Features of the Best Bookmakers for Sports Betting
There are quite a few things that prospective online sports bettors need to consider before they choose a bookmaker. Available sports betting features is one of those things. In addition to offering fair odds on a full spectrum of sports, the best bookies give you access to tools that enhance the overall experience. Perhaps the most coveted sportsbook feature is live streaming. Top-tier bookies bring the live action straight to your PC or mobile device.
On top of being entertaining, live streaming is an invaluable tool for in-play bettors. After all, live bettors need to know exactly what’s going on in real-time. Furthermore, a lot of live streams serve up loads of helpful betting information that you would never see on cable television.
Speaking of betting information, our recommended Canadian sportsbooks give you access to all sorts of it. These bookies provide you with volumes of statistics and expert analysis along with in-depth tutorials and guides. All of these things can help you become a sharper and more profitable bettor. Do you want to know another awesome feature that can help you fatten your wallet? Let us introduce you to the cash out option.
For those who are unfamiliar with cash out, it is a feature that allows you to settle your bet before a match ends. If the team you wagered on is barely holding on to a tenuous lead, then you can hit up the cash out option and walk away with your winnings. It doesn’t matter what happens in the game after that. You won!
When you trigger the cash out feature on your betslip, the bookmaker will offer you a payout based on the current circumstances of the match. You can either accept the payout or take a pass and let the wager ride. It’s also worth mentioning that you can also cash out bets that appear to be losers. If the team you wagered on is getting pounded, then you could use cash out to get a small portion of your stake back. Moreover, most bookies that offer this feature allow punters to use it on pre-match wagers, live bets, and even parlays.
We should tell you that there are two types of cash out features. Some top bookmakers give the option of either cashing out the entire bet or a portion of the best. This is called Partial Cash Out and it offers bettors a lot more flexibility. Meanwhile, other bookmakers only allow you to cash out the full bet. If you want to use the cash out feature to its full potential, we suggest that you pick a bookmaker that offers partial cash out.
Have you ever come across a solid wagering opportunity only to find that your bookmaker doesn’t have it on the betting menu? This might be a bit of an exaggeration, but let’s pretend that we want to wager on Matthew Tkachuk to rack up over 9.5 penalty minutes in a game against the Oilers. Sadly, you can’t find it on the menu. However, some of our favourite online bookmakers allow punters to propose their own custom bets. In other words, you could likely get action on an unlisted wager like our fictional Tkachuk penalty minutes prop.
Sports Betting in Canada
Canada has always been a sports-centric nation. People were participating in and watching sports long before the country was officially born. Of course, the gambling element penetrated sports in Canada just as it has almost everywhere else on the planet. If there’s a competition going on, then there’s a good chance that somebody’s got money riding on the outcome.
Even though sports betting was officially banned in Canada back in 1892, it didn’t stop Canadians from participating in the popular pastime. About a century later, in 1985, the government could no longer ignore the missed revenues that gambling could generate. They finally opened the door a crack by allowing “lottery-style” sports betting. In other words, punters were limited to betting parlays with three or more legs.
By the mid-1990s, the internet had changed the way Canadians bet. They found themselves with unfettered access to countless offshore internet betting sites that served up non-stop action. While the government sports betting platforms remained popular enough, more and more Canadians abandoned them in favor of the foreign operators. And why not? It’s legal for Canadians to bet at offshore sites and the top foreign sites offered a much better product than the government platforms.
Despite so much Canadian cash flowing to offshore betting sites, the various governments still seemed hesitant to introduce regulated online gambling. That is until Ontario devised its plan to implement and regulate legalized gambling in Ontario. This brings us to today which is a few months after the first online bookmakers launched in the Land of a Thousand Lakes. Not only can Ontario residents legally bet with local operators, but they have never enjoyed such high levels of player protection.
What are Sports Betting Promotions and Bonuses?
Anyone who has ever checked out an online casino has likely seen a variety of bonuses and promotions. There are quite a few different types of bonuses and promotions that Canadians can participate in. Sportsbook bonuses and promotions typically come in the form of free bets, risk-free bets, and bonus cash as well as cashback, boosted odds, and various forms of wager insurance.
Generally speaking, online bookmakers offer welcome bonuses to attract new sports bettors. It usually goes something like this: You open a new account, claim your welcome bonus when you make your first deposit, and then use your bonus. If you claim a free bet bonus, then you may need to place a couple of qualifying wagers before you get your free bet. If you claim bonus cash, then you’ll need to wager through the bonus amount a certain number of times. Risk-free bets are also popular. With these, your stake is refunded up to a certain amount if your first bet loses.
