How to pick an online sportsbook

By: Bill Dozer
This is a simple Question and Answer that tackles questions from How to pick an Online Sportsbook to What are some warning signs that my book may be in trouble.

Q. What type of sportsbook is right for me?

A. There are many very good books out there that get bad feedback because the player is better suited somewhere else. Most books offer some kind of perk to draw the type of player they would like to manage.
If the player is looking to make one $200 wager on the Superbowl and then withdraw it does not matter how reduced the juice is if they are going to pay $15 to process the payout. Many books will charge players for small money transfers since they target the larger player with other perks. The small superbowl bettor is better off at a book that charges full price but has free withdrawals yet charges full vig.
A bettor who is going to play out 500 or more through out a season would come away with more paying less over that time.
Long term investors should look at long term returns while the short term smaller player may be better off playing through a nice bonus and taking the free payout.
Many bonuses are more lucrative in the short term than reduced juice.

Q. What factors should I look at when choosing a book?

A. After deciding which type of book is right for you, choosing stability should be the first priority. If you decide a big bonus will benefit your playing style the most that does not mean you should hunt out the largest one and send your hard earned cash

Q. What methods of transferring money are there and what do they cost?

Q. Why should I have more than one sportsbook?

A. Many online books experience downtime at the hands of extortionists. A back up book is a must of you do not want to be left without a way to make you bet on football Sunday.
For those who are not playing for simple entertainment, line and price shopping is a must in order to turn a profit.
It is also smart not to keep all your eggs in the same basket.

Q. What are some warning signs that my book may be in trouble?

A. Most books that have failed have shown signs of floundering. The best advice one can give is to take not of inconsistencies. If your book performs like Datek.com and suddenly looks like a swimsuit site you know someone is shaking things up internally. If its not broke don't fix it?
Signs to look for which you do not want to see simultaneously may include. sudden huge bonuses, spreads that are different than all other books, desperate marketing techniques such as cold calling and mass direct mailing, falling stock prices, slow-pay rumors and extended website down time. As you become more in tune with what makes a quality sports book you will be able to spot individual warning signs on your own. Playing with the very top shops can eliminate the anxiety that comes with sending your money to an unknown book.

Q. Should I buy picks from the pros?

A. see article JOE TOUT at http://todayslines.com/Articles/366.aspx

Q. What win % do I need to win hit to win overall?

Q. Is online gambling legal?

A. When an online wager is placed when does it actually become a bet? If one's opinion is the wager is being sent where betting is legal then one can argue gambling is legal. If you are a U.S. official you are likely to say the bet takes place when you click submit in your home. Opponents of online gambling are trying to fix this grey area by including internet use in the Wire Act which was originally established to make calling bets in to others illegal.
Currently gambling promoters are under fire. Prosecuting the millions of online gamblers is unrealistic at this time.

Q. What does -110 after the line mean?

A. This represents the 10% extra that must be wagered to win $100. The 10% is often referred to as vig/vigorish, commission or the standard price to place a bet. The basic idea is that if the bookie books one event and takes $1000 wagered on opposing teams he will pocket $100 for the service. Of course, many online bookies make their profit on the long term prices as equal betting on opposing opinions is not assured.

Q. What is a money line?

A. The money line is a number that represent the odds to take a team straight up (without a spread). An underdog would payout more than the money wagered while a favorite would net a fraction of what was laid. The money line format is usually shown based on 100 dollars wagered. For example -200 would mean you would have to wager $200 to win 100. An underdog at +175 would show $100 wagered would net $175.

Q. What happens when the spread and the outcome are the same?

A. In this situation the bet is a tie and no funds change hands. This is called a push. A sportsbook's policy for multiple wagers such as parlays and teasers may vary.

Q. What is a parlay?

A. A parlay is a chance for the bettor to win a larger return on the usual betting amount. It requires the player to pick multiple plays where all must be correct in order to win the larger amount. Rarely are parlay payouts large enough to be more profitable than a player having the same success with individual wagers. The parlay is often referred to as the sucker bet.

Q. Why does the spread/line change?

A. The line may change for many reasons. The most basic and common is when a large amount of money or individual bets are placed on one side of the offering line. If the bookie wishes to have as much even money on both sides he will adjust the line or price to make the other option more favorable.
The line can also change when very smart bettors known as sharps put their opinion on one outcome.
A smaller book may be forced to move its line because a larger operation has done so. This is to avoid being the sole book offering the most favorable line for one offering. If the line is not changed then the sportsbook could get a flood of wagers on one outcome and force the establishment to gamble need many players to be wrong so not to lose money.
Game updates will also change the line. If a main player in an even is hurt the lines are sure to change when that information reaches the house.

Q. Where does the spread originate and who makes it?

Q. What is reduced juice?

A. Reduced juice refers to the price to place a bet that is less than the standard 10% (or -110). PinnaceSports.com is best example for reduced prices. They are able to operate on a smaller margin per bet because the volume of wagers is high.

Q. How do I know my money is safe?

A. Depending on which book you choose you can often get feedback in various forums and websites such as this. One should look for long standing operations in this infant industry. Many books have never had a legitimate complaint while others slow pay on a regular basis. Australian sportsbooks are regulated by its government.

Q. How long does it take to get my winnings?

A. Many books will pay within minutes at all hours. It is important to form expectations before you choose your book. Some books simply choose to process during weekdays only. Generally it should not take more than a few hours for a payout to be processed during business hours.

Q. How do I stay up to date on how my books are doing?

A. There are many sites that release digest information for you to analyze as you see fit. Many forums will also alert of real time experiences. Some players are simple paranoid about not receiving a perk that they received at a former book while others will tell of messy experiences. It becomes easy to realize what kind of feedback a player is giving.

Q. What countries regulate Sportsbooks?

A. Many books will claim their country regulates it's betting industry but usually the sports book is peddling a false sense security. Antigua books are often mentioned as being over seen but is a few years removed from seeing Aces Gold fall with player's funds. BetPanam recently closed owing many just months after the Panama gaming commission was being advertised. Panam has been closed for months with most customers left high and dry.
Australia's government actually over sees it's betting establishments. They require players funds to be held in escrow. To date this is the only country truly regulated by a legitimate governing body.
Bill Dozer: SBR Writer, Analyst, and 15-year Sportsbook player. Bill helps other sports bettors avoid scams and provides advice in dealing with offshore sportsbooks. Get your Free Special Report "No-Nonsense Advice on How to Spot a SCAM Sportsbook" at
sportsbookreview.com/downloads/9.aspx

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