Find out everything you need from choosing a betting site, selecting the best odds to how to raise your game to become a betting pro.
Are you an absolute beginner? Then start here! Or - jump a step forward for more experienced players!
- What is betting?
- learn the basics of betting
- What are odds?
- how odds work and how to use them
- Choosing a betting site
- finding your favourite betting site
- How to sign up for a betting account
- registering your first account
- How to place a bet
- navigating your new betting site
- Make online bookmakers work for you
- claim a top welcome bonus!
- Don’t just bet on the favourite
- expand your betting!
- Own your game
- get better at what you do best!
- Strike while the iron is hot
- maximise your potential!
- Find your edge and strive for success
- managing your betting!
1. What is betting?
Gambling, laying a wager, staking a bet, backing a team. These are all examples of saying the same thing and that’s betting!
Not so long ago the only way to bet was to go your local bookmaker and place a physical bet in a betting shop, on a small range of odds that the bookmaker offered.
Let’s say that you’re interested in football and you’re going to watch a match. You know a lot about the Premier League and Manchester United are going to play Liverpool at the weekend.
You’re fairly certain that Manchester United will win against Liverpool so you decide to place a bet on the match.
Manchester United do in fact go on to beat Liverpool. Not only has your team won but you’ve also managed to win some money because you placed a bet on the winning team.
This is a simple example of how betting works.
How times have changed! Now it’s easier than ever to get involved in betting. You can now bet online from the comfort of your computer or even your smartphone.
With online betting now YOU have the choice!
Online betting has completely changed the way we look at betting. Now you have the choice to place different kinds of bets, on different sports and you can even choose which betting site you prefer.
2. What are odds?
Good question! Being confronted with odds when you first visit a betting shop or an online betting site can be daunting. I know it was for me when I was first starting off.
If you’re completely new to betting it’s best to think of odds as the price that an online betting site or bookmaker is offering you for a specific bet.
Odds are used to show how much you stand to gain if you place a bet
- High odds usually mean there is less likelihood of winning that bet but you would stand to gain more money if you would win.
- Low odds usually mean there is more chance of you winning that bet but you would stand to gain much less of a return should you win.
This is great to know and something that I struggled with when I first got into betting, but depending on where you are in the world you might see odds written differently, but don’t worry.
Don’t stress! They all mean the same thing! Below we’ll show the main ways in which you might see odds written down.
- Fractional odds (e.g. 2/1)
- Decimal odds (3.0)
- American or Moneyline odds (+200.00)
Fun fact! Most online betting sites will allow you to change the way their odds are displayed to the type you are most familiar with!
Let’s say you’re going to place that bet on Manchester United to beat Liverpool and you find the best odds that are being offered by a bookmaker are 2/1 (3.0 in decimal or +200.00 in American standard).
That means that the bookmaker believes the chances of United beating Liverpool are worth two times (2x) the money you would pay for those odds.
You’re fairly confident that you will win that bet so you decide to put £10 on United winning. This means you’ll stand to win £20 on top of your bet.
United do go on to win the match which means you win your £20. Because you’ve won your bet you also get your initial £10 back. If you were to lose your bet you would win nothing and you would also lose your initial £10 stake.
3. Choosing a betting site
As we talked about earlier, online betting has given us so much more choice of where we can bet, as well as what sports we can bet on. Sometimes it can feel like it’s almost too much!
Not to worry, help is at hand to guide you to find the best betting site for you. Whenever you’re looking for a new betting site always make sure it ticks our must haves below.
- A top welcome bonus
- The sports you love
- The best odds
- Betting features
- Betting app
- Sports betting, online casino and poker combined
To find out more about our 6 Steps to Choosing a Betting Site head over to our Best Betting Sites Guide.
Perhaps the most well known betting site in the world is bet365.
Like so many other people, bet365 was the first online betting site that I signed up to, and it’s definitely one of the best betting sites on the market in my opinion.
I personally would recommend bet365 to any beginner who is just starting out on their betting journey.
Why I recommend bet365
bet365 for beginners
Bet £10 Get £50 in Free Bets
First and foremost I recommend bet365 because it meets all the criteria we’ve talked about above.
- Widest variety of competitive odds for all the sports you love ✅
- Range of betting features that rival any betting site in the world ✅
- A betting app that gives you easy access to its sports betting, casino and poker ✅
- A generous welcome offer not to be missed ✅
4. How to sign up for a betting account
It might seem daunting at first but signing up to an online betting site really isn’t difficult.
