So, you want to make your first online sports bet? We’re going to assume it’s your first bet since you’re here reading this guide. If it’s not your first bet, but it’s just been a while, we totally get that, too. Technology changes quickly.
In this guide, we’re going to walk you through every single step of the online sports betting process. We’ll start by talking about what you need to get set up to facilitate your bet. Then, we’ll discuss selecting the actual bet that you want to make. Once all of that information is out of the way, we’ll dive into making your actual bet and close with how to collect your winnings. We’re also going to assume you’re super sharp and going to crush this first bet.
By the time you finish with this guide, you will have 100% of the information you need to get out there and make your first real-money online sports bet. Exciting, isn’t it? We think so! Our team of experts were all beginners once and can all attest that they wish they had someone to walk them through the process.
Getting Things Set Up
The first step in making an online sports bet is getting your account set up. It’s not as easy as just shoving dollar bills into your USB drive and yelling the bets you want at the computer screen. It would be awesome if it were, but sadly, we don’t live in that world yet.
Below, you’ll find the steps you need to complete to place your first bet. Each step has its own dedicated guide in case you need some more explanations of what to do. Everything should be pretty easy and straightforward, but we wanted you to be prepared in case you had any issues.
Select an Online Sportsbook
Since we’ve already determined that we can’t just yell at our computers, you’ll have to find a sportsbook willing to take your yelling and action. Thankfully, there are tons of great options for you to choose from that offer extensive action on all of your favorite sports and some you’ve probably never even heard of.
While “tons of options” is surely a great thing, it can also make actually making a decision a challenge. Welp, good luck! Kidding, kidding. We would never just throw you out to the wolves on what is actually an important decision. You see, unfortunately, there are a lot of bad apples out there in the online betting industry. These sites don’t deliver on their promises, are sometimes untrustworthy, and offer a betting experience that is “sub-par” (that’s the nice way of putting it).
Allow us to help. Below, you’ll find a few things. First, you’ll see our list of recommended online sportsbooks. These are the highest rated, most trusted online sportsbooks offering the best action on the most sports. Basically, these are the sites you want to play at.
|100% up to $2,500|
|50% up to $1,000|
|100% up to $1,000|
|50% up to $250|
|50% up to $1,000|
But if you want some more information before you make a decision, we also have a link below to a dedicated guide walking you through every step to select the best sportsbook for you. We know you’ll be blown away by the quality of the sites we’ve recommended, but we know some people just like to take important decisions a little slower, and we respect that.
Fund Your Sportsbook Account
Once you’ve picked out the best sportsbook for you, it’s time to put some money into that account. This can be a scary process for a lot of people because it’s something they’ve never done before. Good news, we’re going to walk you through it step by step. We’re even willing to hold your hand if that will make things a little bit better for you.
In all seriousness, this process should be one that is simple and headache-free. Typically, the online sportsbook will walk you through the process by giving you your options and letting you know everything that you need to get your account quickly funded.
One side note that we want to mention. Don’t feel like you need to load your entire bankroll online right off the bat. If you are brand new to this, start with a small deposit to get your feet wet. If you end up loving it and want to move your whole bankroll online, then go for it. But we want you to realize that baby steps are just fine here.
Below, we’ve got a fully dedicated guide directing you through the funding process. We’ll give you step by step instructions, how to deal with issues that might arise, the different methods you have for funding, and some tips to help make the process smoother and ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
Selecting a Bet
The administrative work is out of the way! Your account is set up, and there is money sitting in your account and burning a hole in your virtual pocket. Now, what to bet? Well, if you already have a hot tip or prediction, then, by all means, go ahead and make that bet. But if you’re brand new to this and have no idea where to start, we’re here to help.
What we’re going to do is give you a bunch of resources to help you make the pick that gives you the best chance of winning. Take some time and choose the link below that best fits what it is that you’re looking for.
One of the coolest free resources that we offer at TheSportsGeek.com is our sports betting picks from our team of expert bettors. Not only will we give you our picks in real time, but we’ll walk you through the reasoning behind these picks. You can make your wagers right along with our pros and hopefully walk away from the book a winner.
These picks are updated daily and span a ton of different sports. If you don’t feel like doing the work or research yourself, this is a great place to start for selecting a bet or bets to make.
The Training Grounds
Some of you may be on this page from The Training Grounds already, so we don’t need to explain the value there to you. But if you found your way to this guide from somewhere else, let us introduce you to one of our coolest free resources available on the site. The Training Grounds is our online “school” for beginner sports bettors.
Not only do we walk you through things like “How to make an online sports bet,” but we also offer some great foundational strategy. If you’re really interested in making your own expert picks, then this is where you should start. The Training Grounds is packed full of information, strategy guides, and how-to’s to help you start learning how to make the best picks possible.
For example, we have a dedicated guide on How to Research Your Sports Betting Picks that walks you through all of the different ways you can research a game or match that you’re interested in. This is just one example of the resources we have for you there. If you’re ready to take your betting to the next level, click on over there and check out this amazing free resource. There is nothing else like it on the web.
The Strategy Section
If you already consider yourself advanced when it comes to sports betting online, you may want a little more advanced betting strategy to help you select your pick. As TheSportsGeek.com’s original purpose was to cater to advanced bettors, we have a ton of great resources to help you out. The link below will take you to our dedicated strategy section.
In this section, you’ll be able to find strategy guides separated by sport and by bet type. Additionally, we have some very advanced guides that get into online betting math and higher-level strategies that you can use to crush the books. These are not ideal for complete beginners, but we wanted you to know they were there and will be waiting for you when you’re ready. Oh, did we mention they’re free as well?
