We repeatedly refer to “value” throughout this article. If you’re not familiar with this term in the context of sports betting, we suggest taking a look at this article which thoroughly covers it.
Best Sports for Betting
Anyone who wants to bet on sports will be forced to make some difficult decisions. Here’s a couple that need to be made before you can even get started.
- Which sports you should bet on.
- How many sports you should bet on.
These decisions will be easy to make for those who are sports fans first and bettors second. They usually choose to simply wager on all of the sports that they already follow and like to watch. This approach is entirely logical really, as those are the sports that they know and understand best. They’re more likely to enjoy betting on those sports, and their knowledge of those sports will give them a better of chance of winning money.
For a lot of people, however, these decisions are NOT easy. Some people follow a lot of sports, and are not sure if they want to bet on them all. Others only follow a single sport, and aren’t sure if they want to limit themselves to just that one sport. Then there are those who want to try to sports betting but don’t really follow any sports closely.
All of these people need to put some real thought into which sports to bet on and how many. Even if the decision seems easy, it’s going to be something they’ll really have to think through. As logical as betting on all the sports they already follow might seem, this isn’t necessarily the right approach.
So what IS the right approach then? What are the best sports for betting? And how many sports should you bet on? Unfortunately, there’s no one right answer to these questions.
You see, although this article is named “The Best Sports for Betting,” there’s really no such thing. There are definitely sports that WE think are better, but not everyone is going to have the same opinions. The best sport for one person to bet on might be a terrible sport for someone else. It depends on several different factors. A similar principle applies to whether it’s best to wager on one sport, a couple of sports, or a variety of sports. There’s no “optimal” number of sports here. Again, there are a lot of factors that come into play.
What matters most is finding what’s best for YOU. And we can’t tell you that without knowing your own situation and personal preferences. We can, however, give you the tools you need to discover that on your own. That’s the purpose of this article.
We start by looking at the most popular sports to bet on. We admit that there are good reasons as to why they are so popular, while there are also good reasons as to why they’re not necessary the best options. We cover both in this article.
Then we look at the advantages and disadvantages of betting on a single sport as opposed to betting on many. We finish up with some advice for making your decisions about which sports to bet on and how many.
What are the Most Popular Sports for Betting?
The answer to this question actually depends to some extent on what part of the world we’re talking about. There are certain sports that are popular in some regions, but not so popular in others. However, there are a few sports that are popular with bettors all around the world. In terms of the total number of people who bet on them, the following sports definitely rank the highest.
Other popular sports for betting that are NOT on this list include baseball, darts, rugby and horse racing. We didn’t include baseball because that doesn’t get a lot of betting attention outside of the United States. Darts doesn’t get much attention outside of the United Kingdom, and rugby is only popular in a few countries. Horse racing DOES get worldwide attention, but horse racing betting is typically categorized as its own unique form of gambling.
We doubt that any of the sports on this list came as a surprise to you. After all, these are the sports that regularly attract large viewing audiences. It stands to reason that the most watched sports in the world are also the ones that people wager on the most.
Obvious logic aside, there are four other good reasons why these sports are so popular among bettors.
- They provide many opportunities to bet.
- They’re widely shown on television and/or the internet.
- Information on these sports is widely available and accessible.
- Bookmakers typically offer lots of betting options on these sports.
Please note that each of these reasons can be applied to virtually any mainstream sport, not just the eight we listed. Let’s explore each one of them in more detail.
Opportunities to bet
Mainstream sports typically offer many opportunities to bet. There are games and events taking place on a regular basis, and in some cases the whole year round. This appeals to a lot of people, because many of them enjoy placing lots of wagers. They love having plenty of opportunities to get their money down.
Most bettors place lots of wagers because they think it will improve their chances of making money. We can see the logic in thinking this way, but the opposite is actually true. It’s the QUALITY of our wagers that improves our chances of making money, not the quantity of them. And the more wagers we place, the less likely we are to place good wagers.
No matter how much we know about a particular sport, we’re extremely unlikely to make consistently good selections if we try to predict the outcome of every single game or event. But if we’re selective, and carefully pick the best opportunities, our chances of making good selections increases dramatically.
The more opportunities we have to bet on a sport, the more selective we can be. Take a sport like tennis for example. Even a bona fide tennis expert wouldn’t be able to correctly predict the outcome of each match in the first round of a grand slam tournament. But he wouldn’t need to. Since there are so many matches, he could focus on finding a few matches that offered genuine value. As there are tennis tournaments taking place virtually every week of the year, he’d ALWAYS have plenty of matches to choose from.
