US Online Sports Betting Bonus Offers

Legal US online sports betting bonuses became available to sports fans in 2018 and it ushered in a new era of sports betting and a number of successful sportsbook sites.

The overturn of PASPA (the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act) gave states the green light to offer legal sports betting. Individual states can now pass their own legislation and allow both retail and online sports wagering within their state.

Best Online Sportsbook Bonuses September 2021

Online SportsbookStates OperatingBonus Offers
FanDuel SportsbookNJ, PA, IL, IN, IA, CO, WV, TN, MI, VA, AZClaim a $1000 Risk-Free Bet
BetMGMCO, IN, IA, MI, NJ, NV, PA, TN, WV, VA, DC, WY, AZClaim a $1,000 Risk Free Bet with code TOPBONUS100
DraftKings SportsbookCO, IL, IN, IA, MI, NH, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY, AZClaim a 20% Deposit Match Bonus up to $1000
CaesarsCO, IL, IN, IA, MI, NJ, NV, TN, VA, WV, AZClaim a $5,000 Risk Free Bet
WynnBetVA, CO, IN, MI, NJ, TN, AZClaim up to a $1000 Risk Free Bet
BetRiversCO, IL, IN, IA, MI, PA, VA
(SugarHouse brand: NJ, PA)
100% Deposit Match Bonus up to $250 with bonus code 250MATCH
PointsBetNJ, IA, CO, IN, IL, MI, WVClaim $2000 in 2 Risk-Free Bets with code BIGBONUS
UnibetNJ, PA, VA, IN, IAClaim a $500 risk-free bet plus $20 deposit bonus

US Sports Betting Bonus Offers & Promo Codes

FanDuel Sportsbook

  • Best for a $1,000 risk-free bet refunded as betting credits
  • Available on iOS, Android, and website browser
  • Promo verified for September 2021

Visit: FanDuel Sportsbook to claim a risk-free bet for up to $1,000.

Along with its closest competitor, DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook holds a position as one of the most popular online sports betting platforms in the US.

FanDuel Sportsbook emerged as one of the top-earning mobile sports betting sites in many of the states where it’s available.

Promos at the sportsbook include a $1,000 risk-free bet for new players. After an initial deposit, new account holders are eligible for up to a $1,000 rebate as site credits on the first bet made if it results in a loss.

FanDuel Sportsbook offers a wide array of betting markets. Bettors looking for action on domestic professional and college sports, as well as international leagues and niche sports, can find plenty of options.

BetMGM Sportsbook

  • Best for a $1,000 risk-free bet to be refunded as multiple free bets
  • Available on iOS, Android, and website browser
  • Promo verified for September 2021

Visit: BetMGM Sportsbook to claim a $1,000 risk-free betuse exclusive promo code: TOPBONUS100

The BetMGM online sportsbook features a very generous sportsbook sign-up bonus and a number of impressive options to bet from. Backed by one of the top gaming companies in the US, this sportsbook is expanding rapidly into new states. One of the most recent launches was in the state of Arizona.

One of the current new user promotions through BetMGM is a risk-free $1,000 bet. If the wager is less than $50, the bettor receives the wager back in a single free bet. Any wager more than $50 is divided up into four free bets, each accounting for a quarter of the initial wager.

Current promotions include a weekly MLB offering where bettors complete tasks to receive risk-free bets, parlay boosts, and free bets. Another promotion is betting $50 or more in a week to receive a $10 free bet. Both of these promotions can overlap. Expect additional promotions for the NFL, college football, and other leagues as they begin their new seasons.

DraftKings Sportsbook

  • Best for long-term sports bettors due to 20% deposit match up to $1,000 with 5x playthrough
  • Available on iOS, Android, and website browser
  • Promo verified for September 2021

Visit: DraftKings Sportsbook to claim Bonus.com offer + a 20% deposit match bonus up to $1,000

DraftKings Sportsbook looms as a leading brand in the US online sports betting industry. In virtually every state in which it legally operates, this sportsbook stands as one of the top revenue-earning mobile sportsbooks. Much of this is attributable to DraftKings’ success as a daily fantasy sports operator.

Get your exclusive DraftKings Sportsbook bonus offer for new players. Deposit $5 or more to receive a $50 free bet. That’s like a 1,000% deposit match credited as a free bet, which is one of the most generous online sports betting welcome bonuses.

Then new players can receive a 20% deposit match up to $1,000 with the standard welcome bonus offer. If you plan on betting at DraftKings Sportsbook for the long term, then you’ll probably benefit from opting into both offers. Terms and conditions apply.

Caesars Sportsbook

  • Best for a $5,000 risk-free bet for new users
  • Available on iOS, Android, and website browser
  • Promo verified for September 2021

Visit: Caesars Sportsbook to claim up to a $5,000 Risk-Free Bet (in most states where it’s available)

Caesars Entertainment acquired William Hill in April 2021 and has rebranded the platform. Now Ceasears Sportsbook is available to bettors in several states and offers a user-friendly mobile app and an unmatched loyalty rewards program.

The current new user promotion at Caesars Sportsbook is a risk-free bet of up to $5,000 in most states where it’s available. Through the month of September, $100 worth of bets placed toward NFL action goes toward a $150 gift card to NFLShop.com to buy a new jersey.

Caesars Sportsbook offers all the major sports in the US. But it is particularly popular among those who bet on international sports, especially European soccer like the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League.