If you’ve followed our six steps to choosing a betting site and you’ve found a betting site you like then you’re just a few clicks away to signing up to your new account.
Make sure you claim a welcome bonus!
- First off, click through on any of our links to the betting site of your choosing to claim a top welcome bonus. We’ve placed a list of our favourite betting sites below if you’re still unsure.
- When redirected to the site’s home page click through to enter your details (you can open it in a separate window so you can still follow our instructions here)
- If the betting site requires an initial deposit choose your preferred payment method
- Done? Congratulations you’ve just signed up to your new betting site and you’re good to go!
Some of Our Favourite Betting Sites
100% up to £100
18+ • New customer offer £10 min deposit using promo code “TOP100” • The bonus will be applied once the full deposit amount has been wagered at least twice with cumulative odds of 1.50 or greater • To withdraw any winnings from your bonus, you must wager the bonus amount up to 5 times • All deposit and bonus wagering requirements must be completed within 60 days • This offer may not be combined with any other offer • Wagering limit of £50 per bet Applies • Restrictions apply to withdrawals, payment methods and countries & full T&Cs apply.• BeGambleAware
£10 Free Bet
*New UK customers only. Min Deposit: £5. Maximum Free Bet: £30. First bet on a Football multiple with 3+ selections. Overall odds: 3.00 (2/1) or higher. Free Bets available upon settlement of the qualifying bet. Debit card deposits only. This is offer is valid for 7 days from your new account being registered. 18+ BeGambleAware.org Full terms apply.
Money Back as Cash up to £20
New customers only. Min odds 1/5 (1.2). Max £20 refund on first bet. Only deposits made via Debit Card will be eligible for the promotion, Apple Pay excluded. T&Cs apply.
Bet £5 get £20 in Free bets
18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min €5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x €5 free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days on sports, stake not returned, restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.
Bet £10 Get £50 in Free Bets
New Customers only. Bet £10* & Get £50* in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5* and £10* to your account and bet365 will give you five times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
£20 First Bet Money Back as Cash if It Loses
Plus a £5 Bet Builder Free Bet!
New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any Sportsbook market and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund is £20. Only deposits made using Cards will qualify. £5 Bet Builder free bet will be available to claim from the promotions hub after the qualifying bet has been settled & will be valid for 7 days. T&Cs apply. Please gamble responsibly.
Bet £5 Get £30
New Customers opt in, bet £5 & get 2x £10 Free Bets for set events (odds 2.00+) + £10, Slots Bonus, selected games, 20x wagering to withdraw max £250. Bonuses expire in 7 days. Card Payments only. Additional terms for existing BetVictor customers apply. T&Cs Apply, see below. 18+ | begambleaware.org | Please gamble responsibly
Bet £10 get a £10 free bet
18+. New depositing customers within 30 days from registration. Valid from 01/08/2022 until further notice. Bonus code SBWB10 req during the 1st deposit. 1st deposit min. £10. Bet min. £10 on any sports, single or accumulator, pre-match or in-play, min. odds of 1/2. Free bet of £10, credited within 48 hours, valid for 30 days, for any sport. 8x wag req on the free bet winnings, min odds 1/2 per selection. Deposit method restrictions. Full T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.org
Bet £15 get a £10 Free Bet
100% Profit Boost up to £100 of winnings on First Bet
Full T&Cs apply. New players only. Claim by placing a min deposit £10 via "My Offers" page within 30 days. Skrill/Neteller deposits excl. 7 days to stake max £10 in-play. Max. extra winnings £100. 18+ BeGambleAware.org LeoSafePlay.com Play responsibly!
What's next? It's time to get started!
5. How to place a bet
Now you’ve signed up it’s time to get going and start placing bets!
If you’re not familiar with the interface of a betting site it can seem daunting at first, with a whole host of odds markets, games and different sports jumping out at you. But don’t worry! Take a few minutes to browse the betting site’s home page and you’ll soon feel comfortable with how everything looks and works.
Take a few minutes to explore the site's main page
Although a betting site can seem haphazard and messy at first, the best betting sites are often quite logical and well set out. Take a look at our gallery above to view how some of our favourite betting sites look when you visit the home page.
