One of the biggest skills in sports betting is being able to place +EV bets on sports that you’re not all that knowledgeable on. Players can do this by tracking betting lines within the sharpest sportsbooks to beat the closing line.
In this article, we’re going to dig deeper on how the sharpest sportsbooks work, what processes they use to make a betting line “sharp” and how you can use this information to be a more profitable sports bettor.
Sharpest Offshore Sportsbooks
List of the Sharpest Offshore Sportsbooks
Being based in the United States, we are limited to the range of the sharpest sportsbooks that we can access. As a workaround, we’ve included a list of the sharpest offshore sportsbooks and a quick highlight about what makes them great for betting.
- BetOnline – Sharpest sportsbook in the US
- Bovada – Great balance between sharp betting lines and features
- XBet – Very low juice on a wide range of markets
- Sportsbetting.ag – High betting caps of up to $2,500 per bet
- MyBookie – Wide range of sports and markets covered
- BetUS – Strong promos for new and exiting players
- BUSR – Good for sharp betting lines on NFL and NBA
- BetNow – Low juice charged on US sports
- Betanysports – Fast market movement
- GTBets – Excellent welcome bonus
Reviews of the Sharpest Sportsbooks
Here, we’ll go through the top 5 sharpest sportsbooks from our list of 10 above. This will include a deeper look at how each of the sportsbooks works for both sharp betting and general sports betting.
1) BetOnline – Sharpest Sportsbook in the US
BetOnline is our choice of being the sharpest sportsbooks in the US for several reasons. The first and most telling is the juice charged, which averaged just 3.18% mark for sports such as NBA, NFL, and MLB. Juice increased as we moved to things like college sports, as well as those less popular in the US, such as tennis, golf, and cricket.
The sportsbook has huge game coverage across the board and, even though US-based sports dominate, it’s one of few that have a proper international feel to it. The ability to place wagers upward of $10,000 on most sports, is another reason why so many sharp bettors target BetOnline.
Betting lines are set in-house, and these lines move quickly in relation to bets placed. It’s not uncommon for markets to suspend momentarily while they are adjusted following large or an influx of bets on a single result.
A huge range of deposit options are accessible, with Credit, Debit and a host of crypto payments being the pick for most. Deposits start from just $10, and withdrawals are processed within 24 hours, before hitting your account within 5 working days.
On top of all this, you can use the BetOnline promo code BOL1000 to get a 50% deposit match worth up to $1,000 when you register a new account.
What we like:
- Over $3,000 in bonus cash across all products
- Juice set around 3% for most US-based sports
- Huge max bets over $10,000 with some sports
- Set its own betting lines, meaning odds move quickly
- Wide range of sports and markets to choose from
What we don’t:
- Fees charged to some withdrawal methods
- Low welcome bonus match percentage
2) Bovada – Great Balance Between Sharp Betting Lines and Features
Bovada is another fantastic addition in our sharpest sportsbooks list. In terms of Juice charged, they sit a shade higher than BetOnline at 3.67% for the markets that we tested. Even though numbers are close, it highlights how strong BetOnline is, more than any weaknesses that might be apparent with Bovada.
The sportsbook works in a more balanced format than most and offers a place where sharp bettors can enjoy competitive betting lines and +EV bets. However, new players are still going to be able to access features like prop builders, #whatsyawager (bet builder), enhanced odds, and a dedicated mobile app.
Promotions play a big role on the site, and you can use our Bovada promo code to claim a 50% match worth up to $250. Deposits start from just $20 and you can access methods such as Credit and Debit cards, as well as a huge range of crypto options, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zelle, and Litecoin.
What we like:
- Over $1,500 in bonus cash across all products
- No expiry date on any of the welcome offers
- Incredibly low rollover of between 5x and 15x on welcome offers (includes casino play)
- Dedicated racebook that covers meetings from around the world
- Single account can be used across sports, casino and poker
What we don’t:
- Not the best-looking site we’ve tested
- Fees attached to some withdrawal options
3) XBet – Very Low Juice on Wide Range of Markets
XBet has shown massive signs of improvement over the last few years and it’s now widely recognized as one of the better sharpest sportsbooks. From our testing we found its average juice was at 3.7%, just a hair more than Bovada. But it’s the only sportsbook that we’ve tested to have more than two markets under the 2.80% mark, which is incredibly low.
Betting limits are a little lower than we’d like at $1,000 and this is one of the reasons why it’s not as popular as the pair above. For most players who are looking to get an edge, this is still more than enough in terms of a max bet.
Banking options on the sportsbook include Credit and Debit cards, as well as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin. Deposits for cards start from $45 and for crypto payments from just $20. There are no fees applied to any deposit or withdrawal method.
