Like other forms of online gambling in Canada, sports bets made within the borders must be made through government sanctioned entities. And the available options will vary greatly depending on your province.
But – and it’s a big BUT – when you take your sportsbooks online, you have access to plenty of sites that operate outside of Canada. It’s not technically ‘legal’ to bet with these companies, but it’s not technically ‘illegal’ either. It exists in a legal grey area.
So online casinos based in places like Antigua, Gibraltar, the Isle of Man, or the United Kingdom are open for business!
Sending your money to offshore casinos may sound daunting, but being smart with your gambling dollars just requires some dedicated research to ensure the sites you play with are safe. Luckily, we’ve already done this research for you!
When creating our reviews for trusted online sportsbooks, we look into a number of factors we know will matter to you when you play to give you the best online sports betting experience possible in Canada. For example, we know how frustrating it is to have a question and not be able to find anyone to answer it, so we look for sports betting sites with plenty of friendly and available support agents.
We’re also big proponents of the ‘variety is the spice of life’ mindset. So we look for sites with a number of sports and different betting options. And we look for the sites that make it easy and safe to make deposits and withdrawals.
At Casino Guru, we only recommend online sportsbooks that are licenced and regulated in their country. Scroll down to find the best online sports betting option for you. Not sure how to get started? Keep scrolling to learn more about online sports betting in Canada.
The Best Online Sportsbooks for Canadian Bettors
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Customer Support at the Best Online Sportsbooks
In an ideal world, you’d never have to contact customer support for anything…ever. If you can make that happen for yourself, we salute you! But the reality is, at some point, you’ll probably have a question that you can’t find the answer to on your own.
When that time comes, the sportsbook you’re using better have agents working around the clock, through multiple channels, to help you find what you need.
Great sportsbooks allow you to get in contact through live chat, email, and phone, but truly exceptional sportsbooks also allow you to get in touch through other options, like Facebook or Twitter. Availability and the variety of contact methods are weighted heavily in our sportsbook reviews.
When you’re deciding whether or not to sign up for a new sportsbook, also make sure to look for a physical address listed with the other contact information. This will let you know where the online sportsbooks are registered, regulated, and located. Meaning, you’ll get a good idea of how they operate.
How to Read the Point Spread & Bet the Point Spread
The point spread goes by a few names. You may have heard it referred to as ‘the line’, ‘spread’, or ‘betting sides’. Whatever you call it, it’s something you’ll want to know, since it’s a very common method of sportsbetting.
Some people mistakenly think that the spread is what the sportsbook predicts will be the margin of victory. But in reality, it’s a little more complicated. It’s actually the prediction of the number of people who will bet on the underdog vs. the favourite, making it more of a prediction of your behaviour than the players’.
Let’s take a look at how it works.
Say we have we have an NHL game between the Leafs and the Senators. Our sportsbook could look a little like this:
Leafs -5.5 (-110)
Senators +5.5 (-110)
Counterintuitively, the negative value is listed with the favourite and the positive value is listed with the underdog, because it actually represents who is expected to give and who is expected to receive points during the game.
The first number listed is the point spread. So, in our example where the Leafs are the favourite to win (shhhh, I know it’s wrong, but Leafs fas need this), betting on the Leafs would means you think they’ll win by 6 points or more.
If the Leafs win, but by less than 6 points (let’s say it’s 20-17), then they won the game straight up (SU) but didn’t cover the points spread. So alas, poor Leafs fan, you have just lost against the spread (ATS).
The second number in the brackets tells you what you must stake to win a certain amount, including the fee the bookmaker takes as a commission on losing bets. And of course, this comes along with more lingo. The commission is known as a vigorish, vig, or juice, and is commonly 10%.
In our example, at -110, in order to win $100 (should your wager win), you need to wager $110. Some sportsbooks lower their vig to encourage bets. So, you may see -107 or -102, which means you’ll need to bet $107 or $102 respectively for a chance to win $100. Taking the time to search for these lower fees to book your bet is called ‘price shopping’.
Now that you know what the whole thing means, let’s take a look at another possible outcome of our scenario. You bet the point spread, wager $110, and the Leafs win by 6 points or more. Congrats, you get your $110 back with an additional $100 (total is $210).
In the scenario where you lost, you just don’t get your $110 back.
If neither team covers the spread, it’s called a push. A push would occur if, for example, the Leafs are a -10 point favourite and they win the game with a final score of 20-10. In this case, the sportsbook will refund the money you wagered.