WynnBET

  • Best for a straightforward $1,000 risk-free bet refunded as a free bet of equal value
  • Available on iOS, Android, and website browser
  • Promo verified for September 2021

Visit: WynnBET Sportsbook to claim a first bet matched as a free bet up to $1,000

WynnBET is a relatively new addition to the online sports betting market in the US. While there is a Wynn Sportsbook app in Nevada, it’s separate from the much more robust WynnBET app that’s available for sports betting and casino gaming in Michigan and New Jersey.

The WynnBET Sportsbook app is available in Virginia, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, and Tennessee. New members at WynnBET can receive a $1,000 risk-free bet.

BetRivers

  • Best for casual bettors due to 100% deposit match up to $250 with a 1x playthrough requirement
  • Available on iOS, Android, and website browser
  • Promo verified for September 2021

Visit: BetRivers Sportsbook to claim a 100% deposit match bonus up to $250 – bonus code 250MATCH

The BetRivers brand emerged as a legal online gambling platform owned by Rush Street Interactive. Poised to be a major player in the US legal online sports betting market, BetRivers currently offers mobile sports betting in states like Pennsylvania, Indiana, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Virginia, and Michigan.

Rush Street Gaming is the parent company of BetRivers. They also operate under another brand, SugarHouse Sportsbook, in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and in Connecticut when sports betting launches in that state.

BetRivers offers one of the most player-friendly deposit match bonuses in the US. New bettors can unlock a 100% match bonus up to $250, with just a 1x playthrough requirement. The minimal playthrough requirement is matched by few other sportsbooks making BetRivers a top choice for any sports bettor.

PointsBet

  • Best for two risk-free bets up to $2,000
  • Available on iOS, Android, and website browser
  • Promo verified for September 2021

Visit: PointsBet Sportsbook to claim two risk-free bets worth up to $2,000use exclusive code: BIGBONUS

The Australian-owned PointsBet brand committed to a stateside business plan with the implementation of two land-based headquarters in the US. PointsBet currently offers access to bettors in New Jersey, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Colorado, Michigan, and West Virginia.

The signup bonus at PointsBet is two risk-free bets up to $2,000 total. On top of the $500 risk-free bet for a fixed-odds event, you can also try the PointsBetting feature risk-free for up to $1,500.

“PointsBetting” is a style of wagering that’s exclusive to PointsBet. This bet awards (or takes) more money depending on the margin of victory (or loss) for totals bets. For example, you receive a multiplier for every point that’s over the over/under for an NBA game. That multiplier applies to both the winnings and the losing wager, so this can be risky as well as rewarding.

Bettors looking for unique activities and big potential payouts should enjoy betting at PointsBet.

Unibet Sportsbook

  • Best for $500 risk-free bet
  • Available on iOS, Android, and website browser
  • Promo verified for September 2021

Visit: Unibet Sportsbook to claim a $500 risk-free bet plus $20 deposit bonus

Unibet Sportsbook is new to the US market but is not new to the gaming industry. Its industry experience and a no-deposit bonus offer sports betting fans plenty of options to enjoy betting in every way possible. Unibet’s variety of sports is one of the best in the sports betting industry. Its match insights give fans statistics to make informed decisions.

States With Legal Online Sportsbooks

Arizona

The state legislature passed mobile sports betting in April 2021 and online sportsbooks are active as of September 9. Platforms available at launch include BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, Caesars, and WynnBET.

Many companies have partnered with sports franchises in the state. BetMGM plans to open up a sportsbook at State Farm Stadium where the Arizona Cardinals play in addition to multiple Gila River Hotels and Casinos locations. FanDuel has partnered with the Phoenix Suns and Caesars is linked to the Arizona Diamondbacks. DraftKings is building a sportsbook at the TPC Scottsdale golf course. WynnBET announced a partnership with San Carlos Apache Tribe.

PointsBet and Cliff Castle Casino Hotel and Casino announced a partnership and received licensure on August 23, but that was rescinded days later. The gaming operator still hopes to enter the state in the near future.

Learn more about Arizona sports betting bonuses.

Colorado

DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, BetRivers, and BetMGM all began operations on May 1, 2020, the official launch date for sportsbooks in the state. PointsBet joined the fray later on. Since then, more than 20 online sportsbooks have been launched in the state.

Colorado offers one of the most successful sports betting markets in the US. In July 2021, online sports betting saw a gross gaming revenue of $15.65 million, which was down 20 percent from a month prior. That is anticipated to grow once again as the football season nears.

Learn more about Colorado sports betting bonuses.

Illinois

Retail and mobile sports wagering were legalized in Illinois in June 2019. Online sportsbooks launched in June 2020. BetRivers, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and William Hill (now Caesars Sportsbook) are all live and offering online sports betting in the state. Gaming revenue came in at nearly $48.2 in June 2021, which was close to a $12 million jump from May and the highest month since the PASPA repeal.

One thing to note for online sports bettors is there are various restrictions with retail and mobile licenses. Some retail locations require bettors to be within a certain area. Online registration was allowed to expire earlier in 2021. Mobile-only licenses are currently accepting applicants that offer operation throughout the entire state. At some point in December, the requirement for in-person registration will end.

Learn more about Illinois sports betting bonuses.

Indiana

Indiana lawmakers signed legal online sports betting into law on May 8, 2019. State-regulated mobile sportsbooks started to launch in the Hoosier State shortly after in October 2019 with BetRivers. Online sportsbooks available to Indiana bettors include some of the best available in the US like FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM.

Like most other US states, these brands operate as license partners of Indiana’s retail casinos. As an example, the BetMGM sportsbook is partnered with Belterra Casino Resort in Southern Indiana. Barstool Sportsbook opened up in December 2020 at Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg and Ameristar Casino East Chicago with a mobile launch the following May.