We should take a quick moment to tell you that some top-tier bookies offer no-deposit bonuses. These are typically small free bets or a few bucks in bonus cash. These offers might be smaller than welcome bonuses, but they don’t require any financial commitment from you. You usually only have to open a new account to get one. You can then parlay it into a nice wad of real money.
Whereas welcome bonuses are designed to lure new customers, regular promotions are an effective way to keep those customers coming back. Sites that offer a steady stream of ongoing promotions allow punters to continue getting added value long after their welcome bonus. Be it a reload bonus, cashback offer, profit boost, or a free bet, you can count on the best Canadian sports betting sites to keep you interested.
Be aware that some bonuses simply aren’t worth the time or effort. You can’t really accurately assess any bonus until you have a full understanding of the rules. This is why it is crucial that you read the terms and conditions of any sports betting bonus or promotion. To illustrate this, let’s look at two imaginary bonuses at two fictitious bookmakers. All we know from reading the banners is that they both offer $20 in free bets.
To claim the $20 free bet at the first site, you must deposit at least $20 and then stake $50 in wagers on events with odds of 1.50 or greater. You can then use your $20 free bet to wager on any available betting market on the bookie’s menu.
It’s a little different at the other site. To qualify for your $20 free bet there, you need to stake $50 on parlays with 3 or more legs and cumulative odds of 3.00 or greater. You can then use your free bet on a 3-plus-legged parlay with cumulative odds of 3.00 or greater. As you can see, the first free bet offer is far better than the second. They both get you a $20 free bet, but the second offer is much less palatable due to the tougher terms and the fact that you need to qualify by betting parlays.
Different Types of Odds Offered
Before we get into the different odds formats, we first need to understand the critical role that odds play. You probably already know that the odds aren’t the same at all bookmakers. Sometimes the difference is small, and other times it’s significant.
There are a few reasons for these discrepancies. If a bookmaker suddenly has too much money flowing in on one side of a bet, they will adjust the odds to attract wagers on the other side. You see, bookies want even action on both sides so that they don’t leave themselves exposed.
Another reason for odds discrepancies has to do with the business side of bookmaking. Have you ever wondered how bookmakers make money? It’s really quite simple. They charge a commission each time they accept a bet. Have you ever heard of juice, vigorish, or a betting margin? These are essentially other words for “commission”. If you have to pay a higher commission, then that means less money in your pocket. On the flip side, a lower commission means bigger profits for you. As you may have guessed, this commission is built into the odds.
Let’s say that you and a friend decide to wager $100 each on a coin toss. Both of you place $100 in the pot and then flip the coin. The winner walks away with a total of $200. Now, let’s toss a bookmaker into the equation. So, you and your friend each give the bookie $100 to hold in escrow and then you flip the coin. We’ll make it a happy ending by saying that you won the coin toss. You then turn to the bookie and ask for your winnings. He happily obliges and forks over $190.91. Why don’t you get $200? Well, that missing $9.09 is the bookmaker’s commission. It’s in his pocket.
You will see odds expressed in different ways. Canadians typically prefer the decimal format, American odds, and, to a lesser extent, fractional odds. While they look very different, they mean the same thing. Let’s look at the following odds:
- Decimal Odds: 2.00
- Fractional Odds: 1/1
- American Odds: +100
So, what do these odds mean? They mean the exact same thing. They all mean even money. You can also glean other valuable information from the odds. For instance, you see that the moneyline odds for an MLB game are:
- Toronto Blue Jays: 1.60
- Texas Rangers: 2.35
These odds reveal a few nuggets of information. Perhaps the most obvious one is that the Blue Jays are favoured in this matchup. On top of that, they are a relatively significant favourite. The odds let you figure out how much you stand to win too. Perhaps even more important is that the odds tell you what the bookie’s commission or odds margin is. While the mathematics of it all is best saved for another day, we can tell you that the odds margin for this wager is 5.05%. Not too bad!
What are the Most Popular Markets to Bet On?
Canadians follow and participate in a wide range of sports and competitions. They are huge fans of football (soccer), football (not soccer), baseball, basketball, and motor sports. The summertime brings out the golf and tennis fans while sports like curling, snowboarding, and even dog sledding draw crowds during the winter. Of course, hockey generates the most passion by far.
