3 Sportsbooks You Should Compare Odds At

Odds Intro – How Betting Odds Work

Compare Odds – Bet With The Best Odds

Betting odds are pretty much no different from other terms that describe the probability of an event – basically, they try to quantify whether something will or will not happen, allowing you to use a mathematical figure in your planning process. This allows you to assess those events with more precision and ultimately increase your profits by choosing the right website for a specific bet you want to place.

Calculating odds requires knowledge about all the possible outcomes in a given sporting event. You need to understand the rules of the sport and how frequently something happens on the field in order to create a workable assessment. Once you know how often a certain event may take place, you can predict the most likely outcomes and assign a specific probability. This process is known as handicapping – becoming a successful handicapper is the key to becoming a profitable sports bettor.

Setting The Lines – Moving The Lines

The above means that calculating betting odds is the key to sports betting, which is a fact well understood by the bookies. Consequently, they rely on an over-round in order to achieve profits – simply put, the idea is to maximize the probability of a sports book making a profit regardless of which event actually takes place or which side wins the match. As a results, the odds at online sports books usually add up to more than 100% – usually 125% or even higher. This means that even if the bettors stake in correlation with the odds, the bookies will still profit. An important implication for the handicapper is the fact that the odds provided by the sports books are not the real odds for the sporting event – if true odds were released, the bookmakers would be less likely to make a profit. Knowing this, a smart bettor will compare odds at different sites like Bovada, Bookmakers.eu or 5dimes and then compare them with the data obtained from a dependable handicapper or, in the case of experienced or ambitious gamblers, prepared in his own handicapping effort.

Before you go on to compare the odds at different websites, you’ll have to learn the different types of odds, which are used in different regions and may even appear on a single website. Fractional odds are usually used in Europe (especially UK and Ireland), so they’re quite popular with European sports and leagues. Fractional odds are a simple representation of how much you can win in relation to the size of your bet: for example, odds set at 3/1 mean that you have to risk 1 in order to win 3, so if you win you’ll receive 300% of your wager. Keep in mind that this also works the other way around – if you bet on the more likely outcome, your income will amount to one-third of your original bet.

Decimal odds are another common type and show the amount of money that you receive in a winning scenario. Decimal odds are expressed by a number telling you how much you can win in relation to a single unit: for example, odds set at 7.5 will pay you $6.50 for every $1 you invest. Nevertheless, you have to keep in mind that US-facing online sports books will usually express their odds by positive and negative integers: a + means that you’ll win the specific amount for every $100 bet, while a – means that you’ll have to pay that amount to win $100. For example, if the odds are +150, you’ll get $150 for winning with a $100 bet, while a bet priced at -150 will get you $100 if you pay $150.

Top Sportsbooks Odds

Now that you’re armed with the necessary knowledge, let’s take a look at the top three sports books available online: Bovada, 5dimes and Bookmakers.eu.


Bovada offers the best odds on betting the underdogs. Bovada is a US-only version of Bodog and offers 50% free play up to $250 for every new customer, which expires after 30 days. The site has rather low wager limits, especially for the most popular money line bets: for NFL the maximum money line bet is $1,000;, for College Football it’s $1,000; for NBA and most other sports – $500. The same holds true for spread, totals, parlay and teaser bets; what’s more NFL bets tend to be rather expensive on this site, as the negative odds tend to be higher than on Bookmakers and 5dimes. Fortunately, the same doesn’t hold true to other popular American sports, as the odds for basketball, baseball or even soccer are very similar to the remaining popular site.


5dimes offers exceptional odds. Especially if you pick the reduced juice bonus offer when signing up instead of the 50% free play up to $520. The excellent cash back of up to 20% makes it one of the best sites available on the web – in fact, if you factor in the cash back, 5dimes has some of the best odds available on the web across most wagers. The betting limits vary from $5,000 on all the major sports to $50 on really exotic stuff – basically, 5dimes is somewhere between BookMaker and Bovada in terms of the money you’re allowed to invest. The odds are pretty good even if you don’t consider the cashback: a match which is -120 on Bovada is usually -110 on 5dimes, but exceptions do happen.


BookMaker.eu offers 20% free play – the maximum bonus is $500, while the minimum deposit is $300, making this site significantly less generous towards new customers than the other two. The wager limits are very high on this site – for a NFL Super Bowl game, the maximum total is $10,000, while the maximum money line is $10,000. Other major leagues like the NCAA, MLB or NBA are pretty much the same – basically, all major events will have a limit of $5,000 or more. The odds on BookMaker are usually more favorable than on Bovada, but keep in mind that this is offset by an underwhelming set of promotions.

Time To Act

Despite the fact that a quick look at the betting sites allows you to make some broad generalizations, it’s very important to never skip comparing the odds on various sites, as the differences can range up to 30%, which means that you could be wasting one-third of your profits if you didn’t do that. Instead of going through the trouble of giving each site a lengthy manual check whenever you want to stake a match, I’d suggest visiting a sports betting odds site that lists the odds from numerous bookmakers in a single table for each sporting event. Using this method is much quicker and allows you to easily pick the site that gives you the most edge, but keep in mind that for the reasons described above even a consensus from all major sports betting sites won’t replace good handicapping advice.

UPDATED August 22, 2013
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