How to Bet on Sports in Florida: A Beginners' Guide

Fact Checked by Shannon Lane

With mobile sports betting back (at least temporarily), we've compiled a complete guide on how to bet in Florida. Below you'll find everything you need to know about sports betting in Florida, including legal requirements, how to read odds, the most popular types of bets, and more.

How Does Sports Betting Work In Florida?

Sports betting in Florida might be one of the most convoluted situations in the sports betting world. After launching temporarily in November 2021, non-Seminole gaming operators came together to question the legality of the sports betting bill passed between the tribe and Gov. Ron DeSantis which led to an indefinite halt. 

Since then, there have been multiple legal battles across several courts. Recently, those legal battles have been in favor of the Florida-Seminole gaming compact to the point where on November 7, 2023, the tribe announced Hard Rock Bet would re-launch in a limited capacity in what was called an "early access period". 

There has yet to be a date announced when all Florida bettors will have access to Hard Rock and there is still a chance the app will be forced to stop operating. Following Hard Rock Sportsbook's announcement, West Flagler petitioned the Florida Supreme Court to step in and immediately suspend the app until the legal battle is fully settled.

The future of Florida sports betting is still up in the air but for now, certain groups of bettors can place wagers with Hard Rock Bet.

Understanding the Legal Requirements of Florida Sports Betting

Florida joins the majority of legal betting states with an age requirement of at least 21 years old. There are a few states that allow those 18 and older to wager, but those are the minority and several of those states have retail-only betting and no mobile options. Even in the states that do allow wagering at 18, some of the apps still have a requirement to be 21 or older.

The only other legal requirement as it pertains to Florida is bettors must be physically located within Florida state lines to place a bet. Every app uses geolocation technology to make sure you are in a legal state before your bet will go through. This means even if you're from Florida but you travel to Alabama to catch a Gators game, you would not be able to place bets there.

Again, this could all change immediately if the Florida Supreme Court awards West Flagler's latest court submission.

Choose a Sportsbook

In most states, when you search for how to place a bet online, choosing the right sportsbook for you is one of the first and most important pieces of advice a bettor can receive. In Florida, however, that's not the case because the Seminole Tribe has a monopoly on sports betting in the state. This is the entire reason why the legal status of sports wagering in Florida has been such a mess, as other companies want in on the action.

Because of the exclusivity granted through the current gaming compact between Florida and the Seminole Tribe, Hard Rock Bet is the only legal option for bettors in the state. While other Florida sportsbook apps may become available down the road, the Seminole-owned Hard Rock app will be bettors' only choice.

The hope is for Hard Rock Bet not to take advantage of its monopoly by offering subpar odds and little to no bonuses. As long as the operator doesn't do this, there are certainly worse apps that could have a stranglehold on the market.

Create an Account

The first thing to do when it comes to how to bet in Florida is to create a mobile sportsbook account. Ideally, this will be one of your choosing, but for the time being the only option is Hard Rock Sportsbook. If you have never signed up for a sports betting app, here's a step-by-step look at how to do so:

  1. Head to the app store on your phone and search for the sportsbook you want to wager with.
  2. Enter your personal information, such as your name, birth date, Social Security number, and e-mail address.
  3. Enter a promotional code to take advantage of any welcome bonus, if one exists.
  4. Make a deposit that you feel comfortable with. If you're using a welcome offer, this is typically at least $10.


How To Read Betting Odds

Knowing the odds and the potential payout of your bets is essential as part of a reasonable betting strategy. If you've never placed a bet before, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed by the positive odds and negative odds that you'll find all over the sportsbook's betting markets. Knowing what the odds are trying to tell you can help you figure out which teams offer value for your bets.

Positive Odds

When you see positive odds, that tells you that the sportsbook will pay you more than your original stake if your bet should win. Seeing the (+) sign next to a set of odds typically tells you that side of a wager is less likely to win and the higher the number, the less likely the outcome. For example, +100 is basically a coin-flip proposition whereas something that carries +850 odds is much less likely. The one exception is with futures markets, for things like the Dolphins' Super Bowl odds. Here, these markets carry longer odds throughout the year until the postseason picture becomes more clear.

