The most trafficked online sportsbook for US bettors, Bovada does what you would expect, and they do it well. For anyone dipping their toe into the sportsbook world, Bovada is professional, easy to navigate, and has plenty of offerings. Though Bovada does not cater to big bettors or professional handicappers, they are a safe, straight-forward, all-for-one site for the recreational player.

Jump To: Bonuses | Sportsbook Experience | Deposits | Withdrawals | Customer Service | Final Thoughts

Bovada Bonuses and Promotions

The standard sportsbook promotion at Bovada is a 50% bonus up to $250. You maximize the value of this offer by depositing $500 and getting $750 in your account. Rollover is a manageable 5x, and the rules specify this is only for recreational players.

Bovada will sweeten the pot if you use Bitcoin as your deposit method,  A 50% match bonus with 5x rollover up to $500 is available for sportsbook players who finance their account using Bitcoin:

Use Promo Code: BVSBITCOIN50

These are the only sports-specific bonus offers currently available, but there are incentives to sign-up if you are primarily a poker or casino player or if you refer-a-friend. More on these below.

Cashing in on bonuses and sign-up codes is very easy. When you sign-up, after you put in your personal information, there is a box at the bottom that reads, “Claim Your Bonus.” From that box, you can toggle through all of the bonuses available, or there is a place to enter a promo code. Whatever code you are opting to use, simply copy and paste it, hit deposit, and you’ll be credited with that reward.

Additional Bonuses

By referring a friend through email or social media, you can earn up to $100 with 5x rollover.

Because all sportsbooks appreciate loyalty, “Bovada Rewards” work a lot like your credit card. The more you bet on the site, the more points you earn, and Bovada’s ultimate reward is cash back on losing bets. If you spend enough capital at the site, whether you are winning or losing, you can earn anywhere from 5% to 15% back on losing wagers.

Sportsbook Experience

Bovada has experienced success over a long period of time with their sportsbook and part of the formula is simplicity. They aren’t the first book to post lines, and the juice, particularly on in-game wagering, is higher than we’d like, but in the end the huge majority of bettors will be more than satisfied with the Bovada product and find everything they are looking for and more.

Placing a wager is pretty simple. You can sort lines by sport, toggle to whatever event you are interested in, chose among the various ways to bet that game (spread, total, money line, prop), click on the specific wager you want to play, type in how much you want to bet, click “review bet,” and then click “place bet.” The whole process takes less than a minute. If you want to set up several bets simultaneously, you can do everything before reviewing bets, then look at all of your bets at once and bet them together. When you queue several bets at the same time, parlay and teaser options will pop-up.

Betting Limits

Minimum and maximum wager amounts vary by the type of bet and sport. You can bet as little as $0.50 on some wagers despite Bovada’s literature stating that $1 is the low-water mark. The stated maximums are in the charts below (though we suspect elite customers can negotiate higher limits). The following chart shows the limits for major sports and bet types:

NFL
NBA
MLB
NHL
SPREADS
$5,000
$2,000
$1,000
$1,000
MONEYLINES
$2,500
$1,000
$2,000
$1,000
TOTALS
$2,500
$1,000
$1,000
$500
PARLAYS
$2,500
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
TEASERS
$1,000
$1,000
NA
NA
PARLAY PROPS
$500
$500
$500
$500
GAME PROPS
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
$1,000
FUTURES
$1,000
$500
$500
$500
1H/2H SPREADS
$1,000
$1,000
$500
N/A
1H/2H TOTALS
$1,000
$1,000
$500
N/A

Because Bovada caters to the general public, lines tend to be shaded so that the popular teams are more difficult to get betting value on. Conversely, if you like getting points, you may benefit. It is going to be hard to get the dream line on the Cowboys or Steelers, but if you like the Titans, you may see an extra half point from time-to-time. That said, Bovada uses dual lines. While this isn’t a problem for recreational players, those who take gambling on sports really seriously will begrudge that not everyone gets the same line on each game.

