The Olympics is one of the most popular sporting events in the world, and not just for viewers, but for bettors as well. All of the new sports wagering venues that are cropping up throughout post-PASPA America will offer Olympics betting, as will the long-established offshore sportsbooks that serve US customers. For those living in states that have legalized sports wagering, it’s only a matter of time before Olympics futures odds get posted for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China.
In the meantime, if you’re new to the legal sports betting world, you’ll want to get used to all the event types and wagering varieties that will be in store for the Games.
As a general rule, there are more wagers available for the Summer Olympics than the Winter Games, but both will feature hundreds of different disciplines with scores of bet types and tens of thousands of available wagers across the three weeks or so of the events in question. Once you’re finished reading this brief guide, you should be ready to wager on the Olympics no matter where you live or what level of sports bettor you are. And if you need extra practice before the biggest sports festival on the planet lights the torch, most of the Games’ individual sports will have their world championships featured at many of the top Internet betting sites. This way, you can familiarize yourself with all of the world’s best athletes and their unique strategies before the Olympics itself gets underway.
State-Licensed Vs. Offshore Online Olympics Betting
Now that the federal sports wagering ban (PASPA) is a thing of the past, there are two common kinds of Internet-based sports betting. Such wagering is available at state-licensed online sportsbooks and at offshore sportsbooks like Bovada, BetOnline, 5Dimes, and other websites. These are both quick, convenient options, but there are some key differences.
The first difference is that state-licensed sportsbooks are not available in most states, and they’re always going to be geo-fenced to the states in which they operate. That means that while you can find plenty of official, licensed, regulated US sportsbooks in states like Nevada, New Jersey, and various others, you can only use these online books when you’re physically inside the state. This is a result of the Interstate Wire Act of 1961, a law that bars bookmakers from accepting wagers across state lines. The other difference is that – depending upon the local popularity of a given sport, athlete, or contest – in-state domestic books will often have unfriendly, expensive odds.
If you opt to use an offshore sportsbook instead of a state-licensed book over the Internet, you’ll typically get better odds on local events (or popular events, as there are no real “local” events in the Olympics). These books serve residents of all 50 states, so there is never any substantial “homer” skew that the sportsbooks have to account for in their odds prices. Though this is less important when it comes to legal Olympics sports betting, it can be a factor. If, say, a top athlete in a given discipline hails from Philadelphia, you are going to get much worse odds on that athlete if you wager at an online Philly sportsbook than if you place your bets at an overseas book.
Offshore sportsbooks also have an edge over state-licensed Internet books when it comes to deposit and withdrawal options. While most in-state books will take a number of different payment types, they all currently neglect Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. That’s a pretty big omission, as a huge portion of the betting community relies on crypto to fund their legal wagering activities. On the other hand, if you don’t wish to actually withdraw via crypto, in-state books will actually get your money into your personal bank account faster than any overseas book possibly can. All in all, just like sports wagering itself, picking which kind of online book to use is a balancing act, and the best move will often be different depending on the kind of bettor you are.
How To Sign Up At Legal Olympics Betting Sites
Just like there are two different kinds of online sportsbooks these days, there are also two different ways you can sign up at legal Olympics betting sites: in-person and online. If you are using a state-licensed sportsbook app (or accessing its website via your desktop or laptop computer), you will likely have to register your wagering account in-person. The few states that have regulated online betting require this for two reasons: First, they want you to prove your identity and give the book your banking credentials. This is standard operating procedure for in-state gambling of any kind, and sports wagering – while new – is no exception. Secondly, of course, casinos don’t want you to stay home and just wager on sports. Instead, they want you visiting their betting lounges and enjoying all the other gambling and entertainment products they have to offer.
If you are going to sign up at a legal offshore sports betting site to wager on the Olympics, you do not have to register in person (obviously). The process at these books is more akin to setting up an Amazon account or Netflix account. You simply visit the site of your choice, click or tap on their registration or “join” tab, and enter your real name, phone number, email address, and so on. However, these books will also require you to prove your identity (either upon signing up or upon requesting your first payout). Usually, they’ll ask for one or two forms of government identification and a copy of a recent utility bill or similar proof of residence. Just like domestic sportsbooks, online books only allow you to create one account, and it is tied to you personally. Duplicate accounts or accounts with false information will result in you being banned from the book in question, so always follow your chosen service’s TOS!
Shopping Lines At Olympics Sportsbooks
While you can only have one account per Olympics sportsbook, there is no rule that you can only have one Olympics betting account in total. In fact, one of the best, easiest, and most lucrative edges any Olympics bettor can get is to make accounts at as many online or in-state sportsbooks as possible. This allows the savvy bettor to shop lines, and shopping lines at Olympics sportsbooks can make you a ton of money in the long run.
