Man, do I love Las Vegas.
Yeah, that’s not exactly an original sentiment, I know.
I’ve been there 3 times, and all 3 times were very different experiences.
The first time was with a buddy of mine, and we went right in the heart of football and basketball season. It was shortly before December, so we got to watch Thursday Night Football in the Bellagio sportsbook, wake up in our Bally’s hotel room to college football bowl games on the TV, play some poker all day Friday, watch and bet NCAA basketball all day Saturday at the Venetian, and head back to the Bellagio Sunday for a day of NFL. Couldn’t beat that.
The second time was my honeymoon, and my wife and I went for a week. A week’s a long time in Vegas, but we stayed off the strip at a Wyndham resort. We enjoyed the pool in the morning and early afternoon, then would head to the strip for a late afternoon dinner, show or occasional visit to a sportsbook. I also enraged my new bride by going out for a monster 12-hour blackjack session that went through the night, arriving back at the hotel as the sun came up and seeing her in tears from fear that I was dead.
The final time was for the opening weekend of the NFL season. My buddy and I went down to attend a daily fantasy sports convention, and spent much of the time either hanging out with other DFS players or in our room plotting our lineups for Sunday’s action. It also didn’t help that my passport got lost on the way down, leaving me anxious the whole time that I might not be allowed to board my flight home a few days later, let alone get back into Canada.
So yeah, all those trips were very different.
But there was also one common theme to my 3 Vegas experiences,
I hardly placed any bets at Las Vegas sportsbooks.
Don’t get me wrong, I bet on plenty of sports during all 3 of my trips to Las Vegas. But probably 95% of the bets I placed were placed on my phone, using one of the many online sports betting sites that I’m a member of.
Weird, right? Vegas is where you’re supposed to go to bet on sports, watch the winners come in on those monster TVs in the sportsbooks, then march proudly to the counter and cash in your winning ticket.
But here are 5 reasons I consider online sportsbooks better than Las Vegas sportsbooks.
1. Better Odds
Most sportsbooks in Las Vegas offer the standard -110 ($110 to win $100) pricing on football and basketball point spreads, with similar margins (or greater) of juice in MLB and NHL moneylines.
But online sportsbooks don’t have the same overhead costs as those massive sportsbooks, which need big profits to justify the space they take up in the Vegas casinos.
As a result, sportsbooks such as Pinnacle and 5Dimes are able to offer reduced juice betting lines, where you can lay -105 juice on point spreads. Typical MLB or NHL lines at Pinnacle and 5Dimes are -110/+100 as well, whereas a Las Vegas sportsbook would have -110/-110 odds or worse.
If you’re laying -105 instead of -110, you’ll save $5 in juice for every $100 you bet. That difference can be the difference in making money or losing money at sports betting.
2. Better Selection
@GreenPicksFREE I live in Vegas, not sure about all the books, but I’ve never seen TT in one yet. They just started 5 inning bets a few
— detroitdavid (@davidgadaskin) August 2, 2016
There’s only so much space available on those big odds screens at the Las Vegas sportsbooks. Most days, with a lot of games available to bet on, you won’t find many betting lines on those games other than the standard full game or first half/period/quarter point spreads, moneylines and totals.
Online betting sites offer a ton of selection. In addition to all the betting lines offered by Vegas sportsbooks, online betting sites also post a slew of props for most games, especially the marquee contests of the day.
Check out just some of what was available at William Hill for this random December NHL game.
The most popular betting option that almost all online sites offer is live betting, when you can place bets while the action is underway. Las Vegas sportsbooks are slowly adding live betting, but most of them still don’t have it.
Like we said in explaining how some online betting sites are able to offer reduced juice odds, the Internet sportsbooks don’t have nearly the same overhead expenses as the brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
That enables almost all online betting sites to offer generous signup bonuses to new players, often doubling your initial deposit or giving you even more. Bet365, Sports Interaction, Bodog and William Hill all offer 100% bonuses, while BetOnline is known for giving out up to 300% in free play credits.
You won’t find any bonuses at Las Vegas sportsbooks. In fact, you’ll even have a tough time getting a free beer – something that was used to be a given for anyone inside a Vegas book.
4. The ability to line shop
Any successful bettor will tell you that one of the biggest keys to success in sports betting is making sure you’re always getting the best of the number.
For decades, professional sports bettors in Las Vegas used to employ “runners” – people who went from sportsbook to sportsbook to see if the point spread was half a point lower somewhere else. That was made illegal in 1998, but the pros still continued to use them since the slightest discrepancy in a point spread could be the difference between a win and a push, or a push and a loss.
With the Internet, everything’s at our fingertips. We don’t need to physically walk from one sportsbook to another (if you’ve been to Vegas, you know how exhausting that would be), we can just open a new tab on our browser. There are even live odds pages out there that will show up-to-the-minute betting lines at a variety of sportsbooks.
Joining several different sportsbooks and depositing money with them will enable you to always get the best of the number.
5. Instant Access
It’s halftime of the early NFL games on a Sunday afternoon in Las Vegas.
The Patriots, 10-point favourites, are down 7 points to the Jaguars – and you just know New England is going to storm back in the second half to win the game. You see the Patriots listed at -10 on the second half line and race to the betting window to bet it before the line moves to -10.5.
Problem is, those Vegas sportsbooks are packed for NFL Sundays. And when you go to place your bet, you find a massive line of people already in front of you to get their halftime wagers down first. Not only might the point spread change while you’re waiting, here’s actually a really strong chance you might not even get your wager in at all before the second half begins.
There’s no such problem when you’re using an online betting site. You probably won’t even need to get off your couch (any of the top sportsbooks for Canadians offer very good mobile sites) and there’ll be no one ahead of you. And if that second-half line does change before you get a chance to bet it, you can always open up one of your other online accounts and bet it there.
It’s no secret that we strongly recommend Canadians use online sites for sports betting, rather than playing Proline or any of the provincial sports lotteries.
Not only will you enjoy the ability to bet on one game at a time, whenever and from wherever you want, and get the best odds. You’ll also find tons of other advantages, like the ability to shop around for the best lines, or to place a fun prop on tonight’s action.
And who knows? The next time you’re in Vegas, you might still reach for your smartphone to place that bet with that online sportsbook instead.