The best Canadian online bookmakers cater to hockey fans. Even though the NHL and Canadian junior leagues are the most popular hockey leagues, top bookies offer fair odds on dozens of leagues and competitions from all over the world. You can bet on top European leagues like the SHL, KHL, and Liiga. You can also wager on some of the most obscure leagues on the planet. Of course, the betting action hits a fever pitch whenever Team Canada laces ‘em up in international competitions.
You will find that the best Canadian online bookmakers cover a lot more than the popular Canadian sports. In addition to the sports mentioned above, bookies offer odds on several other mainstream sports including:
The top Canadian online sportsbooks haven’t forgotten about those who enjoy small market niche sports. You can find odds on events like:
Now that you have a sense of how many sports and leagues Canadians can bet on, let’s have a look at the types of wagers you can make.
Before the internet came along, serious Canadian sports bettors were essentially relegated to betting with illegal bookmakers that operated out of places like bars and back alleys. Even if they were reliable, they didn’t really offer much more than moneylines, spreads, and totals. Oh, how things have changed. Modern online sports betting sites offer loads of unique betting opportunities. Each NHL game featured on the menu at our favourite sites will present you with dozens of propositions like:
- 1X2 Bets
- Double Chance
- Period Lines
- Puck Lines
- Alternative Spreads and Totals
- Winning Margin
- Correct Score
- First/Last Team to Score
You can also find plenty of player props, team props, and game props. Don’t forget that these are just the pre-match wagering options. Adding the live betting opportunities to the equation only adds to the possibilities. We should also remind you that lots of top bookmakers will offer odds on your own custom bets if they don’t appear on the betting menu. In that respect, the possibilities are endless.
What to Think about Before Selecting the Best Betting Site in Canada
Finding a reliable bookmaker involves a fair amount of thought. In fact, there is so much to think about that the task can be quite daunting. Fortunately, we have done most of the heavy lifting for you.
Our experts work tirelessly to review and rate online sports betting sites. They explore every angle and then let you know about their experience. Because our experts aren’t connected to any of the bookies they cover, they are able to do their job in an honest, straightforward, and unbiased manner. Their only goal is to make sure you pick a trustworthy and highly-rated operator.
We consider so many factors that it’s impossible to list them all here. However, we will share some of the most important traits of the best bookmakers in Canada.
- Markets: You definitely want your bookmaker to cover the sports, leagues, and events that you like wagering on. This also applies to the types of wagers on offer.
- Bonuses/Promotions: A great welcome bonus is a great way to kick-start your online sports betting adventure. Access to ongoing promotions enables existing customers to continue receiving added value and other perks.
- Odds: We have explained the importance of always getting the best odds. Why wouldn’t you want to make the most profit from your winning bets? Getting the best odds gives you the best chance of being profitable over the long run.
- Usability: You want to be able to find what you’re looking for as quickly and easily as possible. A well-designed interface lets you do just that. The best sports betting apps are very user-friendly and responsive. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of clicks or taps to find exactly what you’re after.
- Mobile: Most Canadian use mobile devices to place their bets at Canadian sportsbooks online. This is why the best sites have excellent betting apps, mobile platforms, or both. This way, you can place bets, claim bonuses, and cash out your winnings while you’re on the go.
- Live Betting: Once considered a bit of a fad by many, live betting has now become a standard feature at our recommended Canadian bookmakers. This feature allows you to place bets on games that have already started.
- Legal: Be sure that the bookmaker you use is legal and licensed. Nobody can help you if an unlicensed site rips you off. In Ontario, look for the Ontario iGaming logo or the Ontario Liquor and Gaming Commission’s banner. If you want to gamble at offshore sites, then make sure the operator is licensed by a respected authority like the UKGC, MGA, or Kahnawake Gaming Commission.
- Payment Options: Top Canadian bookmakers support an assortment of safe and fast payment options. Some of the most popular payment methods for Canadians include credit/debit cards, eWallets, online banking, and pre-paid vouchers. While Canadian-based online sportsbooks don’t accept cryptocurrency, many legal offshore sites do.
How We Rate Operators
As mentioned, our experts take a vast array of factors into account when they review and rate Canadian sportsbooks. While the items on the above list are critical, there are a few others that must be entered into the equation.
For instance, we give a lot of props to sites that deliver the highest levels of customer service. We like to see online bookmakers offer support round the clock. On top of that, we give preferences to sites that offer immediate support by live chat, the telephone, or both. Offering help by email or via an FAQ section simply isn’t sufficient.
As you would expect, we think that some things are more important than others. For example, while a welcome bonus is a nice touch, it’s not as vital as consistently superior odds or a gambling license. This is far from an exact science, but our methods still produce honest and reliable assessments.
