Every regular sports bettor should have an account and a little money at multiple sports betting sites. I preach this constantly and it’s not because I have something to sell. It’s because having a few accounts gives you the ability to go line shopping. Multiple accounts also give you the advantages of being able to take advantage of multiple bonuses, last minute line changes and bankroll risk management.
This is going to be a fairly long read but hang in there. This is all good stuff and it’s worth keeping in mind. There are so many benefits to spreading your bankroll a bit that it’s something you should just do by default. Here’s why.
Shopping for the best lines is single easiest thing you can do to increase your return. No matter how good or bad you are at handicapping, line shopping improves your results. This is one of the few times I’m comfortable making a guarantee in anything related to sports betting. It’s a simple matter of math.
In short, line shopping is the practice of checking the odds at a few bookmakers and placing your wagers with whoever is offering the best odds. If you plan to bet on the underdog, you find the book that pays the most for the underdog. If you plan to bet the favorite, you find the book that asks you to risk the least.
Finding the Best Spread
Let’s say you’re betting on the NFL and want to place a wager on the Broncos this weekend. They’re sitting at -7 at your main sportsbook. You could just place this bet without a second thought and continue on with your day. But… you might be missing out on some value.
What you could do instead is check with a couple of other online betting sites. You just might be lucky enough to find the Broncos listed at -6.5 somewhere else. It’s only half a point, but half points add up over time. That’s could be the difference between winning and losing a few bets over the course of a season.
And in this particular example, the difference between -6.5 and -7 marks the critical difference between a single touchdown and two scoring drives. At -7, the Broncos would have to win by at least 8 points. That’s a touchdown and two-point conversion at the very least. At -6.5, the Broncos could win by exactly one touchdown and you would cover the spread.
I’ll grant you that you probably won’t find this exact situation often. Oddsmakers know there’s quite a difference between those two point differentials. Even so, the example shows the power of shopping around at a few different sports betting sites.
Finding the Best Line
Let’s use the NFL for another example. Again, you want to bet on the Broncos but this time it’s a straight moneyline bet. Your main sportsbook has the Broncos listed at -230. This means you’ll have to risk $230 for a shot at winning $100.
You decide to shop around and see that some other book has the Broncos at -210. This means you’ll have to risk $210 for a shot at winning $100. Again, it doesn’t look like a huge difference on paper but this kind of thing adds up over the course of seasons and years. This is a direct increase in value with very little work on your part.
You can probably see where this is going but let’s look at one more example for fun. We’re going to use the NFL again. This time, you want to place a futures bet on the winner of the Super Bowl. Let’s compare the odds from two different books:
|Team||Odds to Win at Bovada||Odds to Win at 5Dimes|
|San Francisco 49ers||+700||+750|
|New England Patriots||+900||+900|
|Green Bay Packers||+1100||+1300|
These are the payouts each team is paying if your pick wins the Super Bowl. I’ve bolded the best odds for each team. It’s interesting to note the discrepancies between these books. There’s only one team in which the payoff is the same at both books. Every other team pays more at one book or the other.
If you wanted to bet on the Broncos again, you would get the best odds at Bovada. Bovada is paying $6.50 for every $1.00 wagered on the Broncos. A $100 bet would pay $650. That same bet at 5Dimes only yields $5.80 for every $1.00 wagered on the Broncos. A $100 bet at 5Dimes would only pay $580. That’s a difference of $70 on a $100 wager.
This is a perfect example of why it’s so important to go line shopping. And just to let you know, that chart is showing actual data from Bovada and 5Dimes at the time of this writing. This is an actual bet that you could place right now if you really wanted to. Well, it was when I wrote this post anyways.
Making It Work
The point of all this is to show why it pays to use multiple sports betting sites. The big caveat here is that you only keep accounts with reputable bookmakers. Nothing good comes from doing business with untrustworthy sportsbooks no matter how good the odds may be.
Here are three bookmakers that I can recommend right now. These are all excellent betting sites that have positive reputations.
Bonuses add directly to your bottom line and every betting site has at least one bonus available at all times. This is kind of like odds shopping in that it adds to your profit potential without any extra work on your side. All you have to do is wager like you normally would and you end up with more money than you would have had otherwise.