Sometimes, the game is a close enough match that the sportsbook won’t draw odds. This type of game is called a Pick’em (or PK). So you just pick the team you expect to win without betting on a margin of victory.
How to Make a Moneyline Bet
Moneyline betting is another type of sports bet that is quickly gaining popularity, especially with those who love to root for the underdog. This is a straightforward bet that only predicts who wins or loses, not the margin of victory.
The vig in these types of bets is less predictable. For example, let’s say you see Oilers (-140) and Bruins (+130). In this case, the Oilers are favoured to win and the Bruins are the underdogs. You would have to wager $140 to win 100 on the Oilers and bet $100 to win $130 on the Bruins.
Betting the Canadian Way
If hockey is your game, note that many hockey bets actually use a betting system known as the “Canadian Line”. It’s a combination of a point spread and moneyline betting that gives different odds to different teams.
Let’s look at another quick example:
Leafs -5.5 (-120)
Senators +5.5 (+140)
In this case, you would have to bet $100 on the Leafs and beat the spread to make $120, and you would have to bet $120 on the Senators and beat the spread to make $100.
Online Sportsbook Terminology
Whether you’re new to sports betting, or you just need a quick refresher of the vast number of terms used in online sportsbooks, you can find what you need in our glossary below.
Across the Board – a horse racing bet that a particular horse will win, place, and show.
ATS (Against the Spread) – a bet that your chosen team will cover the point spread (i.e. get the predicted number of points or more).
Buck – A $100 wager.
Canadian Line – A betting style specific to hockey that combines point spread and moneyline styles of betting.
Chalk – The favourite to win in a given sport.
Circled Game – A game with lowered betting limits or fewer types of bets allowed, usually due to injury or other interfering circumstances.
Cover – When the outcome of a sport has the predicted margin (i.e. you ‘covered the spread’).
Dime – A $1000 wager.
Double Action – A type of “if bet” that allows you to take some or all of the winnings from one game and apply them to a following game on another day.
Double Bet – Wagering twice what you would typically wager.
Edge – The advantage of the bettor.
Even Money – When there are no odds associated with a particular wager.
Exposure – The absolute maximum a sportsbook can lose on a particular sporting event.
Favourite – The team or individual expected to win a particular game/event.
Figure – What is owed either to or by the bookmaker when the outcome is final.
First Half Bet – A bet that is only placed on the outcome of the first half of a game.
Futures – A bet on an event that will occur in the future. For example, betting on the Stanley Cup during the regular hockey season.
Grand Salami – A type of hockey bet on the total number of goals scored in every game on a particular day. The specific type of bet is usually under/over.
Half Time Bet – A bet that is only placed on the outcome of the second half of a game.
Handle – Your total bet. This could be on a single event, or a series of events.
Hedging – A bet placed on both sides of an outcome. This is a method to ensure a win (although not a large one).
Hook – Half of a point.
Limit – The most a bookmaker will allow you to bet before changing the points and/or odds.
Lines – Also known as ‘odds’.
Moneyline – A wager with odds but without a point spread.
Move the Line – Paying for a hook or more in your favour in a game with a point spread.
No Action – Usually occurring during a push, there is no money gained or lost.
Over/Under – A bet on the total number of points in a game. You bet whether you think they will be over or under a specific number.
Pick ‘em (PK) – A game or match without a favourite to win; therefore, there are no odds or spread.
Point spread – The predicted amount the favourite in a given game is expected to win over the other team/individual.
Single Action – A type of “if bet” that allows you to take some or all of the winnings from one game and apply them to a following game on the same day automatically.
Straight Bet – A bet on a single individual or team (the opposite of ‘hedging’).
Taking the Points – A bet on the underdog.
Taking the Price – Wagering on the underdog while taking money odds.
Total – The total number of points (runs, goals, etc.) scored during a given event – and any overtime – by both individuals/teams.
Totals Bet – A wager that the ‘total’ will be over or under the sportsbook’s advertised line.
Value – Finding the best odds on a particular wager and getting the highest edge.
Vigorish – What the bookmaker earns on all losing bets (i.e. their commission). Also known as ‘juice’ or ‘vig’.
You love sports. And sports betting is a fantastic way to add an extra dash of excitement when you’re already on the edge of your seat during that nail-biting game. Or it can add a little friendly competition between you and your buddies while you enjoy a game together. No matter how you like to play while your favourite team plays, there are plenty of betting options to take advantage of. To make the most of it, take advantage of Casino Guru Canada for tips, tutorials, news, and reviews of the best online sports betting you can find!