Learn more about Indiana sports betting bonuses.

Iowa

Iowa joined the list of US states to offer legal online sports betting in May 2019. Governor Kim Reynolds signed bill SF617, which legalized both retail and online sports betting in the Hawkeye State. Revenue for the Hawkeye State was nearly $7.1 for the month of July, which is down from over $8.4 million in revenue from the previous month.

Both land-based and online sportsbooks launched at the same time in Iowa, with legal sports betting going live in Iowa on August 15, 2019.

The Iowa mobile sportsbook betting market includes a couple of brands not seen in other states. Q Sportsbook and Elite Sportsbook join well-known brands like PointsBet and DraftKings Sportsbook as legal sports betting options in Iowa.

Learn more about Iowa sports betting bonuses.

Michigan

Michigan approved legal online sports betting in December 2019. State-regulated mobile sportsbooks launched in January 2021.

Sportsbooks operate in partnership with Michigan’s land-based tribal and commercial casinos. BetRivers, Caesars, FanDuel, BetMGM, PointsBet, DraftKings, and Golden Nugget are among the first wave of mobile sportsbooks going live in the Wolverine State.

PointsBet also announced a partnership with the Detroit Tigers, the first MLB relationship of its kind. Since then, several other Michigan sportsbooks announced partners with Detroit teams.

FireKeepers launched its retail sportsbook in Michigan in 2020, making it the first tribal casino in Michigan to operate its own sportsbook. Gun Lake Casino launched its own sportsbook on the Kambi platform in a partnership with Parx Casino in August 2021.

Learn more about Michigan sports betting bonuses.

Montana

Legal online sports betting in Montana doesn’t quite operate the same way it does in other US states.

The Montana Lottery oversees the state’s sports betting industry. The agency approved one legal online sports wagering operator, Sports Bet Montana. Intralot, the Montana Lottery’s technology partner, is the company behind Sports Bet Montana.

Businesses offering lottery and alcohol sales can apply for approval to install Sports Bet Montana kiosks. Hundreds of locations throughout the state will likely eventually host these kiosks.

Montana bettors can place sports wagers directly through these kiosks, or on a downloadable mobile app. Bets placed on the mobile app, however, must be within a close distance of a Sports Bet Montana kiosk at the time of a bet.

Nevada

Before the overturn of PASPA, Nevada held the position as the only US state legally able to offer full-scale sports betting. Nevada casinos got the jump on other states regarding legal online sports betting platforms.

Right now, the two major online sportsbooks in Nevada are BetMGM, Caesars (formerly William Hill), and WynnBET. 

Other Nevada legal mobile sportsbooks operate as casino-branded platforms. Casinos offering self-branded online sportsbooks include South Point, Wynn, Station Casinos, Atlantis, and Golden Nugget.

Learn more about sports betting in Nevada.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire entered the legal sports betting market in July 2019. Governor Chris Sununu approved a bill to bring both retail and online sports betting to the Granite State.

Online sports betting brands won’t operate as license partners to land-based casinos. This is because New Hampshire doesn’t have any retail casinos. Instead, the New Hampshire Lottery licenses and approves all online sports betting operators in the state.

DraftKings Sportsbook launched in December 2019 as New Hampshire’s first legal mobile sportsbook.

New Jersey

New Jersey’s lawsuit is responsible for the overturning of PASPA, and it has since led the way in online gambling options, including a huge number of online casinos and sportsbooks as well as a few poker sites.

The state legalized online sports betting in June 2018. The first of New Jersey’s legal mobile sportsbooks launched the following month. Today, New Jersey bettors in the Garden State can access more than a dozen mobile sportsbooks, including all the best brands: DraftKings, FanDuel, BetRivers (as SugarHouse), BetMGM, PointsBet, WynnBET, and Caesars.

As of summer 2021, New Jersey leads the US in sports betting revenue. Sportsbooks in the Garden State brought in over $1.2 billion in gross revenue, which includes a large portion of online betting.

Learn more about online sports betting bonuses in New Jersey.

Oregon

The fall of PASPA didn’t affect Oregon sports betting laws. This is because the state was already exempt from the federal ban on sports wagering mandated by PASPA.

Similar to Montana and New Hampshire, the Oregon Lottery regulates the state’s legal sports betting industry. Oregon bettors can access a single mobile platform in the state. The Oregon Lottery Scoreboard app permits sports betting from anywhere within state borders.

Only professional sports are open for betting on the Scoreboard platform as the Oregon Lottery restricts betting on college sports. In early 2021, it was announced that the state lottery was going to rebrand its sportsbook with DraftKings. The switch triggered the state dropping daily fantasy activity and will take place in the fall of 2021.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania went to work on sports betting legislation before the official overturn of PASPA. An October 2017 package of bills legalized retail and online sports betting in the Keystone State.

The reversal of PASPA allowed Pennsylvania casinos to begin launching mobile sports betting platforms in May 2019. SugarHouse and BetRivers, both owned by Rush Street Interactive, were among the first legal sports betting sites to launch in the state.

Pennsylvania is second only to New Jersey in online sports betting revenue in the US. Other online sports betting brands in the state include FanDuel, BetMGM, and DraftKings, some of the best sportsbooks in the US.

Check out our comprehensive Guide To Sports Betting Bonuses In Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island legislators approved retail and online sports betting in the state in June 2018. The Rhode Island Lottery regulates the state’s legal sports betting industry.

Bettors in the Ocean State can wager on a single online sports betting site, Sports Bet Rhode Island. The technology behind the platform comes from a collaboration between IGT and William Hill.

