How to bet on sports in Canada

Sports betting explained

Whether you’re courtside, sitting in the nosebleeds, or behind a TV, very little is as exciting (or nerve-racking) as watching your favorite sports. However, it can be even more exciting when you’re invested in the action. That’s why sports betting is so popular, as millions of sports fans around the world bet money on sports and games throughout the season.

To a newcomer, sports betting can look a little daunting. But fear not, BET.CA is here to demystify the process for you. Here we’ll teach you everything you need to know about how to bet on sports, the different ways to bet on sports, and the best places to place bets online.

How to get started online

So you want to place a sports bet, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, it has never been easier to bet on sports online. Just follow these simple steps and you’ll have an account up and running in no time.

Find a sportsbook

There’s a big selection of online sports betting operators in Canada, so it’s important you choose a good one.

Thankfully, BET.CA is here to help with our comprehensive sportsbook reviews so you know which operator is best suited to you. Find your favorite, then get started!

Create an account

Once you’ve identified which online sportsbook you want to bet with, the next step is to create an account. This is very similar to any other site you’ve created accounts with online.

Make sure your login details are unique to the site to protect your card details (and winnings!) and don’t share your password with anyone.

Deposit funds

In order to start betting with your chosen operator, you will need to set up your preferred payment method and verify your details before depositing funds into your betting account.

Top operators also promote responsible gambling, and have options to allow you to set up deposit and stake limits to ensure you remain in control of your betting.

Choose your bet

With your account set up and funds deposited to your account, you’re ready to start your sports betting journey.

Hit the markets and browse the many different options available. Once you’ve found the bet you want to place, it’s time to back your hunch.

Place your first bet

Choose your bet and your stake, then add it to your online betslip. Give your selection a quick check to make sure everything’s correct, then place your bet.

Then comes the difficult part, sitting back and watching while hoping your bet comes in. Good luck!


What are the best sports to bet on in Canada?

The best sports to bet on in Canada are typically the most popular sports in North America. The major leagues including the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL, as well as the English Premier League (EPL) and golf and tennis majors, always attract the biggest betting activity.

Traditionally, you’d have to get your bets in before the action got underway, but with the emergence of live betting, wagering during play to take advantage of major momentum swings during the action is also becoming increasingly popular.


For pure explosive action with tons of stats and a plethora of ways to bet, the NFL might just be not only the world's biggest football league, but also the best sports league to bet on.

Whether you prefer to play the futures markets or go week to week with regular gameday bets, parlays, and teasers, the NFL always offers a variety of ways to scratch your sports betting itch. The CFL and NCAAF are other popular football leagues to bet on.


The NHL may be a predominantly American league, but hockey is undoubtedly a Canadian sport. The action on the ice is fast and furious, and the betting opportunities are equally so.

With no fewer than seven Canadian teams in the league (the Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks) there are plenty of opportunities for you to make money by backing Canadian teams.


When it comes to fast-paced basketball action with big scoring and plenty of scope for betting, it’s hard to beat the NBA. There’s no shortage of games to bet on, and when it’s playoff time, betting interest goes through the roof.

College basketball is also very, very popular with bettors. Look no further than March Madness and the synonymous bracket as the best collegiate teams in the United States battle it out in tournament to determine the national champions.


With the MLB regular season lasting 162 games per team, baseball’s top league has the longest season in American sports. Just like the NBA and NFL, the wide range of stats makes the sport a great option for new bettors looking to follow the action.

Once the regular season is over, all eyes turn to the playoffs as the best teams in the American and National leagues face off before the champions of each league go head to head in the World Series.


Soccer is the world’s most popular sport, and the popularity of Europe’s top leagues is making an impact in the US and Canada.

The English Premier League (EPL) is the most watched soccer league on the planet and with matches typically taking place during daytime hours, it offers the perfect opportunity to bet on a different sport without clashing with the likes of the NFL, NBA, and NHL. The World Cup takes place every four years, and will held during 2022 in Qatar.

Different ways to bet on sports

Each sport offers different betting options and opportunities, but most take the form of one of a few common bet types. Let’s run through them here:


The moneyline is the simplest and easiest-to-understand bet type, for which oddsmakers simply set odds on opposing game outcomes.

For example, if the Denver Broncos are playing the Las Vegas Raiders in the NFL, a moneyline market would offer odds on each team to win. As a bettor, you simply make your pick.

Point spread

Betting on the point spread involves wagering on whether or not a team will win or lose a game by a margin set by the sportsbook. For instance, you could bet on an NFL team to win at -6.5 points, meaning they need to win the game by seven points or more, or +4.5 points, meaning they need to lose the game by no more than four points (or win).

Wagering on point spread markets is commonly referred to as betting "against the spread".


