How Betting On Sports Works in Ontario
Sports bets are wagers based on the outcome of a game or perhaps the outcome of a full season. Having some “skin in the game” is great for entertainment purposes but never treat betting as a way to make money. . It's great to have fun with it but treat gambling as entertainment with the chance of a prize and avoid taking risks you can´t afford.
Reading Betting Lines
Almost every sporting event nowadays has a betting line on it. You will likely see sports betting sites default to quoting everything in “American Odds”. Negative American Odds express how much you must risk in order to win $100.
For example, a standard bet will likely be priced at -110, which means sports bettors need to risk $110 to win $100. Conversely positive odds express how much you win on a $100 wager, e,g, +180 means sports bettors will win $180 on a $100 bet.
Wagering on a big underdog or multi-leg parlay gives sports bettors the chance to turn small risks into big wins, but the odds on the bet reflect the fact that winning the bet is improbable.
Betting size should reflect both personal preference and tolerance and the ability of your bankroll to absorb losses. The saying “bet with your head, not over it” has merit. Don’t risk so much that a cold streak knocks you out of the game.
Choosing an Ontario-Based Betting Site
You will execute all of your wagers through betting sites and as such it's very important to pick the right bookmaker for you. Make sure you are comfortable with the interface on the app and website. It's also vital that the site moves quickly.
Lines on games can fluctuate, most especially when you live bet. You will never want to miss a wager because the app froze. Also, verify that the betting site makes competitive odds. In order for sports bettors to profit over time, they need to get the best price available as often as possible.
And finally, be certain you can withdraw your funds quickly and easily. Betting Sites all let you deposit and start wagering very quickly, but there’s some variation on the speed of withdrawals as well as the number of ways you can receive your money.
Types of Bets in Ontario
There are many ways to bet on sports. Some particular types of bets lend themselves best to certain sports. A spread bet is perfect for the NFL but not quite so much in hockey to name one example. Here is a rundown of some of the most popular.
Moneyline Bet Money line wagers are bets on the winner of a game. Say the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing the Montreal Canadiens and you see a line of Leafs -290, Canadiens +240. Sports bettors would have to risk $290 on the Leafs in order to win $100, while a $100 bet on the Canadiens would fetch $240. Sports with draws such as soccer have three-way money lines where “draw” is a betting option. For that matter, hockey money lines have 60-minute options where “tie” has a price attached to it.
Live Betting A live bet is a wager placed on a game in progress. Say you’re watching the Toronto Blue Jays vs the Yankees and it's scoreless in the 4th and you think the Jays are about to have a big inning. Maybe your sportsbook has a Live Bet on the Jays to win at +130. You can go on your book and lock in a bet literally between pitches.
Parlays Parlays are wagers where you combine at least two or more bets or “legs”. In order to win the parlay, all the legs within the parlay must cash. You can create a parlay out of any combo of straight bets, money lines, totals, and prop bets. And, you can parlay across different sports. Want to combine a Toronto Maple Leafs money line with a Total on the Blue Jays game and the Buffalo Bills -7.5 vs the New England Patriots? You can parlay all that. Parlay payouts depend on how many legs are in the parlay and on the individual betting odds of each leg. The more legs or the higher the sports betting odds on the legs, the more the online sports gambling will payout.
Spread Bets A spread bet is a straight bet with a point spread involved. Say it's Bills -10.5 points vs the Jets. If you bet on the Bills, you win the bet if they win the game by 11 points or greater. Online betting sites, typically price spreads at -110, so you would need to risk $110 to win $100 on a bet like this.
Totals Betting or Over/Unders A Total, or Over/Under bet is a wager on the total points (or runs, or goals et al) scored by the teams combined. Say the Toronto Raptors vs the Boston Celtics has a Total of 215.5 points. If you bet the Over, you win if the teams combined to score 216 points or more. Conversely, the Under wins if the total is 215 or less. Totals typically price at -110 as they do in regular spread bets.
Futures Futures bets are typically wagers on specific events to occur by the end of a season. For example, you might see something like Toronto Blue Jays +1800 to win the next World Series. A $100 bet nets you $1800 if the Jays take the crown. Futures bet on Win totals are also popular, such as the Raptors Over/Under 42.5 wins on the season.
Prop Bets Proposition Bets are bets on a specific achievement. There are player props such as “Josh Allen to throw Over/Under 1.5 TD passes vs the Dolphins” and team props like “Toronto Raptors Over/Under 8.5 3-pointers vs. the Miami Heat”. There are even live prop bets on events as small as the results of the next play from scrimmage in a football game.
Most Popular Sports to Bet On
Online bookmakers will vary a bit on their more esoteric offerings. But new bettors fear not, they will all cover the major sports in a big way. Here’s a sampling of what you can expect.