Sports Bet Rhode Island operates as a license partner of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, which operates two land-based casinos in the state.

Tennessee

Tennessee approved online sports betting in April 2019. The Volunteer State takes a unique position in the mobile sports betting industry, as the state doesn’t host any land-based casinos.

Tennessee’s legal online sportsbooks launched on November 1, 2020. The first sportsbooks to debut include fan-favorites DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM. Recent sportsbooks in 2021 that have begun operating in Tennessee include WynnBET and Barstool Sportsbook.

Virginia

Virginia legalized sports betting in March 2020, with the legislation going into effect in July 2020. Virginia’s gambling laws permit brick-and-mortar casinos to open in a handful of cities in the state. There will most likely be retail sportsbooks at some of these casinos as well.

What is more exciting is that the gambling bill legalized online sports betting in Virginia. On September 15, 2020, the Virginia Lottery, which will regulate sports betting, finalized its rules and regulations.

This process opened the application process for standalone online sportsbooks to operate in the state. FanDuel Sportsbook launched in Virginia in January 2021 as the first online sports betting platform to go live. DraftKings followed just a few days later, and BetMGM shortly after that.

Learn more about sports betting bonuses in Virginia.

Washington DC

Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s signature on DC Council Bill 23-25 approved sports betting in the US capital in January 2019.

Similar to Rhode Island, Montana, and a few other US states, legal sports betting in Washington DC is regulated by the Office of Lottery and Gaming.

Intralot, the technology company behind the lottery in Washington DC, operates the district’s lone mobile sports wagering platform. The platform, christened Gambet DC, debuted in May 2020.

In December 2020, Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill launched in Washington DC, but bettors can only place wagers within a few blocks of the Capital One Arena in downtown DC. BetMGM has a partnership with the Washington Nationals, but similar to the Caesars deal, bettors can only bet within the Washington Nationals park or within two blocks.

Learn more about Washington, DC sports betting bonuses.

West Virginia

West Virginia went all-in on legalized online gambling after the fall of PASPA. Mobile gambling options in the Mountaineer State include online sports betting, which was legalized in May 2018.

The first online sportsbook in West Virginia, BetLucky, launched in August 2018. The platform was short-lived, however, ceasing operations after just a few months.

Online sports betting reemerged with the debut of FanDuel Sportsbook in August 2019. Other platforms currently operating in West Virginia include DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM. In total, there are six current online sportsbooks with the recent additions of Caesars and PointsBet.

Learn more about West Virginia sports betting bonuses.

Wyoming

Wyoming launched sports betting on September 1, 2021. BetMGM and DraftKings went live the first day. More sportsbooks are expected to launch at a later date.

States That Will Launch Mobile Sports Betting In 2021-22

Connecticut Online Sports Betting

Connecticut is also expected to launch legal online sportsbooks in September this year. The Connecticut Lottery announced it will partner with Rush Street Interactive to manage its BetRivers and/or SugarHouse sportsbooks.

FanDuel partnered with Mohegan Sun Casino to operate its sports betting app. DraftKings is expected to operate Foxwoods Resort’s mobile betting app. Both of these popular operators will be exclusive to the Indian tribes running their respective casinos.

Florida Online Sports Betting

Signs point to Florida having sports betting activity in the month of October. The US Department of the Interior allowed a compact between the Seminole Tribe and state government to continue in early August. The current anticipated date is set for October 15. However, recent legal moves have prompted pushback from commercial gaming operators and some government officials.

Louisiana Online Sports Betting

In November 2020, 55 out of the 64 parishes in Louisiana voted to legalize sports betting. This means sports betting will launch by 2022 despite it taking some time to get off the ground. Sportsbook apps will use geolocation, so bettors will need to be physically located within one of the parishes where sports betting is legal.

Maryland Online Sports Betting

Maryland legalized online sports wagering in April 2021, and sportsbook apps are expected to launch before the end of the year. The Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Commission will award up to 60 sports betting licenses, a number that is very unique for the industry.

Some of the initial licenses are in the process of being approved, which feature large sportsbook operators. The Baltimore Ravens have partnerships with BetMGM, DraftKings, and Caesars.

Massachusetts Online Sports Betting

After several attempts to bring about legal sports betting in Massachusetts, legislators finally were able to get a bill to advance that would make legal betting a reality. H.3977 passed with a 153-3 vote on July 22, 2021. The bill will have to go through the Senate next. It will need to be in Governor Charlie Baker’s hands within four months if bettors want to bet in time for Super Bowl 2022.

New York Online Sports Betting

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed sports betting into law in April 2021, and bettors in the state are anticipating a launch in time for the 2022 Super Bowl. The state will now negotiate what sports betting will look like in the state.

The Future Of Online Sports Betting

More states will eventually join the list of states with legal online sports betting, as the industry continues to expand in the US. Several states already have legislation in place to offer legal mobile sports betting, with the launch of products in those states pending.

States like Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and New Mexico currently offer legal retail sports betting. Online sports betting regulation could be on the horizon in those states.

Many other states are considering legalizing sports betting, including California, Florida, and Kentucky, among others.

What Online Sportsbook Bonuses Are Available?

Risk-Free Bets

Many legal online sportsbooks offer sign-up bonuses in the form of risk-free bets. A risk-free bet offers a refund on the first bet made at an online sportsbook, up to a certain amount. The refund only applies if the bet results in a loss.

At FanDuel, for example, new account holders can apply a risk-free bet offer to the first bet on the site, up to $1,000. Other online sportsbooks offering risk-free bet bonuses include Caesars and BetMGM.

