While legal sportsbooks in the US offer betting lines for many of the same events, the sports betting odds can vary significantly. Each sportsbook employs its own team of “bookmakers,” or people who set the odds. A variety of factors can swing the odds, and online sportsbooks update the betting lines accordingly with up-to-the-minute accuracy.
In the handful of states with legal online sportsbooks, it’s easy to compare sports betting odds across the apps to find the highest win potential. Many retail sportsbooks also list their sports odds online as well, then take bets in-person.
Where Can I Bet On Sports Online?
In about half of the US, sports betting is banned entirely, including in California, Texas, and Florida. But in states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Nevada, Michigan, Colorado, and more, you have access to sports betting odds at some of the world’s best online sportsbooks.
Each website and app offers its own list of both sports and odds, but all sportsbooks list major league games as well as D1 college athletics. For most players, the biggest difference will come down to the quality of the sports betting odds.
Online sportsbooks also entice new players with lucrative welcome offers, which can range even more significantly than the odds themselves.
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- States: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey (as SugarHouse), Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia
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- Odds In Sports Betting: BetRivers offers competitive lines across all US sports and major international competitions, but their strongest selling point is the welcome bonus, which is tied to a 1x wagering requirement, the best in the industry.
- Bonus Offer: Risk-free bet up to $500
- States: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, West Virginia
- Available Via: iOS App, Android App, Web Browser
- Odds In Sports Betting: William Hill specializes in international sports and odds, but they’ve remained strong competitors for US betting lines across college and pro sports, including for events like the Super Bowl and March Madness. Still, it’s the number one sportsbook for European soccer and World Cup betting.
- Bonus Offer: Risk-free bet up to $1,000
- States: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia
- Available Via: iOS App, Android App, Web Browser
- Odds In Sports Betting: FanDuel Sportsbook offers one of the best mobile platforms, which makes it a pleasure to check their sports odds and take advantage of their many daily promotions, including exclusive odds boosters and parlay insurance you can’t find anywhere else.
Sports Odds Explained – Types Of Sports Bets
To newcomers, the variety of betting picks can be a bit overwhelming.
You can bet on straight bets like the moneyline, points spread, and totals, which apply to upcoming games. You can also make betting predictions far in advance by betting on “futures,” which is guessing who will win a major title down the line. And if you want to really maximize your win potential, you can make multiple betting picks and combine them into a parlay.
But gambling odds simply represent likelihood. They’re betting predictions determined by bookmakers. And like all gambling odds, the lower your chances of winning, the bigger the win potential.
The moneyline bet is the simplest form of sports betting odds. Bettors choose which team they think will win the game. If they’re right, they win the bet. If their pick loses the game, the bet is lost.
Usually, betting the favorite (the team the bookmaker expects to win) won’t have a large payout. But betting the underdog could have significant win potential. And if it’s a close matchup, the moneyline can be among the most popular odds in sports betting.
Points spread betting is similar to the moneyline, except the favorite team has to win by a minimum number of points to “beat the spread.” For the underdog to beat the spread, they can either lose within the betting spread or win the game by any amount.
For example, an NFL game with a betting spread of +/- 3.5 points means the favorite must win by 4 points and the underdog must lose by 3 points or fewer, or win the game.
Also known as “totals,” over/under sports betting odds is where the bookmaker will guess the combined number of points scored by both teams (the total score). Bettors can then bet the over or the under based on that score.
For example, the over/under at PointsBet for 2021’s Super Bowl LV was 56 points. If you had bet the under, you would have won, as the game ended 31 to 9 for a total score of 40 points.
A parlay is a combination of wagers (known as “legs”) that all need to win for the overall parlay bet to win. That means parlay odds are affected by two factors: the number of legs you add to your parlay bet, and the odds on each individual leg.
An online parlay calculator is a great tool to determine the overall win potential. Most sportsbooks also let you build a parlay bet and see the parlay odds before you have to lock in the wager.
Of all the bets available across the sports and the odds, prop bets offer the biggest variety. Prop bets are specialty sports betting lines based on player or team performance. They usually don’t have to do with who wins the game in the end.