You can use our XBet promo code XB100 to get a welcome bonus which is a 100% match worth up to $500. XBet also includes reload bonuses up to $250 and a rebate of 7% on horse racing losses for the week.
What we like:
- Super-low rollover on welcome bonus of just 7x
- Low overall juice, with some industry-low markets at just 2.8%
- Huge range of sports to choose from
- Fast betting lines, ideal for sharp bettors
- Single account can be used across sports, casino and racebook
What we don’t:
- Low bonus amount on offer
- Betting limits low for high rollers across some sports
4) Sportsbetting.Ag – High Betting Caps of up to $2,500
Sports Betting is heavily focused on US-based sports and while it does cover the likes of boxing, soccer, horse racing, tennis, and martial arts, it lacks a little compared to the competition.
However, where Sportsbetting.ag excels in its ability to offer super-fast betting lines on a market that they host. Odds are constantly changing, which allows sharp sports bettors to take advantage of even the smallest movements.
In terms of juice charged, it was right in line with both Bovada and XBet around the 3.7% mark from the bets we tested. Within the sportsbook, it highlights betting caps, which is a great asset for sharp bettors as it allows them to see how much can be staked at the betting line offers. Most sports are upward of $2,500, which is high in comparison.
You can use our Sportsbetting.ag promo code SB100 to get a welcome bonus worth up to $1,000. This is a 100% deposit match and comes with a 10x rollover, making it one of the better offers we’ve tested.
What we like:
- Low margins of around 3.7%
- Low rollover on the $1,000 welcome bonus of just 10x
- In-house betting lines that move quickly, ideal for sharp bettors
- Good range of US-based sports and markets
- Heavy on promotions for existing players and deposits using crypto
What we don’t:
- Dated design and targeted toward seasoned bettors
- Not a great mobile site in terms of usability
5) MyBookie – Wide Range of Sports Covered
MyBookie covers a wide range of sports and like most, excel when it comes to US-based sports. However, coverage of sports such as golf, tennis, soccer, and horse racing (dedicated racebook) is where MyBookie is able to beat the competition.
Betting lines are live around 2-5 days prior to the game starting with most sports, although some moneyline bets can be later than this, which is a little frustrating. Juice charged from the markets we tested averaged out at 4.10%, which is the highest of our top 5 picks.
While the juice is higher with MyBookie, it strikes a better balance than most in terms of features (props builder, contests, betting blog, free betting picks) and betting lines.
Bonuses are and promotions are another standout feature and you can use the MyBookie promo code MYB100 to get a 100% match worth up to $1,000.
What we like:
- Best for betting on sports such as tennis, soccer, and golf
- Low rollover on the $1,000 welcome bonus of just 10x
- Great range of new and existing player promos
- 8% rebate on horse racing bets
What we don’t:
- Higher juice rates charged than some
- Can be slow with moneyline markets going live
Comparing the Sharpest Sportsbooks
The table highlights all our best sharpest sportsbooks. Included in the table is info on each of the welcome bonuses, fees, and deposit options.
|Sharpest Sportsbooks||Welcome Bonus||Promo Code||Live Betting||Live Streaming||Payment Methods|
|BetOnline||50% deposit match up to $1,000||BOL1000||Yes||No||Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin|
|XBet||100% deposit match up to $500||XB100||Yes||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin|
|BetUS||100% deposit match up to $2,500||JOIN125||Yes||No||Credit card, bank wire, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin|
|Bovada||50% deposit match up to $250||Not required||Yes||Yes||Credit card, debit card, Zelle, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin|
|MyBookie||100% deposit match up to $1,000||MYB1000||Yes||No||Credit card, debit card, wire transfer, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, Ethereum, Litecoin|
|SportsBetting.ag||100% deposit match up to $1,000||SB1000||Yes||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple|
|GT Bets||100% deposit match up to $500||Not required||Yes||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ripple|
|BetNow||100% deposit match up to $500||BN100||Yes||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash|
|Everygame||100% deposit match up to $150||3XBOOST50||Yes||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Skrill|
|BUSR||20% deposit match up to $500||Not required||Yes||No||Credit card, debit card, Bitcoin, Litecoin|
What is a Sharp Sportsbook?
Before we jump into what a sharp sportsbook is, it’s important to understand the basic principles on how a sportsbook works.
The sportsbook will offer betting lines (odds) on a range of markets. All betting lines come with juice attached. Juice is essentially the money the sportsbook makes from that market.
For example, if you had a coin toss the odds are 50/50 whether it’s a head or a tail. True odds for this would be even money or +100. However, the sportsbook will likely offer odds of -110.
Well, if they have two results at odds of -110 (heads or tails), then it’s possible for them to make a guaranteed profit. So, if they take $1000 on both heads and tails, they have taken $2,000 in total.
