2020 Online Sports Betting Guide

Last Update

Whether you’re a brand-new bettor, or an experienced punter, you likely want to have the best online sports betting experience possible.

Scroll down to find out more about what sports you can bet on, our expert betting strategy guides for every sport, and even our experts’ picks for the best online sports betting sites for each sport.

The UK's Top 9 Online Sports Betting Sites

  1. bet365 Logo
    bet365
    Sign-up Offer
    100% up to £100 in bet credits
    CD365
    Open Account Offer Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Sign up, deposit £5* or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. The bonus code CD365 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. Full list below.
    Details
  2. LeoVegas Sport Logo
    LeoVegas Sport
    Sign-up Offer
    100% up to £100
    New customers only. Deposit £10 min and claim in ‘my offers' 1x100% mobile in-play profit boost. Max stake £10. Max extra winnings £100. Valid for 30 days. Skrill/Neteller deposits do not qualify. 18+ Full T&Cs apply www.begambleaware.org
    Details
  3. 888sport Logo
    888sport
    Sign-up Offer
    £30
    30F
    18+, New customers only – Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30f - A qualifying bet is a ‘real money’ stake of at least €10 (£20 e/w) placed on any sports markets - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit method and withdrawal restrictions apply - full T&C’s apply
    Details
  4. Unibet Logo
    Unibet
    Sign-up Offer
    up to £50
    New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in.
    Details
  5. William Hill Logo
    William Hill
    Free Bets
    £30
    P30
    New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
    Details
  6. Betfair Logo
    Betfair
    Free Bets
    up to £100
    ZBBC01
    New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&Cs apply.
    Details
  7. BetVictor Logo
    BetVictor
    Free Bets
    Bet £/€5 Get £/€30
    New Customers only. Deposit and place a £/€5 qualifying bet at odds of 2.00 or greater within 7 days of opening a new account; excludes cashed out bets. Receive 2x £/€10 Free Sports Bets, valid on set events only at odds 2.00 or greater, expires in 7 days, plus a £/€10 Casino Bonus, expires in 7 days. Wager the Casino Bonus 35x to withdraw winnings. Debit card deposits only. Geographical Restrictions and T&Cs Apply, See Below. Please Gamble Responsibly
    Details
  8. NetBet Logo
    NetBet
    Sign-up Offer
    £15 Free Bet + £15 in Free Spins
    18+, New Customers Only / Customers will be awarded £15 in free bets and £15 in free spins for casino and vegas. Freebets Valid for 3 days. Free Spins valid for 7 days. T&Cs Apply.
    Details
  9. Paddy Power Logo
    Paddy Power
    Free Bets
    £20
    YSKA46
    New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any sportsbook market and if it loses, Paddy Power will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using Debit Cards or Paypal will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. Paddy's Rewards Club: Get a £10 free bet when you place 5x bets of £10+. T&Cs apply.
    Details

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Different Types of Online Sports Betting

Sports betting, much like everything else, has grown and evolved over the years. There’s a lot more variety in the types of betting experiences punters can have today.

We’ve put together a basic list of the essential things to know when it comes to choosing what type of betting you want to try. These are the most popular types of betting around nowadays:

Pre-Match Betting

Just like it says on the tin, pre-match betting happens before the match starts. This is probably the oldest and most well-known type of betting out there. Though, even pre-match betting is much more than it used to be.

Punters aren’t just restricted to betting on who will win or if a match will end in a draw. Today, online sports betting sites offer tons of betting markets on things that can happen throughout a match or race.

💡 TIP! To learn more about betting markets, head to our individual sports betting guides in our section on the most popular sports to bet on below!

Live Betting

Live betting is sort of the opposite of pre-match betting. This is a fast-paced type of betting that happens during a match or race. Punters need to know a lot about the sport, as well as the particular event, to be able to react to shifting probabilities on the go.

As we mention on our guide to live betting, this is very different to the calmer and more calculated pre-match betting. Odds shift constantly, and betting markets open and close as the match progresses.

Spread Betting

The most popular type of betting is fixed odds betting, where punters place bets against the house based on provided odds. Spread betting, however, is different.

Spread betting is similar to handicap betting, as modifiers are applied to every bet. While handicap betting still uses traditional odds, though, spread betting evens the odds out.

Bookmakers do this by offering a “spread” of match or event outcomes. This evens the odds of all the possible outcomes.

Payouts can be more difficult to calculate, though, and losses can be much bigger. For example, a bookie might offer a spread on a match between Liverpool and Manchester City. You place a £10 bet on Man. City to win.