Sharp players, pros who use analytics and feel that every half point is a huge deal, will typically see -7 and -3 on marquee games, while the public, who want to get a few bucks down on the Cowboys, might have to lay 7.5 or 3.5 if their team is really popular. (Conversely, average $10 and $20 players, who have some contrarian views will get the extra half point.) If you are playing for fun, this has minor meaning. If you know your ROI to the fourth decimal point, there might be better books to try.

One of the great improvements at Bovada over the past several years is the number of ways you can bet. In addition to all of the standard wagers, there are now alternate lines on most games, more props, and a tremendous live-betting platform. Virtually every big sporting event, and plenty of smaller ones, are available for live betting. Though the juice is a little high on live betting, the variety of games and bets within those contests is tremendous. This is the single biggest improvement Bovada has made in recent memory, and that says a lot, since their poker room has gone from elite, to nonexistent, to very busy and fun again.

Though it won’t be meaningful to most casual bettors, Bovada does not post lines early. They wait until lines are established, and smart money has moved that line into place, and then they take their cue. Bovada’s lines are up in plenty of time to get action down on games, but if you are trying to get the right side of the line immediately upon numbers being listed, this will not be the spot to do so.

As you might expect from a big operation, they input results very quickly, grade bets, and allow you to get your money back in play. If you win an early NFL game on Sunday, and it is over before the late games begin, you will have an opportunity to wager your winnings on the next set of contests.

In terms of breadth, Bovada is like most modern sportsbooks. In addition to the major sports, they offer gambling on a wide range of events including darts, rugby, e-sports, and cycling. They have lines on secondary leagues for major sports, props on world events, and even offer action on random questions like whether Donald Trump will have his Twitter handle suspended.

Betting on a Mobile Device

We used smart phones and tablets to sample Bovada’s mobile sites and there were few problems. In fact, parts of the site, particularly the poker room, seemed easier to use on a mobile device since no download was required. The various buttons are plenty big enough to make sure you get your money on the side you want, and the software mimics the full website incredibly well. It loads quickly, and poses no problems.

One general issue with Bovada is the need to scroll to find the event you want to bet on. If you are looking at a college basketball slate with 50 games, you’ll have to continually scroll down. (The games are organized by tipoff time.) It isn’t a problem, but things would be easier if the entire menu of games loaded immediately as opposed to only the first page. Games load quickly, and assuming you have any sort of decent service of wifi, the speed of the site is not a concern. If you like Bovada for your typical betting needs, the mobile experience will be more than satisfactory.

Secondary Offerings: Poker, Casino, and Racebook

Outside of the sportsbook, Bovada has a poker room, casino, and racebook. This is a mixed bag. For poker, Bovada has always had a lot of action, tons of variety, and an excellent platform. That remains the case. Because they have the highest-trafficked online poker room for U.S. players, the options are always plentiful, and anonymous tables makes those offerings fair for all.

The casino is very good too. New, updated games are being added frequently, and the quality of graphics and ease-of-use is strong. Bovada’s casino games are provide by Real Time Gaming, Rival among others.

The racebook is not very good. If you are looking to bet $2-$10 to win on a race once in a blue moon, it does the trick. However, the racebook does not allow for certain exotic wagers, and at times the minimum bet is higher than at the track. They also cap winnings on certain high-risk/high-reward bets, and their policy on paying out racetrack consolation amounts if you hit an exotic that nobody has won at the track (as opposed to awarding the entire pool minus the takeout) is outrageous.

If you are primarily going to bet horses, there are better options. That said, those who are betting on sports and playing poker should have no problems, and folks dabbling in the casino and racebook will be satisfied too.

Banking – Deposits

Though Bovada doesn’t offer a lot of different ways to deposit money, they do make depositing straightforward and easy, both with credit card and Bitcoin. They process transactions quickly, and there are few hoops to go through. Their fee of just under 6% when using a credit card feels unnecessary, but your cash is ready to use almost immediately, and they accept all major cards: Visa, MasterCard and Amex.