- Main markets - All the biggest matches and upcoming markets will often be displayed in the main areas of the home page
- Live odds - Depending on which site you’re using live odds for matches currently taking place or soon to start will often appear somewhere on the main page
- Choice of sports - Many betting sites will clearly display what different sports they offer (usually in a sidebar or in the banner/menu bar across the top of the page)
- Toggle the odds - whether you prefer fractional, decimal or moneyline odds there will be a place to toggle your display on the home page
- FAQs and customer service - If you’re still stuck you can usually scroll down to the bottom of the home page to find the answers you’re looking for
- Live streaming and statistics - top betting sites always have their live streaming and statistics for big matches displayed somewhere on the home page
- Betting slip - one of the most important parts of any betting site! This is where your chosen odds and active bets will appear.
How to place a bet
Now you’re familiar with how your new betting site looks, works and feels, it’s time to place a bet!
Here are a few simple steps to placing a bet on your new betting site:
- Navigate to the sport, match and odds markets that interest you
- Click the odds and they will appear in your betting slip
- Navigate to your betting and select an amount you would like to bet. The wage slip will display your potential winnings!
- Should you want to remove a bet or change the amount you bet you can do this before you confirm your bet or bets
- If you’re happy with your selection or selections then click the confirm button and you’ve placed your first bet!
6. Make Online Bookmakers Work For You
Before you do anything, ask yourself the question. What can an online bookmaker do for me?
Many online betting sites will talk about the importance of brand loyalty but what may work for the bookies doesn’t necessarily work for you the individual.
Take advantage of the right welcome bonus
Think about it for second. Do sports betting sites offer welcome bonuses purely out of the goodness of their hearts? No, they don’t.
Online bookmakers have to offer new customers a welcome bonus simply because the market is so competitive. Make sure you take advantage of potentially lucrative sign up offers and make sure you know all the terms and conditions attached to them.
We only list the betting bonuses we believe in. For a full list consult our Best Betting Sites Guide. Alternatively, see below for our Top 5 sign up offers.
Range of odds, variety of markets, and modern features
Make sure that the betting sites you’re looking to go for offer you the widest range of options for your betting. The first thing to do is to think of what sports you’re interested in and whether that online betting site has the odds markets for sports you love.
Remember. Look out for pre-match odds as well a live odds.
We’ve made a list of the following must haves when cruising for a suitable betting site. If you’re betting site doesn’t have a fully stocked list of features and options, you could be limiting yourself.
- Pre-match odds for the sports you love
- Live betting - live odds markets
- Live streaming and live statistics
- A fully functional and compatible betting app so you can bet wherever you like
Don't limit yourself to just one bookie
Many newcomers to betting or even experienced players make the all too often mistake of sticking to just one bookmaker. In reality, one of the worst things you can do is to limit yourself.
The worst thing you can do is limit yourself
Having an account with a number of betting sites means that you not only get to compare odds, but it means you can play to each betting site’s individual strengths depending on what you’re looking to bet on.
7. Don’t just bet on the favourite
Now you know it’s not smart to just have one betting site in your pocket, if you’re going to be successful at betting it’s important to recognise that you can’t just stick to one type of bet either.
A massive range of odds means it’s easier to branch out your betting
Two common mistakes you want to avoid are always backing the favourite and sticking to winner bets. While this can be a good option at times, to be a successful player you need to find good odds and a bet for each occasion.
Always check the odds they could be much higher for more obscure markets!
There are a massive range of odds out there and knowing what’s on offer will help you branch out your betting.
- Over/under goals: bet on how many goals/points you think will be scored in a single match
- Half time and full time result: boost the odds by betting on who you think will win both halves of a match
- Both teams to score: Bet on whether or not you think both teams will score a goal or not
You can find out more about how to diversify your betting with our alternative betting markets guide.
Take advantage of free bets
A great way to branch out while you’re still beginning your journey into sports betting is to make the most of free bets.
Free bets are a great way to test new markets at no risk
Consult our guide for the best free bets you can find and all the info you need to use your free bets to their full potential.
Our Favourite Free Bets Sign Up Offer
Betfair Free Bets
Money Back as Cash up to £20
Betfair have one of the most generous free bets offers for new customers. Simple as. Sign up to Betfair and you'll get the chance to claim not one, not two but a total of five free bets. When you get your free bets you have one of the biggest range of sports and odds markets to choose from anywhere in the world today. Sign up to Betfair and it'll quickly become one of your staples from the word go.
Not seen enough? You can a full list of free bets on offer in our Free Bets betting guide.
8. Own Your Game
Now you know what odds markets are available and you have a number of betting sites to choose from, it’s time to sharpen your credentials and own your game.
You have the right tools, now it’s time to sharpen them up
Stick to what you know
The first thing to do is to pick the sports you know best and to stick to them! You need to make sure you’re at an advantage against the bookies and you stand no chance if you’re betting on a new sport or league you know nothing about.
