For those players have never tried betting at online sportsbook before – or wagering in a land-based bookie for that matter – understanding the best odds bookmakers have to offer can seem a somewhat complex challenge.
Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be. We’ve got a handy guide to the best odds bookies can provide that will have you off the ground and running in no time. This article will provide you a complete set of answers that will definitely help you to totally understand this concept – and this really is no big deal.
Top 10 Bookmakers By Odds  - Updated List
Best Bookmaker Odds Explained Basically
In short, betting odds are essentially a probability that something is going to happen and what payout players can snap up if they were to bet money on that eventuality successfully, but for more informations, you can read our article about betting odds explained. An excellent example is this:
With low odds of 2/1, Manchester United is the favorite to win a football match over Liverpool, who are 10/1 to win themselves. The odds of the game ending in a draw are 7/1. In our fictional example, the probability of Manchester United winning is higher than Liverpool, and if you wagered money on that result and it happened, you would snap up winnings worth 2x your bet (plus your original bet back). If you bet on Liverpool and they won, you would bag winnings of 10x your bet. The draw would pay out 7x your bet if you had bet on that successfully.
As you can see from the example, betting odds are quite easy to understand when in this format. These are known as fractional odds, and they are just one of several ways that bookies can offer odds to players.
Various Bookmaker Odds Formats
While the above example (fractional odds) is simple to grasp, many bookies outside of the United Kingdom choose to display their odds in another format – known as decimal. These are just as easy to understand when you see them in action. Decimal odds appear as the exact figure you will win to single pound or euro bet.
In the example above, then, Manchester United’s odds of success would be displayed at 2.00 and not 2/1 in decimalised format. By contrast, Liverpool’s would be 10.00 instead of 10/1. Some of the best odds bookmakers prefer decimalised, and others prefer fractional, but most will allow players to change how they view the odds.
Some of the best odds bookies prefer a third format, known as American odds, and these tend to be used for major US sports, such as baseball, basketball, American football, boxing and hockey. We explain more in our articles on how to read boxing odds and how to read baseball odds, for both odds formats. American odds are complex and involve spread betting (which is an issue for another day). For rookies just getting off the ground, it is better to stick to decimalised and fractional odds for now.
What about European and Asian Handicaps?
Handicap betting is again about spreads and margins. In a sense, you are talking about a positive or negative bet. These often mean that Team A must beat Team B by X or more goals to result in a win. Or Team B must not lose to Team A by X or more goals.
There are three outcomes to European handicap bets (wins, losses and draws), whereas Asian handicaps do not offer draws (bets are returned instead). Choosing which handicaps to go for depends on the sport you follow. If you want to bet on football, for instance, European handicaps are likely to offer the best odds at bookies.
A Word on Short and Long Odds at Bookmakers
Straight away, by looking at the best odds bookies have to offer, players will be able to gauge the likelihood that something is going to happen in a sporting event. The odds which are the shortest (pay the least) represent what the bookie feels is to be the most likely outcome. The odds which are the longest (pay the least) represent events which are unlikely to occur. Before a match starts you may see odds drifting or odds shortening.
The best odds betting sites will have done plenty of research to come up with those odds. These include factoring in elements such as the weather, fatigue, injuries, form and many other variables. Even so, not all bookmakers agree, which is why you can end up with several online bookies offering conflicting odds on the same match. It is up to you to determine which of these sites is best suited for the game you wish to bet on. This is where we come in.
Using Our Research to Choose a Leading Online Bookmaker
You could choose to do this research yourself. Googling “which bookmakers give the best odds?” or visiting pages which compare odds at a few of the best odds online bookmakers are ways you can go about it. Why go to all that extra effort when you don’t have to, though? We can help you with that.
Our team has tested the top 100 bookmakers and extensively checked out their odds over various sporting events, competitions and betting markets. A quick look at our bookmakers odds chart will reveal which is the best odds bookmaker online for any particular sport or betting market. We have averaged together the results we found to come up with a compelling picture of what the industry looks like.
Now that you know which bookies rank highly let’s look at some of the other exciting aspects surrounding sports betting, odds and bookies.
Each Sport May Present Wildly Different Odds
Some sports are notoriously tricky to predict, and others are not. Odds will be different for variuos sports and they will fluctuate until the start of the event. Find more in our guides on how do bookies set odds and how do they calculate them. You may note that in football and boxing matches for instance unless two teams or fighters of equal strength are competing, there is likely to be an outright favorite and a clear underdog. This will be reflected in the odds which are displayed. However, in events which feature many competitors, such as motor racing or horse racing, things are not as clear cut.
Horse racing events seldom offer odds of 2.0 (or 2/1), and that is because no horse is ever such a clear favorite to win. Professional tipsters will offer tips on what they think is the best bet (also called horse racing NAP) or the next best bet (also called NB) in a horse race. With so many different possible outcomes to a race, the shortest odds are still likely to result in decent payouts should they come good, with the best odds at bookies likely to be around 8/1 or more on average for a horse race. What this means is that while betting on sports events which can only have 2 or 3 outcomes is more likely to see you pick the winner, betting on sports with many different possible outcomes will likely see you win more.
Finding the Best Odds Bookmaker for Your Favourite Sport
There are many different sportsbooks out there, and some excel in certain sporting events over others. Many of the major European domains are amongst the best odds bookmakers around if you like football bets. If you fancy a punt on the NFL, though, then the best odds for bookies are likely to be found in American betting sites. Wherever a sport is popular, it is the sportsbooks in that country which will likely have the most to offer you.
