We already know there’s a load of sports to bet on: Horse racing, football, basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, soccer, cricket, snooker… As you can tell, the list gets countless.
We’ll get into some of those sports and more in detail later on in the blog, but there are reasons why some sports (if not most) can be hard to place a wager on. For example, each team’s score may be included in your bet, or you may be counting turnovers. There are so many factors that could mess up the forecast of a bet.
Then you have sports like baseball where it’s nearly impossible to bet on due to how random things can get, and nevermind the battle between pitcher vs. batter. Those two factors alone can make ‘America’s Pastime’ nearly impossible to bet on.
Then you have the factors of numbers and statistics. We’ve all heard the quote from Jay-Z: “Numbers don’t lie.” The problem with that quote, however, is that sometimes in both sports and gambling, numbers do happen to fib from time to time.
And then you have the whole factor of corruption that we’ve seen so many times in the history of sports and gambling. Even though that’s not an actual factor that’s apart of the game, it does happen a lot. And it’s happened recently.
In this piece, we’ll gather all of the factors together and determine which are the hardest sports to bet on. Get your pen and pad, some of this information could be very useful to you the next time you place a wager.
Last season when I was employed by a central Pennsylvania newspaper, I had a weekly football prediction segment titled ‘Powell’s Predictions’. I would make picks in both college football and the National Football League. And here’s how I did: College went great, the NFL, on the other hand, was a bit of a struggle for me — at least to start out the year. When it comes to the NFL in particular, it’s hard to forecast games due to a number of factors, like turnovers affecting the score of the game, for example. With a bunch of pros, the twists are constant.
Compared to the National Football League, NCAA College Football is drastically easier to bet on, but it still comes with a level of difficulty. When a power five is facing off against a mid-major, it’s obviously an easy pick to make. When it’s two top programs playing, it’s obviously much closer to the NFL level. And remember that turnover factor I mentioned earlier? That’s also to play a factor in this football “league” as well. And did I bring up other random events as well? You have weather, “off games” and bad calls to worry about as well. Football is tough.
We already went over baseball a little bit earlier, but let’s elaborate a little further. The first thing I brought up was that the MLB is extremely random. Yeah, you have your power hitters in the game, but are they exactly controlling where the ball goes when they hit? No. Same way with pitchers. Yeah, they have good control for the most part, but walks happen. Bad games happen. Weather delays happen. The randomness of the game is what makes baseball so incredibly hard to bet on at times. And it’s probably the worst sport to go with the numbers.
The reason why the National Hockey League is so hard to bet on is due to the lack of parity. You can have a dominant team come in one night and get blown out by the worst team in the league. We actually saw this in the entire first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets — the wild-card Blue Jackets would come in and roll all over the Lightning for a 4-0 sweep. Who saw that coming? But as you see, the sport of hockey, like baseball, can be extraordinarily random. That’s hockey for you.
In the NBA Playoffs, gambling in the National Basketball Association isn’t much of a problem. However, the regular season is a different animal and can be very hard to win in at times. For example: I’m a Miami Heat fan. Somebody please explain to me how the Heat can come in one night at their own arena in South Florida and lose to the Orlando Magic, and then turn around and fly to Oakland and nearly beat the best team in the league in the Golden State Warriors. That’s the night in and night out schedule of the National Basketball Association, baby.
The same problem happens in NCAA College Football as it does in NCAA College Basketball: Upsets. And in college basketball, that’s especially true when it comes to action between conference opponents. When the competition is balanced, an upset can happen on any night in the world of college basketball, and that’s what makes NCAAB so difficult to place wagers on. But you can say that for any of the leagues: Any sport with high volume wagering is always going to be difficult to make a buck in. But if you do your homework, you’ll be good to go.
Here’s why tennis can be hard to bet on: When it comes to an individual, it’s hard to predict and/or decipher the motivation factor(s) for that particular athlete. When it comes to team athletics, one individual’s lack of motivation won’t hurt the team as a whole. It may hold them back, but they can still win. Let’s be honest here: You can lose a bet in tennis based off of a player’s psychological status alone. If he’s not feeling it, you’re out of money. For example: You could put down $500 on a player and if he’s a flop in that match, then you just have to accept it.
Boxing can also be one of those individual sports that’s hard to place a wager on. You could have a fight that has had building anticipation for months, but if that fighter happens to have an off night on that particular night, your bet is toast. That’s the realm of boxing. Another thing about this sport is that you have to understand style matchups. A particular boxer could have had a great performance against one fighter, but against another, their style might not be able to compete — and here we have a difficult sport to bet on in the process.
MMA is another difficult sport to bet due to the individualism of the athletes participating. Again, if they have a bad night, the MMA fighter that you placed your wager on just cost you money. Another problem with betting on MMA is that it’s not as popular as other traditional sports, so information pertaining to your bet can sometimes be limited as a result. Another problem with betting on the MMA as well is the betting prices and payouts can be lackluster compared to the NFL, NBA, etc. And can make MMA betting not just hard, but sometimes a waste of time.
Soccer is another difficult sport to bet on, and this due to four key reasons:
For example, you could have Liverpool expected to blowout Huddersfield Town, 3-0. Then all of a sudden, Huddersfield was able to pull a 2-1 upset because the Reds couldn’t get anything going in that particular match offensively. It happens like that sometimes — and that’s just one example. And there are also more reasons than those four. Soccer is extraordinarily difficult to gamblers.
The reason why cricket makes the list is because it’s a very similar to sport to baseball, and what did I say about the game of baseball earlier? It’s random. Cricket has the same formula, with a load of random events that can change the whole outlook of the game. And also similar to baseball, the weather can also make a difference in a match. But here’s some good news about betting on cricket: Plenty of trade opportunities. With the betting odds and prices constantly changing (and doing so heavily), there are constant chances to pull trades.
How can you leave horse racing off of the list? You can’t. Here’s the thing with this particular sport: Only people who are truly in the know are going to win consistently with this type of gambling. As we all know, only a hand-full of events are included in the mainstream such as the Kentucky Derby, The Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and so on. With that being said, the average sports fan is betting on mainly odds, not the horse itself — which can make it hard to profit. There’s a lot of tidbits involved with horse racing such as ownership, trainers, family, etc.
NASCAR is another one of those sports where it’s difficult to place a bet on due to the randomness of an auto race — especially in the last few laps when the adrenaline rush is at a maximum for every driver on the track. Also, the results all depend on how good a car is, not necessarily dependent on the driver. (That’s why you see Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Racing, etc. constantly dominating the world of NASCAR.) With that being said though, remember, there’s always that random factor. This is especially true when you’re dealing with a bunch of cars.