For example, Super Bowl MVP is always one of the most popular prop bets, and Tom Brady won the honor at the 2021 Super Bowl. But there were many prop bets on both team’s quarterbacks, lots of which paid out handsomely.
Another good example is NBA prop betting, ideal for a sport that takes pride in double- and triple-doubles. Typically, NBA prop bets involve guessing the combined number of points, rebounds, and assists.
Live In-Game Betting
Live in-game betting takes place after the game begins and anytime leading up to the final whistle. Usually, the sports odds you’ll find before the game will change dramatically as the game progresses. Most sports betting apps have a section specifically for live betting.
For example, the favorite at the start of the game could become the distant underdog by halftime.
Interestingly, you can find many of the same bets for live in-game betting that you would find before the game starts, just with different odds. However, some in-game bets are exclusive to live betting, such as, “Will someone score within the next five game minutes?”
How Sports Betting Odds Work
Sports betting lines are set by each sportsbook using professional bookmakers as well as AI technology. In tandem, they determine the odds in sports betting for every event, including how the in-game sports betting lines move on a second-by-second basis.
Because each site and app offers different sports and odds, the accessibility of online sports betting is highly valuable. You can pull up the sportsbook and check each of the sports betting lines without so much as creating an account. You can also click on any event and type in a bet to see what you stand to win (again, even before signing up).
Football betting offers some of the most diverse bets in the sportsbook. Because the NFL is the most popular sport for American bettors, football odds are often the most competitive across the platforms as well. This includes a huge selection of football betting promotions, particularly parlay offers.
In all states with legal online sports betting, you can find Super Bowl odds in the futures section of most sportsbooks a full year in advance. You can also bet on the NFL Draft, although not all online sportsbooks offer the option. But apps like FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetRivers will always list the draft in their football odds.
The most popular forms of football betting include:
- Regular season points spreads
- Playoff parlays
- Player props
- Super Bowl odds
- Futures listed during the preseason
Online sportsbooks have also started offering multi-sport parlays, and football odds are a popular addition alongside basketball and soccer bets.
The most popular NBA betting picks surround the NBA Finals when the players try their hardest – and sports bettors enjoy major underdog upsets and lucrative prop payouts.
But the NBA betting picks during the regular season are numerous as well. You can bet on a player hitting a double-double. You can parlay multiple games. And you can bet the totals on the highest scoring sport of the major leagues, which is fun whether it’s the NBA preseason or the NBA finals.
NBA futures have a reputation for swinging more wildly than in any other sport. With lots of games, so much potential for injuries and trades, and the chance for a college recruit to take a team to the next level, the odds for NBA futures seem to change on an hourly basis.
Unfortunately, the draft isn’t the most exciting of the NBA betting picks, but it can still pay out if the unexpected happens. Remember 2003? LeBron was the expected number one pick, but Darko Miličić got drafted over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade for one of the biggest draft busts of all time.
The most popular MLB betting lines are the moneyline and run lines (run line is the same as betting the points spread). The sportsbooks will also offer awesome action on World Series odds, which is a great time of year for baseball betting promotions.
For World Series odds specifically, you can wager on the exact order of the wins and losses leading to the four-game victory. MLB postseason parlays are also incredibly popular.
Baseball is a sport particularly focused on stats, so you can always find a lot of MLB player prop bets, including the total number of strikeouts, hits, and home runs. You can also pit players head to head, such as which pitcher will strike out the most batters.
For massive payout potential, you can select MLB betting lines on long-shot events like someone pitching a no-hitter. However, you may need to reach out to the sportsbook and ask them to create the line for you.
Despite hockey not being as popular as football, baseball, and basketball, you can find a huge number of NHL betting lines at online sportsbooks. This includes a range of player props, such as 1+ goal, 2+ goal, hat trick, number of shots, first goal, last goal, and more. And those NHL betting lines are listed for every NHL game, not just the postseason.
However, the Stanley Cup odds always attract the most hockey bettors, particularly in cities with historically successful teams like Chicago, New York, and Boston. Stanley Cup odds also offer one of the few times you’re betting on several Canadian teams, with the playoffs being one of the most lucrative times for NHL betting lines.
Like with the Super Bowl, you can bet on the winner of the Stanley Cup months in advance, and the futures on Stanley Cup odds are constantly changing based on trades, injuries, team form, and more.