Let’s assume heads wins. The sportsbook pays out $1000 at odds odd -110, which equals $1909.09. They have taken $2,000 in bets, so that leaves them a profit of $90.91.
The key thing to take here is that the sportsbook, by applying a margin on the “true (real) odds” can guarantee profit.
So, how does this apply to sharp sportsbooks? There are five key areas that define a sharp sportsbook:
- Low juice/margins applied to all bets
- High staking limits throughout the sportsbook
- No account restrictions on wins
- Quick movement in betting lines when large bets are taken
- Originates its own betting lines
The key difference is the margins that are applied to bets are much lower than mainstream sportsbooks. A sharp sportsbook offsets low margins with high volume and as long as they are able to take the volume of bets they need, they can keep margins low.
Another area where the sharp sportsbook differs is the type of punters that they accept. Professional bettors are welcomed and there are no account limits that are placed if they are successful.
Finally, the movement of the betting lines is much quicker (often instant) than most sportsbooks. For example, if a $100,000 single bet was placed, then this is likely going to have a significant outcome on the profit margins that the sportsbook makes for that market. Odds will adjust almost instantly as result to offset this bet.
What Makes a Sharp Sportsbook?
There is a range of key features that create what is referred to as a sharp sportsbook. Below we’ve outlined them and described how they work.
Margins are essentially the profit that a sportsbook makes for each bet they host. The lower the margins, generally the better the odds and the more value the bet must for the player.
Sharp sportsbooks offer lower margins (reduced juice) than most. They allow themselves to do this by working on the volume of bets, rather than making the most from a single bet.
For this to work, the sportsbook needs to the volume of bets to overcome the lack of margin. For example, let’s assume that Sportsbook A and Sportsbook B have a market on the winner of the Superbowl between the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers. Betting lines are as follows:
New England to win:
- Sportsbook A = -167
- Sportsbook B = -180
Green Bay to win:
- Sportsbook A = +147
- Sportsbook B = +147
Based on these betting lines, Sportsbook A has a margin of 3.02% and Sportsbook B a margin of 4.75%. Let’s assume Sportsbook A takes $100,000 on the market, they make a profit of $3,020. Let’s assume that Sportsbook B takes $50,000 they make a profit of $2,375.
What we’re trying to highlight here is that a sharp sportsbook makes more money on lower margins, because they take more bets (higher volume), because their pricing is stronger than most.
High Betting Limits
Sharp sportsbooks have very high betting limits. They still have caps, but compared to a more mainstream sportsbook, they are much higher.
BetOnline is a great example of this, and its biggest cap is a massive $50,000 limit per bet on NFL spread bets. This is one of the biggest single bets you can place online and why we rate them as one of the best sharp sportsbooks in the industry.
Fees are generally applied to withdrawals from the cashier, but it’s not uncommon to see them for deposits as well. Most sharp sportsbooks have little to no fees involved. Even for payments that charge them fees, they know that to attract people onto their site to get the volume they need, they must eat the fees for the players.
You’re also going to get fast payouts with most sites. Again, this is all to do with keeping players that need to move money in and out promptly, playing with their sportsbooks.
Wide Range of Markets
Sports and market coverage need to be in-depth. Players who are widely regarded as sharp bettors aren’t just betting on moneyline and spread bets. They have a process that follows the money on any specific market, regardless of what that market is.
No Account Limits for Consistent Winners
One of the most frustrating things that a lot of winning players come across is account limits. This is where sportsbooks limit the amount you can stake (and therefore win) on certain bets or sports. Some may even make this a blanket limit for the whole site.
The sharpest sportsbooks do not do that. In fact, they are happy to have winners on-site as it usually results in more money made in the long term. If you use our example from earlier where we talk about the volume of bets, then as long as they keep this high, their margins will be stable regardless, meaning that they still make money.
It’s worth noting that not all sites limit winning accounts. Even sportsbooks not classed as “sharp” have players on their books that are consistent winners. Limits come in for very high-volume players who are betting on markets that are not always easy to balance, based on the volume of bets they get.
Highly Competitive Betting Lines/Odds
To attract high volume, you need a hook. Sharp sportsbooks generally do this by creating very competitive betting lines. For high-volume games, they are almost always the best price.
Even the smallest of margins can be huge for high-volume players, so taking advantage of this is an absolute must.
Targets Professional Punters
Professional punters are very much welcome of sharp sportsbooks. As we keep pointing out, the concept only works with volume, and no one bets more than the pros.
Many pro punters will eventually be turned away from most other betting sites as their edge is too high meaning that they take advantage of randomly inflated betting lines. Given lines are always favorable for the player, it makes a lot of sense for both parties.
High Volume of Bets
Volume, volume, volume. We keep harping on about it, but sharp sportsbooks need a high volume of bets to make up for their low margins.