If a Man. City win is worth 25 points, a draw is worth 10 points, and a loss is worth 0 points, and you’re given a price of 12.0, then a loss can cost you a lot more than your £10 stake. A win would be (25-12) x £10, which would be £130 return on your £10 stake.

A loss would be (12-0) x £10, meaning you’d lose £120, which is much more than just your £10 stake.

💡 TIP! Only highly experienced bettors should try spread betting! It’s a lot more complicated than traditional betting. The vast majority of the bookies listed on Sportsbetting24 deal solely in traditional odds betting.

Betting Exchanges

A simpler alternative to traditional bookmaker betting is using a betting exchange. Instead of betting against the house, like with traditional betting, punters bet against each other.

Betting exchanges charge a small amount of commission on every bet, but even with this fee, punters can sometimes find odds at a much better price than with traditional bookmakers. As punters are betting against each other, a winning bet on an unlikely outcome can be a massive windfall.

Betting on a betting exchange involves backing and laying bets, as well as managing your liability. As you aren’t betting against the bookmaker, betting exchanges also give punters to opportunity to wager much higher stakes than are normally accepted with traditional betting.

The Most Popular Sports to Bet On

Plenty of new punters ask us questions like “what sports can I bet on?”. The answer is, almost all of them! When it comes to online sports betting in the UK, though, there are 5 sports, in particular, that lead the pack.

Most of the online sports betting in the UK is centered around football, horse racing, cricket, tennis, and golf. This is why betting sites focus on these so much, and there are so many promotions surrounding these sports.

💡 TIP! Most bookies are better with some sports than others. Head to our list of best betting sites by sport below to find out which the best bookies for these sports are!

⚽ Football

With Britain’s love for football being world-renowned, it’s no surprise there are more football bets than any other sport each year. Fans and punters alike are certainly spoiled for choice, too, as there are plenty of huge football tournaments each year.

For example, the Premier League (official betting guide) and the Champions League (betting guide here) draw in thousands of punters from the UK alone every season. If you’re a footie fan that is interested in getting into betting, we recommend taking a look at our sports betting guides section below to find everything you need to know.

🏇 Horse Racing

Another British classic, horse racing has been a major betting staple for decades. Races happen every day across the globe in places like Dubai, the UK, Australia, France, and the US.

Thanks to online sports betting, punters don’t need to spend a whole day at the tracks anymore to get in on some horse racing action. When it comes to serving the UK market, a bookmaker’s horse racing offerings can be the deciding factor in whether they thrive or fail.

Some of the biggest horse racing events of the year happen right here in the UK, and we’re home to some of the world’s most prestigious racing tracks. This is why we have betting guides for the biggest and best races, like the Grand National, the Royal Ascot, and the Cheltenham festival.

🏏 Cricket

Football may get the most global media attention today, but cricket is the original international hit. Thanks to the spread of the British Empire, cricket is played across the Commonwealth, with the first international matches being held all the way back in the 1700s.

Fans of cricket betting know all too well that cricket is one of the most diverse sports to bet on. Punters can place bets on test series months in advance, while others prefer to bet live and react to things as they unfold after the coin toss.

In fact, betting on cricket is largely responsible for England’s first gambling laws, with the 1664 gaming act becoming law as a direct response to the public’s cricket wagers. The biggest cricket betting events for today’s punters to keep an eye on are:

Event Official Sportsbetting24 Guide
Indian Premier League IPL betting guide
The Ashes Ashes betting explained
The World Cup Cricket World Cup betting strategies

🎾 Tennis

Tennis is a huge draw for bettors, mainly due to the fact that there are so few players involved in a single match. This means there are fewer variables in play, making it easier for well-informed punters to make accurate predictions.

Tennis betting is seen as one of the core staples on betting sites, and we don’t know of any reputable bookies who neglect to feature the sport. If you’re new to tennis betting, we recommend starting with the larger tournaments, as it’s relatively easy to find statistics about different players and matchups. Our Wimbledon betting guide and guide to French Open betting, in particular, are worth taking a look at to help you get a leg up over other punters.

⛳ Golf

Thanks to innovations in technology over the years, golf is much more of a spectator sport today than it used to be. While punters used to need to rely on commentators to keep track of what’s happening on the course, there are more cameras, better cameras, and GPS tracking today. Thanks to this, golf betting has exploded in popularity in recent years.

If you’re interested in getting started with golf betting, we recommend starting with the bigger tournaments, just like with tennis. There’s far more information about the golfers and the courses to be found for the huge events.

