How to Bet on Sports in Kentucky: A Comprehensive Guide for Beginners in KY

Fact Checked by Shannon Lane

Are you new to sports betting and wondering how to dive into the thrilling world of wagering on your favorite games in Kentucky? On September 28, 2023 online  Kentucky sports betting went live, our comprehensive guide is here to walk you through how to bet on sports and everything beginners need to know about sports betting in the Bluegrass State! 

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How To Bet On Sports Highlights:

  • āœ… How to bet on sports
  • āœ… Types of bets to place
  • āœ… How to read odds
  • āœ… Sports to bet on
  • āœ… Sports betting tips

By the time you finish reading this article, you'll have a solid understanding of the legal landscape, various bet types, popular sports to bet on with Kentucky sportsbook apps, and tips for success. 

We'll also cover how to choose the right Kentucky sportsbook for you, read betting odds, and make the most of Kentucky promotions & bonus codes.

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How to Bet on Sports in Kentucky

Starting September 7, sports bettors in Kentucky will have tons of options at physical retail racetracks for in-person betting. On September 28, mobile Kentucky sportsbook apps became available, offering plenty of choices for sports betting fans.

In this guide, we'll focus on online sports betting, as it offers the most convenience and accessibility and what to consider when choosing which sports betting app to use. Legal betting on horse racing has been around in Kentucky for a long time but the ability to place wagers on other sports is something that visitors and residents still have to look forward to.

How to Bet on Sports in Kentucky

How to Bet on Sports Online in Kentucky

Online sports betting is gaining momentum in Kentucky, but it's important for new sports bettors to be aware of the full legal sports betting situation in the state. Currently, online sports betting is not yet explicitly legalized. However, recent legislation was passed to give Kentucky residents and visitors the ability to legally bet on sports.

Understand Legal Requirements

Before placing your first sports bet or even creating a sports betting account in Kentucky, it's crucial to ensure that you meet the legal requirements. Bettors must be at least 18 years old, and it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the sports betting laws and regulations in the state to avoid any potential issues.

Choose a Sportsbook

When selecting a top online sportsbook, consider factors such as the variety of retail sportsbooks, online sportsbooks, betting markets, the competitiveness of the odds, the quality of customer service, and the availability of promotions and bonuses. Do your research and read reviews to shop for the best online sportsbooks that suit your preferences and needs.

Create an Account

Creating an account with an online sportsbook typically involves providing personal information (name, address, email, date of birth), creating a username and password, and selecting your preferred deposit method. Some online sportsbooks now may also require additional identity verification steps before allowing you to place bets to make sure there are safeguards around online sports betting.

Once you've signed up with a sportsbook, placing bets is generally straightforward. First, navigate to the sports section and find the event or game you want to bet on. Then, select the bet type and the specific betting market you're interested in. Finally, enter your stake (the amount you want to bet) and confirm your bet. Remember that the process may vary slightly between various online sportsbooks, but the overall steps should be similar.

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Common Sports Bet Types Available in Kentucky

Let's dive deeper into the most common bet types available to Kentucky bettors, providing more tips, examples, and interesting facts to help you make informed wagers.

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Moneyline Bet

A moneyline bet is a simple wager on the winner of an event, be it a team or an individual athlete. For example, if you bet on Team A with a moneyline of -150, you'd need to bet $150 to win $100 if Team A triumphs. Moneyline bets are particularly popular in sports like baseball and hockey, where point spreads are less relevant due to lower-scoring games.

Point Spread

Point spreads bets are popular in sports like football and basketball, where scoring is more frequent. The point spread levels the playing field by assigning a "handicap" to the favored team. For example, if the point spread is -3.5 for Team A, they must win by four or more points for your bet to be successful. On the other hand, if you bet on the underdog, Team B, they can either win the game outright or lose by three or fewer points for your bet to win.


Over/under or totals bets are popular across various sports, as they focus on the combined score of same game rather than individual team performance. For instance, if the total is set at 45.5 in an NFL game, you can bet on whether the teams combined final score will be over or under this number. In this example, if you bet the "under" on this total, both teams would need to have 45 or fewer combined points scored to win. Sportsbooks set these totals based on factors such as team performance, weather conditions, and historical data.