It’s easy to understand why shopping lines is a big deal. In the example above of a Philly athlete skewing the odds boards to produce unfavorable lines (just due to the sheer amount of hometown betting volume on the individual), if you are able to access a book further away from Philly – in this case, overseas – you will find much better, more profitable odds. Generally speaking, sportsbooks of all kinds compete with one another. This is as true when it comes to an international event like the Olympics as it is when it comes to local NFL betting on the home team. It is not at all uncommon for books to have drastically different odds on the same exact wagers. If you could get +180 odds on Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps to win their next race, why would you place that same wager on a -140 moneyline? You’d be leaving tons of money on the table!
How To Deposit Into A Legal Olympics Sportsbook
Depositing into a legal Olympics sportsbook can be a tricky thing for the newcomer, but it’s really not any more complicated than signing up for any paid service. If you’re using a land-based sportsbook or a regulated online book, you can use just about every payment model you can think of. You can fund your account via Visa, Mastercard, American Express, PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, eChecks, PayPal, and the increasingly popular PayNearMe service. Most US-based books will not accept cash, however, so keep that in mind.
If you go the offshore route, all of the top books accept Visa and Mastercard credit and debit cards, and most books also take international prepaid or credit-branded gift cards. Most books will also accept cashier’s checks, bank wires, and money orders, as well as person-to-person payments facilitated by companies like Western Union and MoneyGram.
The one area where offshore online books really shine on the deposit front, however, is that they all accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. These are the most popular choices for funding overseas sports betting accounts, and US-based books simply do not accept crypto as yet. This may change in time for the next Olympiad, but for now, if you’re a fan of Bitcoin (and altcoins like Ethereum, DASH, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, Stellar, Ripple, Litecoin, and more), you’ll have to stick with a top-rated, reputable offshore book.
Picking The Best Olympics Betting Bonus
One place where offshore online sportsbooks shine is in the bonuses they offer. Most land-based books and domestic Internet-based books simply do not have competitive bonuses – if they have bonuses at all! So if you’re after a valuable bonus to kick off your Olympic betting and pad your bankroll, you will need to go with an overseas solution. Then, all you’ve got to do is pick the book with the best bonus or bonuses for your needs.
Most sportsbooks will offer a welcome bonus for first-time deposits, worth between $250 and $1,000 in free-plays. However, be aware that these and other Olympic betting bonuses will come with terms and conditions that you must adhere to. One of these is “rollover.” Rollover is the amount of total money you have to wager in order to be eligible to withdraw your winnings. For example, Bovada has the best, most accessible first-timer bonus in the business. It will match your deposit by 50% for a total of $250 in free-plays. While this seems like a low amount (it is!), it also comes with a super low 5X rollover. Other bonuses often come with rollovers of 10X or more.
To show you how rollover works when picking the best Olympics betting bonus, let’s use Bovada’s aforementioned Sports Welcome Bonus. If you sign up at Bovada to bet on the Olympics and put in $500, you can claim the maximum $250 in bonus bucks. This makes your first deposit worth a total of $750. In order to withdraw any winnings associated with this deposit, you will have to meet the 5X rollover – that is, you’ll have to wager at least $3,750 before you can ask for a withdrawal. Of course, your winnings can be used to wager, meaning that you don’t have to go $3750 out of pocket. A good bettor can easily meet the 5X rollover terms without depositing even a single fresh dollar.
How To Bet On The Olympic Games
There are all kinds of different disciplines in the Olympics to wager on, and there are days and days (and heats and heats) of action within each discipline. In short, there is no shortage of things to bet on when it comes to the Olympic Games. However, most of the wager types should be somewhat familiar to you, as most sports betting follows the same general model. In America, that model is the moneyline, and there are three major bet types typically in play (especially for team sports, but also for individual sports that have large competing fields and split times and so on). These are the straight moneyline, the spread bet, and the totals bet.
Olympics Straight Betting
The straight moneyline, or straight-up bet, is the most common type of Olympics wager you’ll come across. With straight betting, you simply pick the winner of any given individual or team event, and you’re paid out according to the associated moneyline odds. All wager types have their associated moneylines (which indicated the financial terms, or “odds”, of the bet), but straight betting is wholly defined by the moneyline – there is no handicapping involved. An Olympic straight bet on, say, a soccer match, will look something like this:
– Brazil -135 vs. Germany +140
The favorite (in this case Brazil) is always shown with a negative moneyline, which indicates how much money you have to wager to win $100. Meanwhile, the underdog (in this case Germany) is almost always shown with a positive moneyline, which is how much money you stand to win on a $100 wager. (Moneylines are ratios, not minimums, as most Olympics betting sites will take bets of as little as $0.50 to $1.00.)
