Guide to Real Money Sports Betting Sites 2024

Posted by Arthur Crowson . Last updated:

Whether you enjoy the NFL, NBA, MLB or soccer, the thrill of a little profitable side action continues to be the best part of sports. Several online gambling sites offer real money sports betting for all the major sports, all year long. From explaining what a moneyline bet is to simple tips for sports betting beginners, this guide is the perfect introduction to real money sports betting apps.

Best Real Money Sports Betting Sites for US Players

Our experts have created a list of the industry’s best sports betting sites in the United States:

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History of Sportsbooks and Bookmaking

Well before online sports betting real money became one of the most popular pastimes worldwide, the first sportsbook was legalized in Nevada in 1949. However, the history of sports betting dates to ancient times. From roman chariot races to cock fighting, horse racing, and the iconic dirt ring boxing match, early bookmakers set event odds for hundreds of years before the first sportsbook was built. In fact, the first legal places in Nevada to bet on sports were actually referred to as turf clubs and ran independent from brick-and -mortar casinos.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s that sportsbooks started to pop up within popular Nevada casinos and hotels. Sports gambling remained concentrated in Sin City for decades before Delaware started to slash through the political red tape and normalized a form of sports betting. Since then, more and more online sportsbooks have popped up and more and more states have legalized sports betting. At this rate, most states should offer some form of legalized online gambling before the end of the decade.

Types of Real Money Sports Bets

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Moneyline

Bet on who wins the game

This is the easiest real money sports betting option one can take. First, pick which team or which athlete, like in golf, will win their game or contest. If they win, your betting slip is a winner.

An example of moneyline wager would look like this:

  • Pistons (+450)
  • 76ers (-700)

If you believe the 76ers (heavy favorites) are going to win, you’d have to wager $700 to win $100. If you believe the Pistons (heavy underdogs) are going to win, you’d wager $100 to win $450. It’s as simple as that.

a scoreboard displaying a score of 7-3

Point Spreads

Bet on which team will win based on their margin of victory, defeat

A point spread bet is very popular when it comes to online NFL sports betting on Sundays. While it’s more challenging for beginners, experienced sports bettors often prefer point spread wagers because the odds are typically better than other real money sports betting choices.

Here’s an example of a point spread wager:

  • Dolphins (+3.5) | Browns win 33-30 = Dolphins +3.5 point spread ticket is a winner
  • Browns (-3.5) | Browns win 34-30 = Browns -3.5 point spread ticket is a winner

If you believe the Browns are going to win, Cleveland must “cover 3.5-points” and win by 4-or-more points for your bet to win. If you believe the Dolphins can “cover +3.5 points”, then you think Miami will lose by three-or-fewer points OR beat the Browns straight up. If you believe they can beat the Browns outright, you may be interested in a moneyline bet where the odds are better.

a green calculator and pencil

Totals

Bet on the combined score of both teams

Totals are an option at sports betting apps for real money that don’t depend on which team wins the game. Instead, they depend on the total combined number of points, runs or goals scored by both teams.

For example, if the Chiefs-49ers point total is set at 50.5, you can either bet that the combined score at the end of the game will be OVER 50.5 or UNDER 50.5.

So, if the Chiefs-49ers final was 25-24 and you bet the UNDER, your ticket is a winner because the combined total equals 49 points, which is UNDER the set total of 50.5.

a green football, soccer ball, and basketball

Teasers

Improve Your Odds

Another online sports betting option is a teaser. This type of bet allows you to pick three or more teams in three separate games but they must all beat a specific spread in order for your bet to win. Sports books give additional points over the regular spread for teasers. Teaser cards typically are offered with lower odds because of the more attractive spreads given to bettors.

Let’s use NBA games as an example:

  • 76ers (-11) favorites over Pistons
  • Heat (-10) favorites over Hornets

For both the 76ers and Heat to cover and win by double-digit points is a lot to ask when it comes to an NBA wager. However, if we tease these two spreads down four points, to 76ers (-7) and Heat (-6) it becomes much more attractive. This now means if the 76ers win by 8-or-more and the Heat win by 7-or-more, the bet is a success! Since two outcomes were needed for the winning bet to occur, the odds improve to (+100) or EVEN money, where a $100 bet wins $100.

two green bills laid atop one another

Parlays

Bet on multiple outcomes, at once

The  parlay option allows you to bet on multiple teams on real money sports betting apps all at once, but each team must win in order for the bet slip to cash. However, because you’re taking on more risk, in the form of needing more teams to win, the odds are better.

For example, let’s say you want to wager on a three-team NHL parlay:

  • Blackhawks (-165)
  • Oilers (-130)
  • Avalanche (-170)

If all those favorites win each of their games and you bet $100 on the three-team parlay bet, the ticket wins $351.30.

a pair of green binoculars

Futures

Bet on future outcomes of sporting events

If MLB betting gurus think they know who is going to win the baseball’s World Series before the start of the season, a futures bet may be of interest. As the name implies, you are betting on a future event to occur.