Parlay betting offers the chance for a higher payout by combining multiple bets into a single wager. While the potential reward is greater with parlay bets, the risk is also higher, as all bets within the parlay bet must win for it to be successful. Parlays can involve bets across different sports, leagues, multiple games, or bet types, giving bettors the opportunity to get creative with their wagering strategies. Additionally, same game parlays give you the ability to place multiple wagers on outcomes involved in a game that has already started.


Futures bets allow you to wager on the outcome of future events, such as league championships or individual awards. For example, you could place a futures bet on the Kentucky Derby winner before the racing season begins. These bets often come with higher odds than straight bets, as they involve more uncertainty and require bettors to predict the outcomes of sports bets well in advance.

Prop Bets

Prop bets add a unique twist to sports betting by focusing on specific occurrences or statistics within an event. These bets can be related to individual player performance, such as the number of home runs a baseball player will hit, or team performance, such as the number of successful field goals in a football game. Prop bets can also be more lighthearted like wagering on the outcome of the coin toss in the Super Bowl or the color of Gatorade poured on the winning coach.

Live Betting

Live betting, also known as in-game betting, brings a new level of excitement to sports wagering by allowing bettors to place bets as events unfold in real time. This dynamic form of betting presents countless opportunities, such as wagering on the outcome of a specific play or which player will score the next goal in a soccer match. Live bet sports betting requires quick thinking and the ability to adapt to the ever-changing odds, making it a thrilling option for experienced bettors.

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How to Read Betting Odds in Kentucky

Understanding sports betting odds is essential if you want to make sports betting work for you. Sports betting odds indicate the likelihood of an event occurring and determine your potential winnings. Even though it always feels like we're a step behind Las Vegas, understanding how to read betting odds is an important first step toward winning more wagers.

Positive Odds

Positive odds, often displayed as +100 or higher, represent the underdog in a betting scenario. They indicate how much profit you can make for every $100 wagered. For example, if a team has odds of +200, you'd win $200 on a successful $100 bet.

Negative Odds

Negative odds, typically shown as -100 or lower, represent the favorite in a betting scenario. They indicate how much money you need to wager to win $100. For instance, if a team has odds of -150, you'd need to bet $150 to win $100.

Even Odds

Even odds, usually displayed as +100 or -100, signify a 50/50 chance of one bet winning. In this case, if you bet $100, you'll win $100 if your bet is successful.

European Odds vs American Odds

The main difference between European odds (decimal odds) and American odds (moneyline odds) is the way they're presented. European odds are displayed as decimals (e.g., 2.00), while American odds use a plus (+) or minus (-) sign, as explained earlier. To convert European odds to American odds, subtract 1 from the decimal odds and multiply the result by 100 for positive odds or -100 for negative odds.

Must be 18+ to participate and present in KY. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. T&Cā€™s and restrictions apply.

Most Popular Sports to Bet on in Kentucky

In Kentucky, sports bettors have a wide array of popular sports to choose from when placing wagers. Let's explore some of the top choices for professional sports bettors and sports wager enthusiasts in the state, along with some interesting facts and examples.

NFL Betting

Betting on the NFL is incredibly popular in Kentucky, with many fans supporting nearby teams such as the Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Tennessee Titans. Placing bets on games, how many points will be scored, point spreads, and player performances can heighten the excitement of the football season. 

Additionally, Super Bowl odds attract a strong betting market, with Super Bowl prop bets and specials each year.

NBA Betting

NBA betting captivates many Kentucky bettors, who often root for regional teams like the Indiana Pacers or the Atlanta Hawks. From futures bets on the NBA champions to live betting during games, basketball fans have countless online wagering and options to explore throughout the season.

MLB Betting

Kentucky residents enjoy betting on MLB games, with the Cincinnati Reds and the St. Louis Cardinals being two teams with popular choices among local fans. Betting options include individual bets on moneylines, run lines, and over/unders on total runs scored. MLB fans also look forward to the World Series, where they can place futures bets or engage in live betting during the games.

NHL Betting

Although Kentucky doesn't have a local NHL team, bettors in the state still relish wagering on hockey games. Fans may cheer for nearby teams like the Nashville Predators or the Columbus Blue Jackets and to add to the excitement, you can place prop bets on players, bets on moneylines, puck lines, and game totals to name a few. The annual Stanley Cup playoffs also attract a surge in hockey betting interest.