To entice bettors to back a lesser team or less likely outcome, sportsbooks offer longer odds, or a higher payout than even money. For example, if the Jacksonville Jaguars are facing the Indianapolis Colts and listed the Colts' moneyline odds at +150, that means that you'd get back $15 plus your original wager for a $10 bet on Indy to win the game. These odds can give you a lot of profit when they win, but statistically, the odds are against you when you make these kinds of bets.

Negative Odds

Negative odds are the exact opposite of positive odds: they tell you that the sportsbook thinks this event is more likely than not to occur. Because of that, the sportsbook isn't going to be as generous with your potential payout. If you're betting the Tampa Bay Rays over the New York Yankees at -200 odds, that means that a $10 bet on the Rays to win will only return the original stake plus $5.

Betting negative odds, also known as "drinking the juice", isn't always a bad thing. These kinds of bets can help you build your bankroll slowly, so that you have the wherewithal to take intelligent risks on a few positive odds.

You won't always see wagers that have positive odds on one side and negative odds on the other. For markets like prop bets, for example, you'll often see the same odds on each side of the bet. If you wanted to bet on Trevor Lawrence's passing yards in a particular game, for example, the total might be set at 242.5 yards with the over and under both set at -115 odds.

Even Odds

Even odds are kind of a misnomer because you won't usually get truly even odds at a Florida sportsbook. Truly even odds would be paid at +100, but most times, you'll only see these odds as part of a promotional offer. Instead, you'll usually get odds of -110 or -115 to represent a game the sportsbook believes is truly even. The reason you get -110 odds instead of even money is because the sportsbook wants to take its cut from all bettors no matter who wins the game.

By setting even odds at -110 for a game the book believes has a 50/50 shot of going either way, the sportsbook takes all the money from the losing side and helps itself to a small cut of the winning side's profits. Instead of paying you the even money that you should receive, it takes about 9% of your winnings and pays you the remainder. This is known as the "vig" or "juice"; it's what sportsbooks take to compensate themselves for offering the wager so that they continue to make a small profit on most outcomes.

American Odds vs. European Odds

When you set up your sportsbook account, most platforms will give you the choice of whether you want to see bets in "American odds" or decimal odds, the latter of which are much more common in Europe. Decimal odds are meant to be easier for average bettors to understand because they use a factor of 1 instead of 100 to calculate your payout.

With American odds, positive odds represent the amount you'd receive if you bet $100 on that outcome and won. With decimal odds, the odds represent the total amount you'd get back on a $1 bet. So, for example, a +200 bet on the Florida Gators to beat the Georgia Bulldogs becomes a 3.00 bet with decimal odds. The amount of money won is the same with either system of odds; it's just a matter of personal preference as to which style makes more sense to you.

The majority of legal US betting apps will have American odds set as the default and if you're watching a sports broadcast that shows odds for a particular game, those will be shown in American odds as well.

Most Popular Types of Bets

Now that you know how to read odds, the most important thing to know about how to bet in Florida is knowing the different types of wagers you can place. Even if the Seminole Tribe has the only sportsbook available in the state, you'll still have a robust amount of betting options. You might not find the best odds available when you bet in Florida, but you will be able to bet on many popular options at whatever odds are offered.


The moneyline bet is the most straightforward bet that online sports betting sites will offer. If you bet on the Orlando Magic to win the game and they win, then you win your bet. If they lose, then your bet is a loser. The total number of points doesn't matter and the margin of victory doesn't matter. It could be one point or a hundred; all that matters to you is who's ahead at the end of the game.

Point Spread

The point spread is one of the most common ways for gamblers in Florida to bet. When you bet on the point spread, you're betting on one team to win by at least the number that the sportsbook has set, or you're betting on the underdog with extra points added to their score to even up the odds.

