On the brink of the most disrupting pandemic ever, the winter of 2019 and 2020 brought a long-awaited expansion of the major sports betting markets.
In the state of Michigan, I was able to sign up for five different sports books all within a couple weeks of each other (with significantly good bonuses at the time). So from my experience I will be speaking on the following companies:
From user interface to connected casino/sportsbook/fantasy account balances, FanDuel has been the best sports betting experience for me so far.
The goal for many sports bettors is to make a profit, so it’s nice to know what your accounts net winnings are. FanDuel’s account balance section makes it more than easy to scroll down and have the total amount laid and total amount won back displayed in an instant.
As for the mobile app, it seems to be a much more clean and flowing interface that makes things easier to find. Which leads into the next advantage of FanDuel; it offers EVERYTHING. From same game parlays to boosted odds to can’t lose promos to daily fantasy, the coverage FanDuel offers is second to none.
Each sportsbook has to offer varying odds of some sort for competitive advantage, however time and time again when I do my line shopping I find myself declaring FanDuel as the best odds pretty frequently. With revenue of nearly $900 million in 2020, FanDuel had been the top money maker during the early stages of legalized sports betting expansion, earning the business of many sports bettors alike.
In a market as crowded as the sports betting market right now, being the ‘second best’ sports book is a very big compliment. For a company like Caesars, they got their start in a much more traditional form of betting – casinos.
While the casino business doesn’t directly affect our sports betting experiences, the resources and foundation it provided Caesars to develop a cutting-edge mobile app and memorable marketing materials like this can’t go unmentioned:
My favorite part of the Caesars experience are the occasional super boosts that occur for popular events. At times they will release a Super Boost that has boosted +100 odds for something that almost always happens (like a QB throwing for over 150 yards).
It’s not necessarily a given that all mobile apps feel refreshing to use when searching for bets, but the first two names on my list go above and beyond in their design and interface.
Although FanDuel had dominated the early stages of the industry expansion, DraftKings has been quick to make up the ground. With an estimated $1.8 billion in 2021 revenue, their projections fall evenly with their rivals’ for the year.
In terms of ‘gateway’, DraftKings is a likely first destination for people entering the market due to the massive coverage they possess on national media and partnerships. Becoming a fan favorite sports book was important, so DraftKings developed the ability to host countless promos, bonuses and special boosts.
Without a doubt my favorite moments on DraftKings come when they release ‘Hammer the Over’ specials that lower with each x amount of users placing a bet. The wager amount is limited, but there’s nothing like telling all your friends and family about guaranteed money.
The public sides with DraftKings; on my personal Instagram story, 16 users voted for DraftKings compared to 13 for FanDuel, 9 for Barstool and 7 for Caesars.
The best sign up bonus I ever received was from PointsBet. Using a friends referral code, him and I both received $200 in free bets. Not only that, but unlike many books like MGM, the free bets could be used in any increments – not just $100 per bet or anything else restricting.
Needless to say, I enjoyed becoming a user of PointsBet. I will also say that the best looking dark-mode interface belongs to PointsBet and not DraftKings like many others might think. Maybe it could be that I think the colors red and black are better suited for a sports book than green and black for whatever reason.
PointsBet takes a slightly different approach, they like to offer different odds for alternative lines on games, hence the name of ‘Points Bet’. It’s nice to see the different options available to bettors, and they do a great job of balancing that new atmosphere.
Last and, in my opinion least, is BetMGM. This might be hard to believe if you looked at my investing portfolio, as I do own shares of MGM. However, the betting experience I’ve had while using the BetMGM app is not hard to beat.
To get one thing out of the way; I was not a fan of the helmet icons MGM used during college football season last year. Instead of using just school logos or opting to go no visual at all, they decided on cheesy looking helmet graphics for each college. Despite the creativity involved, the end result was not better than a clean image of a school’s logo.
For a company that trails only FanDuel in market capitalization, I expected more when using their sports book. As PointsBet allowed me to do as I wished with my sign-up bonus free bets, BetMGM locked them as $100 individual free bets, and the payout on the bets didn’t include the free $100 bet!
Since it’s always time to win, the best way to win is by placing the right bets on books with the highest odds. MGM rarely if ever offers a few cents more on a payout compared to the other books mentioned in this article. That reason above all is why they’re ranked last, because it’s not enough to just offer the games – you have to offer a competitive advantage.
All in all, each sports book has its pros and cons just like every other market with options in the world. Don’t forget to sign up for as many books as you can, so the next time you’re looking to place even just one bet, you’re able to ‘shop’ the books for the best price.