The most popular types of hockey wagers on NHL betting sites in Ontario are moneylines and totals, very similar to MLB but with a few more options.
Like MLB, there’s a “Puck Line” where you can wager with a 1.5 goal spread. There are also 3-way money lines where you can bet on either team to win or a tie at the end of regulation.
Say the Toronto Maple Leafs are playing the Boston Bruins and you want to bet on the Leafs. Perhaps the standard money line has Leafs -230.
The Puck Line might be something like Leafs +105, but you are giving 1.5 goals so they’d need to win by at least 2.
Further, you can go with the 3-way market and bet on Leafs moneyline at about -150, in which case you only win if the Leafs end up winning in regulation.
If you could create a perfect sport to bet on, it would be the NFL. The scoring level is low enough to make each change interesting but not so low as to make you wonder sometimes whether you will ever see a score. What’s more the standard 30-40 second lag between plays is a perfect amount of time to slap on a live bet.
NFL spreads are enormously popular of course, as are bets on Totals. And if you like Futures, there is a robust sports betting market all offseason on Super Bowl odds and on team Win Totals starting in the spring.
NBA betting is both simple and tricky at once. There are literally only three numbers NBA handicappers need to calculate. That is the expected offensive efficiency of each team and the expected pace of play. As such spreads and totals are both very popular. NBA props like “total number of 3’s” or individual props like “How many points will Lebron James score” are very big as well.
MLB betting is a very fun grind”. Baseball plays a 162 game season so there’s interesting action virtually every day.
The most popular MLB bets are Moneyline wagers on the game-winner and Total Runs over/unders. If you want to eliminate the risk of bullpens, betting sites offer 5 inning money lines and over/unders as well. There are also MLB Run Lines, where you bet the game with a 1.5 run spread.
MLB bets are generally contingent on the starting pitchers listed on the wager, so if there is a late change the bet will simply cancel.
College football betting is just pure fun for new bettors. There are quite a few mismatches in the actual game, but that’s precisely why point spreads and totals make everything interesting. As with the NFL, there are hugely popular futures markets in the offseason.
You can wager on conference championships and playoff qualifiers and winners virtually the instant that the final score of the championship goes up. Team wins total over/under come out in the spring and also are wildly popular.
Who doesn’t love filling out March Madness brackets? Most betting sites offer contests that can vary from free to high stakes. Of course, you can wager on all the games as well. And the season doesn’t just start when the whole world turns its focus to the sport in March.
They play games and tournaments starting in November and there are point spreads and totals on virtually all of them.
Other Ontario Betting Market Options
There are plenty more options to bet on besides the major sports. Soccer is arguably more major than anything, and betting sites post markets on games from all around the world.
Lots of bettors also love individual sports like golf, tennis, and auto racing. If you want to dig even deeper, some betting operators let you wager on more niche sports like Darts and Table Tennis.
The sky is the limit when it comes to different betting markets. One betting site that accommodates to many different markets is DraftKings Ontario Sportsbook, which is noted for its diverse betting market selection.
Online Sports Wagering in Ontario
Betting is currently legal in Ontario. Online betting sites started taking mobile wagers on April 4th, 2022. Up to 15 sites are expected to be available in the province.
Betting Lines and Odds
Expect to see the same betting lines in Ontario as you see in Vegas and on online bookmakers in the US. There will however be small but important line variations. The best way to boost your bankroll is to always get the price possible on every bet you place.
Betting margins are very tight so you want to capture any edge you can. As such you should open accounts at as many books as is practical, and shop for the best line you can anytime you place wagers.
Mobile Sports Betting Apps
Look for all the betting sites opening up to have mobile Ontario betting apps. The apps vary in quality and structure from site to site but most are on the fast side.
They’re great in that you can see odds in a flash and place a bet within seconds if you so desire. And of course, you can access all this from anywhere via your phone.
Deposits and Withdrawal Times
Betting sites make it extremely easy to deposit funds. It's quick and safe. They accept all manner of payments such as credit cards, ACH bank transfers, prepaid cards, wire transfers, and eChecks. Of note PayPal and Venmo are common with bookmakers in the US but it is unknown about whether they will be available in the Canadian market. Funds are generally available in your account in minutes.
Withdrawals are safe and reliable but not quite as deposits. It's far simpler than the days of bookies or offshore books and you can be secure in the knowledge that your funds will get to you.
Bookmakers don’t offer as many choices on how to withdraw, but there’s always a check-in-the-mail option and there are generally bank transfers and other options. The speed will depend on your payout choice. Wire transfers and PayPal/Venmo may take a business day or two, checks can take a week.
