It’s a great time to be a sports bettor! Thanks to the internet, we not only enjoy the ability to wager on sports online instead of having to fly to Vegas, but we also have access to watch sports that are being played across the world.
The possibilities of what we can bet on are endless, but it can also mean a bit of a learning curve ahead as we try to master all of our different sports betting options. Fortunately for you, that’s why we’ve come up with this set of sports betting guides, loaded with all the information you need to know about betting a particular sport.
From the various leagues in each sport to the different ways to bet on the action, we cover it all in these guides, along with recommendations of the best online betting sites to use for each particular sport. (Not all online betting sites are the same, so some are better to use for certain sports than others!) With that being said, below you’ll see our top 5 online sportsbooks. All of these sites have been tested by our experts and have been proven to be safe and reliable for betting on a variety of sports.
So grab a beverage, pull up a chair, and prepare to learn more about the most popular sports to bet on in today’s modern world!
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When it comes to sports betting in North America, nothing is bigger than football. Whether it’s the National Football League, NCAA football, the Canadian Football League, or Arena Football League, people can’t get enough of betting on the hard-hitting, fast-paced action of the gridiron. We’ll soon have even more football to bet on, with the Alliance of American Football expected to kick off in 2019 and the return of the XFL to follow in 2020.
Among the big appeals of betting on football is how many games are often played at the same time (a college football Saturday or NFL Sunday, for example), as well as the multiple ways of betting on them. Whether it’s wagering via traditional methods like the point spread, moneyline, or over/under, or if you’re more into parlays, teasers, and live betting, online betting sites provide you with seemingly unlimited ways to get involved in the action.
The biggest betting event in football every year is unquestionably the Super Bowl when millions of people across the world wager billions of dollars on everything from who will be crowned that season’s NFL champion to what color of Gatorade will be dumped on the winning coach!
For more information on the different ways to bet on football and some tips to help you win some money, be sure to check out our guide to betting on football games.
The high-scoring nature of basketball, the many momentum swings, and the dramatic finishes make it one of the most exciting sports to bet on, if not the most exciting.
Teams regularly score 100 points or more apiece in National Basketball Association professional contests, where many games are still up for grabs in the final minute. Although there may be more disparity in NCAA college basketball, the point spreads that oddsmakers post for each game will often leave you sweating out your wagers in the dying seconds as well. And while the WNBA women’s professional league is not nearly as popular as the men’s pro or college leagues, it’s still some great action with softer betting lines that you can exploit.
Must-bet events in basketball each year include the NBA’s games on Christmas Day, the March Madness college basketball tournament, and of course, the NBA Finals. Point spreads and over/under totals are the most popular ways to get down on the action, but you’ll also want to familiarize yourself with other basketball betting options such as teasers and futures odds. Live betting is also a great way to capitalize on all the wild swings on the scoreboard that you see during a basketball game.
When betting on basketball, it’s absolutely critical to stay on top of injuries or which players are sitting out to rest, since one dominant player can make such a big difference on the hard court. Betting basketball online allows you to be able to quickly get some wagers down as soon as you hear some injury news, just one of the ways you can beat the bookmakers by betting hoops. For more information and tips on how to win at betting basketball, check out the page below.
The sports betting world slows down a bit in the summer when football, basketball, and hockey are out of season. Fortunately, baseball is there to more than filling the void, with Major League Baseball serving up as many as 16 games to bet on per day from April to October.
As fun as baseball is to bet on, it brings its own set of unique challenges. Starting pitching matchups can swing the lines dramatically to the point where a team can be a -200 moneyline favorite one day, then a +200 moneyline underdog the very next day against the very same opponent. Understanding matchups and knowing statistics is crucial to enjoying success in baseball betting, so make sure you do your homework to maximize your chances of turning a profit on the diamond.
Many sports betting sites will help you with that homework, providing the need-to-know stats to break down today’s matchups. But even when a team looks invincible with its star pitcher on the mound against a weak opponent, it’s important to know that baseball teams rarely win more than 60% of their games over a full season. Instead of regularly laying -200 or higher on the moneylines, it’s wise to find alternative ways to back favorites at cheaper prices (whether it’s the run line or a team total) or even to consider the chances of the underdog.