College Football Betting
In all states with legal online sports betting, you can find plenty of NCAAF odds. Most of the college football lines are just like NFL lines, and the bowl game odds offer some of the best action of the year.
However, states like Illinois and New Jersey restrict betting on in-state college schools entirely. That also usually means that you can’t bet on any college sport played inside the state, even if an in-state school isn’t participating.
College Basketball Lines
While the Super Bowl is the most popular single-game event for sports betting, the NCAA March Madness tournament brings in three times more bets overall. From (technically illegal) office pools to countless NCAA basketball lines across all sportsbooks, there’s no shortage of opportunities to win money.
Unfortunately, the same restrictions on college football betting apply to NCAAB lines. While states like Pennsylvania allow bets on Pitt, Temple, Villanova, and Penn State, Virginia, Illinois, and New Jersey restrict betting on in-state schools. This can eliminate access to betting on March Madness NCAAB lines altogether.
Thankfully, online sportsbooks invite members to fill out brackets for free for a chance to win money. Because it’s a free option, it doesn’t fall under states’ restrictions on NCAA basketball lines.
PGA Golf Odds
Unlike with team sports, almost all PGA odds are arguably prop bets, where you’re betting on an individual’s performance.
You can bet on who will win the Tour, which would be one person. But, similar to horse racing, golf betting can also bet the Top 5/10/20, which means you can win if your player does well but doesn’t win outright.
Another popular form of golf betting is 3-ball and 2-ball, where you bet based on the performance within a three- or two-person grouping.
Interestingly, you can still receive a payout if your golfer ties within their group, which is known as the “dead heat rule.” Basically, the more players who tie for the lowest score, the lower the dead heat payout.
For fans of NASCAR betting odds, nothing beats the action surrounding the Daytona 500 in Florida, which is the Kentucky Derby of car racing. On top of the wide range of Daytona lines, NASCAR betting sites and apps always offer exciting promotions.
In fact, you can check the NASCAR betting odds any time of the year to wager on the future winner of the Daytona 500, and a few other major races also offer futures lines.
Like with PGA odds, a popular line within NASCAR betting odds is to bet who will “place” rather than win. For example, you can bet that a driver will place in the top three or top five to increase your chances of winning.
World Cup odds are highly popular in the US, and alongside the Super Bowl, March Madness, and the Kentucky Derby, it brings in more betting revenue than any other sport.
You can find World Cup odds at all sportsbooks; however, some may restrict betting if there’s a player under 18 on the team. We’ll have to wait and see how the World Cup odds take shape in 2022. Hopefully, the age of the players is a non-issue.
MLS betting is growing in popularity, as is the league as a whole. All sportsbooks will offer plenty of MLS betting opportunities as well despite it not being as popular as its major league counterparts in the US.
But even when it’s not a World Cup year, international competitions inspire the most popular soccer betting odds in the US. English Premier League odds are extremely competitive across sportsbooks, and platforms like William Hill that specialize in European soccer offer a long list of lines, including team and player props.
Soccer betting odds for moneyline and goal lines are unique in that the game can end in a tie. That means, on top of betting the favorite or underdog, you can also find soccer betting odds on a draw, which can pay out more than betting the winner.
Boxing betting is as old as the sport itself. And while it’s lost some avid bettors to MMA, its biggest competitor, boxing betting is still highly popular.
Usually, the most action at the sportsbook occurs when there’s a major bout. When Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao went head-to-head in 2015, Las Vegas sportsbooks took millions in wagers. And a single bettor put a million dollars on Mayweather beating Conor McGregor in 2017.
Since 2018, states other than Nevada have legalized sports betting, so it’s more accessible than ever. With major bouts happening every year, boxing betting could find a new heyday yet.
While betting on boxing is historically popular, MMA odds have become the new go-to wager on fighting sports. Every online and retail sportsbook offers UFC betting odds, and aside from the bouts that get tons of coverage, it’s more popular than boxing bets.
Why does it matter which sport is more popular? Because the more people who place bets on the MMA odds, the better the potential payouts, the more competitive the UFC betting odds across the sportsbooks, and the more prop bets you can find. It also makes the sportsbook more apt to offer great promotions.
