More Americans than ever are legally able to enjoy sports betting sites, but only if they know how to bet online. Here you’ll discover everything you need to know, from the registration page to making the most of every bet.

Placing bets online can be a lot of fun, but how exactly do you get things going? Take a look at the first three steps to betting which will guide you on your way:

  1. Make sure you choose a reputable betting site that holds the proper licensing and credentials, such as the operators we have listed above.

  2. Register by creating an account with your chosen bookmaker (see below for more details).

  3. You can now start placing bets online!

To ensure that you choose a trustworthy and reliable online bookmaker, check that the site in question fulfils all the below criteria.

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A Stellar Reputation

Reading online reviews from expert sources is a great way to find out about a specific bookmaker's reputation. Our reviews here at TPP serve as a valuable compass, guiding you only towards sites that have proven their credibility.

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Generous Bonuses and Promotions

Betting bonuses are the crown jewels among online bettors, offering the potential to enhance your bankroll or catapult your winnings significantly! A steady range of promotions also reflects the operator's commitment to keeping you satisfied and loyal as customer.

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Competitive Odds

The competitiveness of a bookmaker's odds should take center stage. Because this translates into more bang for your buck and more lucrative rewards. Look for Best Guaranteed Odds promotions, which ensures that you receive the best possible odds on your wagers, regardless of any fluctuations that may occur.

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Various Payment Methods

Various Payment MethodsIn recent years, bookmakers have continually expanded their range of accepted payment methods for deposits and withdrawals. Most commonly, you will find credit/debit cards, e-wallets, prepaid cards, bank transfer, and crypto. When it comes to e-wallets, you may find one or more of the following offered: PayPal, Payz (formerly ecoPayz), Skrill, EntroPay, NETELLER, AstroPay, paysafecard, and Google Pay.

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A Wide Range of Sports

When you are searching for a bookmaker to place your first bet, you want to find a site that offers the sports that you are interested in. Popular sports to place bets on include football, basketball, American football, horse racing, and boxing, to name just a few.

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Efficient Customer Support

Every bettor – whether new or experience – needs to have reliable customer support at hand should they come across any issues or queries that need answering. You should be able to get in touch via email, live chat, or phone.

Online sports betting is only recently legal in many parts of the US meaning many have never signed up to a sportsbook before, nor understand how to bet on sports online.

The good news is getting started is easy, just follow these three simple steps to start your online gaming adventure.

  1. Discover which sportsbooks are legally available in your state

  2. Choose the right sportsbook for you

  3. Fill in the registration form

We’ve chosen BetMGM as a typical example, you can expect a similar process with virtually all American sportsbooks.

Screenshot of BetMGM Registration Process Part 1 desktop
(Source: BetMGM)

First off, you’ll need to head on over to the homepage and go to “Register”. If using BetMGM on mobile, you’ll need to first download the app and go to the registration form from there.

Screenshot of BetMGM Registration Process Part 2 desktop
(Source: BetMGM)

The initial page asks you to enter an e-mail or register with PayPal or Yahoo Sports.

For the purposes of this demonstration, we’re going to show you how it works through e-mail.

If alternative options like this are available you can expect similar details to be requested, alongside information identifying the relevant accounts.

Screenshot of BetMGM Registration Process Part 3 desktop
(Source: BetMGM)

Next up you’ll need to create a password, it must contain at least 7 characters, 1 number and both uppercase and lowercase letter. All of which is typical to keep your password strong and your account safe.

Screenshot of BetMGM Registration Process Part 4 desktop
(Source: BetMGM)

For this step you’ll need to provide your name and gender.

Screenshot of BetMGM Registration Process Part 5 desktop
(Source: BetMGM)

To begin verifying your account, provide the last four digits of your social security number.

Screenshot of BetMGM Registration Process Part 6 desktop
(Source: BetMGM)

The next request is for your date of birth. As an example, the minimum age is 21 at BetMGM in New York.

If you’re under 25, you’ll want to research how old to sports bet online you need to be, because there are differences in minimum age between legal states.

Screenshot of BetMGM Registration Process Part 7 desktop
(Source: BetMGM)

Next up is your mobile number, this is also important for promotional messages and to secure your account.

Screenshot of BetMGM Registration Process Part 8 desktop
(Source: BetMGM)

Providing your address is easy as it will typically come up as soon as you start typing, if not it will require your city, state, and zip code.

