It can be hard to know the best sports to bet on in a world full of amazing sports to watch and enjoy. Traditional sports like soccer and basketball stand shoulder to shoulder with global imports. There’s also the fast-growing field of Esports to consider – every bit a betting giant in its own right.
How do you know what sets them apart and what might be the best for you? The only way is to dive into a detailed explanation of what makes each one special, both as a sport and also for betting. So read on to discover the best sports to bet on.
Of all the sporting options available, soccer is among the best sports to bet on. Fans are looking forward to seeing the 2023 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. This celebration of the beautiful game occurs only once every four years.
Millions tune in to watch each match during the World Cup. Plenty put their money where their mouth is to bet on their favorite teams. Reigning champions play against scrappy underdogs, with great odds on the weaker side.
On the one hand, it is a deeply strategic game. But, on the other hand, fans who love to crunch the numbers can find any number of factors to gain a knowledge edge over the casual bettor.
However, soccer is also chaotic, where bravery, courage, skill, and a little luck all mix. In the 2023 FIFA World Cup opening games, several underdogs have already shocked the world. Japan beat Germany 2-1, and Saudi Arabia delivered an earth-shattering 2-1 defeat to Argentina.
Why is This Chaos a Good Thing for Betting, Though?
Soccer is a game where a single moment of skill can make all the difference. A low-ranked team with one or two world-class players has every chance of scoring a 1 goal upset. Yet the odds always favor the traditional powerhouse.
There are other tournaments like the World Cup, including the Euros. These tournaments bring together teams of world-class players that don’t usually play together. Those who follow soccer and know how good these players are can make informed bets that look passed a team’s strength on paper.
This factor can also apply at every level, even in domestic leagues. Underdogs periodically steal a win from the favored team. It’s what makes soccer so exciting at any level.
Add to this the fact that you can bet on any number of in-game situations. Everything from goals to fouls, to whether either team scored a bicycle kick goal or went into half-time tied. Soccer is a sport where the number cruncher and gut-feeling fan can bet with equal chances.
When thinking of what sports to bet on, people used to not think about Esports. That has all changed. Leaving aside the old notion that Esports isn’t as competitive as “real sports,” there is a lot at stake.
Esports like Counterstrike: Global Offensive and VALORANT regularly put on major tournaments. We’re talking several million-dollar events yearly and many in the $250,000+ range.
Players make six-figure salaries with buyouts of over a million dollars. Over a million fans watch the CSGO Major Finals regularly, and other Esports match or surpass that.
League of Legends has Worlds with over $2 million in prize money. Dota 2’s TI (The International) hits close to 20 million dollars in prize money every year. Every Esport also has leagues outside tournaments, meaning plenty of matches to bet on.
There is big money in the pots for every match. Reputable betting companies that have done traditional sports for decades offer competitive odds.
Esports also isn’t that difficult to get into. They are fun to play and watch and easy to understand. They have obvious skill components but also a crazy amount of strategy.
This gives you a great crack at the holy grail of any betting sport: underdogs.
The Underdog Factor in Esports
Because Esports has legitimacy among bookmakers and betting sites, the odds are fair. However, they often side with the heavy favorite. However, anyone who watches Esports knows that upsets are a real possibility.
The amount of times a 3-1 underdog comes up clutch against a better team is higher than you’d think.
Let’s take CS:GO, for example. The 2023 Rio Major in Brazil saw the World #1 team eliminated in the group stage. The team that did this to them ranked #23.
In this same tournament, the #2 team lost to the #12 team, and the #3 team lost to the #10 team. The #8 team won the whole tournament, with insane odds for those brave enough to bet on the dark horse.
Esports can be a fantastic way to get cheeky bets on everyone’s favorite upstart teams. Unlike many traditional sports, Esports moves fast. Any team in the top 15-20 can beat any favorite on a good day.
The team crowned the World #1 might slide down to 5th within three months. Those who follow a particular Esports game will get a feel for this ebb and flow. They’ll understand when bookmakers are overvaluing a team based on outdated past performances.
These are the moments when those 3-1 or 4-1 odds might be closer to 2-1 or 1.5-1 in reality. These are the times when a throw-away underdog bet could net you big.
Esports Spot Betting
Esports also offers plenty of opportunities for spot betting. Examples are the time when a particular action might happen or the likelihood of a comeback. Odds can change in real time for these types of flexible bets, adding to the excitement.
