It wasn’t that long ago when the only sports you could regularly bet on were the mainstream ones. Betting on sports such as football, basketball or soccer was no problem at all, but finding a bookmaker willing to take wagers on less popular sports was nearly impossible. This is no longer the case.
You have seemingly endless options when it comes to which sports to bet on, as even the more obscure ones can often be found nowadays. This is undoubtedly a positive development within the betting industry, as it means there’s far more potential for finding profitable betting opportunities. The only downside is that some people find it difficult to decide which sports they should be betting on.
For a lot of bettors this is an easy decision. The majority of people who bet on sports are sports fans first and bettors second. The main reason why they bet is to have fun, so they tend to only bet on the sports that they enjoy the most. This approach makes a great deal of sense, as the ones they enjoy the most are probably the ones that they know the most about. They’ll be more likely to make money when betting on sports they have background knowledge in.
For others, this can be a rather difficult decision. People who watch a variety of different sports may find it difficult to narrow their options down to just one or two sports. Those who aren’t particularly interested in sports and solely want to bet on them in order to increase their revenue, may also struggle with this decision. It’s not at all obvious for them what they should be betting on.
As such, we are often asked the question, “What are the best sports for betting?” Although we would love to give a definitive answer to this question, we can’t. This is because there are several different factors to take into account, and the same answer would not apply to everyone.
What we have done instead is provided some valuable information and advice that might help you decide which sports you should bet on, according to your own needs and preferences. We’ve started this page by listing the most popular sports for betting, and then looked at some of the advantages and disadvantages of betting on mainstream sports versus the minor ones. To finish, we’ve included other important details to take into consideration before making a decision.
The most popular sports for betting vary from one part of the world to another, to some extent at least. Baseball, for example, is way more popular in the United States than it is in any other part of the world. Snooker and darts are very prevalent in the United Kingdom, but they can hardly be found in most other countries.
There are some sports that people from all over the world enjoy betting on, or at least people from multiple regions. In terms of the total number of people who bet on them, the following sports rank the highest. These are not listed in any particular order.
You may be wondering why horse racing isn’t on this list. It’s not because it’s not a popular sport, but rather because it’s SO popular that we categorize horse racing betting as its own individual form of gambling. That’s why we’ve written a comprehensive guide that covers all aspects of horse racing betting.
Besides the absence of horseracing, we doubt that you’ll find any surprises on this list. Since these sports have the highest viewing audience, it makes sense that they would also be the most popular options when it comes to betting.
There are numerous advantages to betting on the mainstream sports we mentioned earlier, with the top four reasons being listed below.
Let’s take a look at each of these advantages one by one.
Bettors often assume that placing more wagers leads to a greater chance of making money. This is entirely logical, but it’s only true to a certain extent.
No matter how much you know about a particular sport, you need to be selective when choosing your wagers. Being selective is a crucial skill that’s needed in order to be successful. That’s why having a variety of different games or events to bet on provides such an advantage. It gives you plenty of options.
Take tennis, for example. Even the biggest tennis expert wouldn’t be able to predict the outcome of every single match in the first round of a grand slam. Luckily, this isn’t necessary. Since there are lots of matches to choose from, you can focusing on picking the ones that offer the best value. With tennis tournaments taking place almost the whole year round, there will ALWAYS be a wide variety of betting options.
The same principle applies to other mainstream sports too, whereas many of the minor sports present limited opportunities for placing wagers.
With the more well-known sports often being broadcasted on television, there are plenty of opportunities to view the games for yourself. This provides another huge advantage, as watching different sporting events gives you special insight that you won’t be able to receive in any other way.
Team sports are perhaps the best illustration of this. Consider football for example. Reading match reports and studying various statistics can be very useful, but it doesn’t allow you to form your own solid opinions about the strengths, weakness and playing styles of the various teams and individuals. Watching the games allows you to do this though, while making it easier to predict the outcome of future games as well.