Depending on what time of year it is, starting with either the US Open (improve your US Open betting strategy here) or the Australian Open (expert tips for Australian Open betting here) would be a good idea, in our opinion.

Best Betting Sites by Sport

If you’re looking to bet on a particular sport, then you need to make sure that you choose a bookie that has a proven track record with that sport. It might sound odd, but some online sports betting sites can offer a top-notch experience for one sport, but woefully lag behind with another.

The table below contains what our experts believe are the best betting site for each sport. They looked at things like event coverage, sport-specific bonuses like the ones mentioned below, the quality of odds, the amount of betting markets available, and more.

Sport Best Betting Site
⚽ Football
bet365 Logo
bet365
Sign-up Offer
100% up to £100 in bet credits
CD365
Open Account Offer Up to £100 in Bet Credits for new customers at bet365. Sign up, deposit £5* or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. The bonus code CD365 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. Full list below.
Details
🏇 Horse Racing
William Hill Logo
William Hill
Free Bets
£30
P30
New customers using Promo Code P30 only, min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15 (30 days expiry), free bet/payment method/player/country restrictions apply.
Details
🏏 Cricket
Betfair Logo
Betfair
Free Bets
up to £100
ZBBC01
New customer offer. Place 5 x £10 or more bets to receive £20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum £100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&Cs apply.
Details
🎾 Tennis
Unibet Logo
Unibet
Sign-up Offer
up to £50
New customers only. 18+, BeGambleAware.org. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus. Wagering requirements: Sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), Casino 25x. Only one bonus can be used at a time, Sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the Casino, unless the bonus has been forfeited. Bonus will expire after 7 days of opt-in.
Details
⛳ Golf
NetBet Logo
NetBet
Sign-up Offer
£15 Free Bet + £15 in Free Spins
18+, New Customers Only / Customers will be awarded £15 in free bets and £15 in free spins for casino and vegas. Freebets Valid for 3 days. Free Spins valid for 7 days. T&Cs Apply.
Details

Online Sports Betting Bonuses

Most of the online sports betting sites featured on our site offer punters bonuses of one sort or another. While we won’t go into too much detail about welcome bonuses (read more about those here), lots of bookies have sport-specific or even event-specific promotions for their existing punters.

When it comes to promotions, the sports that usually get the most attention from UK betting sites are exactly the ones you’d expect: football and horse racing. Promotions for other sports are out there too, but if you’re betting in the UK, you’re a lot more likely to find football betting promotions or horse racing offers.

What Kind of Promotions are Most Common?

Generally speaking, most promotions are free bets offers, also known as bonus bets. This is great news for punters, as most of our top bookies have pretty favourable terms and conditions when it comes to free bets offers.

It’s considered to be pretty common for bookies to run promotions for huge tournaments, like the Premier League and the FIFA World Cup. Some bookies offer longer, more complex promotions with point systems, while others just offer a steady stream of match-specific free bet offers.

💡 TIP! To learn more about how free bets work, look here. Our expert bonus bets guide has everything you need to be able to fund, understand, and fully take advantage of these promotions!

Betting Features

Online sports betting has changed the game. It used to be that punters would have go to their local bet shop, and were limited to those bookies who happened to be close by. Today, thanks to the internet, punters have a wider selection of bookies than ever before.

More than that, though, bookies have way more features to make betting either easier and more engaging. Here are our picks for best and most useful online sports betting features today:

Cash Out

Cashing out a bet is a great way to either minimise your losses or guarantee your profits. This feature allows punters to settle bets before they’re concluded in the event.

Punters who predict that their bet might go south at some point can ensure that they settle their bets before the outcome is concluded, and doing this can be a great way to reduce the amount of money lost on a bet. For example, instead of losing an entire £30 wager on a losing bet, cashing out early could mean getting £20 of that stake back and only suffering a loss of £10.

Eagle-eyed punters can also recognise when a bet that seemingly is going to be a winner has a chance of becoming a losing bet as matches and races unfold. A cash out at the right time can ensure that you still turn a profit on that bet, even if the outcome would have rendered it a losing bet later on in the match.

As we mention in our deep dive into the Cash Out feature, the only real downside to cashing out a bet early is that punters end up with lower winnings than they would have earned if the winning bet was settled naturally. However, plenty of punters have managed to use this feature to keep their bankrolls in the positive.

Live Streaming

We mentioned live betting in our look at different types of bets above, but the one feature that takes live online sports betting to the next level is being able to watch a live stream of the event while you bet.

