The term ‘bookmaker’ derives from the practice of recording wagers in a hard-bound ledger (the ‘book’) with the person laying bets ‘making the book’.
Nowadays you can also bet online on your pc, tablet or mobile and beyond the convenience of online betting, bookies now operate with ever tighter margins in an increasingly competitive online market – there really has never been a better time to be a punter!
The nature of betting on sports means that the art of assessing the true odds is never an exact science, and will always leave bookmakers operating within a spectrum of some doubt. Whilst they will have no difficulty applying a margin to their core probabilities, they will rarely be absolutely certain that their assessment of the true chances of each outcome is correct.
Bookies must set odds, and therefore form opinions on, a whole range of sporting events, while a punter can concentrate on identifying the good prices on few events. If, in your opinion, the bookmaker is offering odds that you believe to be longer than the true odds, you have found a value bet and value bets are one of the key ingredients to beating the bookmakers in the long run.
Click on the links at the top of this page to read our reviews of what we consider to be the best online bookmakers, including details of all their sign-up offers and latest promotions.