Which Bookmaker Offers the Best Odds?
It’s an age-old question – which bookmaker has the best odds? Although it might seem that every bookmaker is in the same ballpark with odds, even the slightest difference is noticeable in your winnings. Why place bets on a platform with lower odds when you would be better off elsewhere? Compared to a higher odds platform, you’re essentially accepting a lower amount of money for the same risk.
Especially for those serious about making a profit from betting, you need to know which platforms offer good odds. Otherwise, it’s like cycling uphill in the wrong gear because you’re having to peddle harder just to make the same amount of money as somebody on a platform with stronger odds.
The Short Answer
Unfortunately, this is an impossible question to answer without knowing your favourite sports, how you like to bet, and other details about your betting habits. For those who like to bet on football, the answer is likely to be different compared to people who like to bet on tennis. Over the years, betting platforms have developed a reputation for different sports – it’s unlikely that you’ll find a bookmaker with the best odds across every single market.
Later in the guide, we’ll assess the main considerations to keep in mind when choosing a bookmaker based on odds. First, let’s look at a couple of sports and bookmakers as examples.
When comparing odds and markets for this section, we paid particular attention to betting margins. In case you don’t know, this is considered the difference between true probability and the implied probability of an outcome. In other words, the true odds of something happening (like 50/50 with a coin flip) and the odds offered.
When a betting margin is small, this means that the gap between implied probability and true probability is slim. When the margin is larger, this is a wider gap and more of a risk for the bettor.
For many years, football has been the leader for sports betting, and this isn’t likely to change any time soon. Since football is where most of the customers are, it means that the market is extremely competitive. When watching a game of football on the TV, you’ve probably seen the many different bookmakers battling for attention with their ads.
Thanks to our experience, we’ve seen the odds for different bookies in the market and have seen the momentum shift over the years. For this guide, we used a Champions League fixture as an example and compared the odds in a few markets. To start, Unibet has a great reputation for odds in the UK and they performed as such.
After this, it wasn’t a surprise to see Ladbrokes with a low margin, and they were the best bookie for the Match Result market (even outperforming Unibet). Also, we assessed Bet365 and they had a margin of under 2.5% for many markets. Although they weren’t included in this test, BetVictor is known for small betting margins too.
In recent years, the demand for US sports betting has increased and this includes the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL. As part of our research, we grouped all US sports together to get a general overview for people who enjoy these markets. Don’t worry, margins are extremely similar across all four of these sports, so it didn’t affect the outcome.
Firstly, William Hill is known for American sports and their average margin came out at about 4%. Elsewhere, Bet365 were able to compete with William Hill in terms of margin but they performed worse for Match Winner markets. Though Ladbrokes couldn’t compete for Match Winner, the odds were still strong from the bookmaker. Since they have great markets for all US sports, we couldn’t omit the name from our list.
Next, we know that tennis is another popular market, and so it made sense to consider it because it almost becomes a symbol for all non-football markets. If a bookmaker has good odds for tennis, this is also likely to carry across to cricket, rugby, and others that aren’t quite major markets.
These days, people from all over the world follow the game of tennis and the tour takes players to new cities every year. With more events on the TV, markets are expanding, and this actually made our job quite difficult. While some bookmakers only offer wide markets for Grand Slam events, others offer extensive markets for the smaller tournaments too. Therefore, we compared bookmakers for an ATP match.
With tennis, very few bookmakers were able to get under 5% for a betting margin. However, 888 Sport did come in under this percentage in the Match Winner market. Not quite up to this level but worth a mention, we liked the odds from Bet365 and William Hill.
Finally, you might be wondering about where you should go for horse racing. However, this is no longer a problem because of the introduction of Best Odds Guaranteed deals from bookmakers. Nowadays, the vast majority of bookmakers offer this feature and it guarantees the best odds between the time of placing a bet and the race starting. For this reason, you can bet on any platform with this system and essentially get the same odds.
Considerations When Choosing a Bookmaker
We’ve briefly gone into some of the popular names in a few sports, but how do YOU choose the right bookmaker?
Often, we see far too many people following the recommendations of others without thinking about themselves. Just because a bettor is enjoying great odds on a platform, this doesn’t mean that the odds are universal. If you bet on rugby, it’s going to be disappointing to find out that the great odds are only available for F1.
Looking at our recommendations above is fantastic and listening to friends can give an insight into some popular names, but the final decision needs to consider YOUR needs.