(Source: BetMGM)

Finally, you’ll be asked to accept all the terms and conditions.

This includes confirming you are of legal age, that you’ve accepted the terms and conditions and that all the information given is correct.

Your account will typically be verified within minutes if there are no issues with the information provided.

Understanding the practicalities of how to bet on sports online legally is easy, the hard part is choosing between so many fantastic bookmakers.

That’s why we’ve selected four of what we think are the finest bookmakers in the United States to discover how to bet online.

DraftKings – A Creative and Captivating All Rounder

Screenshot of DraftKings Homepage desktop
(Source: DraftKings)

Much of the quality of a fantasy betting site comes down to innovation and generosity.

In these regards, there’s arguably none better than DraftKings. They have tons of contests available across all manner of events with selections to test even the most dedicated of fans.

Plus, they’re marvelously simple to navigate. If you’ve never used a fantasy betting site online, they are ideal, especially considering their free to enter contests.

They are also available in more jurisdictions than any other alternative, over 20 states in total, all of which have access to their acclaimed mobile apps.

Also excellent are their fantastic traditional sports betting markets, backed by promotions as giving as their freely available tournaments.

  • Available in more of the US than any alternative
  • Tons of captivating contests
  • Perfect for newcomers
  • Ample traditional betting markets
  • Lower maximum limits on odds boosts

FanDuel – Fantastic Fantasy Betting, Terrific Traditional Sportsbook

Screenshot of FanDuel Homepage desktop
(Source: FanDuel)

FanDuel is beautifully designed, a responsive and intuitive experience for both mobile apps and desktop.

They excel as a premium place to discover how to bet online with custom made tutorials and contests suitable for newcomers. And if you do get stuck, excellent customer service is accessible 24/7.

Free games are available, plus contests and markets are enhanced by one of the finest promo pages in the business. They’re especially good at Faceoff contests which pit you one on one against other users.

As for traditional markets, they’re especially good for prop bets and parlays, plus odds are competitive across a truly global selection of sports. Whether you want to learn how to bet on boxing online, or something more obscure, they have you covered.

  • Terrific prop bet selection
  • Excellent tutorials for newcomers
  • Great variety of contest types
  • Unique sports coverage from FanDuel TV
  • More state restrictions than some

BetMGM – Local Appeal, Global Reach

Screenshot of BetMGM Sportsbook Homepage desktop
(Source: BetMGM)

One of the most satisfying things about BetMGM is that you’re immediately taken to a state specific version of the site. This means you can be sure what’s available to you, including a localized selection of markets and promotions.

If you want to know how to bet college football online for instance, including what’s legally available to you, this is the place.

And they impress on an international level as well as a local one. BetMGM provides an immensely impressive selection of markets from the biggest international soccer tournaments to your local sports teams.

Plus, odds remain competitive, with comprehensive live coverage, including buttery smooth live streaming across so many events.

All of this is provided a perfect platform too thanks to the technically reliable and structurally sound design of BetMGM. This includes a simple registration and banking process, great customer service and wonderful mobile apps. If you’re just getting started and want to explore a broad variety of sports, they are close to ideal.

  • Site version specific to your state
  • Very competitive odds
  • Fantastic live coverage
  • Consistent technical performance
  • Lack of esports

Borgata – Sports Betting Depth Beyond its Reputation

Screenshot of Borgata Sportsbook Page desktop
(Source: Borgata)

Borgata are best known for their casino, but they also provide a vast collection of consistently competitive odds on sports markets.

You’ve got American favorites like the NHL, MLB and NFL, alongside tournaments from all around the world. Local and multinational golf, tennis, and boxing events, as just a few examples, are comprehensively covered.

Live coverage is also excellent, particularly live streaming, and they perform especially well on mobile.

Security credentials are stellar from encryption to responsible gaming tools, and customer service lives up to their epic reputation too.

  • Great for sports interested casino fans
  • Consistent rewards
  • Deep sports market selection
  • Top tier customer service
  • Lack of sports promotions

Once you know how to bet on sports online legally there’s an enormous variety of markets available to you. But some are more popular than others, so here’s a selection of the most important to get you started.

Favorites v Underdogs

Deciding which team or athlete is the favorite and which one is the underdog is the first thing that online bookmakers do when putting together odds on an event.