Our Reviews are 100% Unbiased and Transparent
While we do promote some bookmakers on this site, we only endorse operators that meet our strict standards. Because we don’t have any affiliations with the bookies we cover, our experts are free and able to speak their minds. If a site isn’t up to snuff, we will tell you why we feel that way. If a bookie excels in certain areas, we’ll be sure to let you know all about it. You can rely on our experts to tell it like it is without sugarcoating anything.
Free Betting Predictions and Analysis
One component of an effective betting strategy is research. Looking into stats and trends can give you a lot of insight into a matchup, but it isn’t always enough to sway you one way or the other. That’s where our expert betting predictions and analysis comes in handy. We break down a variety of games to find the most advantageous betting scenarios. You might not agree with our picks, but you should be able to at least learn some new information and discover betting angles that you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.
Give Yourself a Better Chance of Winning by Checking Out our Betting Guides
Whether you are an experienced sports bettor or just starting out, our in-depth betting guides can be a valuable resource. Our tutorials will teach you everything from the basics to the finer points of sports betting. For instance, beginners will want to have a gander at our betting guides to gain an understanding of how certain wagers work. We explain everything from basic moneylines and spreads to more advanced concepts like arbitrage betting and match betting.
We offer tutorials for choosing the best bonuses, guides that explain various sports, and, of course, loads of unbiased bookmaker reviews. All of this is designed to give you the tools you need to get the most out of your sports betting. That’s what we care about and that’s why we are here.
Looking for the Best Strategies? We’ve Got You Covered?
Since the dawn of sports betting, punters have been in search of a can’t-miss strategy. You know the one? That system that produces 100% winners? We hate to spoil the daydream, but there is no such thing unless you happen to be able to fix games. With that said, there are some pretty successful betting strategies out there. In fact, there is actually a way to make a guaranteed profit from sports betting. You can check out our arbitrage betting guide to find out more. In the meantime, we urge you to check out some of our other strategy guides that will help improve your bottom line and explore new horizons.
Frequently asked questions about sports betting
This is quite similar to asking whether it’s safe to cross the street. Betting online is safe if you take the appropriate precautions such as reading our reviews and only playing at our recommended sites. On the flip side, betting with an unlicensed bookmaker is begging for trouble.
There is a lot to love about Canada. For example, Canadians don’t have to pay taxes on their online sports betting profits.
Sports betting sites that legally operate in Canada are both fair and regulated. However, Ontario is currently the only province to offer sports betting licenses and regulatory oversight to operators. Of course, the provincially-operated gambling sites are also licensed and regulated.
There are absolutely no guarantees that you will win money through sports betting. The sad fact is that most sports bettors end up losing money. You can give yourself the best chance of winning by checking out our tutorials and choosing the best sportsbook for you. Bonuses and promotions go a long way too.
In terms of the procedures, depositing and withdrawing are almost the same. The big difference is that deposits are processed instantly while withdrawals can take anywhere from a few minutes to several days to reach you.
In some cases, you can claim a welcome bonus as you are filling out the registration form. Other times, you will be prompted to claim your sign-up bonus while you are making your first deposit. While most welcome bonuses merely require you to opt-in, some require you to provide a bonus code or promo code. You can find all the information you need to claim a bonus by checking out the bonus’s terms and conditions.
No. Many savvy punters have turned very small starting bankrolls into impressive chunks of money. The important thing to remember about your starting bankroll is that it should fall within your budgetary limitations.
Thanks to the mobile revolution, you can place bets using a variety of mobile gadgets including iPads, smartphones, and smartwatches. Of course, you can still do it on your desktop or laptop if you want to.
If you have come this far, then you probably have a solid grasp of the sports betting basics. However, we would like to impart a bit more betting wisdom on you before you start wagering real money on sports.
One of the first things you need to do is define your betting budget. This will allow you to establish reasonable wager limits. Some experienced bettors like to set their betting units at 2% to 5% of their total bankroll. This is important because some sportsbooks and their offerings are geared toward high rollers while others are more suitable for recreational bettors. Knowing what type of bettor you are will get you a step closer to identifying your ideal Canadian sports betting site and welcome bonus. Coming up with appropriate wagering units will allow your account to withstand any cold streaks you may endure along the way.
This ties into perhaps the most valuable gambling tip you’ll ever get: Stick to your budget!! It is so easy to come off the rails. It takes a lot of self-discipline to play within your limits, but those who overextend themselves can easily find themselves in dire situations. We implore you to head to the Responsible Gambling section of your account profile and set your own limits right after you open your new sports betting account. You can set daily, weekly, or monthly limits on how much you can deposit and wager. This will prevent you from spending more than you afford to lose.
