Review of Bovada for sports betting, ideal for Americans ✓
Bovada is a US-only sportsbook and online gaming operator based in Canada. It has been operating under this name since the end of 2011 when original brand Bodog (est. 1994) decided to branch off with a brand solely for American punters due to legislation changes.
It still offers all the same perks that their original Bodog punters were used to, including the same software platform, betting options and high quality customer service, but with much more of a focus on American-based sports and offering a wider variety of USA-compatible payment methods and services.
While it is designed for all US players, be aware that there are some states whose residents are excluded from joining their betting website (please see left-hand column for details).
Bovada Bonuses and Promotions
It starts off with a 50% Welcome Bonus up to $250 on your first deposit. There’s no restrictions on how you can use the bonus, with all sports, bet types and odds open. The welcome bonus can also be used on other offerings and rollover requirements before cashing out vary accordingly, with 3x for sports, 20x for casino and three poker points per dollar amount.
Rollover requirements refer to the deposit amount plus the bonus amount and you’ll forfeit your bonus and any winnings you’ve made from it if you try to cash out before fulfilling the rollover requirements. Just keep an eye on the terms & conditions and you’ll be fine.
Other promos at Bovada include 10% cashback on parlays and on horse racing and there is even the chance to win sports bets playing in their Black Diamond Poker Open.
Navigating their website and user experience
Starting at the sportsbook tab, you’re welcomed by a nice slick site design with no flashing annoyances or other distractions. It’s actually one of the more neatly arranged websites, making it easy to navigate and find exactly what you’re after with no hassle.
The US-facing betting companies have often got some rather strange user-unfriendly designs, where finding events is hard and / or the design is too hard going, with a massive emphasis on the colour black. This has done away with that and it really is a pleasure to browse. It is a big improvement on the Bodog design that preceded it.
Along the very top of the page you’ve got the logo, followed by large tabs linking to other offerings under the Bovada umbrella, such as Casino and Poker. You’ll also notice they’ve given Horses a tab of its own but it’s also still included in the list on the main sports page so it can’t be missed. Finishing the top of the page is where you’ll find the login boxes and links to join.
The smaller white tabs line the top of the sports page and consist of links to Live Betting, Features, Articles and Promotions. Moving further down the page, you’ll notice the page is arranged into three columns. The column furthest to the left starts with Featured Betting Lines, giving you the option to jump straight to the most popular events and betting opportunities in a single click. Below that is where you’ll find your list of sports. What’s particularly nice about the list is the fact that events without betting odds are greyed out, meaning you don’t waste time.
The middle column is headed by a banner advertising the Bovada Welcome Bonus, followed by the top five betting lines, which show details of upcoming events along with Canadian Line, Money Line, Over/Unders, start times and whether or not Live Betting is available. It’s another way to get to the action and get your bets on quickly. Then at the bottom of the middle column you’ll find a section called Highlighted Events, which features big upcoming sporting markets as well as promos for one or more of the website’s other offerings.
The column on the right side is where you’ll find your bet slip, which in itself has a couple of attractive features, such as separate tabs for different types of bets (singles, parlay and robin, if bet and reverse, and teaser bets) and an ‘always there’ function that means your bet slip stays visible regardless of how far down the page you scroll. Then underneath that is a small image promo for Blackjack.
When you tick a box to add a wager to your bet slip, it appears almost instantly, along with a small question mark that reveals details of the event when you mouse over it.
Overall it’s a nice, user-friendly yet still smooth and attractive interface that makes finding and betting on your selections a breeze.
In terms of variety of sporting events available at Bovada Sportsbook, don’t expect to find any of the obscure European sports that you might be more likely to find at some of the European bookmakers. Remember that this site is exclusively US-facing and as such offers gambling on a wide variety of markets within the US, such as NFL, College Football, NBA, College Basketball, MLB, College Baseball, NHL, MLS, NASCAR, UFC and other top American sports.
You’ll also find betting is available on the larger sporting events from overseas, such as English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, French La Ligue and German Bundesliga soccer, as well as other popular sports such Rugby, Darts, Snooker and others. There is also a separate tab for the racebook and the ability to bet on other events under Entertainment, such as who’ll be the next pope and the gender of certain celebrity’s next baby.
Live Betting is also available at Bovada, with a highlights board style display of upcoming events, times and which channel they are broadcast on. The features tab also details some of the perks of wagering here, including the ability to bet via iPhone and Android mobile devices. The articles tab gives you a selection of sports news articles to read, making it a good stop for a background check on your team’s performance.
Payment and withdrawals
Deposit methods include Credit Card, Rapid Transfer and Money Transfer, while withdrawals can be requested (one fee-free per month) via check or Rapid Transfer. There are fees for depositing and withdrawing that vary depending on the method you choose but they will reimburse your fee for deposits of over $300.
As far as the withdrawals go, Bovada sorts this out faster and better than any other American focused website. It is delays with withdrawals that have proved a weak link with some other US sites.
There’s a very comprehensive help section covering all of their services that should answer any question you may have. Failing that, there’s also support available via email, online form and phone on a 24/7 basis.
Our Opinion & Verdict
This is arguably the best of the current crop of US betting sites, along with 5Dimes. They have a pedigree going back years and while that does not always mean a firm is excellent, within the regulatory confines of the American betting market, this firm is.
Perhaps the biggest shame is that there are some excluded USA states (see top of left-hand column for details). However if you are an American looking for a safe place to bet with a quick and easy website, a ton of sports events, good lines, generous bonuses and the best withdrawal times, then the highly-rated Bovada Sportsbook has to be your first port of call.
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