the provision of other products like casino, and virtual sports, add to a betting site’s appeal.

A well-rounded betting site will offer all the above-mentioned features.

 

Registering at an Online Betting Site

  • As soon as you open a betting site’s homepage, you will see an option to register at the betting site, more often than not this can be found on the right-hand side of your screen.
  • Click “register” on a betting site's home page.
  • Go through the registration process. This is where you'll be asked to enter personal identification details like your full name, email address, date of birth and place of residence, as well as to create a unique username and password. It's also where you'll go through and accept the betting site’s terms and conditions, privacy policy, and cookie policy.
  • During the next step, you may be asked to upload documents to prove your identity. You cannot deposit funds into your account, or play at the betting site until the betting site has verified your documents. This usually takes between 24-48 hours. Note that if the bookie doesn't ask you to verify at this point of the process, they'll probably ask you to verify when you go to deposit or make a withdrawal.
  • Next, you can proceed to depositing funds into your account. Choose a payment method that suits you best, and proceed accordingly (Debit Card, PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, EcoPayz, EntroPay, Paysafecard, AstroPay, Cryptocurrency, Google Pay, Wire Transfer etc.).
  • Once your deposit goes through, you can proceed to place a bet/bets at the betting site!

Placing a Bet

To place a bet online, click on a betting market that you would like to punt on. Choose an outcome that you would like to back. You will see that your chosen outcome will appear on the bet slip, at the right-hand side of your screen. The minimum stake that you can place varies among betting sites and is generally in between £0.01, and £1.

The maximum stake amount varies among sporting disciplines and depends on the odds that you are backing, and the number of selections that you have made. Select the amount that you want to stake, and place a bet. If you would like to add more selections to your bet slip, repeat the above-mentioned process.

How to bet on horses online

Placing bets on horse races, is extremely popular in the United Kingdom. There are two main types of horse races in the United Kingdom – flat races, and national hunt races. Both race types come with a series of classifications, to help distinguish the prestige of a race. Here's some terms to help you understand how to bet on major events, such as how to bet on the grand national online, and how to bet on horse racing more generally.

Horse racing betting terms

  • SP – Starting Price.
  • NR – Non-Runner.
  • NRNB – Non-Runner No Bet.
  • Ante Post – A bet placed at least a day before the commencement of an event.

Before punting on a horse race, you must gauge the horse racing form card/race card in detail. This will help you understand form, names, age, weight, jockey and trainer, and odds. You must gauge race details, and weather conditions as well.

The major horse races in the United Kingdom include Cheltenham, Grand National and Ascot however other races take place almost every week!

Popular horse racing betting types

  • To Win – This betting variant requires you to predict the winner of a horse race.
  • Each-Way – An Each-Way bet consists of two separate bets – a To Win bet, and a To Place bet (On the same horse).
  • Forecast – This betting variant entails you predicting the top two horses, in the exact winning order.
  • Tricast – This betting variant entails you predicting the top three horses, the exact winning order.

Some betting sites offer the best odds guaranteed on the United Kingdom and Ireland horse races. This, in essence, means that when you place a winning bet, if the SP is greater, the betting site will payout at the bigger odds. This generally includes Board Prices, Early Prices, Singles and Multiples, To Win and Each-Way.

How to bet on football online

It's no secret that UK punters love betting on football, and you'll find plenty of football markets and competitions to bet on as a result. The simplest kind of bet is match odds, which means betting on the final result of a football match. This can either be a win for Team A, a win for  Team B, or a draw. Other popular markets include over/under goals, total cards, corners, correct score and many more.

 

What Happens if a Match I Bet on is Cancelled?

This is query commonly asked by both beginner and expert punters. For this reason we've written a whole guide on what to in case your bet get postponed, cancelled, or voided.

 

Understanding Betting Odds and Types of Betting Odds

Lower odds on offer on a player/team indicate a favourite to win. There are three types of betting odds – fractional, decimal, and American (Moneyline).

Fractional odds

Fractional odds are represented with a slash or a hyphen. For example, 5/1, or five-to-one. This, in essence, means that for every £1 that you stake, you will receive £5 in profit, for a total of £1+ £5=£6. These are the odds most commonly used in the UK.

Payout = (Stake*(Numerator/Denominator) +Stake), where Numerator/Denominator is the fractional odds on offer.

The probabilty % of you winning a placed bet, can be calculated by –

Probability % – 100/[(Numerator+Denominator)/Denominator].

For example, for odds of 5/1, the probability % for a win, stands at 100/[(5+1)/1] = 16.66%.