Let's say you're betting on the Florida State Seminoles against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The sportsbook believes Florida State is fairly stronger than Wake Forest, so it sets a line of Florida State -9.5. That means in order to win a bet on the Seminoles, they must win by more than 9.5. Or you could bet on Wake Forest at +9.5 and as long as they lose by fewer than 10 points (or win outright), that side would win.

Totals (Over/Under)

An over/under bet, or a totals bet, is simply a wager on the total number of points scored in the contest between both teams. For example, let's say the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors game has a total set at 235.5. If you believe the game will be a shootout, you can bet the over and as long as both teams combine for at least 236 points, you cash your wager. On the flip side, if there's a key injury to somebody like Jimmy Butler or Steph Curry and you think points will be harder to come by, you can bet the under.


Parlays are high-risk, high-reward bets that combine two or more wagers (referred to as legs) into one larger bet. You can include bets from different teams, different sports, and even different days. You could bet on the Florida State Seminoles' moneyline on a Saturday game, the Dolphins to cover the spread on Sunday, and the Florida Panthers' total later in the week. 

Where the risk comes in is in order to win a parlay, you must correctly predict every bet in your parlay play. If you bet on a five-leg parlay and four of your picks are correct, the entire thing is considered a losing bet. The reward, however, is the potential payouts can be quite large. If you can hit a parlay of three legs, for example, you can usually win around five times your original stake on one bet. That's why parlays are so enticing: they offer the chance to make a lot of money for very little investment. However, chasing parlays is not a winning strategy long-term and should be used sparingly.


Futures bets are long-term bets on the outcome of a tournament or an entire season. A popular bet among hockey fans in the Tampa Bay area has been on the Lightning to make the Stanley Cup Finals, which they did three years in a row from 2020 to 2022. Other examples of futures include betting on whether a team will win more or fewer games than a projected total set by the sportsbook. You can even wager on individual player stats, such as Tua Tagoviola to have more or less than a certain number of passing yards.

These bets take a long time to pay out, so they're a big risk because they tie up your money for several months waiting for the season's end. During that time, injuries, trades, coaching changes, and other events can affect your bet's chances. But if you feel strongly about a team's abilities, this can be a great betting option because the payouts can be quite attractive.

Prop Bets

Individual prop bets are wagers on a player to do something specific in a game. For example, you could bet on Wander Franco of the Tampa Bay Rays to steal at least one base in a particular game. If he gets a stolen base at any point in the game, your bet wins. You can bet on a player to go over a set amount of rushing yards or to fall short of that total.

Prop plays allow you to focus on one specific player and whether or not they succeed. These are particularly attractive for bettors who understand the strengths and weaknesses of certain teams and players. They're exclusively for professional athletes, as Florida law has prohibited any college-level prop wagers.

Live Betting

Live betting, sometimes called in-game betting, is one of the most popular ways to bet because it allows you to take the odds at any point in the game. Let's say the Miami Dolphins have fallen behind the New England Patriots 14-0 after a kickoff return and a fumble recovery for a touchdown, but it's just three minutes into the game. Live betting allows you to jump on the Dolphins at a better price and get more money back if your wager succeeds.

The odds are constantly changing with live betting, so if you find your number, you can jump on it to get the best possible odds.

Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Florida

One of the main reasons people are so excited about the possibilities of Florida sports betting is that it's one of the most sports-crazy states in the country. With 12 top-level professional teams and college sports located throughout the state, Florida residents love their sports squads. Here's a look at betting on the most popular sports in the state.

NFL Betting

The NFL is by far the most popular sport to bet on in Florida and across all other states with legal wagering. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers faced the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl in 2021, over $4 billion was spent nationally on wagers.

This is also the reason why we see a random Week 4 Thursday Night Football game between two subpar teams have higher TV ratings than some championship games in other sports. There's simply nothing else that compares.