Deposit Match Bonuses

Deposit match bonuses can be found at many legal online gambling platforms, and mobile sportsbooks are no exception. A deposit match bonus awards bonus money that matches a certain percentage of a player’s deposit.

At BetRivers, new bettors can enjoy a 100% deposit match bonus up to $250. A $250 deposit is eligible for a $250 bonus, a $100 deposit can earn a $100 bonus, and so on.

Deposit match bonuses aren’t usually as generous as the BetRivers offer. The 100% deposit match is one of the biggest in the industry. For example, DraftKings offers a 20% match on the initial deposit. This offer can reoccur in a bettor’s account over time.

The deposit match bonus offer usually requires a certain amount of playthrough, or money wagered, to unlock the bonus. BetRivers, again, offers one of the most generous promotions in this aspect as well, requiring just a 1x playthrough.

No Deposit Bonuses

Some mobile sports betting platforms offer free betting credits just for signing up for a new account. This is becoming a little less common for online sportsbooks in favor of other types of bonus offers. States that are about to launch may have prelaunch bonuses that feature a no-deposit offer to get new users to create an account.

Types Of Sports Bets

Sports bets can be a bit daunting for beginners, but they’re not too complicated once you get a grasp on the most common available wagers. Here are some of the most common bets at legal sportsbooks.

Moneyline, Point Spreads, And Totals

These three bets are often listed side by side and are commonly the first bets you’ll see for a given match-up. 

Moneyline

Moneyline bets simply require you to choose a winner of a given match. The odds (which we cover below) on that match then determine how much you win if you chose correctly. If you see moneyline bets available, all you have to do is pick the team or player you expect to win. 

Point Spreads

Point spreads are intended to even the playing field for a match. Instead of picking an outright winner, you’re betting on the margin of victory. Here’s an example of how a point spread bet might look:

  • Chicago Bears -3.5
  • Green Bay Packers +3.5

The 3.5 on both teams represents the margin of victory, and players have to decide whether the Bears will win by at least 3.5 points. After the game ends, if you selected the Bears and they won 24-20, you would collect on your bet because they won by 4 points. If the final score was Bears winning 21-20 and you selected the Bears, you would lose your bet because they did not win by at least 3.5 points. 

Totals

If you’ve heard the term “over/under,” it’s likely been in reference to totals bets. Totals take the final combined total score of both teams in a match and have players bet on whether that score will be over or under a certain threshold.  Using our example match-up above, it might look like this:

  • Bears vs. Packers, Over/Under 50.5

You would place a bet on either the over or the under. If the total points at the end of the game exceeded 50.5, the over wins. If the total is below 50.5, the under wins. If the score was 24-21, the total points would add to 45 and the under would be the winning bet. 

Other Bet Types

You can find plenty of other bets at online sportsbooks, too. Each bet has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Parlays: Combine multiple simple bets into a single pool and you only win if every choice you make is correct. High payout potential, but harder to win than a single bet. 
  • Futures: Bet on a match occurring in the future. For example, betting on an NFL champion before the regular season begins. High risk, high reward. 
  • In-Game/Live Betting: Wager on events happening in a currently live match. 
  • Proposition (Prop) Bet: Wager on an in-game event not necessarily affecting the final score or outcome. For example, “Will Tom Brady score two passing touchdowns in the first half?”

How To Read Sports Betting Odds

Odds determine how much you’ll receive if you bet correctly. To new bettors, they can be intimidating, but they’re easier to understand than they look at first glance. 

How Odds Are Determined

Odds are first set by the likelihood of one outcome to occur over the other. You will almost always see a higher payout on an unlikely bet than a wager on the favorite of a match. Once the initial odds are set, they can change based on how many bettors are wagering on either side. This is to balance out the sportsbook’s earnings on each bet. 

Odds could also change based on events outside of a game. For example, if a starting quarterback is unexpectedly benched due to an injury, the odds on that team to win could plummet.

Understanding Odds

At US sportsbooks, odds are displayed as positives and negatives. Let’s use a moneyline bet as an example and pretend once again the Bears are playing the Packers:

  • Bears +112
  • Packers -136

When a team has a negative number (Packers -136), it means that team is favored to win the match. A positive number (Bears +112) means that team is the underdog. These odds also determine payouts. 

If you bet on the favorite (Packers -136), you would need to wager $136 to win $100. Negative odds essentially mean you need to bet that amount to win $100. 

Betting on the underdog is slightly different. The +112 on the Bears means you would win $112 if you bet $100. Because the underdog is less likely to win statistically, the payout potential is better. 

Find The Best Odds

If multiple sportsbooks are available in your state, peruse the available odds to find the best possible payouts. PointsBet, for example, usually offers great odds on the underdog while FanDuel tends to give better payouts on the favorite. These change frequently, so always check your options before you place a bet. 

See our full Guide To Sports Betting Odds.

Sports Betting Words To Know

ActionHaving “action” is meant to indicate you have a vested interest in a match. If you placed a bet on a match, you could say you have “action” on that match. 
BonusAn added benefit or reward, usually given to new players as a thank you or to frequent players for crossing certain spending thresholds
BankrollThe amount of money you’re willing to risk or bet at a sportsbook
EdgeAn advantage, either real or perceived, that a bettor has over the sportsbook’s odds
Even MoneyA bet with a 50-50 outcome, aka an even chance for either side to win
HandleNumber of bets taken by a sportsbook
LinesAnother term for point spread. A “line” is set on matches with a favorite and an underdog to make the outcome more even. 
Live bettingWagering on a game or match after it has already started.
MarginThe difference between the odds of a match and the true probability of the outcome.
OddsNumbers assigned to bets meant to indicate the likelihood of specific outcomes.
Prop betA bet on an in-game event not likely to affect the outcome of the match. For example: Will Khalil Mack record a sack in the second half?
PushResult of a tie between the bettor and the sportsbook. No money is won and no money is lost in a push, you keep your wager but receive no winnings. 
SpreadLike “lines,” a spread is set to encourage bets on either side of a match-up by giving a point advantage to the predicted underdog.
ExoticsExotics are less common bet types beyond point spreads, moneylines, or totals. Some might consider parlays or pro bets to be “exotic.”