Decimal odds

Decimal odds represent the amount of money that you will win, for every £1 that you stake. For example, 6.00. This in essence means that for every £1 that you stake, you will receive a total of £6.

Payout = Stake* Decimal odds.

The probabilty % of you winning a placed bet, can be calculated by –

Probability % – 100/Decimal odds.

For example, for odds of 6.00, the probability % for a win, stands at 100/6.00 = 16.66%.

American odds

American odds are represented with a minus sign for favourites, and a positive sign for underdogs. For example, -500, +300. This in essence means that you must risk £100, if you punt on the underdog, to potentially win a profit of £300, for a total of £300+£100=£400.

If you punt on the favourite, you need to bet £500, to potentially win a profit of £100, for a total of £500+£100=£600.

Bookmaker’s Margin

Betting site’s charge a margin of profit, called the bookmaker’s margin, on all bets that you place – in essence, this is how the bookies make their money. This margin varies from betting market-to-market and depends on the popularity of an event in question.

Before placing a bet on a betting site, you should evaluate the margin of profit that a betting site is charging, and choose a betting site that is offering the best odds for a bet that you want to place.

A margin which is nearer to the ideal market mark of 100%, is preferred to a margin which meets or exceeds the 110% barrier. Betting variants with a high margin, are harder to reap a profit off, as they are likelier to lead to a loss. Having introduced the concept of bookmaker’s margin, how can you calculate this margin of profit?

To calculate the bookmaker’s margin for betting variant, you must determine its odds overround. To determine the odds overround for a betting variant, first convert the fractional outcomes of a betting variant, into the decimal form. Divide each of these outcomes by 100, and add the resulting numbers. Alternatively, you can use our handy odds overround calculator here. We always recommend shopping around to find the best betting margins for your bets.

 

Popular Betting Types

Here are a few of the most popular betting types –

  • Outright Winner – This betting variant requires you to predict the winner of a tournament.
  • Match Winner – This betting variant requires you to predict the winner of a match.
  • Over/Under – This betting variant requires you to predict whether an event (e.g. total score, total corners) will take place, Over/Under a number, as is specified by a betting site.
  • Totals – Totals require you to predict the total number of a particular event, which will take place in due course of a match.
  • Handicap – This betting variant entails handing a weaker team an event-based advantage, while handing a stronger team an event-based disadvantage. In essence, a stronger team starts a match on the back foot, and must overcome the event-based disadvantage, while the weaker team must maintain its given advantage.
  • Spread Betting – This betting variant is a type of handicap betting where the amount you win or lose is based on how right, or how wrong, your prediction is.

For a more comprehensive list of some of the most popular betting markets, click here.

 

In-Play Betting

In-play betting allows you to punt on match events, in due course of an ongoing game. Betting sites come with a section dedicated to in-play betting, an option to access of which, is either present on the betting site’s main navigation bar or above the sports slider, at the left-hand side of your screen.

The best betting sites offer a variety of sporting disciplines to punt on in-play, an equally impressive offering of popular, and unique betting variants, an option to live stream matches, a graphical representation of an ongoing match, dedicated statistics (Head-to-head results, player/team form guides, match information etc.), a graph to analyse the ebb and flow of an ongoing match, and a live scorecard. All of which can provide help in understanding how to bet on online football, basketball, rugby, and indeed, pretty much all popular and widely covered sports. 

You should live stream matches at all times. Live streaming a match will enable you to ride the momentum of a game, and place in-play bets accordingly. Betting sites offer several in-play betting features, including cash out, bet builder, and fast markets.

Cash out allows you to retrieve partial winnings on a placed bet in due course of an ongoing match. Punters generally initiate a cash out if they have already won a significant sum of money, or if they want to cut on their losses. It must be noted, that you must cash out before the event that you have punted on, has concluded.

The amount of money you retrieve via cash out, could be more, or less than your placed stake, and depends on the exact instance of initiating a cash out, and the odds in favour of your placed bet, at that point of time.

Building a bet allows you to create a bet of your own choice, by combining a set of outcomes and possibilities, into a single bet.

 

Promotional Offers

Betting sites often offer promotional offers pertaining to an upcoming/ongoing event of importance, or a sporting discipline that attracts a large number of punters. These offers are built to reward loyal punters with cashback, free bets, winnings boosts, prizes, and other benefits.

These offers come with a set of terms and conditions, which must be followed. Failure to do so may lead to the perks in relation to an offer being withdrawn, not awarded, or being declared void (After having been rewarded). You should make use of promotional offers that pertain to betting markets that you punt on regularly.