NBA Betting

Few sports leagues lend themselves to live betting better than the NBA. Basketball is a game of runs, and when the Orlando Magic and the Miami Heat square off, you'll have plenty of chances to lock in a wager on the hot team at favorable odds.

Player props are also a popular way to bet on NBA action, so when a superstar is in town, you can bet on them to have a big night while you're watching the game. Or you can fade them and count on the Heat's defense to shut them down. The choice is yours.

MLB Betting

Florida's been where the baseball season begins for more than a century now, and many MLB teams have fans all over the Sunshine State. Heavy-hitting teams like the Tampa Bay Rays can attract bets on individual players to hit home runs, bets on the total going over, and other offense-heavy plays.

More defensive teams, such as the Miami Marlins, encourage bets on the first five innings, strikeout totals, and covering on the run line. Knowing the way MLB teams have set their teams up can help you find the right wagers each day.

NHL Betting

If you've been a hockey fan in the Sunshine State over the past few years, you've seen some pretty good times. Simply placing a futures bet on both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers to reach the Stanley Cup Finals each year for the past four seasons would have cashed every time.

Beyond the dominance of Florida's NHL teams, NHL betting includes the puckline, moneyline, totals, and individual prop plays. Scorers like Nikita Kucherov and Matthew Tkachuk are usually among the best bets to put the biscuit in the basket, making them popular picks for goal-scoring prop bets. NHL betting also includes the famous grand salami bet, which allows you to bet on the total number of goals scored in every game played that day.

College Sports Betting

From the Miami Hurricanes to the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles and every college team in between, Sunshine State residents love their college sports. Most states don't allow betting on individual prop plays for college sports, but you'll usually be able to bet on the most popular bet types such as the point spread, totals, and the moneyline.

College sports betting regulations vary widely by state, but in Florida, you can wager on in-state teams and team-level prop bets, but not on individual collegiate athletes.

Soccer Betting

Ever since Lionel Messi showed up in Miami, MLS has exploded in popularity in Florida. The Sunshine State is home to both Messi's Inter Miami and Orlando City, as well as the NWSL's Orlando Pride and the Tampa Bay Rowdies of USL. Soccer betting includes a plethora of options for gamblers, including double chance bets, corners, and correct score plays.

One key thing to remember about betting the moneyline in soccer: draws in this sport are a loss, not a push. That's why the double chance bet exists; it allows a bettor to win with either a draw or a win. A moneyline bet pays more, but it loses if the match finishes level. Most online sports betting sites won't tell you this, assuming that you know how soccer betting works. Knowing what you're betting on gives you an advantage over the average customer.

Golf Betting

Florida is home to several of the world's best golf courses, so golf betting is very popular in the state. There are several different ways that you can bet on golf, including a futures bet on the weekly tournament, backing your favorite golfer to record a bogey-free round, and taking a longshot bet on a golfer to hit a hole-in-one.

How to Use Florida Sportsbook Promos

Most sports betting sites offer plenty of generous promotional offers to entice bettors to give their site a try. However, the Seminole Tribe monopoly means Florida sportsbook promos can sometimes be difficult to find. Without any competition from a second sportsbook, Hard Rock Bet doesn't have as much incentive to provide a quality welcome offer to help get you started with your bankroll.

That said, promotional offers can and do come around, especially to get Florida customers interested in online betting. With only one sportsbook available, a Florida gambler needs to be vigilant about looking at promotional opportunities and seeing if any of them make sense for their gambling strategy. In some cases, you'll need to enter a code or sign up specifically for that promotion, while others will simply activate automatically when you place a wager.

With any promotional offer, it's a good idea to read the fine print and be sure of what you're getting. Promotional offers can be a great tool, but only if you know what they enable and how to use them intelligently.

Do I Have to Use Florida Sports Betting Promos?

No, you don't have to use Florida sportsbook promos when you get started with a betting account. However, if promotional opportunities are available, it's usually a great idea to take advantage of them. That's because they can give you a chance to build your bankroll without risking too much of your own money.

