Last Updated: February 8, 2018
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When it comes to reputable sportsbooks that service the American market, the list is woefully small. Thanks to laws, the activity is severely restricted, and players have been ripe to be taken advantage of by bad books. Fortunately, Bovada bucks the trend and has become perhaps the best sportsbook for American players. The site has a ton of different options for placing wagers, fast payouts on winnings, and reasonable bonuses for players to claim. If you're located in the States, you definitely should make Bovada your first choice for online sportsbetting.
Sports betting in general
Bovada is known for having a wide range of sports to bet on and many ways to bet. Their strength is more in the area of reliability and customer support than generous odds. I'll have to wait for baseball season to see what they do there but on everything else they offer 20-cent lines on the popular bets and sports and 30-cent lines on everything else. They also break to a wider spread fairly quickly. For example, soccer bets against the spread in the English Premier League start at 20-cent lines but by a pairing of +120/-150 they obviously jump to 30-cents.
As a reminder, a 20-cent line, for example, means the betting lines on the two sides of an event are 20 basis points apart. For example, -110 and -110, or +105 and -125. Here is the minimum house edge for common lines:
- 10 cents: 2.38%
- 15 cents: 3.49%
- 20 cents: 4.55%
- 25 cents: 5.56%
- 30 cents: 6.52%
- 40 cents: 8.33%
All things considered, I would say Bovada lines are neither generous nor stingy but in the middle somewhere.
At the time of this review it was two days before the 2018 Super Bowl. Bovada offered the usual 20-cent lines on the spread and total for the game and first half. For the quarters and proposition bets that go close to 50/50 either way, the lines went up to 30-cents. The lowest juice was on the coin toss bets at 10-cent lines.
In the NBA, college basketball and the Euroleague, Bovada has 20-cent lines against the spread, total, and money line. On these three leagues prop bets have 30-cent lines. On all other basketball leagues, everything is on a 30-cent line.
Bets against the spread and total had 20-cent lines but only when it was close to a 50/50 situation. It from from 20-cent lines at -105/-115 to 25-cent lines at EV/-125. Bets with three possible outcome carried a house edge of about 5.6%.
Bovada features 20-cent money lines, but the disparity goes to 25 cents at +115/-140. All other tennis bets with two possible outcomes, like against a point spread, over/under, and winner of the first set were at 30-cent lines.
At the time of this review the most closely matched fight had 30-cent money lines of +135/-165. I suspect the lines are closer together on more closely matched fights.
At the time of this review, Bovada had three player match-ups on the European tour. The average house edge on these bets was 9.2%.
Money lines in boxing start at 30-cents, as evidenced by lines of -110/-120 on a fight at the time of this review.
At the time of this review it was shortly before the 2018 Academy Awards. The house edge on bets on categories with five possible winners was about 16.5%. For Best Picture, which has nine possible outcomes, the house edge was 16.67%.
Sorry, it wasn't baseball season at the time of this review.
CricketMoney lines were 30-cents as well as proposition bets with two possible outcomes. Bets with three possible outcomes (both sides and a draw) had a house edge averaging 8.0%.
It was a couple days before the opening of the 2018 Winter Olympics at the time of this review. Over/under bets on the number of gold medals for a given country had 30-cent lines. For example, over 10.5 U.S. gold medals had a line of -120 and the under was -110.
I found the house edge on futures bets varied considerably as follows:
- 2019 Super Bowl: 23.0%
- 2018 World Series: 25.5%
- Tennis -- Winner men's French Open -- 36.1%
- Golf -- Race to Dubai -- 36.0%
- Cricket -- ICC World Cup 2019: 19.2%
- 2018 Winter Olympics -- Medal Table (total medals won): 23.0%
Based on a small sampling, it seems the house edge on futures bets is lower if it is an event with a lot of action as well as fewer betting choices.
Parlays and teasers
Bovada pays true odds on all parlays. That means that if every pick in a parlay is even (laying 110 to win 100), then the total win is the same as if you made each bet individually. To be specific, for an n team parlay, laying 110 on each pick, the win would be (21/11)n-1. I applaud this and don't know why everybody doesn't do it. It is also good for the player, except on the pick-3, where Bovada pays 5.96 to 1, where most parlay tables pay 6 to 1.
Bovada's teaser odds are pretty standard, judging by the 6-point NFL teasers. It is nice of them to give significantly better odds on college football teasers, which everybody should, but many don't. The value of the extra points is not as much in college compared to the NFL. It is also interesting to note they have a separate table for the NFL preseason as well as the CFL. I have never seen that before.
Banking, security, and responsible gaming
The banking system at Bovada is restricted to just a few options, but it is very good. I have conducted several payouts at this book over the years and never had a problem. You can use credit cards and Bitcoin for deposit, and you can use a paper check, bank wire, or Bitcoin for withdrawal purposes. All withdrawal options are pretty fast, with Bitcoin transmitted within a few minutes, bank wire within a few days, and a few days for a paper check. The check option is one of the fastest I've seen for a U.S. friendly betting site, as Bovada will FedEx overnight it to you.
Bovada protects player information using 128-bit SSL encryption, which is a key security feature. This ensures that your player data is secure, as it's scrambled between your computer and Bovada's website.
There is a responsible gaming section at Bovada, which provides information on identifying and fighting problem betting behaviors. Players will also find links to outside gambling assistance groups as well as policies like self-exclusion to help protect players.
The customer support team at Bovada's sportsbook is great. The reps I have dealt with have always been pleasant and fast to respond to help requests. The reps have always been able to help me too, or at least get me to management that has solved my issue. Simply put: the Bovada support team is very good.
Below is a list of promotions currently being offered at Bovada's sportsbook.
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In terms of sportsbooks, Bovada is one of the best we've seen, and is certainly one of the best for American players. If you're considering a new spot to get a wager on for an event, we highly recommend you use Bovada.
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