So having a lot of opportunities to place wagers IS a very real advantage of betting on popular and mainstream sports. It’s just not for the reason that most people think.
Anyone who wants to watch any of the mainstream sports we listed can easily do so, as they are widely broadcasted on the television or internet. Watching sports becomes even more exciting when you have some money at stake, which is why so many people choose to wager on the sports they are already watching.
The widespread coverage of mainstream sports also gives us a distinct advantage in terms of making good decisions. Actually watching games and events provides us with additional insight that we just can’t get in any other way. Team sports are the best illustration of this.
Consider a sport such as football for example. We can read game reports and study various statistics, and they can definitely tell us something about the strengths and weaknesses of the various teams and players. But watching the games tells us far more and helps us to form solid opinions about how these teams and players are performing. Those opinions are invaluable when it comes it to making predictions about future games.
Availability of information
For most mainstream sports, there’s a wealth of information readily available. Some sports have TV channels dedicated entirely to broadcasting all the latest news, and most newspapers cover the popular sports extensively too. And then there’s the internet. The internet is full of useful sports resources where we can find out pretty much anything we could possibly want to know about any of the major sports.
Latest results, injury news, game reports, expert opinions, various stats, and much more are all available online. With so much information to work with, it’s easy to see why so many people prefer to wager on mainstream sports.
The more information we have at our disposal, the better our chances are of making good decisions. We have to know how to interpret it all if we want to be truly successful, but there’s no doubt that simply having more information on hand helps.
Variety of betting options
It’s no surprise that the sports that receive the most attention from bettors also receive the most attention from the bookmakers. They have to give their customers what they want in order to keep them happy. And what the customers want is a good variety of betting options. This is why the bookmakers typically offer such an incredible range of different options on mainstream sports.
This is a major advantage. More options equal more opportunities to get some money down. As we explained earlier, this also makes it easier for us to be selective and pick the BEST opportunities.
All things considered, it’s clear why so many people choose to bet on the mainstream sports. There are notable advantages. However, there are two major disadvantages to betting on these sports too.
- The odds and lines on popular and mainstream sports are typically very tight.
- Any value in the markets usually vanishes pretty quickly.
We mentioned earlier how the popular sports get more attention from the bookmakers. While this can be a good thing, it has its downsides too. Because the bookmakers take so much action on these sports, they dedicate a LOT of resources to making sure that they don’t give away any value easily. They hire genuine experts who are exceptionally skilled at pricing up the betting markets. They make it very difficult for us to find any value in the odds and lines they have to offer, which means it’s difficult to make any money in the long run.
When there IS some value in their odds and lines, there are so many other people betting on these sports that it soon disappears. A good price will see lots of money coming in very quickly, and when that happens the bookmakers adjust their odds and lines accordingly. So unless we’re also very quick, we can easily miss out on the best opportunities.
Now, we’re not trying to say it’s impossible to win money from the popular sports. It definitely is; it’s just one heck of a challenge. There’s a strong argument that betting on other sports is substantially easier.
It wasn’t that long ago that the popular and mainstream sports were all we could bet on. Finding a bookmaker willing to take wagers on the “minor” sports was nearly impossible. This is no longer the case though, as these days we can bet on virtually any sport that’s played professionally: even the most obscure ones. Although these don’t offer the same advantages that we’ve outlined above, one big advantage they have is that the bookmakers don’t give them the same level of attention.
In theory, this makes it easier to make money on these sports. Note that we said easier, not easy. It’s still a challenge to beat the bookmakers even when betting on the obscure sports. But it’s very possible to know more than the bookmakers do about these sports, and that can give us a real edge.
So, one of the first things you need to consider when deciding which sports to bet on is whether you want to bet on the mainstream sports or the minor ones. There are pros and cons either way, as we’ve just explained. You also need to consider a few other things too, and we’ll get to those later. Before that, let’s look at how betting on one sport compares to betting on many.
Betting on One Sport vs Betting on Many
To decide how many sports you should bet on, you should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of betting on one sport compared to betting on many. We’ll start with the three main advantages.
- Possible to become a genuine expert.
- More time to spend on finding value.
- Can work with a smaller budget and/or be more aggressive.
The first advantage here is a significant one. If you devote all your time to one single sport, it’s entirely possible that you can become a genuine expert. This will greatly improve your chances of beating the bookmakers. Remember, they have experts working for them. You really need to match the knowledge of their experts to be able to win money consistently. If you can actually learn MORE than them, then you’ll be in a good position to beat them.