One popular promotional offer is to give new customers a match of their first deposit, awarding an equal amount of their first deposit as bet credits. If you receive this offer and deposit $100, you'll have an extra $100 worth of bonus bets available for your first few bets. When you're just getting started with Florida online sports betting, that can give you the cushion you need to learn how to bet certain sports, as well as find a few valuable underdogs that can really boost your bankroll. 

Tips for Betting on Sports in Florida

Florida sports betting can be a lot of fun, but before you rush to sign up for the newest sportsbook, it's important to make sure you're betting intelligently. These tips can help you make sure that you're maximizing your potential payout, as well as keeping you from losing your stake too quickly if things go wrong.

Set a Limit

This is by far the most crucial tip we could give you as a new bettor in Florida. Sports betting should be viewed as a form of entertainment and not a "side hustle" for you to bring in extra cash each week. 

It can be tempting to chase losses after a bad day of Florida sports betting, especially when a game went the wrong way at the last second. But going above your limits as a bettor is one of the quickest ways to lead yourself to ruin beyond one bad day at the sportsbook.

As a bettor, you need to understand how much you can afford to lose and stick with those limits. Whenever you deposit money, only deposit the amount that you can afford to lose and have it not impact your day-to-day life. From there, it's also helpful to set daily limits in terms of how much you're wagering. This will keep you from chasing losses and will also stop you from going overboard if your bets start hitting.

Shop Around

If Florida online betting ever expands beyond the Seminole Tribe monopoly, shopping around for the best odds would be an excellent strategy. That's because different sportsbooks can offer different odds for the same wager, and a slight movement on the spread or the moneyline can make a big difference in your bankroll over the longterm.

However, Florida sports betting currently only allows one legal option, so shopping around isn't possible until that changes.

Understand Home-Field Advantage

There's a reason the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins traditionally wear white jerseys at home in September before switching to colored jerseys later in the year. It's because they know that it's a big home-field advantage in Florida's heat to make the other team suffer in dark-colored jerseys.

That's just one way that home-field advantage can come into play when you're making your bets. Florida sports betting experts who follow the NHL, for example, know that when the Tampa Bay Lightning play at home, they get to see who the visitor puts on the ice before they decide who they'll use. On the road, the Lightning don't get that advantage.

Even if you're betting on a sport that doesn't give home teams a built-in edge, like basketball, the fact that teams get to sleep in their own beds and not travel gives them an innate edge. It can make them more likely to play their best because they're not fatigued from travel.

Monitor Line Movement

Remember, a sportsbook's line is never set in stone. Sportsbooks want to take equal numbers of bets and money from both sides of a game so they can make a small amount of profit no matter who wins. Because of that, they might move the line one way or another if a lot of bets or money comes in on one side.

Let's say the Miami Dolphins are playing at home against the New England Patriots and coming off playing a tight defensive struggle with the New York Jets. You think the Dolphins are more likely to score on New England than New York, but the sportsbook seems to expect another bad day for Miami's offense and has lowered the total from 45 to 44. This can be a great time to jump on the over if you like it because now you can get that for a cheaper price. Essentially, monitoring line movement can give you more favorable odds for a bet that you were going to make anyway.

Start Betting on Sports in Florida

Armed with your new-found knowledge of how to bet on sports in Florida, you can feel more confident when placing your first wager. 

By paying close attention to movements in the sportsbook's betting lines, sticking to sensible limits, and understanding which bets are available and why they make sense, you can maximize your enjoyment of sports betting when the time comes. If you take the time to learn what you're doing and put it into practice, you can give yourself the best possible odds of cashing your plays when you make your bets.

How to Bet on Sports in Florida FAQs


Dan Angell

Dan Angell has followed college basketball since childhood, having grown up in the heart of ACC country. He loves finding the angles on every game he watches and believes there's always beauty to be found in every contest, even when that means playing the under.

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