It's a question that I get asked all the time - "Which is the best bookmaker?" ...
The answer does depend a lot on what YOU want to bet on - but over the next few weeks I'm going to try to answer this question with a series of answers ...
But let's start this week with which bookmaker has the sharpest pencil, the lowest over-round, the "best odds".
I've kept records of betting prices at the bookmakers that we recommend and monitor for four major domestic leagues, England, Italy, Spain and Germany, as well as the Champions League and Internetional football.
I've been doing it since 1999, and have a lot of data, over 10,000 matches in all, and I've crunched the numbers to get the "typical payout odds".
THE BEST ODDS ON THE PLANET ... PINNACLE SPORTS
And the best sportsbook out there should not surprised regular readers of our site it is .... PinnacleSports (registered in the Netherland Antilles) with a 97.4% payout - or an over-round of just 2.6%.
We've banged on about PinnacleSports for years, they have an extremely sharp pencil when it comes to prices on sports bets, espescially on long-odds outsiders, so if you fancy an underdog then PinnacleSports is a must visit site.
However, there are a few downsides to Pinnaclesports operation.
Firstly, despite the fact that the sportsbook is set up for American players, and focuses on a lot of US sports (and mainstream European football) PinnacleSports no longer accepts US based players.
UK and European players seem to be put off by the clunkiness of the website, the lack of local telephone support, the lack of any joining bonus, and the fact that if you want to withdraw more than once per month then PinnacleSports will hit a $15 fee onto subsequent withdrawals.
But that notwithstanding, sharp punters (who are outside the US) should definately have an account with PinnacleSports and put up with the minor foibles - as they are a very competitive site.
(Read our full page review of PinnacleSports Sportsbook here)
So who were the best of the rest?
#2 BETFAIR EXCHANGE
Well the number #2 site was the BETFAIR Exchange at 96.1% payout (after commission) - a very good site - especially for betting in-running - although I found that volumes and prices can be a bit scratchy early in the week, and even 24-48 hours before the game.
(Our full review of the Betfair Betting Exchange is here)
#3 BET365 BOOKMAKER
In the #3 spot was the first UK bookmaker, as Bet365 Bookmaker took the honours with a 93.5% payout. When you consider that Bet365 also offer a £100 to £200 joining bonus - depending on your country and timing of special offers then it's clear that they've a good all-round choice.
(Read the full page Bet365 Bookmaker review here)
#4 BETSSON EXCHANGE
Betting destination #4 was Betsson Exchange and Sportsbook with a solid 92.0% payout. With 17 different language sites, and lots of bonuses, Betsson are the top European odds destination.
(Read more about the Bettson Betting Exchange and Sportsbook here)
#5 CANBET SPORTSBOOK
And rounding out the top five, at #5 was Canbet, a quality book who are registered in both the UK and Australia, and with an average payout of 91.6% are giving punters a fair deal.
(Read the full Canbet Sportsbook review here)
AND THE REST ...
Here's a full list of the bookmakers and sportsbooks in the review and their payout rates over the last five years for the major leagues ...
Pinnacle Sports 97.4%
Betfair exchange 96.1%
Betsson exchange 92.0%
Paddy Power 90.0%
Victor Chandler 89.5%
Now remember, this is not an overall rating, it does not consider things like customer serice, join bonuses, scope and variety of sports offered and many other items.
It should also be pointed out that overall payout percentages are not always the most important thing for ALL punters. For instance if you like to bet on short-priced favourites then Interwetten are a top choice - because they nearly always hold a top price on big name teams.
The 87.5% rating for Interwetten simply reflects that they never seem to give a big price on the underdogs, so if you prefer longshot bets then you need to look elsewhere - #1 PinnacleSports and #2 Betfair spring to mind !
So checkout our main bookmaker and sportsbook guide on site or my best bookmaker awards page if you want further information on which bookmaker might best suit you.