For example, MLB World Series futures would look like this:

  • Yankees (+350)
  • Dodgers (+400)
  • Astros (+850)

If you believe the Yankees will win the World Series, wager $100 and New York raises the trophy as season’s end, you would win $450. You would get your original $100 bet back and $350 profit of winnings. With baseball having such a long season, a lot of things can change and impact the odds throughout the year such as injuries, suspensions and performance.

Compare Online Sportsbook

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Real Money Sports Betting Odds Types

Check out this example of American odds from a hypothetical NBA game before diving into the details:

Teams Point Spread Moneyline Point Total
Utah Jazz -4.5 -190 OVER 226.5
Brooklyn Nets +4.5 +165 UNDER 226.5

So, in this NBA betting table, you’ll see the Jazz are 4.5-point FAVORITES, indicated by the minus prefix. On the flip side, the Nets are 4.5-point underdogs indicated by the plus prefix. If you were to bet on the Jazz to cover the spread, Utah would need to win by 5-or-more points, while a bet on the Nets would need to see Brooklyn loose by 4-or-fewer OR win outright.

The moneyline odds are easy to digest. At -190, a bet on the Jazz to win pays $100 for every $190 wagered should Utah beat the Nets outright. If you like the Nets to pull the upset, a $100 wager pays $165 in the case of a Brooklyn victory. Note: $165 is profit + you recoup your initial $100 bet.

Finally, the point total is self-explanatory. If you bet the OVER, you want the Jazz and Nets to combine for 227-or-more points. If you bet the UNDER, you want the Jazz and Nets to combine for 226-or-fewer points. NBA online betting is that easy.

American Odds

This is the most common real money sports betting odds format found online. It’s the (+) / (-) odds shows in the examples above.

The (+) before a number indicates that team is the underdog.

The (-) before a number indicates that team is the favorite.

If a team is (+300), you risk $100 and that team wins, your bet slip cashes $300 and recoups the $100 wager.

If a team is (-300), you risk $300 and that team wins, your bet slip cashes $100 and recoups the $300 wager.

Decimal/Fractional

This odds format isn’t as common for real money sports bettors but does pop up occasionally.

If the Lakers’ decimal odds are 1.15 to win a game and you bet $100 on the Lakers, your ticket would earn the original $100 bet back plus $15 in profit if they win the game.

Fractional odds are very common in horse race betting. At 5/1, you’re looking at 5-to-1, at 10/1, you’re looking at 10-to-1. So, if you bet $100 on a horse with fractional odds of 10/1 and it wins, you would get your $100 original bet back along with $1000 (10x $100) in profit.

Real Money Sports Betting Promotions

If you’re new to real money sports betting, be on the lookout for sportsbook bonuses which are often offered alongside online casino bonuses. Typically, when you first sign up for a new account, real money sports betting books will offer first-time deposit bonuses or promotions and occasionally your first real money sports bet is covered by the sportsbook. In other cases, if you reload your account wallet, sportsbook sites will reward you with additional funds and bonuses.

Brick and Mortar vs Online Sportsbooks

Though brick and mortar sportsbooks have existed in the Nevada desert for decades, the appeal of online sportsbooks for real money continue to grow in popularity for a variety of reasons.

In today’s ever-connected culture, sports are one of the few live events where no one knows what is going to happen next. That keeps both fans and bettors riveted to every moment and places live sports at the pinnacle of television. But, being in a sportsbook may slow down your reactions compared to betting quickly through your phone. Here are some pros and cons of the two sports betting options.

 

Pros of Online Sportsbooks

  • Accessibility from anywhere
  • Bonuses and promotions
  • Instant ability to place a wager
  • Easier to shop lines/odds
  • More banking options

Cons of Online Sportsbooks

  • Lack of socialization
  • No free drinks
  • Lower limits

Mobile Sports Betting Options

Thanks to advances in online sportsbook technologies and one-of-a-kind smartphone apps, mobile sports betting has never been easier. Without sitting down at your desktop or picking up a laptop, mobile users can enjoy the convenience of making sports bets from their phone or smart device anytime.

Sports Betting Tips

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Bankroll Management

The best advice for an inexperienced sports bettor is to pay attention to your bankroll. Bankroll management is the key to enjoying sports betting from season to season. If needed, set a budget before each season and stick to it.

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Do Your Homework

Be sure to do your research and avoid betting with emotion. Sure, you may love your Boston Red Sox, but don’t let your fanhood cloud your judgement before placing a bet. There is a chance you may be biased with information and that can cost you in the long run.

a modified green NFL logo icon

Don't Bet Blindly

Bet on what you know. If you don’t follow the NHL or NBA, don’t bet on that sport blindly. If you haven’t missed an NFL Sunday in five years, you may want to focus your bankroll in that market and capitalize on skewed odds.

More Sports Betting Guides

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Best Online Sportsbook USA

Read our unbiased reviews of the top US sports betting sites.

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Safe Sports Betting

These are the sportsbooks that put the safety and security of your information first.

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Mobile Sports Betting

Find a game to wager on anytime, any place and your smart devices.

Real Money Sports Betting FAQs

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