The World Series and the All-Star Game are highlights of the long MLB campaign, although you can ensure things stay interesting all season by betting on season win totals or division and championship futures. Our baseball betting section explains more about strategies to bet baseball, including the pros and cons of the various ways of wagering on the diamond.
They call soccer the beautiful game because of its international appeal, so it should come as no surprise that soccer is the most bet-on sport in the world every year. In fact, approximately 70% of the money that is wagered on sports each year is bet on soccer (or what those across the pond refer to as football).
The heaviest of soccer betting action comes in UEFA leagues such as the Premier League in the UK, League 1 in France, Bundesliga in Germany, Serie A in Italy, and La Liga in Spain. Closer to home for us in North America is Major League Soccer, a league of 23 clubs from the United States and Canada that has attracted international superstars like David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Andrea Pirlo, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
With so many games in so many leagues across the globe each year, there are also a lot of massive soccer events that you’ll want to wager on. The FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championships lead the way as international tournaments that cause us to gather together with family and friends to cheer on the countries of our ancestors, accompanied by wagers on our favorite teams. The UEFA Champions League, FA Cup, Copa del Rey, and the Olympics are other must-bet soccer tournaments.
Soccer games are typically low-scoring, but that only makes it more exciting when a goal is scored. Besides, online betting sites do a great job of keeping things interesting by offering odds on a ton of other things that happen during a game, such as shots on goal, corner kicks, throw-ins, fouls, and even red or yellow cards issued.
With so many different options for betting on soccer, you’ll want to read our soccer betting guide below before you give wagering on the pitch a go.
Think golf is boring to watch? You must not have tried betting on it, because having wagers on the action can bring meaning and suspense to every shot in the tournament.
Although there are more than 20 professional tours across the world, the PGA Tour is clearly the most prestigious and popular thanks to the caliber of players it attracts to its multi-million-dollar tournaments. The golf betting season is highlighted by the four major tournaments on the calendar (the Masters, British Open, U.S. Open, and PGA Championship), although the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup provide plenty of intrigues as well due to their international head-to-head formats.
Typical golf tournaments feature fields of well over 100 players, so predicting the outright winner of a tournament is extremely difficult. That’s why online betting sites continue to offer more and more ways to bet on golf, such as head-to-head player matchups, over/under on the score that various players will post during a round, or whether players will finish in the Top 5, Top 10, or Top 25 of the tournament.
Since no course is the same and weather conditions vary greatly as well, certain players’ games will set up for success better than others every weekend. It’s also important to know which players have shot the ball well in recent tournaments and which ones are struggling with their confidence since those are good indicators of what to expect in upcoming competitions. For more golf betting tips, read our guide for betting on golf.
Like golf, tennis is a fascinating change of pace for sports bettors because it allows you to bet on individual athletes, not the collective performance of teams. By knowing the recent form of a tennis player, his or her history against a particular opponent, and how his/her strengths and weaknesses match up, you give yourself an excellent chance of winning wagers since you don’t have to worry about how their teammates might play.
Tennis has a tremendous international following because tournaments are played all over the world and also because the game’s brightest stars come from all over the globe. For example, the top 11 players on the men’s tennis world rankings in April 2018 all came from different countries, as did 13 of the top 14.
All that fan interest inevitably leads to a lot of gambling interest as well, and online betting sites have been quick to cater to tennis bettors. Betting lines are available for essentially every match in every tournament throughout the year, no longer just reserved for major tournaments such as Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, French Open, and Australian Open.
Even the most lopsided of tennis matchups between a top-ranked player and a virtually unknown opponent will be made much more interesting with a wager on the line. Over/under on how many points will be scored in a match and point spreads on how much the favorite will win by are great ways to have a shot at winning close to even money on any matchup, not to mention making the games way more exciting.
Our tennis betting guide will give you all the information you need to help you understand all your tennis betting options, as well as what to look for when trying to pick winners.