As live betting is all about reacting to events as they unfold, it’s only natural that it’s easier to do so when you’re actually able to see what’s happening. This used to be a rare feature for bookies to offer their punters, but live streaming on betting sites is becoming more and more common each year.

The best part? Like we mention on our dedicated live streaming page, bookies don’t charge punters for live streams. This means that live streams on betting sites are free! Considering how expensive pay-per-view and cable TV services are, this is one feature that not only increases your chance for live betting success, but can save you money in other areas too!

Bet Builder

The bet builder feature that is quickly becoming standard across the online sports betting industry isn’t actually that new, but it’s a much more accessible than ever before. This feature allows punters to request odds for specific bets that may or may not already be listed on a betting site.

The main upside to this, other than being able to make custom bets, is that bookies tend to offer much better value on odds for requested bets. This is sometimes true even when requesting bets that are already listed on the bookie’s site, and is a great way to try and get more bang for your buck.

Betting Apps for Smartphones & Tablets

Not only did sports betting move online, but it’s also available pretty much anywhere that punters can get WIFI or mobile reception! The vast majority of the world’s internet traffic happens on smartphones today, and mostly through using installed apps. Much like everything else on the internet, online sports betting has become extremely mobile-friendly in the last few years.

Whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, the vast majority of bookies have either a native smartphone app or a fully mobile-compatible website for you to build your bet slips from wherever you happen to be. Some of our in-house experts actually do most of their betting on the train home from the office!

💡 TIP! Not all betting apps are made equal! Take a look at our picks for the top betting apps to make sure that you’re getting a top-notch mobile betting experience.

Our Online Sports Betting Guides

Here at Sportsbetting24 we’re committed to making online sports betting more transparent and easier to understand. Because of this, we have detailed betting guides for almost every sport that can be wagered on.

If you’re interested in learning how to start betting on a specific sport, or even just looking to improve your online sports betting strategies, you can head straight to our betting guides by clicking any of the links in the table below.

🏈 American Football ⚽ Australian Rules Football ⚾ Baseball
🏀 Basketball 🏏 Cricket 🚴‍♂️ Cycling
🎯 Darts 🎮 Esports 🏎️ Formula One
🏑 Field Hockey ⚽ Football ⚽ Futsal
⛳ Golf 🤾 Handball 🏒 Hockey
🏇 Horse Racing  🤼🏾‍♂️ Kabbadi 🥋 MMA
🏍️ MotoGP 🏁 NASCAR 🌍 Olympic Games
🏉 Rugby 🎱 Snooker 🎾 Tennis

What Do our Betting Guides Cover?

Our betting guides are all a bit different, as each sport is different, but they all have a few things in common. They all feature a hand-picked list of the best bookies for that particular sport, and they’re all written specifically to help both new and experienced punters get more out of their online sports betting experience.

💡 TIP! All of the betting sites featured here on Sportsbetting24 are licensed and regulated by authorities like the UK Gambling Commission and the Malta Gaming Authority. This means that you don't need to worry about safety or security when choosing a bookie from Sportsbetting24.

Each one of our sports betting guides includes tips for improving your betting strategy for that sport by our resident experts. This is in addition to our experts’ lists of the top betting markets to target for each sport, to make sure that you’re equipped to build top-notch betting slips.

Our odds experts even hunt for the bookies that consistently offer the best-priced odds for each sport, as well as explaining what to look for when hunting for the highest value odds for yourself.

Online Sports Betting FAQs

What sports can I bet on?
Almost all of them! Most bookies today take online sports betting very seriously and allow punters to bet on a wide array of sports and events. We recommend taking a look at the most popular sports to bet on above to find out where to get started!
What’s the best online sports betting site?
Bet365 is considered to be one of the best betting sites out there, and there are plenty of reasons to agree with that sentiment. However, every punter has their own set of needs and requirements, which is why we recommend choosing from our table of the best betting site for each sport above!
How do you use a betting exchange?
At betting exchanges punters bet against each other instead of the house. As we mentioned above in our spotlight on exchange betting, punters can stand to rack up much bigger wins at betting exchanges, though they can also end up suffering much bigger losses. We definitely recommend that only experienced bettors give this one a go.
What is an online betting bonus?
A betting bonus is just one way for punters to add more value to their bankroll. There are different types of bonuses out there, like you can see in our betting bonuses and promotions highlight. It’s important to remember to always read the terms and conditions in full before opting in to any bonus or promotional offer.
Is online sports betting legal?
Yes, online sports betting is legal in the UK, as well as in many other countries around the world. However, bookmakers in the UK are only considered to be legal if they possess a licence from the UK Gaming Commission.