What Sports Can You Bet On In The US?

Betting On US Pro Sports

Legal online sportsbooks in the US offer a robust selection of betting markets on US professional sports leagues.

US bettors can find moneyline, point spread, parlays, and numerous other betting options for NFL, MLB, NHL, NBA, and MLS games. Virtually every game from the regular season and postseason is available for betting at legal mobile sportsbooks. You can bet on the Super Bowl online as well.

Moneyline and point spread betting on individual games present just a piece of the betting opportunities available on US major sports leagues. Other ways to bet include futures markets, in-game wagering, and prop bets.

Prop betting isn’t limited to just on-field contests. Bettors can place prop bets on events like the NFL Draft and NBA Draft. Or, they can bet on season-long statistics like NFL rushing leaders, NBA scoring champions, and many other unique wagers.

Most US professional leagues and events offer betting markets with no restrictions. Sports fans can legally bet on home teams from their respective states without worry.

College Sports Betting

College basketball and football represent some of the most wagered-on sports events in the US. The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, commonly referred to as “March Madness,” rings in one of the highest-volume betting events on the US sports calendar.

College football, in many states, encompasses loyal and massive fan bases that in some cases eclipse professional sports leagues. Saturdays during college football season draw big sports betting interest. This culminates in the College Football Playoff each winter.

Other college sports, like baseball, hockey, lacrosse, and women’s basketball, present even more betting opportunities at US legal online sportsbooks. More of these niche sports will have limited markets or only be available during significant events.

Betting on college sports, however, can present restrictions in some US states. Some states don’t allow betting on college sports. Others allow betting but put restrictions on local schools and/or player props.

College Sports Betting Restrictions

Several states have restrictions on college sports betting. Most states won’t permit prop bets on college sports, some ban wagers on in-state teams, while some don’t permit college betting at all.

Betting on in-state teams and events is outlawed in New Jersey. For both retail sports betting, and wagering at online sportsbooks, New Jersey-based college programs and events are off the menu.

These restrictions include college programs like the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Princeton Tigers, and Seton Hall Pirates. College sports contests held in New Jersey are also restricted for bettors, even if a New Jersey team isn’t involved.

Rhode Island and New Hampshire sports betting laws dictate similar restrictions. Betting on in-state teams and events is outlawed. Oregon’s lone legal mobile sports betting platform, the Oregon Lottery Scoreboard, outlaws betting on any college sports altogether. Placing any kind of college sports bet in Oregon requires a trip to a legal retail sportsbook.

Bettors in Illinois will be able to place bets on college sports, but they may not bet on Illinois university games. This restriction includes games played in Illinois as well as out-of-state. Betting on in-state teams and events in Iowa is legal, save for a restriction on prop betting.

Individual Sports Betting

Betting on major US professional sports isn’t just limited to team sports. MMA, boxing, golf, NASCAR, and tennis open up even more ways to bet at legal mobile sports betting platforms.

Major fighting events include championship bouts in boxing, UFC, and other MMA promotions.

NASCAR betting markets include races from the NASCAR Cup Series. This features some of the biggest names in US auto racing. Other NASCAR events open for betting include the Xfinity Series and Truck Series.

Men’s and women’s tennis and golf present even more chances to bet on individual-based sports.

International Sports Betting

Overseas sports leagues and events open up a world of possibilities at legal online sportsbooks in the US.

International soccer leagues like the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, and German Bundesliga are home to some of the most popular sports teams in the world. US bettors looking to wager on clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich can find those teams and many more on legal mobile sports betting sites.

Other international team sports on the menu at legal online sportsbooks include cricket, rugby, basketball, and baseball leagues from around the world.

International motorsports, along with niche sports like table tennis, give US bettors access to a wide array of sports to bet on outside of the US.

Limitations On Other Betting

The explosion in popularity of esports brings with it a rapidly expanding esports betting market on offshore (illegal and unsafe) gambling sites. However, you can find esports bets in some Nevada, New Jersey, Colorado, and West Virginia sportsbooks. Retail sportsbooks in Michigan and New York often have esports bets as well.

It’s likely that esports will become a huge market at US sportsbooks within the next few years. But right now, things are pretty limited. Common games that appear in sportsbooks are League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

Betting on events outside of sports is generally not permitted on US online sportsbooks. This includes betting markets on political elections, award shows, and other non-sports events. However, New Jersey, Indiana, and possibly additional states allow bets on the Oscars and other events.

See our Complete Guide To Sports Betting Odds.

Major League Sports – Where Do They Stand On Betting?

Most major sports leagues in the US are on board with online betting for one simple reason: it generates more interest in the sport. Here are the league stances across the board, including betting partnerships as well as where you can bet inside a sports stadium.

NFL Stance On Sports Betting

NFL owners have been major proponents of legalized sports betting.

Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys, has been very public about legalizing sports betting in Texas, pointing out that the practice already exists underground in the state. The Detroit Lions made WynnBET its official sports betting partner, and a WynnBET Sports Bar at Ford Field will open soon.