First and foremost, you need to think about the sports you like to bet on. If you only bet on football and ignore all other sports, you’ll want to go for a platform that offers strong odds in this area. If you bet on eSports, you might be better off away from the big names and with a service that focuses mainly on eSports instead. On the other hand, you might split your time between various sports, and this is where you select a bookie with good overall odds. With this, you can flick between football, rugby, and darts while enjoying good odds in each.
If you normally stick with the outright markets, you can choose between any platform because they all cover this popular market. On the other hand, those who like to dig deep and go into handicap betting, for example, will need more caution when making a decision. Especially when you choose a smaller sport, you need to be aware that not every bookmaker will offer the same markets. It’s all well and good going for a bookmaker with the best odds, but this is useless if they also don’t offer the markets you like.
Even with football, some bookmakers won’t go as deep with the booking points, corners, next player to score, and other niche markets. Once you have a shortlist of bookmakers based on the great odds, don’t forget to look into the available markets.
Following a similar theme, does your chosen bookmaker cover all events? Just as we saw with the available markets, great odds lose their advantage when you can’t bet on the smaller events. For example, it might be that a bookie covers the four major tennis Grand Slams but not much apart from this. Meanwhile, another will cover every small event in every country.
With the introduction of the mobile phone, it has revolutionised the way we bet in the UK. Rather than going out of our way to visit a physical bookie, we can now open an app and place a bet on anything we like within seconds. With this in mind, we appreciate that everybody has their own needs when it comes to mobile betting. While some are happy with a website optimised for mobile devices, others want an app they can download and keep on the device.
Therefore, check the app availability of your chosen company. Do they have an app? Is it only available for iOS, or for Android and Windows too? Is the website responsive to your device? You don’t want to choose a new betting platform with excellent odds only to find that the experience is only worthwhile on desktop.
For the high rollers among us, another consideration is the betting limits; both in what you can place on an individual bet and the maximum winnings. Again, fantastic odds lose value when the maximum payout is set much lower than other platforms. Although you might think that they can’t differ too much, Bet365 has a maximum payout of £2 million while Dafabet only allows winnings from a single bet of £100,000. That’s right, you could create an outlandish accumulator, win all selections, and then learn that you only get £100,000 of the winnings. This is certainly better than nothing, but it’s frustrating when the potential winnings were much higher.
When thinking about the maximum payout, it’s important to compare sports and markets just as much as platforms. Just because a bookie has a high maximum payout, this doesn’t mean it will apply across all sports.
As well as payout, we also recommend considering betting limits. If you like placing pennies on selections, choose a bookmaker that allows you to do so. While some allow bets of 2p, others will need a minimum of 20p. For some casual bettors, this will take the fun out of the experience.
Considering it’s a process we all need to follow, it’s surprising to see just how many people ignore the banking methods of their new bookmaker. Again, this is something that can vary from one service to another. If you only ever deposit and withdraw through a debit card, this isn’t going to be a problem because all bookmakers offer this option. On the other hand, those with a favourite eWallet may need to look further. Popular options these days include:
- Apple Pay
- Google Pay
Of course, some bookmakers even allow players to deposit using their mobile devices. Rather than entering the details of a banking account, you simply enter a code sent to your device to confirm the deposit and you’ll see the charge on your next phone bill.
At this point, you should realise that the best bookmaker for YOU all depends on how you like to gamble and the features that are important for an enjoyable experience. While some people want extensive banking methods and a strong mobile app, others need Responsible Gambling account settings and particular sports.
Choosing a New Bookmaker
You want a bookmaker with strong odds, but where do you start?
- Write a list of the most important considerations that apply to YOUR search
- Find the services that match these needs
- Compare the odds between this shortened list
If you like to bet on netball on a platform with a mobile app, there’s no point looking at potential platforms because of the great odds when they don’t actually offer netball markets. Only when you combine your needs and the best odds will you truly find the right platform moving forward.
Finally, don’t be afraid to research some of the newer bookmakers. We appreciate the trust that comes with a known name, but some newer services are purely digital services which means that they don’t have the costs of a William Hill or a Ladbrokes. As a result, they offer better promotions and (sometimes!) stronger odds.
Which bookmaker offers the best odds? This all depends on the sport, the event, and how you like to bet. Luckily, our great resources can help with your search!
Carl Hughes - Editor
Carl Hughes is a leading expert on sports and casino betting. Carl began his career with a BSc in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences from the University of Birmingham before working within the industry for some of the bigger names (GVC and Bet365) and has been praised as being "a leading sports betting commentator".