Account Issues can crop up and it's good to have a quick and helpful Customer support system available. Live chat tends to be the best way to contact the support team. Most, but not all, sports wagering platforms have a Live Chat feature.
If not, then they will certainly have email and phone support. The books also have extensive Search and FAQ sections, so it's possible you can find the answer to your question before you need to contact someone.
Some betting sites with notably good customer support options include FanDuel Ontario sportsbook.
Simple Sports Wagering Tips and Strategies
As sports fans get up to speed, you will probably pick up some ability to handicap games, that is you can calculate some point spreads and totals and then compare your results to the actual betting markets.
That’s very helpful, but your ultimate enjoyment will depend on bankroll management. You will need to learn how to find the best prices at all times, how to better time certain types of bets, and how much to allocate to the wager.
Sign Up For Multiple Betting Platforms
Sign up for as many betting sites as you can. It's extremely important to get the best price possible when you place your wagers. An extra half-point or point on a spread can make the bet 1%-2% more likely to cash.
Every time you bet at -105 vs -110 can save you a few bucks on a loss. And it all adds up over time. The best way to get the best price is to have as many betting options as you can.
Shop the Lines
Always shop lines when possible! That’s how you will get the best price at all times. There are sites and services out there that will post all the available markets.
Use this to your advantage. Bookmakers price odds with “juice”, such as the standard -110 on straight bets. But when you shop lines, you effectively can reduce or eliminate that juice by placing your wager at the best price.
Stick to a Betting System
There is no single betting system out there that always works. But that doesn’t mean there’s no merit to a betting system. It's important to feel comfortable and confident in how you are attacking this. Let's say you are like betting NFL Unders.
Maybe come up with guidelines or piggyback on a betting system that plays certain Unders. Betting results fluctuate in the near term, but mean-revert in the long term.
If you stay confident in your system and disciplined in following it, you will likely perform better than you would with a more haphazard approach.
Start with Straight Bets
Straight bets are the easiest wagers to understand, and thus make a good entry point for new bettors. The odds are generally around 50% as the point spread or total is set to a level that evens out the probabilities.
A coin flip can turn up “heads” twenty times in a row, but it's very unlikely. By the same token, you are very unlikely to hit or miss everything you touch. Starting with relatively small amounts and straight bets is a great way to get your feet wet.
Making Small Wagers
Bet with your head, not over it. And manage your bankroll well. Small wagers let you get acclimated to the whole process of putting money down on a game and then seeing how you handle the action.
You will find it's way better to have some net winnings and rue not betting more than it is to lose too big too early and run through your funds before you really get going.
Live Betting is ther most popular form of sports betting. Sports gambling sites generally rely on algorithms to set their betting markets on Live Bets. And the odds spreads are wider than on pre-game spreads. It's often -115 on each side as opposed to the standard -110 pregame.
But those algorithms sometimes are slow to react to developments in a live game, such as when there’s an injury to a key player or foul trouble to an NBA star, or various other unforeseen events. As such, you can occasionally find some inefficiencies in live markets. BetRivers Ontario sportsbook is one betting site that is notable for its live betting experience.
How to Bet on Sports in Ontario FAQ
Starting April 4th, you will be able to bet sports mobile and online in Ontario.
No, lines aren’t necessarily better at casinos in Las Vegas, or anywhere in particular. Sharp bettors will take advantage of any lines that deviate too much, and as such the prices you see in Ontario will pretty much mirror prices you see in Vegas.
Handicapping is setting the price on betting markets. Betting handicap to set the lines, bettors handicap to set their own lines, and perhaps bet on games where their handicapping work suggests there’s an edge in their number over the bookmaker number.
Strictly speaking, a big favourite is the easiest bet to win. But the odds will reflect that as you will have to risk a relatively large amount in order to win a relatively small amount.
Straight bets generally have the least juice, so over time it's the best type of bet. That’s not a rule etched in stone however as bettors may find they can better handicap other types of wagers.
The higher the odds, the more money you can win. Of course, higher odds also mean less probability of winning. It's always fun to turn a small wager into a big win but it's also relatively unlikely.
You will see most prices default to American Odds. Negative odds show you the amount you need to risk in order to win $100. Thus -110 means you risk $110 to win $100. Conversely positive odds like +120 mean a $100 bet wins $120.
Adam Warner is an expert reviewer of sportsbooks and online casinos in Ontario for OntarioBets.com. Warner, the author of "Options Volatility Trading: Strategies for Profiting from Market Swings" former financial writer for Schaeffers Research, and a freelance writer for Minyanville.com and StreetInsight.com. Previously Adam was a Market Maker on the American Stock Exchange and a graduate of Johns Hopkins University.