Every online sportsbook has a bonus of some sort. These bonuses normally come in the form of new customer promos, reload bonuses and short-term promos such as free wagers and money back guarantees. This is how all the biggest betting sites compete with one another for your business.
New Customer Bonuses
There’s no law that says you have to be loyal to just one betting site. Sure, they compete against one another but that doesn’t mean you have to stick with just one book for life. Instead of depositing your entire bankroll at one site, you can split it up and deposit it at a few sites and take advantage of all their deposit bonuses.
Let’s say you have a $1,000 bankroll. Bovada is offering a 50% bonus worth up to $250 while BetOnline has an unlimited 25% bonus. If you put your whole $1,000 bankroll into Bovada, you’ll get an extra $250 and end up with $1250. That’s not bad, but it’s not as good as it could be.
Instead, you could deposit $500 at Bovada to get your $250 bonus for a total of $750. Then, you deposit the remaining $500 at BetOnline to get an extra $125. Altogether, your bankroll totals $1375 after getting both bonuses. That’s $125 you wouldn’t have had if you just deposited everything at Bovada.
Short Term Promos
Online sportsbooks are always hosting short-term promos, usually for whichever sports are in season. These promos come in all different forms. Sometimes they promise to give back your first baseball bet if it loses while other times they offer reduced juice on the World Cup or some other major event.
It’s different everywhere you go. So again, keeping your bankroll at multiple sites makes it that much easier for you to take advantage of more promos. You shortchange yourself when you only do business with one site. Keep your options open and watch your overall return go up.
Last Minute Line Changes and Other Bets
Oddsmakers are always updating their lines as new money comes in. One of their primary goals is to spread the risk by getting money on both sides of every wager. Money comes in differently at different sites so they all end up adjusting their lines in different directions.
Line changes can be good or bad depending on the side you want to take. A line change in the right direction just might turn a borderline bet into a profitable one. A change in the wrong direction is no good, but you’re under no obligation to take that wager. So once again, an account at a few bookmakers makes it that much easier to take advantage of lines that move in the right direction.
On top of that, different sites always host different wagers for events. Two different football sites are likely to have similar wagers for the main event but a whole list of unique team and player props. Why limit yourself to just one set of options when you can see them all?
I think we can all agree that more options are always better than fewer options in sports betting. Not only is it more interesting, but it also provides more opportunities to find value lines. It’s so much easier to make more money when you have more wagering options.
Bankroll Risk Management
The last big advantage to keeping multiple accounts is risk management. This isn’t a fun topic to address but it’s worth talking about nonetheless. If a site experiences financial difficulties due to poor business management or unfavorable new legislation, it puts your bankroll at jeopardy.
The sad truth is good books have gone bad in the past. Legends sportsbook was a great betting site until it got hit with an indictment by US Feds. The book closed for business almost overnight, lost its Panamanian license and transferred all player accounts to WagerWeb. WagerWeb then put a ridiculous 10x rollover on all account balances, basically forcing people to place a large number of wagers just to withdraw their own money.
This is a nasty situation and I don’t describe it to scare you. The sites that I recommend have been going strong for years in a variety of legal climates. However, the story of Legends goes to show that a little caution is warranted.
Spreading your bankroll is a form of diversification, of not keeping all your eggs in one basket. You wouldn’t invest your entire life savings in one stock would you? No, you diversify. You put some of your money here, some of your money there and so on. You minimize the potential for damage should a good site go belly up.
As you can see, I’m a big advocate for spreading the bankroll across a few different sites. There are a number of very strong advantages to doing so. This is obviously easier for people with larger bankrolls due to deposit limits and whatnot, but it’s still a good idea for anyone interested in betting for the long term.
It’s really not such a big deal for casual punters who deposit a few bucks specifically to place exactly one bet. But for those of you who like to keep a bankroll and place multiple bets throughout the year, it is extremely advantageous to do as I’ve recommended. In the end, the advantages of keeping multiple accounts outweigh the inconvenience of keeping track of your money at 2 or 3 different sportsbooks.