Bonuses are not always a given with sharp sportsbooks. The value is in the betting lines, but it’s not uncommon to find great offers with some of the bigger brands.
Welcome bonuses are the easiest to access, with deposit matched being the most popular. On top of this you get access to things like cashback, reload bonuses, and even price boosts. Be wary that most price boosts will be limited in terms of the amount you can stake.
Sharp vs Square Sportsbooks
Generally, there are two types of sportsbooks: sharp and square. It’s not a case that one is necessarily better than the others, but they cater to different markets and have different ethos’s about how best to cater to their players.
We’ve spoken a lot about how sharp sportsbooks work, so now want to address a square sportsbook.
While a square sportsbook isn’t the exact opposite of a sharp book, the way they work is quite different. The biggest is that of how they create betting lines and then change betting lines.
One of the big features of a sharp sportsbook is that they make their own betting lines. They also adjust them, almost instantly as soon as a significant amount of money has been wagered on a particular bet.
A square sportsbook will usually take guides from other betting sites and may even copy other sites to the letter. Betting lines are much slower to move, which makes it harder for punters to get +EV wagers over the line.
Another key area for a square sportsbook is how they shade betting lines. It’s very common for them to have the prices favorites at lower odds than sharp sites. This is because most of the betting public simply back the favorite or overs, regardless of any research or reason.
Square sportsbooks are still used by professional punters, but they are generally more limited as to what and how much they can bet on. There will be times where odds are more favorable on these betting sites over the sharpest sportsbooks, but it’s usually when players are willing to bet against the public.
The table below highlights how square and sharp sportsbooks differ:
|Sharp Sportsbooks||Square Sportsbooks|
|Creates own betting lines, moves markets as soon as bets are placed||Follows betting lines of other sportsbooks|
|Encourages professional bettors||Limits action for pro/winning players|
|Low margins/juice, make their money from volume of bets placed||Generally, encourages recreational players who favor betting on the favorite|
|High bet limits throughout the sportsbook||Lots of bonuses and promos to entice new players|
What is a Sharp in Sports Betting?
A sharp is a term that is used to describe a consistent winner over a long period of time. These are people are widely known and recognized by the industry as “good players” meaning that their edge is larger than that of a “recreational player”.
The actual edge that someone needs to be "sharp" is relatively low. To consistently beat a spread, you need to win somewhere around 52.4% of bets. Most bettors fall way short of this.
Successful punters don’t need to be an awful lot higher for a sportsbook to take note. Anything between 55% and 60% win rate is deemed to be excellent.
Players that are anywhere within or higher than this bracket will carry (usually unknown) power. This power is the ability to move betting lines.
For example, if a sharp sportsbook has a known winner at around 58% and they see that they place a huge $100,000 bet on a market, they are going to take note and adjust that market accordingly. The bet size here is important as the more they bet above their average bet size, generally the more confident they are in their selection.
It’s not always the case that a single sharp player is going to move the betting line all that much, but when there are multiple bets from multiple sharp bettors, betting lines are going to move, and move quickly to reflect this.
How do you Spot Sharp Betting Action?
The first part is that you need to be using a sportsbook or betting tool that allows you to track markets and betting lines. Any lines that are fluctuating across sharp sportsbooks are likely going to be down to where the money is heading.
For a line to move the betting site needs significant action. The more it moves, the more action there has been.
Another area that you can look at is reverse line movement. This is where the betting line moves away from the favorite to then make the other pick either a joint favorite or out on its own.
The spread is a great place to look for this and you need to check the spreads that have been reduced. Then you need to ask yourself why this might be. Rule out things like injuries or star players being dropped and then reason almost always comes down to action from sharp bettors.
One of the best questions to ask yourself when this happens is “why is the sportsbook offering me a better value spread for the same price?” It’s one of those, too good to be true moments, when in fact, it’s because they need to level up their liability because of sharp betting action.
#1 Sharpest Sportsbook for US Bettors
Our number one pick for the sharpest sportsbook for US bettors is BetOnline. From our testing, we found that they excelled in three key areas, each essential for successful sharp betting. They include low margins (around 3% on average), high bet limits (action of up to $50,000 per bet), and fast market adjustments.
BetOnline is unique in that it also includes a huge range of promotions, which is not always the case with sharp sportsbooks. The welcome bonus is a 50% match up to $1,000 and comes with a rollover of just 10x.
Use the link below to open your account and use the BetOnline promo code BOL1000 to get your $1,000 bonus.
BetOnline Bonus Code
Why is Pinnacle the sharpest Sportsbook?
Which sportsbooks are sharp?
Which sportsbook has the most accurate odds?
What does sharp betting mean?
Are all sportsbooks sharp sportsbooks?
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