One of the perks to finding bookmakers with the best odds in your sport of interest is that the number of bets they will offer will be far more than simple outright (who wins) bets. In a football match, the options may also include the number of corners (even Asian corners), cards, free kicks, fouls, and anything in-between. Players should always try to find a bookie which excels at offering a flurry of bets on the sport which interests them the most.
The Importance of Best Odds Bookmakers
In theory, players could snap up an epic win with any odds offered by any bookmaker. However, there are perks to be had when you select the best odds, online bookmakers. If one outcome is considerably more likely to occur than another, the average sportsbook will choose to offer you very, very short odds on that event happening. However, the best bookmakers for odds will tend to be a little more generous, in a bid to beat out the competition and make you choose them. This can lead to decent wins even with short-odds bets. The question of which bookies give the best odds cannot be answered by thinking solely of short odds, though.
A sportsbook which offers incredibly long odds can also be one of the best odds online bookies, but only if the bet in question is on an underdog. So bookies might give you long odds of 10.00 for an unlikely outcome. However, if you shop about, you may find bookies who are prepared to offer you odds of substantially more for a no-hoper bet. You can do a little “shopping” also in high street betting shops and find some interesting differences with online bookies’ odds. Use arbitrage betting to cover all possible outcomes and you have a guaranteed profit. When a betting shop is included you talk about sharbing. These can potentially see players win thousands.
The bookies with the best odds will be those which continually offer you exceptionally long odds on unlikely outcomes and odds which aren’t too short on probable events.
With all these bookmaker odds flying all over the shop, you might wonder – where do they come from? If you’ve ever wondered how the bookmakers with the best odds come up with their figures, now is the time to find out.
Each bookmaker has a team of people doing the grunt work. They are known as traders, odds compilers, and even the fancy sounding risk analysts. Their sole task is to check out the statistics behind a game or match; they look at those variables we mentioned before (as well as plenty more besides) and compile predictions based on the average of those variables.
For instance, if they do this for both teams in a football match, they’ll have a reasonably good idea of what is likely to happen. Where two evenly matched teams take to the field, and the analysts can’t really work out who will win, their indecision is likely to be represented in very closely matched odds on both the home and away team winning.
Other bookies also look at automated software. This is where statistics really play a part. This odds software essentially does the same thing as the human odds compilers, although it lacks the foresight to “think” about form and other elements. Some bookies prefer automated software as it cuts down operating costs and eliminates human error or biased assessments, but many would argue that real risk analysts often do a better job.
Asking the question “what bookies offer the best odds?” and deciding to play at those will, likely see you get great betting options on sporting events. However, there are other things players may wish to consider apart from the best odds bookies have to offer. Security, customer support, banking options, promotions and bonuses should be also be taken into consideration. Bookies offering free bets, no deposit bonuses and more are also appealing. Making sure you play at a bookie which is licensed and has a broad array of betting markets and options is also worth considering.
The best odds for bookies aren’t just limited to decimalised or fractional bets. As touched upon earlier, there are handicap betting options, too. Whether or not betting on the lowest betting margins (or indeed the highest ones) constitute an online bookies’ best odds depends on the sport you choose to wager on. With rugby (for instance) having a higher betting margin affords more wiggle room, while in football a higher betting margin will result in smaller odds.
Betting exchanges are slightly different from bookmakers, in that they are a marketplace which allows players to wager against one another, as opposed to betting against the bookie. The betting exchange merely takes a small slice of the winnings as their cut. Because they work in such a unique way (in some cases, the odds can be set by players, not the bookie) and they allow lay betting (betting on a team or player to lose and not win), it is tough to judge where the best places to wager are.
Betting exchanges certainly aren’t easy to classify when looking at the best odds from bookies, and we tend to think of the best betting exchanges as being those which are the safest. However, back to the question at hand – in terms of what bookies give the best odds? – yes, it is entirely possible that betting exchanges can offer better odds than bookies, but there is no guarantee of that.
It is rare, but you may have heard of people popping into land-based and high-street bookies and asking the staff there what odds they would give them for X or Y. While it is true that some high-street bookies can offer this service, many online bookmakers aren’t likely to play ball, if you forgive the pun. Offering such options would require risk analysts to look at the bet in question.
While it is nice option to have at hand, they are hardly likely to constitute the best bookie odds around, and whether this service is offered or not does not come into play when trying to figure out which bookies provide the best odds. Betting exchanges are your most likely avenue if you want custom odds.
Tools and Research: Preparing to Place Your Bet
By now, you will probably have a good idea of which bookies have the best odds margins. However, before you decide to get on with betting, there are a few more handy tips you may wish to consider. Firstly, there are comparison tools out there which can double check that you are playing at the best odds betting site for your chosen sport. By comparing the odds of several different sites using such a tool, you can see which bookies are offered you the shortest/longest odds on a game. Learn also how to find value bets and calculate the implied probability.
A word of warning about using comparison tools; if you do decide to use these options to see which way rival bookies are leaning over big matches, make sure you use one which is regularly updated. Bookies’ odds change frequently depending on those variables we mentioned earlier, such as injuries, weather, form, and suspensions. Even heavy betting (lots of people betting on the same outcome) can see bookies’ odds change, and any comparison tool which isn’t frequently updated can give you a misleading picture of the real odds various sites are offering. We offer you more tips in our how to beat the bookies guide.
You will find many of the best betting odds bookies here on this site. Choosing to play with any one of those will likely see you end up wagering on your favourite sporting events with one of the best odds bookmakers around. If you follow the advice above, there is every chance that you will not just end up at one of the best sportsbooks, but also be able to wager on sports matches with some of the most competitive odds on the net.