Olympics Spread Betting
Spread betting is less common in the Olympics (it is an absolute standard in most sports), though you’ll find plenty of spreads over the course of the tournament. Spreads are typically used mostly in team sports, as they are a way to handicap the favorite to encourage more betting on both sides. The following rugby line is an example of Olympic spread betting:
– Fiji +7.5 (-110) vs. Japan -7.5 (-110)
Here, Fiji is a 7.5-point favorite over Japan, who is consequently a 7.5-point underdog. Thus, a wager on Fiji is only a winner if they beat Japan by 8 or more points. A wager on Japan will be a winner if Japan wins outright or loses by up to 7 points. Half-point increments are usually used to avoid “push” results, which causes the sportsbook to refund all action on the wager and is thus unprofitable for the service. Note the moneyline in parentheses, which shows that regardless of which team you choose, the bet’s “cost” is a ratio of $110 risk to $100 reward.
Olympics Totals Betting
Olympic totals betting is the third of the “big three” wager types you’re going to come across when betting on the Games. Unlike the above two, however, totals bets aren’t concerned with winners or losers. Instead, they are numbers assigned to a contest that represent the final total points scored between both teams or competitors. The sportsbook picks a number, and you simply wager on whether the total final score will be higher than (“over”) or lower than (“under”) that score. This is why totals wagers are often called over/under – aka O/U – wagers. Consider the following Olympic basketball totals line:
– United States vs. Spain O/U 161.5 (-110)
In this matchup, your sportsbook has set the O/U at 161.5 points. Let’s say the US beats Spain 82-76. This adds up to 158 points, which is under the book’s published number. Thus, the “under” bet wins. Had the final score been something like 94-87, that would have added up to 181, well over the book’s O/U threshold, so the “over” bet would have won. Again, note that the associated moneyline or “price tag” is included in parentheses beside the bet.
Other Legal Olympics Sports Betting Options
There are legal Olympics betting options you’ll come across at various sportsbooks both online and on-land. These include things like futures bets, player prop bets, team prop bets, specials, parlays, and more.
Futures are extremely prevalent in Olympics betting, as large field odds are posted well ahead of time of most contests. Individual sports have especially robust futures selections, where you can wager on certain outcomes weeks or even months in advance.
Prop bets take the form of over/under and “yes/no” bets, and these can be individual-based or team-based. Examples of Olympic prop bets would be to pick whether or not a certain athlete will clear the 100-meter sprint under a certain time limit or whether a basketball team will give up more or fewer than a given number of points in the paint.
Specials bets are akin to props, but they’re typically concerned with things that are ancillary or tangential to a given matchup. Even the Olympic Games itself can have specials bets, like how long each country’s anthem will be on opening night to how many spectators will be in the stands for a particular soccer match. Additionally, bettors can string multiple wagers together to form parlays, which will always pay out better than hitting on all the constituent bets individually. If a wager is live at your book of choice, chances are you can add it to a parlay ticket.
Betting On The Olympics From Your Mobile Phone Or Tablet
With all the different ways to wager on the Olympics, you might feel overwhelmed. Don’t! In fact, not only is it simple to read the odds boards and wager on the Olympics, you can do so quickly and efficiently, even on your smartphone or tablet! All of the top offshore sportsbooks have mobile-optimized betting interfaces for their wagering products, allowing you to quickly find what you’re looking for and submit wagers in just a few taps and swipes.
Some domestic US books even have online, mobile interfaces, though these – unlike the offshore solutions – are geo-fenced to your state’s borders. That is, in order to use a state-licensed online book to wager on the Olympics, you’ve physically got to be in the state at the time you place your wager. Offshore books are not bound by these same regulations, however, so you can use them anywhere you are in the entire country. Otherwise, the experiences will be very similar, with the exception that offshore, overseas books do tend to have more wagering options than you’ll find at domestic sites.
Live Betting On The Olympics
Live betting on the Olympics is available at both state-based and offshore sportsbooks, though the latter tends to offer more in-game wagering options. Unlike the standard sports wagering experience, live betting does not require you to have your wagers placed before a given contest starts. Instead, you can place bets on dynamic odds that change in accordance with the action taking place in real-time. Live betting is considered to be the most immersive way to enjoy the Olympics, as it gets you deeply involved in each play of whatever contest you’re watching.
Note, of course, that live betting is better suited to team sports and certain individual sports (i.e. boxing, golf, or tennis). Other individual sports, like weightlifting or fencing or sprinting, are over so quickly that live betting is effectively useless. You’re not going to get updated odds at the 5.5-second mark of an 11-second sprint, for example. That said, the majority of Olympic disciplines will have at least some live betting aspects, and you’ll definitely want to try out several different books to see whose system gives you the most options and best in-game betting values.