How to Pick a Sportsbook in Las Vegas

Stack of Hundred Dollar Bills With Sportsbook and Vegas Background

Las Vegas is the best place to be if you’re looking for a sportsbook. Sports gambling has been legal in Las Vegas longer than anywhere else in the United States. Other states are legalizing sports betting now, but Las Vegas has a big head start.

Most sports bettors in Las Vegas simply walk into the nearest sportsbook and place their bets. While this isn’t the worst way to pick a sportsbook for casual bettors, if you want to improve your chances to win there are a few things you need to consider.

Here’s a list of the best ways to pick a sportsbook in Las Vegas.

Location

People in Las Vegas either live there or travel there. If you live in Las Vegas, it’s convenient to place bets at the sportsbook that’s closest to where you live. If you travel to Las Vegas, it convenient to place your sports bets at the sportsbook where you’re staying or the closest book.

Our lives are mostly run by convenience. The reason why McDonald’s and other fast food places are so popular is because they’re located in busy parts of cities, offer a drive thru so you don’t have to get out of your car, and offer hot food in a few minutes.

In other words, they’re convenient. And even though they offer hot food faster than you can make it yourself, we still complain when it takes an extra minute or two to get our chicken nuggets or hamburger.

Las Vegas Sportsbook Screens and Seating

Even when you eat at home, many meals are designed for convenience and speed. Think about frozen pizza and TV dinners.

Now, consider what you give up for convenience. When it comes to eating, you usually trade healthy choices for speed and convenience. This is true for fast food at the drive thru and for those frozen meals you eat at home. They simply aren’t the healthiest choice.

How does fast food have anything to do with picking a sportsbook in Las Vegas?

When you live in Las Vegas or travel there and make your sports bets at the most convenient sportsbook, you often sacrifice something. I cover some of the things you might give up on the rest of this page. The most important things are the best betting lines and betting limits.

I don’t live in Las Vegas but I do travel there. When I’m in Las Vegas and want to make sports bets, the location of the book is at the bottom of my list. It doesn’t take long to travel to a book offering better lines or limits in the city, so the location isn’t important to me.

Lines

The most important thing I look for when picking a sportsbook in Las Vegas is the lines. The problem with this is that there isn’t a single best sportsbook for lines in Las Vegas or anywhere else in the world.

Sports bettors belong to one of three categories.

The first category is the casual bettor who just wants to get some action on his or her favorite team or on a game that’s going to be on television. Lines aren’t really important to this type of sports better. The action is what’s important.

The second type of sports bettor tries to handicap games and figure out how to win each bet. This bettor knows he or she can win in the long run, but hasn’t figured out how to do it yet.

The third type of sports bettor handicaps every game he or she wants to bet on, and has figured out how to make a long term profit. This type of bettor doesn’t care which side of the game they bet on, as long as the line offers value.

If you fall into the first category, this is ok. I suggest trying to work toward being the third type of sports bettor, but if the extra work doesn’t interest you, it’s fine. You can simply place a bet at the most convenient place and enjoy the game.

If you belong to the second or third type of sports bettor, the lines are the most important thing to focus on. If you’re in the third group, you already know this. But if you’re in the second group, if you learn how to find the best lines it can make you a winning gambler.

Here’s an example of using the best line to win more:

You handicap an upcoming NCAA football game and look at the line on the game at several different sportsbooks. Here are the two most extreme lines you find.

Sportsbook A has the home team favored by 5 ½ points and sportsbook B has the home team favored by 6 ½ points. When you handicap the game, you determine that the road team has a good chance to win and even if they don’t, they should be able to cover the spread.

The sportsbook that gives 5 ½ points is closest, and in the past you’d just make a bet there. But you’ve started shopping lines and make a short trip and place your bet at sportsbook B and get 6 ½ points.

The game is close and the home team ends up winning by 6 points. Instead of losing the bet by a half point, you win because you found a better line.

View of a Las Vegas Sportsbook

The way that sports betting lines work, if you simply flipped a coin you can win roughly half your wagers. When you build your handicapping skills you can move your winning percentage up. And when you find the best lines on the games you want to bet on you increase your winning percentage a little more over time.

If you’re making bets at a break even pace now, you only need to win a couple extra games every year by finding a better line to be profitable. This is why finding the best line is so important.

The first step is handicapping games. Once you handicap the games you’re interested in, check the lines listed online by the sportsbooks in Las Vegas. If you can’t find the lines posted online for all of the sportsbooks you want, call the ones that aren’t listed.

Perks

Some Las Vegas sportsbooks offer perks or comps, and some don’t really have any type of rewards system. I don’t worry too much about perks when I place bets, but if the line is the same at two different places and one offers some sort of perk I place the bet where I get a little extra for my money.

Perks change over time, so ask about them often when you place bets. The one thing that every smart sports bettor looks for is a promotion offering reduced vig. Reduced vig bets can increase your long term profits, because losing wagers cost you less.

Reputation

Most of the sportsbooks in Las Vegas pay the best they lose without any issue. But some of them have a better reputation than others. The thing to remember is you have a great deal of control when it comes to avoiding problems.

Always verify that the betting ticket you receive is correct. Verify the date, the side you bet on, the amount of the bet, and the line is correct before you leave the betting window. A bet slip is a legal document, and offers you a level of protection.

When I bet on games in Las Vegas, I rarely think about the reputation of the sportsbook. But it’s something to think about, especially if you’re making large wagers. Talk to other sports bettors to learn more about how sportsbooks treat their customers.

Betting Limits

The betting limits at the sportsbooks in Las Vegas aren’t a concern for most sports bettors. You can walk into just about any sportsbook and make a bet of $1,000 or less on a game. This covers the large majority of bets.

But if you’re a professional sports bettor with a big bankroll, the betting limits come into play. Where can you get a $10,000 bet down on a Tuesday night NCAA basketball game in a small conference? Or where can you get a $100,000 bet on the NFL Thursday night game?

If you’re a professional sports bettor with a big bankroll you’re going to quickly learn where you can get big bets down. This is going to limit your sportsbook options, but you still need to shop for lines anytime you can.

Conclusion

Don’t let convenience rule your search for a sportsbook in Las Vegas. It doesn’t take long to travel to a book offering a better line, and a better line is often the difference between winning and losing.

Once you find the best lines, the other things to consider are betting limits, reputation, and perks. Unless you’re a big bettor, the betting limits won’t come into play. When the lines are the same at two or more sportsbooks, make your bet where you can get the best perks.