Top Takeaways for 2020
After spending six months testing thirty online sportsbooks, here are our top findings on Bovada:
- Bovada is an offshore sportsbook. While offshore sportsbooks can be safe, we always recommend betting with a U.S. -regulated sportsbook, if possible.
- Banking with Bovada can be costly, and Bovada charges erroneous fees if you make frequent withdrawals.
- Bovada offers a ton of prop bets, sports, and international leagues.
- Bovada live betting far exceeds other offshore sportsbooks, but fails to compete with U.S. Regulated sportsbooks such as SugarHouse and FanDuel.
- Bovada is the only offshore sportsbook to offer live play-by-play bets and the early cash-out feature.
Bovada is an above-average offshore sportsbook but still fails to compete with U.S. sportsbooks like DraftKings and PointsBet. Bovada does offer a wide variety of prop bets and international sports. It is also the only offshore sportsbook to provide live play-by-play betting and the early cash-out feature.
|US Regulated Sportsbook (legal)||No|
|Online Availability - New Jersey||No|
|Online Availability - Pennsylvania||No|
|Online Availability - Iowa||No|
|Online Availability - Indiana||No|
|Online Availability - Nevada||No|
|Online Availability - West Virginia||No|
Overview - Bovada offers a ton of bets. Bettors can wager on everything from who will win the game to how many points or yards a player will record. Over 100 bets are offered for most football and soccer games, while Bovada offers 40-60 bets for NHL and NBA games. Team and player props are available, in addition to other popular bets such as parlays and teasers.
Cash Out Feature - The cash-out feature allows you to secure a profit or minimize a loss before the game ends. You do this by selling your open bet back to the sportsbook before the game ends. For example, let's say you bet $10 on the Philadelphia 76ers (-2) to beat the Chicago Bulls (+2). If the 76ers are winning 80-55 at halftime, you might be offered $6.50 to cash out your ticket early. Bovada is the only offshore sportsbook I've seen that offers this feature. Most U.S. regulated sportsbooks provide this.
Bet-Back Feature - The bet-back feature allows you to secure a profit or minimize a loss before the game ends. You do this by selling your open bet back to the sportsbook before the game ends. For example, let's say you bet $5 on the Patriots to beat the Broncos at even odds. At halftime, New England is winning 24-0. The sportsbook might offer you $3.75 for your ticket, allowing you to win some money before the game ends.
Banking Options and Fees
Banking with offshore sportsbooks like Bovada can be difficult and costly, another reason we always recommend betting with a U.S. regulated sportsbook. Cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, is the cheapest and easiest way to bank with Bovada.
Deposit Methods - Bovada allows account funding via bitcoin, bitcoin cash, Zelle, or a debit/credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and UnionPay).
The first deposit a customer makes to Bovada using a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit/debit card is free. Bovada charges a 5.9% fee on all subsequent Visa or MasterCard deposits and a 9.9% fee on all subsequent American Express deposits. These fees for depositing money are egregious.
Withdrawal Methods - Bovada offers withdrawals through bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and check. Bovada covers the fee for the first non-bitcoin withdrawal once every 90 days. Bovada charges a $100 processing fee for each additional withdrawal within the same period, which is absurd.
Bovada offers action on 27 different sports. Bettors can wager on everything from football to darts and even award shows on television. International leagues are available for sports such as soccer, baseball, basketball, and hockey.
|Total Sports Offered||29|
|Aussie Rules (AFL)||Yes|
We are currently collecting 2019 odds data. Odds data takes real odds from moneyline, spread, and total bets and compares them amongst other sportsbooks. Last year we collected data from hundreds of games, providing the most detailed analysis available. Check back by the end of the year for an odds score and breakdown.
Last year Bovada placed 15th out of 17 total sportsbooks, offering below average odds for almost every sport.
Bovada's live betting has improved over the last year or so. Bovada is the only offshore sportsbook that offers live betting on each play of an NFL game. There are some issues with refreshing bets and lines between plays, which can be frustrating. In my testing, there were multiple times where I went to place a live bet, and I got an error message.
Bovada provides a few live statistics during games, as well as a live match tracker that shows what team is attacking during a game.