WNBA picks are becoming increasingly popular at the sportsbooks since legal sports betting expanded beyond Nevada.
Still, the WNBA is often overlooked despite having 12 competitive teams and lucrative bets during the playoffs. And that means the sportsbooks (and the media as a whole) can undervalue the players, giving you a lot of opportunities to spot quality prop bets.
All major sportsbooks offer WNBA picks. But FanDuel Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) is the exclusive DFS platform for the league.
US Open tennis odds are comparable to PGA odds in international popularity. Like with golf, tennis bets usually surround either the outright winner or the winner of individual matches (groupings in golf).
You can find US Open tennis odds in the futures section of most online sportsbooks. PointsBet, which specializes in unique totals payouts as well as parlays, has some particularly interesting tennis bets.
The tennis bets that bring in the most wagering include:
- US Open
- Australian Open
- French Open
Basically, any major tournament will attract tennis bets. But some sportsbooks offer lines beyond US Open tennis odds and comparable tournaments, including qualifiers.
Sports Betting Odds Calculators
We offer a wide range of betting tools at Gaming Today. These sports betting calculators give you instant insights into wagers before you place them. Some of the most utilized include:
- Spreads, a calculator that makes it easy to compare the different odds offered by multiple sportsbooks.
- Implied Probability, a calculator where type in American odds and see the probability of winning the bet in percentage form.
- Fair Odds, which identify the odds of winning without the vig (the integrated fee included in all sportsbook bets).
- Odds Converter allows you to quickly switch from American odds to decimal or fractional odds. Some sportsbook apps and sites also let you switch to your odds preference in their settings.
What Affects Sports Betting Odds Throughout A Season?
Even before a season begins, the odds on sports betting futures can shift in a variety of ways. But events leading up to upcoming games can flip the favorite and underdog, or set the two teams even further apart.
Of course, some events have more of an impact than others. If the team hires a new coach or a star player retires, that would change the odds more significantly than who they picked up in the fourth round of the draft.
Events that most significantly affect sports betting odds include:
- Trades and signings
- Draft picks
- Team form
- Home field advantage
- How much money bettors are placing on the two teams
Bookmakers, the experts at the sportsbooks that calculate and set the sports betting lines, look at the games from every angle to determine the most accurate probabilities. Even factors like the weather and time of day can shift the lines one way or the other.
Sports Betting Odds – FAQs
Betting lines are the available bets offered by a sportsbook, represented by odds that determine the win potential. In the US, betting lines are usually presented as + or – numbers that start at 100. You can use a betting calculator at Gaming Today to determine how much you stand to win based on any betting line.
Online sportsbook apps. You can find sports scores and odds at online sportsbook apps and websites. You can also legally place real-money bets on these platforms if you’re in a state with legal online sports betting. High-quality options available in most states with online sportsbooks include BetRivers, William Hill, and FanDuel Sportsbook.
You can find the best odds online by comparing the betting lines at different sportsbooks. These platforms compete against each other to appeal to betters, so you can often find better odds at one sportsbook over another. The best odds are those that pay out the most; for example, -110 doesn’t pay out as high as -105.
Gaming Today offers free betting picks on a variety of upcoming sporting events. There is no subscription required or article limit. Some online sportsbooks, such as FOX Bet and Barstool Sportsbook, will employ sports personalities to make picks that bettors can follow as well, and those usually come with boosted odds, insurance, or some other special offer.
Live betting odds are lines available to sports bettors on a game that’s already begun. Once the first whistle is blown, bettors can select the constantly-changing live betting odds based on how the game is progressing and how they think it will progress. Live betting on professional sports is available at most legal online sportsbooks.
The best place to find Vegas odds online is at FanDuel Sportsbook, William Hill, or BetRivers, which offer highly competitive sports betting odds, the same or better than what you’d find at a retail Vegas sportsbook. Vegas odds used to apply online to Nevada, but several US states have legalized online sports betting since 2018, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, and more.
Yes. Legal online sportsbooks take bets on off-field events and occurrences. This is especially popular during the Super Bowl when the sports betting odds can include the length of the National Anthem. But you can also bet on the NFL draft and other sports drafts, as well as on esports in New Jersey, Nevada, Colorado, and West Virginia.