We contacted customer support using the “chat” function to see if they would offer any special deals or if there was a way to avoid deposit fees. They said that, if we chose to use a credit card, there was no way to avoid the charge. Customer service steered us towards a Bitcoin deposit bonus: up to a $500 bonus as a 50% match of my deposit with 5x rollover, which is one of Bovada’s standard promotions. (Note that some casino play does not count as part of the rollover requirement.) The customer-service agent sent a link to the Bitcoin deposit page. Interestingly, clicking on this link ended the chat session because we were moved to a new page, but the directions to deposit were very straight forward. The code “BVSBITCOIN50” was already entered under promo codes, and once our information was filled in, the promotion was active.

They warn you that Bitcoin deposits may take hours or even days, but we were up and rolling within a few minutes. If you are not familiar with Bitcoin, Bovada does a really good job of giving you the essential information, and pointing customers to a simple way to open an account, transfer cash, and get going. In other words, they like Bitcoin deposits, they make it easy to use them, and everyone wins when there are no fees assessed.

After we made our deposit, the site indicated that they had all required information and that they were working on processing the transaction. When our money was ready to use, the site indicated that the transaction had been approved and our balance appeared. At that point, we were free to begin betting. There was no email or other verification, just a balance of cash in our account.

Deposit Fee Schedule

DEPOSITING OPTIONS
MINIMUM
MAXIMUM
FEES
VISA
$20
$1,000
5.9%
MASTERCARD
$20
$1,000
5.9%
AMERICAN EXPRESS
$20
$1,000
5.9%
BITCOIN
$10
$5,000
None

 

Banking – Withdrawals

Bovada has a tremendous track record for paying customers. Nothing is more important than reliability with sportsbooks, and Bovada is consistent. That’s not to say they don’t occasionally have a bump in the road, but their positive history is exactly what you want.

Like deposits, there is not a long list of ways that Bovada will pay you. You can get Bitcoin or a check by courier. Generally this is a pretty efficient and seamless system. It is pretty easy to avoid fees, and they are reliable, though not overly fast delivering a check. We suspect that, for a hefty fee, you might be able to arrange a faster delivery method, but for the huge majority of account holders, these are sufficient.

Bovada’s BTC process is pretty indicative of the vast majority of their transactions. A recent post on the subject described the transaction as, “Perfect Bitcoin Conversion. Top Notch. Impressed.”

Withdrawal Fee Schedule

 

OPTION
MIN.
MAX.
FREQUENCY
TIMEFRAME
FEES
CHECK
$100
None
1 Per Week
10-15 Business Days
One free every 90 days.
$100 per additional request
BITCOIN
$10
$9,500
1 Per 3 days
Less than 15 minutes
None

 

Customer Service

The support we received at Bovada was inconsistent. They have a very helpful and in-depth Frequently Asked Questions section, offer assistance via email, chat, and phone, and seem to be able to correspond in multiple languages. However, the first person you converse with is unlikely to be able to offer you anything beyond the published promotions, the chat support frequently has a back log of people (though they get to you fairly quickly), and most disconcerting, once you get someone using chat support, they are not quick in their responses. (We have a hunch they are chatting with several people at the same time.) We recommend calling if you have something beyond a general question, and don’t be afraid to ask for a manager. Once in the hands of people at a slightly higher pay scale, concerns are addressed much more efficiently.

Is Bovada Sportsbook a Good Sportsbook?

Over the many years we have been reviewing Bovada, the experience continues to improve, particularly lately. At one point it was really a beginner’s book: a place for amateurs to throw a couple bucks around for entertainment while missing out on some of the advantages of other sportsbooks. If you want poker as a part of your sportsbook experience, at this stage Bovada is probably the best place to go.

If you are looking for strictly a sportsbook, and you want an easy interface, trustworthy operator, and excellent mobile platform, we highly recommend Bovada as it’s a solid choice for US bettors. If you are going to hunt lines, and sweat details, Bovada will work, but other places might suit your needs better. The bottom line is Bovada is straightforward, easy to use, and dependable. It is an awfully good choice for all but the most serious or niche players.