Knowledge is power in sports betting. The more information, data and statistics you have on hand, the more likely you are to make quality betting decisions. 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.
The internet is also a valuable resource where you can find out pretty much anything you could possibly want to know about any of the major sports. Latest results, injury news, game reports, expert opinions, various statistics, and much more are all available online. Of course, knowing how to apply this information in order to make accurate predictions is truly what’s important.
It’s no surprise that the most popular sports receive the most attention from bookmakers. They offer far more markets on the mainstream sports than they do the minor ones, as they are the ones that most of their customers bet on. This means that you have a lot more options in terms of the number of wagers you can place when betting on mainstream sports, which in turn means more opportunities for finding value wagers.
Based on this, and the other points mentioned above, it would seem that betting on mainstream sports is the obvious way to go. It’s not quite that simple though, as there’s a very significant disadvantage to consider.
Since mainstream sport wagers are the most common wagers that bookmakers receive, they dedicate the majority of their resources to those sports. They employ bona fide experts who know everything there is to know about a particular sport, and who also knows how to set the odds so that it’s very difficult for their customers to make a profit.
This is actually one of the reasons why so many bettors lose money. Most of them bet on the mainstream sports, so they are ultimately competing against people who are very good at what they do. That’s not to say they CAN’T be beaten, but it sure is a challenge.
Betting on the more minor sports, on the other hand, isn’t quite as complicated. It’s still not easy, but the bookmakers simply don’t invest the same level of resources into pricing those markets up effectively. This means that there are some genuine opportunities to make money if you are, or can become, an expert in any of those more obscure sports. There’s always a chance that you’ll be more knowledgeable than those setting the relevant betting markets, which will put you at a huge advantage.
In order to make a decision about what sports you should be betting on, you need to consider everything we’ve discussed above. There’s no right or wrong option here, as it essentially comes down to what’s best for you personally. We certainly can’t tell you that any one sport is better than another.
We can advise you as to what you should be taking into account when making your decision though. And there’s one particularly important question you need to ask yourself.
Betting for fun and betting for a profit aren’t exactly exclusive, as it’s possible to enjoy betting and make money from it, but the fact is that most people bet primarily for one reason or the other. This distinction is something we discuss in a little more detail in our introduction to betting on sports, where we compare betting for fun to betting for a profit.
We mention this point here, as your motivation for betting should influence what sports you decide to bet on. If you’re betting mostly for fun, then the logical decision is to simply bet on any sports that you enjoy watching. If you’re betting with the sole aim of making money, then you need to contemplate other factors too.
That’s a given really. It makes perfect sense to focus on sports that you truly understand, as this will greatly improve your overall chances of making money. You should also consider your overall betting style, and whether or not a particular sport will be able to accommodate that style.
For example, your style might be to bet in-play so that you can watch the beginning of a game before deciding where to put your money. Not all sports are suited to this. Your style might also be to select two or three wagers that are very likely to win and combine them into a parlay or accumulator. Again not all sports are suited to this either.
You may also want to determine how much time you’re willing to set aside for the necessary research and analysis you’ll have to do. If time is limited, then you’ll need to select sports that don’t require an excessive amount of statistical analysis.
The amount of time you have should be factored into another important decision too. In addition to deciding WHICH sports you’re going to bet on, you also need to decide HOW many sports you’re going to bet on. There’s a lot to be said for specializing in one sport, but there are advantages to betting on several too.
When it comes to choosing what sports to bet on, the best advice we can offer you is to take this decision seriously. Most bettors don’t, and just dive straight into to the most popular sports. It’s certainly logical to consider those first if you already know and understand them, but don’t limit yourself in this way. As we explained, learning about some of the less popular sports can give you a significant advantage over the bookmakers.
Again, we’ll point out that there’s no right or wrong decision here. You might even like to experiment with a range of different sports before making a final choice. This is actually a very good approach, as long as you’re willing to give each sport a fair chance. Don’t give up just because you lose your first few wagers.