Make sure you know about the sports before you start betting on it!
Pinpoint where you profit
You’ve signed up, you’ve claimed the free bets, you’ve played the different markets.
Now you have a basic idea of what type of bets and matches where you excel it’s time to make the most of that knowledge.
Here are a few quick tricks to find where to fix your focus.
- Types of Bet - Find the types of bets that you're winning. Maybe you have knack for predicting the amount of goals in a match or who will come out on top
- League and Team - Is there a particular league or team that you're particularly successful with?
- Odds Bracket - Look at the odds you've been betting on. Can you see a pattern in the value of the odds where you pick winners.
Do your homework!
It makes sense doesn’t it? You’ve already focused on the sports you love and maybe even pinpointed what bets you’re best at.
Now it’s time to get clued up on everything that’s happening around the teams and games you’ll be betting on.
- Betting tips! At BetBlazers our tipsters are the pros you’re striving to become. We bet based on solid analysis, knowledge of the game and most importantly the odds. Visit our Betting Tips Page to see how we work and to follow our bets.
- Google It! It’s simple really. With such a wealth of information available, especially on sports, you’ll be able to find out everything you need.
- Consider key factors: When scouting for information look for any mitigating factors that might impact how the game could play out. This could be recent form, injuries and suspensions and even the weather!
9. Strike while the iron is hot
If you really want to take your betting to the next level then it’s important to be well prepared.
Know what games are coming up well in advance and follow the odds like a hawk.
The match isn’t going to wait for you, so come kick off you better be ready
It's important to keep track of the odds whether it's pre-match or in-play!
Make sure you stay sharp
We’ve already talked about ways in which you can get clued up to maximise your chances of success. But for pros it’s always about having your finger on the pulse.
From the moment the opening odds are first released to the closing odds five minutes before kick off you need to make sure you stay ahead of the game and keep track of developments.
The opening odds are the very first odds that are released for a match. Online betting sites will usually release the opening odds around a week before the match or following the close of the previous match a team has played.
Odds will periodically shift in the build up to a match when new information comes to light, following a manager's press conference and especially when the starting line ups are released.
- ⬆️ If you see the odds drifting it means that the odds are getting bigger! ⬆️
- ⬇️ If you see the odds shortening it means the odds are getting smaller! ⬇️
Check out our guide on the importance of beating the closing odds to find out more.
Throw yourself into the middle of the action
We’ve been through the pre-match odds but you need to know it doesn’t just end there. Live betting is a great way to take advantage of shifts in the game as you see it right before your eyes.
Visit our Best Betting Sites for Live Betting Guide to boost your in-play betting to the max.
Live betting or in-play betting has simply revolutionised the way we bet on matches. Now with live odds available for online betting, players can participate in the event more than ever before.
- React quickly to changes in the match before the odds shift to get an advantage
- Use in-play to better inform your betting
- Take advantage of the cash out feature to turn a potential losing bet into a winner
10. Find your edge and strive for success
You’ve already come a long way but the final piece of the puzzle to becoming a pro is perhaps the most important for sustainable success.
Managing your betting is the most important factor in beating bookies
It might not seem like the most fun thing to do, but all the pros know the importance of recording your bets. The easiest way to do this is to create a spreadsheet where you can easily access all of your betting history and to pick out patterns in your betting to see what works best for you.
- The match you’ve bet on
- Type of bet you have played e.g. both teams to score
- Odds played
- Betting company used
- Number of units played
Using units and bankroll management
Using a unit system and bankroll management are perhaps the most common and easiest ways to keep track of your betting.
These are the basics of taking your betting to the next level
Bankroll management is basically a technical term for giving yourself a betting budget, something that all pro players do. The unit system allows you to figure out just how much of your budget or bankroll you've used on a single bet.
To find more about how to effectively manage your betting like the pros consult our specially tailored guides on creating betting spreadsheets, using units, and bankroll management.
At BetBlazers we want the best for you betting! That's why we've created guides to take you from a beginner to pro and betting tipsters at hand to provide expert betting tips year round.
Betting Guides for Every Level
- Beginner Betting Guides - We'll take you from a rookie and teach you the basics about online betting
- Experienced Betting Guides - Already know a little about betting? We'll show you how to improve what you already have and set you on your way to becoming a pro
- Professional Betting Guides - Expert players can sharpen up their knowledge by discovering betting strategies and tactics to beat the odds
Expert Betting Tips
- Follow our Betting Tips for expert analysis and the best week in, week out.