That being said, do not opt into a promotional offer for the sake of it, as the terms and conditions associated with a promotional offer may require you to bet a certain amount of money, at fixed odds – never place a bet if you are not confident that you may win – you could end up losing money.

Check out our full list of the latest and very best betting promotions in the UK here!

 

VIP Programmes

A good VIP/loyalty programme plays a vital role in pleasing existing customers, and attracting new ones. The hallmark of a VIP programme, is the provision of exclusive offers. A versatile VIP programme entails special bonuses, exclusive offers, prizes, express payment processing, VIP invitations, free bets, cashback, a birthday bonus, and the provision of a VIP manager.

The best online betting platforms, offer a dedicated VIP/loyalty programme for punters to take advantage of.

 

Betting Tips for Beginners

While some betting sites do indeed offer dedicated pre-match, and in-play statistics, when placing a bet you should always conduct research, and gauge past match results, player/team form guides, official rankings, past tournament results, injury news, home advantage (If applicable), pundit insights, match predictions, and the latest news.

Never punt on a match without having assessed the playing style of both opponents. Some players/teams resort to defensive gameplay, while others play a neutral, or attacking brand. You must determine how two players/teams may play out a match, taking into consideration their contrasting (Or similar) playing styles.

While winning big is a dream, placing small, and relevant bets may be a good strategy to start things off. As and when you get a working idea of how a betting market in question behaves, and you have won a fair share of money having resorted to a particular strategy/strategies, you can expand your betting horizon. Our guide on luck vs skill betting might good place for more detailed information on this.

Alternatively, you can place small stakes on events that you are certain of, in the form of a multiple bet – if you win, you could win big.

Betting can definitely be a daunting task for beginners who may not know where to even begin. Fear not however as we have got you covered with our vast range of betting tips covering all sorts of different sports and tournaments as well as our in-depth guide to the most common sporting mistakes that all bettors should avoid!

 

Setting Betting Limits and Responsible Gambling

You must practise a responsible brand of betting at all times. Prepare a betting strategy, set aside a sum of money on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and punt accordingly. The best betting sites offer a plethora of responsible gambling tools.

You can set a daily, weekly, or monthly deposit limit, capped at a specific amount, above which you cannot deposit into your account. Similarly, you can set a loss limit, and/or a stake limit, to govern your betting activity.

If you would like constant reminders, to make you aware of the amount of time you are spending on a betting site, you can set session reminders – a message will appear on your screen, after a specified time interval, to remind you of the same.

If you need a temporary break from a betting site, you can choose to time-out from a betting platform (Usually for 1 day, to up to 6 months at a time). Similarly, if you need a longer break, you can choose to self-exclude yourself from a betting site (Generally for a period of 6 months or more).

The best betting sites often offer a responsible gambling questionnaire, to help you self-assess your gambling activity, links to child protection (Blocking) software, and contact details pertaining to responsible gambling organisations.

 

How to Bet Online FAQs

✅ Is online betting legal and regulated in the United Kingdom?

Yes, punters can definitely place bets online legally in the UK, with lots of great legal betting sites available to punters.

⭕ What are the best betting sites for online sports betting?

Based on our own research, the best online sports betting sites include Bet365, Unibet, 888sport, Marathonbet, Ladbrokes, and Coral.

💲 What payment methods do betting sites offer?

Debit Card, PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, EcoPayz, EntroPay, Paysafecard, AstroPay, Cryptocurrency, Google Pay, Wire Transfer and many other alternatives.

❓ How are betting odds represented?

Betting odds are represented in the fractional, decimal, or American odds format.

 ⚽ What are the most popular betting types?

Outright Winner, Match Winner, Over/Under, Totals, and Handicap are all popular betting markets.

🏀 How are betting odds determined?

Several factors go into determining betting odds, including player/team form, home/away records, weather, injuries, past tournament results, the relative strength of a player/team, head-to-head statistics etc. A favoured player/team comes with lower odds, while an underdog comes with higher odds on offer.

 

ThePuntersPage Final Say

The online betting market size is increasing exponentially, and the shift from betting in shops to betting online, is becoming clearer. While the 9,000 odd betting shops in the United Kingdom offer a different betting experience altogether, the perks and features of betting online, heavily outweigh the former.

As a beginner, you must devise a diligent betting strategy – keep in mind all the betting tips mentioned in due course of this guide. Avoid punting large sums of money, find betting markets that best suit you, and stick to your strengths. While betting never has, and never will be an easy endeavour, put your best foot forward, and hope for the best!