The favorite, which is the team that is more likely to win, receives a minus sign next to its odds.

The underdog, which is the team expected to lose, receives a plus symbol.


Moneylines represent one of the most popular ways to bet on a favorite or an underdog. These bets required punters to just select the winner.

They use what is known as American odds in the calculation of a payout. An example of this is if you are betting on a -200 favorite. You will need to risk $200 for the opportunity to win $100. Conversely, if you bet $100 on a +200 underdog that wins, you will take home $200.


Spreads or point spreads are another popular way to bet on favorites and underdogs. In these bets, you are wagering on the margin of victory. If you are betting on a team that is a -4.5 favorite over their opponent, they will need to win by five or more points. Anyone placing a bet on the underdog would need them to lose by one to four points.


Another type of popular wager offered by top bookmakers is called an over/under bet. This involves the total number of points that are scored by both teams. You can wager on whether or not a match will go over the total or under it.

Outright Winner

Simply picking who you think will be the outright winner of a tournament is another one of the most popular betting markets offered by today's online sportsbooks. However, these bets are not available for single sporting events.


In handicap betting, a sportsbook gives one team or player a handicap or deficit that must be overcome. Your bet must take the handicap into account when choosing who will win.

Match Winner

Match winner is one of the most straightforward betting markets that are popular with today's sportsbooks. In these wagers, you are simply betting on who you think will be the winner of an individual match.

Correct Score Betting

With correct score betting, you predict the final score of an individual match. The betting odds for this market tend to be high, given the fact that they can be affected by many different variables.


The totals betting market involves placing a bet on the total number for a specific event. An example of this would be the total goals scored during a football match.


In an accumulator bet, you can stack up various betting markets from different matches/events together into one large wager.These bets do have greater risk due to the number of variables, but you do receive improved odds. Accumulator betting can result in a big profit from a small wager if you are successful.


Parlay means combining multiple bets into a single wager for increased potential payouts but with increased risk. For instance, you could bet on the winner of multiple UFC fights on the same card.

Same Game Parlay

Same as above but here you are specifically combining multiple bets within the same game. A popular example would include betting on the winner, total points and first scorer in an NBA game.


A type of parlay bet where you change the points spread on a game to personalize your level of risk. Among the most common are six-point teasers on an NFL game, which, as the name suggests, would move the points spread by 6 points to adjust both probability and potential returns.


Betting on outcomes that will be determined significantly into the future. Such odds are often regarding the culmination of major sporting events, such as the winner of the Super Bowl, or the teams that will make it to the NBA Finals.

Whichever bookmaker you choose, the process of placing a bet is overwhelming the same. Simply:

  1. Log in and go to your account and relevant banking page

  2. Choose a payment method

  3. Provide details relevant to chosen payment method

  4. Add the amount you wish to deposit

  5. Confirm that amount, most payments should appear in your account instantly

  6. Find the market you are interested in, select the odds you want

  7. Add the amount you wish to wager on the bet slip, your potential returns should be made clear

  8. Confirm the bet, and hope for the best

  9. If successful, go back to your account and banking page and request a withdrawal. This typically just requires some basic information and the amount

How To Bet on Horse Racing Online?

The key difference between knowing how to bet on horses online and other sports is the importance of the racing form. Go to the relevant race you’re interested in (there’s usually several upcoming live options), and you’ll find tons of markets, enough to allow you to really customize your level of risk. The stats provided can really help put these markets into perspective and allow you to select your odds with confidence.

Soccer is a sport with a huge selection of leagues available to bet on from all around the world. With that in mind you’ll want to first find “Soccer”, then the league you’re interested in, then the game. The best internationally minded American betting sites, like our four recommendations, should provide competitive odds for soccer events of all sizes.

You likely won’t need to look far for NFL markets in season, as they are prominently advertised on most American sportsbooks. But if the homepage doesn’t provide immediate links to what you’re looking for the NFL will typically have its own page on the main sports toolbar. From here you can discover all the top odds on upcoming games, and typically futures are also featured heavily. Be sure to check for any NFL specific promotions before placing your bets too, particularly during the Super Bowl.