Parlays are a collection of multiple bets combined into one bet. Combining bets into a parlay increases the potential winnings, but for your parlay to win, every one of the selections you combine has to come in.

Parlays are a very popular bet with casual bettors who like the chance to win big with one bet as opposed to the smaller, incremental winnings that come with betting on single selections.

Totals (Over/Under)

We mentioned above how stats play a huge role in sports betting, and totals bets (often referred to as over/under bets) focus on this aspect of sports.

Whether it’s points scored, yards gained, or wins earned, oddsmakers set their line and you can opt to bet on the outcome being over or under the sportsbook’s mark.


Futures bets ask you to play Nostradamus and predict the outcome of an event that is set to take place in the future. These markets can include bets on the eventual winner of a sports league, or which player will win MVP.

As futures bets are longer-term bets, they can offer the opportunity for big value, provided you can identify the winners ahead of time.

Prop bets

Prop bets (short for proposition bets) are one-off bets that focus on a particular outcome in, or around, a given sporting event that typically has no direct effect on the final result of the game itself. These can include propositions like, “Will there be a defensive touchdown?” or “Which team will score first?”

Major showpiece events often attract additional novelty prop bets from sportsbooks, including bets like “What color Gatorade will be dumped on the head coach of the Super Bowl winners?”

How do sports betting odds work?

Odds represent the likelihood of an outcome happening or not. They are determined by skilled and experienced experts, who set the odds to ensure sportsbooks encourage betting action, while also giving the themselves a margin for profit. Odds are displayed in different ways in different parts of the world, and in Canada, two odds formats are most popular.

With the American odds format, favorites are given a value with a minus (-) symbol attached. The number refers to how much you have to bet in order to win $100. Underdogs are given a value with a plus (+) symbol attached. The number refers to how much you will win if you bet $100.

The decimal odds format looks very different. Commonly used in Europe, they are always represented by positive values (no plus or minus figures) and represent your overall return for a $1.00 bet, including your returned stake.

Here’s an example of how the same selection is listed, using US and decimal odds:

Super Bowl LVI

American odds

Decimal odds

Cincinnati Bengals to win



Los Angeles Rams to win



Sports betting picks

Information is the key to success, regardless of which sport you’re betting on, and sports picks help give you informed knowledge ahead of key events. Established experts in their field share their tips and strategies, from outright picks for gameday betting to general betting strategies to employ in order to enjoy consistent success over the course of a season.

Some picks content is written by betting “sharps” with years of experience backing winners in a particular sport, while other articles are provided by industry insiders whose rare access to teams and players can provide bettors with a valuable edge.

Whether it’s insider information on injuries, tactics or team selections, or in-depth statistical analysis, picks writers can be an invaluable resource to anyone looking to consistently win with their sports bets.

Why do people bet on sports?

Watching sports is exhilarating. It’s even more exciting (and nail-biting) if you’re watching your team in action. Betting on a game adds an extra layer of excitement to the event and gives you the chance to experience that winning feeling.

Even if your team isn’t involved, sports betting allows you to have “skin in the game” and put your sports knowledge to the test regardless of who’s playing, while giving you the opportunity to win money. By placing a wager on the game, your interest in the outcome is immediately heightened, and for millions across Canada, it turns their sporting weekend into a genuine event.

Betting isn’t just for high-rollers, too. With the introduction of single-game betting, placing a wager on a sports event has never been easier. Even a small-stakes bet of $1.00 can have you feeling more involved in a game.

Responsible Gaming

Betting is exciting and the opportunity to win money is great, but it can also be addictive. Regulators and sportsbooks have Responsible Gaming tools to support and protect bettors to ensure their betting experience is both enjoyable and sustainable.

These tools, such as deposit limits, cool-off tools and self-exclusion options exist to both protect bettors from damaging habits, and protect the operators themselves from accusations of exploitation of problem gamblers. With measures in place to ensure bettors do so responsibly, it helps preserve the integrity of the betting and gaming industry, and ensures sportsbooks remain safe and responsible places for people to bet on sports.

You can more with BET.CA's guide to Responsible Gaming.

How to find out more

Want to learn more about sports betting where you live? Each Canadian province has its own laws and regulations around sports betting, and we have each and every province covered in our betting guides.

You can also learn about the basics of betting on each of the major sports in Canada – including football, hockey, basketball, baseball and soccer – in our sport-by-sport betting guides.

How to bet on sports FAQs

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All betting guides on BET.CA are written by in-our house team, who have over 40 years’ experience in the sports betting and gaming industries, and have worked and written for several of the world’s leading sportsbooks. They possess in-depth knowledge of betting markets and strategies, as well as an understanding of what is important to bettors, meaning you can read on with the confidence that they will help improve your betting.

BET.CA staff
BET.CA staff