Focusing on a single sport also allows you more time to concentrate on finding value in the markets. You can analyze every opportunity in great detail, giving you a better chance of identifying where the very best value lies. This is much harder to do when betting on several sports, as you have many more opportunities to look at. It’s simply not possible to analyze them all in the same level of detail.
The third advantage is perhaps not as significant as the previous two, but it’s an advantage nonetheless. When betting on several sports, you ideally need a pretty sizable budget. This is simply because you’re likely to be placing more wagers. You can get away with a much smaller budget when betting on just one sport though. Plus, you can be more aggressive with that budget, as the quality of your wagers will typically be higher. This can potentially increase the rate at which you win money.
There are two notable disadvantages to focusing on one sport.
- Fewer betting opportunities.
- May only be able to bet at certain times of the year.
The first disadvantage is somewhat obvious. When you’re betting on just one sport, there aren’t as many opportunities to place wagers as when betting on several. Although you’ll have more time to find the good opportunities, there’ll be fewer good opportunities to find. This could potentially harm your chances of identifying value.
The second disadvantage only applies to a few sports, so it might not be relevant to you. It’s worth bearing in mind if you’re planning to bet on sports such as football or basketball though. The football season is particularly short, running from October through February.
Note that neither of these disadvantages are significant enough that you should definitely NOT focus on just one sport. They’re definitely worth bearing in mind though.
We should also point out that your choices are not limited to betting on one sport or betting on many. There’s a middle ground too, such as betting on two or three. This is actually a good option for a lot of people, but don’t decide just yet. We have more advice to offer for deciding how many sports to bet on, and which ones.
Advice for Making Your Decisions
We’ve given you plenty to consider so far, and now we’re going to help you to make your decisions. At this stage you should ask yourself a very simple question.
There are two main reasons why people choose to bet on sports. A lot of people are what are known as recreational bettors, and they bet primarily for fun. They obviously want to win money if they can (who doesn’t?), but that isn’t what really motivates them. They don’t put any real effort into making good betting decisions, and they don’t take things very seriously. Betting is basically just a form of entertainment for them, and they enjoy it because it makes watching their favorite sports that much more exciting. They also enjoy the challenge of putting their sports knowledge to the test.
These recreational bettors account for the majority of people who bet on sports, but there are also plenty of people who bet primarily to make money. This doesn’t mean that they don’t still enjoy themselves, it’s just that their motivations are different. They generally put a lot more thought into the wagers that they make, and dedicate some time to researching and analyzing the various factors that can affect the outcome of games and events.
We’re not saying to just make a decision without putting any thought into it. Take everything we said into consideration, but don’t stress out. All that really matters is that you enjoy yourself, and gamble responsibly with money you can afford to lose. It makes sense to start by focusing on any sports you already follow, but don’t be afraid to try out others at some point. If you don’t follow any sports, start with the popular ones and see how it goes from there. Once you get a hang of it, you might want to try a couple of the more obscure sports.
If making money is more important to you than having fun, then here are two more questions you need to ask.
- How much time can I dedicate to my betting?
- What will give me the best chance of making money?
In order to make regular and consistent profits, you are going to have to be willing to dedicate a lot of time to sports betting. You can make money without it become a full-time job, but don’t expect to be successful if you just spend a few minutes choosing your selections. If your time is limited, you should probably focus on just one or two sports. Stick to the mainstream sports when possible, as it doesn’t take so long to research and analyze the necessary information for those.
If you have a more flexible schedule, you can think about betting on a few sports. You don’t HAVE to do this, but it’s a realistic option at least. You can also consider betting on the more obscure sports where the research and analysis is likely to take longer.
The second question is ultimately the most important one though. Really, this is what your decision should come down to. It’s easier to make money right now from betting on sports that you’re already familiar with, but you’ve got to think carefully about whether other sports might offer better opportunities in the long run. It’s probably best to focus on just one or two sports to start with, but you might want to start betting on more once you’re getting consistently good results.
This is just some broad advice, and you don’t need to follow it to the letter. Remember, we can’t actually tell you explicitly what to do here. There’s no right or wrong decision, as you’ve just got to consider what’s best for you. The information and advice we’ve offered will hopefully help. If you’re still not sure what to do, then just take some time to experiment with the different approaches. Eventually, you’ll find one that works for you.