Hockey is not as popular in the United States as other mainstream North American sports like football, basketball, and baseball. But if you give puck betting a shot, we’re sure you’ll be quickly hooked by the lightning-fast, hard-hitting, end-to-end action that hockey games always deliver to their hard-core fans.
The National Hockey League is the world’s top professional hockey league, featuring 31 teams from across Canada and the United States. The NHL has also been the most gambling-friendly of the 4 major pro-North American leagues, becoming the first of the group to expand to Las Vegas. The gambling crowd of Sin City quickly fell in love with their Golden Knights, who rewarded their fans by finishing second in their conference in their inaugural season.
Moneylines are the most common way to bet on NHL hockey, but over/under (betting on the number of goals that will be scored) is another popular and fun way to get in on the action. Puck lines (similar to the point spread in basketball and football) level the ice in lopsided matchups, often allowing you to win an underdog return on the favorite.
There are many other things about betting hockey that we don’t have space to explain here, so don’t forget to consult our hockey betting guide for more options for wagering on the ice.
Although the origins of mixed martial arts trace way back to ancient Greece, the modern version of MMA’s blend of boxing, wrestling, and various other martial arts has only been around since the mid-1990s. But in that mere 20 years of existence, MMA’s popularity has exploded to the point that it may soon surpass boxing as the world’s top pay-per-view attraction.
As much as people love watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Bellator, and other major MMA events, they also love betting on them. Fighting and betting have always gone hand in hand, given our instinct for picking a favorite side to support in a head-to-head battle.
Betting on MMA is much more than simply picking which fighter will win a match, however. You can also wager over/under how many rounds a fight will last, or whether the fight will end in a knockout, submission, or a decision. The possible wagering combinations are virtually endless, adding excitement to any match in the octagon.
The MMA betting market is still relatively young and uninformed, including the oddsmakers who are still learning how to set betting lines for these events. That opens up a lot of opportunity for any savvy bettor who is willing to do his homework on the fighters and identify some tendencies to exploit! By consulting our comprehensive guide on betting UFC and other MMA fights, you’ve got an even better chance of ending up in the winner’s circle.
Although most of us in North America have had limited exposure to the game of cricket, that doesn’t mean the sport isn’t popular. In fact, cricket ranks behind only soccer when it comes to the most popular sport in the world, thanks largely to its huge and passionate following in India.
Like baseball, cricket involves a bat and a ball, and two teams take turns at bat to try to score as many runs as possible. Bowlers are similar to baseball pitchers, attempting to get the batsmen out and limit the opposition to as few runs as possible.
Cricket has become much more appealing to bet on with the introduction of abbreviated games. While traditional matches (known as test matches) still last for five days, Twenty20 games of cricket can be concluded within a few hours, allowing our bets to be settled on the same day that we place them. And with so many games going on every day of the year across the world, there’s certainly no shortage of betting opportunities. The Ashes (an annual test match between Australia and England), World Cup tournaments and any games between India and Pakistan should always be highlighted on any cricket bettor’s calendar.
In addition to betting on which team will win the game, you can also wager on which player will score the most runs, take the most wickets, record the highest opening partnership, or score the most boundaries. If all of these terms sound foreign, don’t be discouraged. Just read our cricket betting guide to learn more about how to wager on the second-most-popular game in the world!
If you’re a fan of football (and who isn’t?), you’ll love betting on rugby as well. After all, rugby is the sport from which American and Canadian football evolved from and features the same primary objective of methodically moving the ball down the field in an effort to reach the other team’s goal.
Unlike the NFL and other football leagues, however, rugby does not allow players to pass the ball forward. Instead, the constant laterals and kicks lead to a free-flowing game that sees fewer stoppages and the potential for points to be scored at any time.
Big annual events in rugby include the Six Nations Championship (featuring France, Italy, and the 4 nations of the United Kingdom), the Rugby Championship (a fierce competition featuring Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa), and the Nations Cup. But the biggest event in the sport is undoubtedly the Rugby World Cup, held every four years and next scheduled for 2019.