Unless there’s a big upcoming event, you’ll likely have to search for the UFC on the sportsbook to find the relevant markets. If you still don’t see any and you’re lost on how to bet online keep in mind markets may be generally under “MMA”. The best bookmakers have lots of great prop bets on UFC fights like the method of victory or the total number of rounds.

For the most part, understanding how to sports bet online from a mobile app is the same as betting on desktop. You register with the site, add a payment method, deposit, and place your bet.

The only difference is the initial download process, which looks like this:

You’ll first search for the app you’re looking for.

Select the app from the menu and you’ll be taken to a page with a ton of relevant app information such as reviews, technical requirements and so on. Hit “Get” and wait for the app to download. This should not take longer than a few minutes.

Once downloaded you can open the app, register if you need to, deposit and bet as normal.

While there may be minor differences between DraftKings and other sites here, the process should largely be the same. Other terrific apps for US players include bet365, Betway and FanDuel, as just a few examples.

Sports betting is currently legal in 38 states including the District of Columbia. Based on the trajectory of legal online gambling in the US since the 2018 overturning of PASPA, it is likely more will join them soon.

For newcomers, navigating the realm of betting can be a thrilling yet daunting experience. To help you avoid common betting mistakes and help you with bankroll management, we've shortlisted our top three tips for beginners below.

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Start off small

Until you gain more experience, it's best to start off with smaller stakes. We recommend checking out our luck vs. skill betting article to find out more about this topic.

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Place bets on sports you know well

It might seem obvious to most, but we'll say it anyway – stick to sports that you follow and are well-versed in. It is important to be able to accurately assess the playing style of individual players, athletes, and teams to find consistency in your wagering efforts.

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Spend time researching odds and statistics

While quite a few betting sites offer their own stats and breakdowns, it's best to do your own research before place any bets online. This can include looking at previous results, official rankings, injury reports, past tournament results, insights from sports pundits and match predictions, and so on.

I think it’s amazing that most Americans can now bet on top tier online betting sites. That progress is immense. And if you have trepidations because you are new to betting online, it’s all good news. Not only is the selection of sites for most states already excellent, but the best bookmakers are immensely user friendly.

Learning how to bet online, and indeed, the whole process of setting up and account, depositing funds and making your first bet, can be completed by anyone in mere minutes. The hardest part will be choosing which of the enormous selection of betting options you want to take a punt on first.

The best online betting sites include DrafKings, BetMGM, FanDuel, and Borgata Online.

Betting odds are displayed in different ways, with fractions and decimals being the two most popular format across the rest of the world.
The American format displays odds denoted by a plus (+) or minus (-) sign, followed by a numerical value. The plus sign (+) indicates the potential profit on a $100 bet, while the minus sign (-) represents the amount you need to wager to win $100.

There are several factors used by sportsbooks to determine betting odds. These factors include home/away records, player/team forms, injuries, weather, past tournament results, head-to-head statistics, and the relative strength of a player/team. Betting favorites are generally assigned lower odds, while underdogs are given higher prices.

Register to a betting site that is licensed in your state. Then, choose a payment method and deposit some funds. For most, these will be made available instantly. Select a market and confirm on the bet slip how much you wish to wager. If your bet is successful, money will be credited to your account available for withdrawal.

This entirely depends on the individual sports book. Some even accept wagers as low as a single cent although most start at around $0.50. Check on the individual terms and conditions of the site to find out and ask customer service if that information isn’t readily available. Keep in mind there will also be a minimum deposit to consider, which typically begins at $5 or $10.

The way all bets are made is fundamentally the same. The process of registration, depositing funds and choosing your odds and stake is constant regardless of the market in question. So, we suppose the easiest bet to play would be the easiest to understand. In that regard we would suggest that a simple moneyline bet, where you bet on which team or competitor will win an event, best fits the bill.

Some more popular sports have extra competitive odds and even specific promotions to boost your potential profits. On American betting sites, this would most commonly be for the likes of the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB and NBA, alongside big international tournaments like the FIFA World Cup or Wimbledon. Ultimately though the most profitable sport to bet on is one where you can make accurate predictions to see a return in the first place.

WRITTEN BY Ben Gibson View all posts by Ben Gibson

Ben has been writing professionally for over a decade. His articles are a great outlet for his inexhaustible supply of sporting facts and enthusiasm. He resides in Yorkshire, where his work is powered by the ever-present sound of a kettle.

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