Golf Betting

Golf betting is popular in Kentucky, particularly during major events like the PGA Championship or the Masters Tournament. Betting options include outright winners, head-to-head matchups, and finishing positions. Additionally, bettors can wager on unique markets, such as the "hole-in-one" prop bet or the "cut" line during tournaments.

Soccer Betting

Soccer betting is gaining momentum among Kentucky bettors, who might support teams from the MLS or major European leagues. Wagering options include parlays, over/unders on goals scored, and futures bets on league champions. Major international events like the FIFA World Cup or UEFA Champions League also draw significant betting interest.

College Sports Betting

Kentucky is home to passionate college sports fans, with many supporting the University of Kentucky Wildcats or the University of Louisville Cardinals

Legalized Kentucky sports betting will allow fans to wager on college football and basketball games, conference championships, and even the March Madness tournament, which sees brackets filled out and bets placed by millions of fans nationwide.

Horse Betting

Legal betting on horse racing has been around in Kentucky for a long time, and there are tons of ways to wager on some of the state's most popular races, including the world-famous Kentucky Derby.

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How to Use Kentucky Sportsbook Promos

Redeeming sportsbook promos typically involves entering a promo code during the registration or deposit process. These promotions can include free bets, deposit bonuses, and cashback offers. Be sure to read the terms and conditions and utilize promotions responsibly to maximize their benefits.

Do I Need to Use Kentucky Sportsbook Promos?

Although using online sportsbook promos is not required, they are highly recommended as they provide bettors with added incentives and opportunities to enhance their winnings or offset losses. However, always check the terms and conditions to ensure you're getting the most out of the promotions. 

Bettors will be able to find some of the  best sportsbook promo codes to use in Kentucky before you sign up!

Bonus Bets Expire in 7 Days. One New Customer Offer Only. Must be 21+ to participate & present in KY. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Visit for Terms & Conditions. US promotional offers not available in NY, NV, or Puerto Rico.

Tips for Sports Bettors in Kentucky

The best sports gamblers in the world rely on a disciplined approach that is developed through experience. Still, every sports bettor will inevitably lose money at some point. As a newcomer to sports betting in Kentucky, here are some tips to help you get started on the right foot:

Shop Sports Bets Around

Comparing odds and lines across various sportsbooks can provide an edge by ensuring you get the best value for your bets. Shopping around also helps you find sportsbooks offering special promotions on two or more bets with favorable odds for specific events.

Set a Limit

One of the most important sports betting basics includes not putting your entire bankroll on a single bet. Even if you maintain a pretty high risk tolerance, you should still establish a budget for sports betting and adhere to it. This will help you avoid overspending and maintain responsible sports betting habits. Consider setting daily, weekly, or monthly limits to keep your betting activities in check.

Understand Home-Field Advantage

Home-field advantage can play a significant role in a game's outcome, so factor it into your betting decisions. The basic premise is that teams often perform better at home due to familiar surroundings, supportive fans, and less travel fatigue, which can influence the game's results.

Monitor Line Movement

Keep an eye on line movements, as they can indicate public sentiment and provide insights into the best time to place a bet. If the line moves significantly in one direction, it may suggest sharp bettors or insiders have information that could impact the betting line or the game's outcome.

Must be 21+ to participate. T&Cs Apply. Play Responsibly. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Start Betting on Sports in Kentucky

In conclusion, betting on sports in Kentucky is an exciting (and potentially rewarding) pastime for sports fans. By understanding the full legal sports gambling landscape, selecting the right sportsbook or Kentucky sportsbook app, learning how to read odds, and following our tips, you'll be well on your way to enjoying the thrills of sports betting in the Bluegrass State. 

You can count on us to let you know about all of the best sports betting promo codes for Kentucky users to take advantage of for every sports market. 

Always remember to bet responsibly, and have fun exploring the world of sports betting in Kentucky! 

How To Bet FAQ


The Staff is comprised of seasoned sports betting experts, writers, analysts, and editors. Our content is based on experience, data, and analytical insights to provide the best reviews of sports betting apps in Kentucky.

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