Sports betting limits are designed to limit or cap the house’s (i.e. sportsbook) damage.

Inherently, any game of chance – whether its blackjack or craps, offers the house a certain statistical advantage. Sports betting has a very small profit margin – theoretically between 1 and 4%. With so little room for error, as their first defense against players, sportsbooks rely on a combination of accurate point spreads and understanding how and when to adjust lines. Another tactic at their disposal is to set sports betting limits. At the favored sportsbooks that we’ve listed above – due largely to their outstanding reputation and tremendous care they put into ensuring that members transactions are handled efficiently, discretely and above all, safely – you’ll find a wide variety of betting limits across the board.

It should be noted that limits are sportsbooks defense against professional punters. Many times, sportsbooks will allow frequent customers to amounts that are actually larger than declared limits.

Three factors generally go into the decision making process when establishing sports betting limits: the historical accuracy of the lines, their customer mix, and their profit trends. For those reasons, sportsbooks general establish limits for their most popular sport, working their way down from there.

How are limits determined exactly? If a sportsbook isn’t able to comfortably lose 5x its stated limit, then that betting limit is too high.

Sportsbooks establish their sports betting limits based on their play. If top bets usually fall in a range of $500 to $1,000, it makes absolutely no sense for a sportsbook to offer up a $10,000 limit.

When looking at betting limits, think big picture. If a book begins by establishing a $10,000 limit on NFL sides, then imposes a $1,000 limit on NFL totals would be right in line with that. After all, totals are basically esoteric wagers, and as such, limit bets on them usually come from professional gamblers. By keeping the total wagers comparatively low, sportsbooks keep some leverage and subsequently manipulate play to their best advantage.

If a sportsbook is comfortable with a $10,000 betting limit on NFL games, then a typical schedule of betting limits – keeping the “working their way down” mentality in mind – might look a little like this:

NFL bets: $10,000 side limit / $1,000 totals limit
College Football: $5,000 side limit / $500 totals limit
Major League Baseball: $3,000 side limit / $500 totals limit
NBA: $3,000 side limit / $300 totals limit

Know that betting limits on hockey doesn’t need to be very high, since casual players rarely ever bet that heavily on this sport. On the other hand, a equal-matched major boxing attraction is often booked at NFL limits.