You will be thankful that you set responsible limits when you start experiencing the soul-crushing agony of bad beats. These are the times that really test your mettle. This brings us to our next tip which is never bet when you’re on tilt. Chasing losses rarely works out unless your goal is to zero out your account balance. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you must also keep yourself grounded when you go on a winning streak. Avoid the urge to up your stake amounts or go all-in.
Keeping a record of the bets you make can be immensely beneficial. This can help identify where you are hitting and where you’re way off. Let’s say you wagered NHL moneylines and totals all season. And you were pretty successful having earned 20 units. You check your bet history and see that you made a total of 40 units betting moneylines. However, you lost a total of 20 units betting on totals. This might prompt you to give up the totals for a while and concentrate on moneylines.
It doesn’t matter if you have success with specific bet types or certain sports; You have to stick with what’s working. In fact, it’s a good idea to narrow your focus and gain a certain amount of expertise in a specific area. Remember to check out our betting guides if you want to learn more about double chance bets, 1X2 bets, or any other types of sports bets.
While we haven’t spent a lot of time focusing on live betting, you’ll have plenty of reasons to try it out after reading our live betting tutorial. When used correctly, live betting can be a very handy tool that you can use to hedge bets or hammer them harder. If you’re interested in live betting, then we strongly recommend that you sign up at one of our preferred live streaming bookmakers online.
One last tip: Don’t be afraid to experiment. Whether it’s frittering away a loonie on a long-shot parlay or trying out a new type of bet, expanding your repertoire will make your sports betting experience more complete. Who knows? You might even stumble across that much-sought-after can’t-miss system.
Canadian online sports betting sites support an abundance of safe, secure, and instant deposit methods. Perhaps the most widely-used and widely-accepted methods are major credit/debit cards like Visa and Mastercard.
A lot of Canadians also use eWallets like Skrill and PayPal as well as vouchers and other pre-paid options. Some sites even accept cheques, bank transfer, and wire transfers. While no Canadian casinos accept cryptocurrency, many reputable offshore sites do.
In almost all cases, deposits are instant and betting sites don’t charge any fees. Just remember that your payment provider might charge some kind of a transaction fee. If you’re looking for the best payment solution for you, then check out our payment provider reviews.
Collecting your winnings should never be a hassle and it never is when you cash out from our favourite fast payout bookmakers.
Whereas some second-rate bookies can take several days to cough up your money, our top sites pay you within an hour or even a few minutes. The top bookmakers let you withdraw using a plethora of options including credit card, debit card, eWallet, online banking, and wire transfer.
Most bookies won’t charge you to process a withdrawal, but some do so keep an eye out. It’s also worth noting that the amount of time it takes to have access to your winnings largely depends on which payment method you use.
One can’t ignore the perils of sports betting. Even though the vast majority of sports bettors are responsible gamblers, some aren’t. To support responsible gambling, top Canadian online bookmakers provide customers with a few tools that are designed to promote safe gambling. You can take a self-assessment test to help you assess your current gambling health level. As mentioned earlier, it behooves you to set limits at your bookmaker so that you don’t overextend yourself.
If you sense that you may be exhibiting some troubling signs, you can use the responsible gambling tools to take a time-out or enter into temporary or permanent self-exclusion. You can take solace in knowing that your bookie provides you with contact information for several gambling support groups. We sincerely hope it never gets that far. You can avoid the painful pitfalls by applying some basic safe gambling tips.
- Don’t wager more than you can afford to lose: Spending too much on any form of gambling can easily lead you down a very dark path.
- Keep Cool: Win or lose, you have to stay cool and keep a level head. Don’t let emotions get in the way.
- Take a self-assessment test: We just went over this, but we will remind you again because it’s important to know where your gambling is at.
- Be disciplined enough to walk away: It’s not easy to deal with a bad beat or a losing streak. Responsible gamblers have the discipline to walk away and get themselves refocused.
- Have fun: Never lose sight of the fact that sports betting is just another form of entertainment. As such, it’s supposed to be fun.
Now that we have reached the end of tutorial, you should have a good understanding of sports betting, how it works, and where you can legally partake in it. We hope you have also picked up a few other helpful pieces of information. If you want to learn more about some of the topics we’ve touched on, then we urge you to start with some of our other guides and tutorials. Every little bit of knowledge you gain will make you a better and more profitable sports bettor.