As for the league itself, the NFL has multiple official sports betting partners. Right before the 2021 regular season, the league made deals with BetMGM, PointsBet, WynnBET, and FOX Bet. Their brands will appear on commercials during games and on other NFL content.

MLB Stance On Sports Betting

While former MLB commissioner Bud Selig was staunchly against legalized sports betting, current commissioner Rob Manfred embraced the idea in 2017 and has played a major role in team owners getting on board. The league itself has four official sports betting partners: BetMGM, FanDuel, DraftKings, and FOX Bet.

In 2020, the Chicago Cubs made DraftKings their official sports betting partner. DraftKings has its own deal with the MLB and will soon offer a “Bet and Watch” feature where bettors can gamble while viewing a live contest in the sportsbook application.

The Washington Nationals partnered with BetMGM in 2021 to bring an in-house and online sportsbook to DC. Other MLB teams are expected to follow suit.

NBA Stance On Sports Betting

NBA commissioner Adam Silver made a point to NBC Sports shared by most league commissioners: there’s no way to ensure the integrity of the game surrounding gambling without being involved. He said, “If we can’t follow the betting action, we don’t know if there’s abhorrent behavior; we, therefore, can’t investigate the incident.”

Meanwhile, a William Hill Sportsbook opened inside Capital One Area, the home of the Washington Wizards. The league itself also has sports betting partnerships with BetMGM, FOX Bet, FanDuel, and William Hill.

Overall, the NBA seems ready to fully embrace sports betting – as long as it’s allowed a hands-on approach to keeping the sport’s integrity.

NHL Stance On Sports Betting

It’s fair to say that the NHL’s embrace of legal sports betting came during the first Winter Classic, a now-annual outdoor hockey game held outdoors in Las Vegas. That’s on top of the league giving its yearly awards in Las Vegas since 2009. All of this was happening while other sports leagues were extremely wary of doing any sort of gambling-adjacent activities.

Then the Vegas Golden Knights were approved by the NHL in 2017, making ice hockey one of the most prominent sports in a city famously located in the middle of a desert.

Today, the official sports betting partners of the NHL include BetMGM and FanDuel. William Hill is also the official betting partner of the Vegas Golden Knights while the New Jersey Devils partnered with William Hill, Caesars, and FanDuel.

WNBA Stance On Sports Betting

The WNBA partnered with PointsBet to offer an alternative, sports betting-focused broadcast to bring in more viewers. This is part of a multipronged approach that the league is utilizing to continue its soaring ratings. The average viewership for the beginning of the 2021/22 WNBA Season was up 74% from the 2020/21 average. 

With the steady rise in women’s sports viewership in general, the WNBA is positioning itself to keep bringing in more interest – and the embrace of sports betting is a major part of that.

MLS Stance On Sports Betting

The MLS is the third most viewed soccer league in the US after Liga MX and the English Premier League. It also has about 100,000 fewer viewers than the WNBA (around 275,000 versus the WNBA’s 375,000). So it has a lot of work to do to compete with the big dogs.

And sports betting is one way it’s planning to do exactly that. In March 2019, BetMGM became the league’s official betting partner.  A few months later in June 2019, the MLS opened up the opportunity for betting companies to sponsor teams, which would mean sportsbook logos on the uniforms. This is common elsewhere in the world, but it marks a first for US sports.

How Can I Bet On Sports In The US?

iOS Mobile Devices

Most of the legal online sportsbooks operating in the US can be downloaded as mobile apps for iOS devices. These mobile apps allow for betting from the comfort of anywhere within legal state borders.

For iOS devices, legal mobile sportsbooks can be downloaded from the App Store. These apps can be downloaded for free, and allow for betting right from a mobile device.

Make sure to download the app specific to your state. In the case of DraftKings, FanDuel, and other online sportsbooks, the same app is used in all licensed states. BetRivers, William Hill, and others can have state-specific sportsbook apps. If you’re in Illinois, you’ll want to search “BetRivers Illinois” or “William Hill Illinois.”

Android Devices

Android device users are in luck, as most US mobile sportsbooks are downloadable as Android apps as well.

Although Google Play previously banned real-money gambling apps, it reversed its policy in March 2021. This means that one-by-one sports betting apps are making their debuts on the platform. Most recently, PointsBet launched its app for Android through the Google Play store in July 2021.

Many popular sportsbooks, like BetMGM, DraftKings, and FanDuel, offer their apps on the official store. More apps are likely to appear soon, so check the Google Play store first for your preferred sportsbook. If you don’t find it listed, simply go to the sportsbook’s official website, and download it from there.

Desktop

The easiest way to start betting at an online sportsbook is directly through a desktop browser. Legal mobile sportsbooks generally operate from a web-based homepage that can be accessed from virtually any desktop or laptop.

However, some online sportsbooks are mobile-only. For example, WynnBET New Jersey is only available via iOS or Android app.

Learn more in our Guide To How To Place A Sports Bet Online.

What Deposit And Cashout Options Are Available On Legal Online Sportsbooks?

ACH/eCheck

The ACH/eCheck deposit option presents the most widely accepted method of depositing money on a legal online sportsbook.

Deposits made using an electronic check (eCheck) deposit generally become available instantaneously at the sportsbooks of choice. This method is occasionally rejected by the bank but works roughly 80 percent of the time.

ACH/eCheck can also be used to cash out from an online sportsbook.

Prepaid Cards

Some online sports betting sites offer site-branded prepaid cards, which operate as debit cards that can be used for depositing funds.