Moneylines, point spreads, and over/unders are the most common ways to bet on rugby, but online betting sites also allow you to wager on what the first scoring play will be, how many tries will be scored, which half will be higher-scoring, and other exciting options. But there’s a lot to learn about rugby before you start betting on it, so be sure to consult our rugby betting guide first.
As exciting as it is to bet on sports that only involve human athletes, there’s nothing like wagering on auto races that reach speeds of more than 200 miles per hour! It’s not just the breakneck speeds that make auto racing exciting, either. There’s a lot of strategies that go into winning an auto race, not to mention having to successfully avoid the potential of crashes at every turn in order to claim the checkered flag.
The three most popular forms of auto racing in the world are NASCAR, Formula 1, and IndyCar, and online betting sites offer wagering for all of them. Each style of racing varies greatly, as Formula 1 appeals to sprint racing fans, NASCAR is for those who appreciate a tactical marathon format, and IndyCar is a blend of both.
Regardless of which style of racing you prefer, however, there are events on each league’s calendar that will always demand your attention. The Daytona 500 and Watkins Glen are NASCAR’s signature races, IndyCar is known for the Indianapolis 500, and Formula 1’s schedule is highlighted by a stop at Watkins Glen.
From betting on the outright winner to individual matchups to how many cautions there will be during the race to whether the number of the winning car is odd or even, there are plenty of ways to get involved in the action. Our auto racing page explains more about that, along with some tips about what to look for when picking winners in auto racing.
They call horse racing the sport of kings, but you don’t need to be royalty to get an adrenaline rush from watching a group of horses thunder down the stretch towards a photo finish. In fact, just having even a few bucks on the outcome could be enough to turn horse racing into one of your new favorite sports to bet on!
Even those who don’t follow horse racing very closely are aware of the three biggest horse races in North America: the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. Those races, contested each year within a six-week stretch, make up the Triple Crown, and just one horse (American Pharoah, 2015) has won all three races within a single season since 1978. There are many other huge horse races held across the world as well, such as the Grand National in England, Nakayama Grand Jump in Japan, Paris Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France and Breeder’s Cup world championships in the United States.
The best part about horse racing is that those major events are just the tip of the iceberg! The United States alone is home to more than 100 horse racing tracks, and there are hundreds of races contested each day across the world. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, we can now bet on virtually all of them, and live feeds from race tracks all over the globe allow us to watch those winners come home.
Whether you’re betting a horse to win, place or show, playing the Daily Double or taking a shot at the Superfecta, horse racing always delivers a unique brand of excitement to your sports betting experience. Read our detailed guide to horse racing betting for more details on how to bet on the action, including tips to help you pick some winners.
Betting on sports is no longer limited to wagering on real-life events.
The popularity of esports (competitive video gaming) has exploded to the point that the total amount of revenue generated by esports through media rights, ads, sponsorships, merchandise, ticket sales, and other sources is expected to exceed $1 billion by the year 2020! All of that attention has led to some massive purses being up for grabs in video game competitions, and where big money is on the line, betting interest is quick to follow. Statista estimates that the amount annually wagered on esports by 2020 will be in excess of $20 billion.
The most popular esports for bettors are typically first-person shooters such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or battle arena multiplayer games like League of Legends, Dota 2, and Heroes of the Storm. However, sports simulation games are starting to rise in popularity as well, and we’ll likely soon see leagues for Madden NFL, NBA 2K, and MLS (Major League Soccer) attract plenty of esports betting interest.
As different as esports are from traditional sports, there are also a lot of similarities. There will be favorites and underdogs in each event, and you can bet on whichever team you like to win. You can also bet on individual performance within a team, or on in-game props such as the number of kills recorded or how long a match will last.
Also, like sports betting, you’ll need to do your research to know which gamers are in good form and how they’ve historically fared against their upcoming opponent. Even if you don’t know much about video games or aren’t good at playing them, you’ll want to learn more about esports betting just to see what the latest craze is all about!
At the end of the day, that’s why we bet on sports, right? As much as having a wager on the action can make the games more exciting, it’s always even more enjoyable to make some money at this as well. Hopefully, the various sports betting guides featured above will give you an idea of what to look for and help you win more wagers. Good luck with your bets!