Making Your Bet
It seems like we’ve covered so much, and we’re just now getting to the meat and potatoes of the article. Let’s talk about how to actually make your bet! You have your account set up, your account is funded, and you’ve selected the bet that you want to make.
If you’re betting at a great sportsbook, the next part of this equation is going to be pretty easy. If you’re not at a great sportsbook, this is the point in the timeline where that is going to become very evident.
The first thing you need to do is log into your sports betting account. If you just created your account, you’re probably already logged in. Using the menus, navigate to the sport and the game that you are interested in betting. Most sportsbooks have a menu on the left-hand side of the screen that allows you to select the sport, and then there may be a dropdown for the particular league you’re looking for.
If you want to bet an NBA game, you may have to select “basketball” first and then select “NBA” from a drop-down menu. Once you do this, all the games should populate to the center of the screen.
Find the game or match you want to bet and click the type of bet you want. If you don’t immediately see the type of bet you want, you can usually click a “more” button that can take you to the full listings of wagers available for that particular game, match, or race.
The next thing you need to do is check the odds on the bet and make sure they are to your liking. The odds will typically be presented in American odds format (example: +110). If this is not your desired format, most good sportsbooks will have an option you can select to change all of the odds to the format that you prefer (decimal or fraction). This is usually located at the top right of the screen.
When you click on the bet that you want, it should populate into a virtual betting slip, most likely on the right-hand side of the screen. Here is where you’ll be able to put in the bet amount that you would like to make. When you type in the bet amount, it should also tell you exactly how much you stand to win if you make a correct prediction. Some sportsbooks will show you your profit number, and some will show you the full amount that will be returned to you.
What’s the difference? Well, profit is the amount you are getting back not including your original bet. The amount returned is your profit plus the original bet you are getting back. For example, let’s say you are making a $20 bet at even money (meaning you get paid $20 if you win). Your profit on a correct bet would be $20. Your returned amount would be $40. This is because the sportsbook gives you your original bet back and then gives you the money you won on top of that. If they only gave you $20 back, you wouldn’t have made any money! Instead, they put the original $20 you bet into your account and then the $20 in profit as well. Just make sure when you are betting that you know which one the sportsbook is using.
If you like the amount you would receive for a correct pick, then it’s time to finalize the bet. Before you click the “confirm” or “bet” button, make sure you read the entire bet slip to make sure you are betting on what you want to bet on. It’s easy to click on the wrong bet or select something by accident, especially if you’re in a hurry.
Take your time and confirm that everything is correct and to your liking. Once you have confirmed this, click the “bet” button! Some sites might require you to click a “confirm” button, but some will only require one click. Once the bet has been made, double check it one more time for accuracy. Make sure that nothing got lost in translation and that the amount, game, bet type, and odds are still correct.
If for some reason the odds are not correct, contact support immediately to let them know you have an issue with a bet you just made. Do not wait one second. A reputable sports betting online website with a great staff will get this handled for you quickly and without issue. If you wait even a few minutes, though, you may start to run into problems.
One thing that could happen during the betting process is that the odds might change. Depending on the sports betting online site you are at, this will be handled a little differently. Some sites update the odds in real time and will pop up a notice on your betting ticket before you even click the “submit” button. When this happens, you will have the option of accepting the new odds or canceling the bet. Sometimes the odds will move in your favor, and sometimes they will move against you. Most of the time, they won’t move at all in that short of a time frame, but it does happen.
If it does, take a look at the new odds and decide if you are okay with them. If they moved in your favor, awesome! Of course you are going to like those. If they moved against you, you have to reassess if you still like the bet and still feel like it has the value you are looking for. If you decide it does, then proceed with the process. If you decided it doesn’t, though, just close out the bet and start looking for something else you like. There is no reason to force a bet just to get some action.
Once you’ve made your bet or bets, it’s time to sit back and wait! You’ve done your job, and now it’s time for the team or player you selected to do theirs. The process of making a bet can be scary at first, which is why we recommend starting with a few small bets to get the hang of things. That way, if you happen to make some sort of mistake, you can learn for cheap. We don’t anticipate that you’re going to make a mistake, but it does happen from time to time. As long as you are double and triple checking the bets you are making, you should have no problems.
Collecting Your Winnings
You won your bet! Congrats. The next step is collecting your winnings. If you’re in the process of building a bankroll, you might not want to collect your winnings right away, which is totally fine. In fact, most people don’t draw their first cash-out for quite some time, as they like to ride the winning wave and build up their bankroll.
If you’re ready to withdraw, though, the process is very straightforward. Online sportsbooks offer a bunch of different options for you to choose from. To help you out with the process, we’ve created a dedicated guide with all of the details you might need to get your money offline and into your pocket quickly.
The guide includes a step-by-step breakdown of how to withdraw your money, a look at the most popular options for withdrawing, and a bunch of awesome tips to help make the process a lot smoother. There are some tips of things you should do now (before you even want to withdraw), so we highly recommend taking a quick peek at that guide now so that you’re fully prepared.
Well, that’s all there is to it! It really is as simple as opening an account, putting some money on, picking out a bet, and clicking the “confirm bet” button. We did our best to be as over-the-top thorough as possible, though, just to make sure that we covered every instance that you might run into. Sports betting online is supposed to be fun even if it’s something you’re taking very seriously. We wish you the best of luck and hope you have a great online betting career.
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