The only thing to remember is that although Esports is easy to get into, you must follow it. Betting as a casual fan unfamiliar with the current scene or form of the teams isn’t advisable. However, those who register even a semi-regular interest in the top 15 teams will get tons out of Esports.
Those who follow the strategies, styles, and match-ups could beat the odds.
We talked about soccer and the World Cup, so why not American Football and the Super Bowl? It’s a game with an ocean’s worth of strategic depth and factors to consider. People have been betting on it for ages, and it’s easy to see why.
Something to consider is that you’re dealing with a closed league. All the teams know each other and play each other throughout the season. They know each other from experience and study each other.
This provides plenty of nuance to the odds of typical sports bets. Someone who follows a team might realize when someone is playing hurt or is at the beginning of a slump. Often if a player’s status is uncertain, and no one knows if they’ll play today or sit on the bench, that can affect things.
Fans might also realize how vital a minor coaching staff member is. If someone from the staff gets fired or is sick, a fan would know if that hurts that team’s chances. The casual fan might only look at winning records, and odds for bookmakers are often set that way too.
Why Football Betting is So Good
Nuance opens up the floor to fans who research and are savvy betters. You also have the option to bet for live specifics in-game. During a blow-out, you could bet on how bad it will be by the end, for example.
You could also bet on a last-quarter comeback. Of course, there are some unique standard bets you can also do before the game starts.
The most popular bet for the NFL is the Over/Under, where you bet on the total number of points scored by both teams. If you take the over, then the total has to go above that number, and vice versa for the under. If you know that one of the teams is a defensive juggernaut, but they aren’t good enough to win outright, betting the under can be a good play.
This is especially true if the odds for an upset win don’t feel good enough for you to bet against the grain.
Basketball is high on the list of sports to bet on. The NBA, in particular, is rich in history, excitement, and betting options.
It shares many similarities with the NFL, but even more so. The teams play each other more times in a season, and the strategic depth is as important as ever. A key injury, substitution decision, or man-marking choice can make all the difference.
Things can move pretty fast within a single game. This makes things exciting but also a great fit for live betting. Prop or spot betting, in particular, is on the rise.
You can bet on whether a player on fire will pass 40 points in a game. You can also bet on how many times a man-marked player will get past their man or get blocked by them instead. You might want to live bet on who gets the next technical foul in a scrappy game.
The options are almost endless. Added to this, you can find similar standard betting options. The over/under is popular for basketball.
Some bet on which team will reach 100 points first, with the bet refunded if neither makes it. You can even bet on specific quarters in terms of points, fouls, free throws, or anything else you can think of.
For fans of basketball and the NBA, there’s something for everyone.
People who say tennis is only a sport for the rich don’t know what they’re talking about. Tennis is for everyone when it comes to enjoying the game and betting on sports. Recently, it has exploded in popularity with the big Grand Slam tournaments.
Ways to Bet on Tennis
Fans often bet on outcomes like who will win the opening set. Over/under betting is also common, such as trying to guess the total number of games required to close out a match. An interesting betting type that doesn’t have many other examples is handicap betting.
Most tennis tournaments put high-ranked players against low-ranked ones in the opening rounds. A blow-out often ensues when the world #1 plays someone outside of the top 100 or who isn’t even ranked. Handicap betting is a way to balance those odds and make it more exciting.
Handicap betting is a special kind of bet in which you give a disadvantage to the stronger player. It gives the underdog a head start, assuming that the better player has to close that gap. If they do, the bet gets lost, but if they don’t, you could win even if the underdog still loses.
A good example is a high-ranked player needing to win by six or more total games played over three sets. A game that ends 6-4, 6-3 (for five games total) could see the underdog winning this bet despite losing the match 0-2 in sets.
There are far too many great sports to bet on. Examples include combat sports like MMA and Boxing, where excitement meets live betting between rounds.
Rugby and Cricket are great international sports with growing appeal in North America. They have some of the same appeals as the NBA, NFL, and soccer.
One of the most iconic examples of all, horse racing, is also alive and well. Many fans prefer how straightforward horse betting is.
The Best Sports to Bet On
The best sports to bet on will always be a bit of a personal question. Each one has some serious strength. Liking the sport in question is the first step since there isn’t much point if you don’t enjoy it.
You have to follow the sport to understand, stay informed and bet well. Staying in the loop is easier when you have a trusted source. If more such info is what you are after, look at the rest of our blog posts.