Online sportsbooks directly issue prepaid cards, which can be loaded with funds via eCheck, debit cards, credit cards, and some other methods. After purchasing a prepaid card, funds can be transferred to an online sportsbook balance immediately, with no need to wait for the physical card to arrive by mail.

Prepaid cards can also be used for withdrawals.

PayPal

PayPal deposits generally require a few more security steps to go through before a deposit is approved. These extra steps are only a minor inconvenience, however, and worth the effort, as PayPal deposits have nearly a 100% success rate.

Withdrawals are also possible using PayPal.

Debit/Credit Cards

Most legal mobile sportsbooks accept debit and credit cards for deposits, but this method is regularly declined by the issuing bank. Credit card deposits can also incur cash advance fees from the bank.

Debit and credit cards cannot be used to withdraw funds from an online sportsbook.

Casino Cage Deposit

Most online sportsbooks operate as license partners to land-based casinos. Depositing and withdrawing in-person at the casino cage related to an online sportsbook is a secure but less convenient option.

History Of Legal Online Sports Betting In The US

A 1992 federal law known as the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) banned sports betting across most of the US. The mandate exempted Nevada from the ban, and also permitted limited sports betting lotteries in Montana, Oregon, and Delaware. New Jersey lawmakers challenged PASPA in the late 2000s, in an effort to bring legal sports betting to Atlantic City casinos.

The Supreme Court ruled PASPA as unconstitutional under the Tenth Amendment in May 2018. With PASPA overturned, individual states became free to pass sports betting legislature.

Legal Online Sportsbooks Versus Illegal Online Sportsbooks

With a growing number of states offering legal online sports wagering, bettors in some US states can access an unprecedented selection of online sportsbooks.

State-regulated online sports betting platforms generally operate in partnership with retail casinos in their respective states. As such, these legal mobile sportsbooks operate under the same regulatory bodies as the land-based casinos in which they’ve partnered.

Government agencies like the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement oversee the states’ casino industries. These regulatory bodies ensure accountability and transparency from online sportsbook operators.

As state-regulated gambling platforms, legal online sportsbooks offer the security of player funds and personal information. State casinos operate with a vested interest in fair games and prompt payouts from their online gambling platforms.

Reasons To Stay Away From Offshore Betting Sites

Offshore sites operate illegally in the US. Playing on these platforms is also illegal and could subject the player to criminal penalties.

Depositing money on an offshore betting site can be risky, with no regulations in place to ensure the safe withdrawal of the funds.

At legally licensed online sportsbooks, you have the protection of the state regulatory body, which employs strict oversight. Your money is safe in your account, and your personal information is as secure as it would be at a major US bank.

Plus, you’re not breaking the law, which is great peace of mind.

Legal Online Sports Betting FAQs

Is Online Sports Betting Legal In The US?

Yes. US states can individually decide to offer legal, state-regulated online sports betting. The current boom in the US online sports betting industry happened in the aftermath of a lift on the federal ban on sports betting.

A 1992 mandate called the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act outlawed sports betting in the US, except for Nevada and a few other states. The Supreme Court of the United States overturned PASPA in May 2018, clearing the way for US states to offer legal online sports betting.

How Old Do You Have To Be To Bet Online?

21 in most states. The minimum age for legally betting on an online sports wagering platform depends on state laws.

In most US states, 21 is the minimum age. Some exceptions, like Rhode Island, set the minimum age at 18 for online sports betting.

Is DraftKings Sportsbook Legal In The US?

Yes. DraftKings Sportsbook legally operates in several US states.

Online betting is available in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, Colorado, Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan, Wyoming, and Arizona. DraftKings Sportsbook online uses geolocation technology to determine a user’s location at the time of a wager. The DraftKings Sportsbook software blocks bets made outside of the states on this list.

Is FanDuel Sportsbook Legal In The US?

Yes. FanDuel Sportsbook operates legally in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan, and Arizona.

Several more states will likely join that list eventually as FanDuel Sportsbooks expands into more US jurisdictions.

Do Online Sportsbooks Offer Credit?

No. Legal online sportsbooks generally don’t offer credit lines for betting.

Players earn betting credits and bonus money through various promotions across legal online sports betting sites. This includes earning loyalty points for placing real-money bets. The best online sportsbooks offer a loyalty program, such as iRush Rewards, which is offered by BetRivers and SugarHouse.

Is Betting On esports Allowed?

Yes, in some states. Online sportsbooks in Colorado, New Jersey, and Nevada often list esports bets. Retail sportsbooks at tribal casinos, which usually aren’t tied to the same gambling laws as commercial casinos, can sometimes offer esports bets as well. This is most common in Michigan and New York State.

Do Sportsbooks Limit How Much I Can Bet?

Online sportsbooks each operate with their own rules regarding maximum bets size. The terms and conditions at DraftKings Sportsbook, for example, state that the platform can restrict bets where the potential payout exceeds $500,000.

Other platforms, like FanDuel Sportsbook, use different maximum payouts for different sports. Bettors can find more information on betting limits and maximum payouts in the terms and conditions of an online sportsbook.

Is Online Sports Betting Safe?

Yes, at legal, state-regulated online sports betting sites. Legal online sportsbooks operate under the oversight of government regulatory bodies in the US.

Betting at a legal mobile sportsbook carries the same level of security as betting at a legal retail casino.

Offshore/illegal online gambling sites, however, do not guarantee the same level of security.

About the Author

Geoff Fisk

Geoff Fisk is a San Diego-based freelance writer, specializing in the poker and gambling industries. He’s written for numerous platforms and has traveled the globe as a live poker tournament reporter. Geoff is an avid sports fan, but poker is his passion.