The overall level of support Bovada offers is decent, but there is room for improvement. Bovada offers 24/7 live chat and phone support, and an email service claims response within 72 hours.
Most of the live chat employees were helpful but took a while to respond. Of the six times, I sought help via live chat, I was in the "help queue" for three of them, requiring a two to four-minute wait until I could finally ask my question.
The one time I had an issue with one of my bets because of a glitch in Bovada's system, customer support was rude. They did not resolve or address my problem, even though I sent follow-up emails.
Does Bovada have a mobile app?
No. Offshore sportsbooks do not have mobile apps because they are not technically legal in the United States. While I found two Bovada apps on the App Store, they were both owned by third-party companies and were not for regular users.
Bovada's website works alright on a mobile device; however, I find myself being forced to re-login to the app constantly when refreshing lines. This gets annoying quickly, especially if you're trying to live bet.
Education - Bovada offers a decent education section, explaining in detailed articles and videos what different bet types are and how to place them. The Bovada Help Center explains frequently asked questions about using the site, which I found to be helpful. Bovada also provides weekly insights to top leagues like the NFL. These weekly insights primarily cover a few pre-game statistics.
Statistics - Pre-game statistics are not available at Bovada. Live games have some statistics, although they are displayed poorly on Bovada's website.
Bovada is an offshore sportsbook, meaning it is illegal in the eyes of the U.S. government. BettingBuck.com always recommends betting with a U.S. regulated sportsbook over an offshore sportsbook. If you live in New Jersey check out our Best New Jersey Sportsbooks.
Is Bovada safe?
- Although Bovada has accepted over 200 million bets, big-time bettors must tread with caution. Bovada is safe for the average bettor who places a few bets a week for fun. Bovada, as well as most offshore sportsbooks, are not safe for professional sports bettors who wager thousands of dollars a week.
There have been multiple stories of Bovada shutting down accounts of players who win thousands of dollars. For example, a bettor named Wes tried cashing out $18,000 after building up his bankroll. Bovada disabled his account, saying he violated terms of service back in 2015. Regardless of whether or not Wes violated any terms, Bovada accepted his bets for years, disabling his account after he won a substantial amount of money.
I have withdrawn less than $400 with Bovada multiple times and have had no issues. I have friends who bet a couple of hundred dollars with Bovada every few months that have never run into trouble. In conclusion, I would not recommend betting offshore with thousands of dollars.
Bovda offers multiple promotions, ranging in rollover requirements and terms and conditions.
Bovada is a decent offshore sportsbook. Bovada offers great live betting with a tasty variety of sports and bets. Odds, banking options and ease of use issues are all downsides of Bovada, which you should only consider if you don't live in a state with legal U.S. sports betting.
About Bovada Sportsbook
Founded in 2011, Bovada has been a recognizable offshore name for U.S. sports bettors. Bovada is the U.S. version of Bodog, an online sportsbook, which only accepts Canadian residents.
How long does it take to get your money from Bovada?
If you withdraw via check or wire transfer, up to 15 business days. If you withdraw via bitcoin, it only takes up to 15 minutes.
Is it legal to bet on Bovada?
Offshore sportsbooks blur the line of legality for U.S. residents. Acts such as UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) try to prevent Americans from engaging in offshore betting but don't prohibit Americans from doing so.
Is Bovada a trusted site?
Bovada is one of the more trustworthy offshore sportsbooks available. Still, it is not as reliable as U.S. regulated sportsbooks like 888sport or FOX Bet.
For the BettingBuck.com annual best online sportsbooks review published in 2020, a total of 2,300 data points were collected over six months and used to score sportsbooks. Additionally, odds data was collected for each sportsbook on over 1,400 bets to give each sportsbook a comparative odds ranking.
Learn more about how we test.
About the author: Joey Shadeck Joey Shadeck is a research analyst for BettingBuck.com. He has been a sports fan all his life, football and basketball being his two favorites to watch. Joey remembers betting his mom that the Green Bay Packers would beat the Detroit Lions as early as elementary school. He has 5 years of online betting experience with hundreds of bets placed during that time.