Sports betting is the most popular online gambling activity on the planet. With recent deregulation in the United States, it is poised to become even more so. Many would argue that sports betting isn’t actually gambling, as it relies more on skill than luck, but the same can be said about poker, yet it is still considered a gambling activity. Depending on how you approach it, sports gambling can be either a vice or a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon watching your favorite football team. The general rule for gambling still applies, though. Never gamble more than you are comfortable with losing.
Is It Possible to Earn Money in Sports Betting?
The answer to this is a resounding yes. People do it all the time, whether online or in traditional brick-and-mortar bookie shops. Some even get rich, although that can be a tall order. A good idea is to start with a sport you are familiar with. Don’t bet on ice hockey if you have never watched a game of it in your life. Another good idea is to stick with the league you know a lot about. Betting on Kazakhstani third league has its charms, but you probably can’t name half of the teams competing in it, let alone players. Such woeful ignorance will make it almost impossible to predict results with any degree of certainty. You can always flip a coin, of course, but that hardly qualifies as sports betting. It is more akin to roulette.
Not All Sports Are Created Equal
Some sports are more difficult to bet on than others. Usually, the outcome of sports that include animals like horse racing or greyhound racing is rather harder to predict than those involving only humans. You can see a great summary of betting difficulty on the Askgamblers sports section, covering various sports and disciplines. That being said, to be a successful punter you have to be intimately acquainted with your chosen sport, regardless of its nature and its participants. Of course, there will be surprises, either by animals, players, or even referees, but that is the beauty of sport. Underdogs can achieve unexpected victories over favored rivals and often, that can’t be predicted or accounted for. Betting odds reflect the possibility of the win based on the perceived strength of the team, but they can also get it wrong plenty of times.
Football, or soccer for the crowd over the pond, is without a doubt the most popular sport for betting in the world. Millions of people bet on football matches every day. European football holds the top spot among the punters across the globe. The UEFA Champions League is one of the richest competitions in the world, with the best clubs playing in it, so it is no wonder that it attracts the most attention from viewers and punters alike. Football game analysis is a science, providing a myriad of detail to fans and allowing them to bet with a large degree of certainty. That isn’t to say that there aren’t any surprises, though. Sometimes lowly MK Dons from League Two can humiliate mighty Manchester United with a 4-0 victory, as it happened in 2014. Football fans also enjoy betting on national squads, as they compete for various continental titles and the World Cup.
Basketball is a fairly recent addition to European punters, although people in the United States bet on both NBA and NCAA games for decades. As one of the fastest-growing sports in terms of the number of fans watching it, basketball is becoming increasingly popular. New fans are picking it up all over the world and some of them like to bet on their favorite teams. Betting on basketball matches entails what is called spread betting. Instead of simply guessing the winner of the match, which is too easy, you have to guess the points differential. The margin is given in points on the favorite team, for instance, you can have Los Angeles Lakers over Boston Celtics by 12. That means the Lakers have to win by 12 or more points for your bet to win. You can also bet on players, trying to guess their individual contribution.
Betting on tennis is as straightforward as it gets. All you have to do is predict the winner of the match or a tournament and you are set. Of course, making those predictions involves a fair bit of knowledge of the players and their form. For instance, betting against Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open simply isn’t a wise decision. The same goes for betting against Rafael Nadal at Roland-Garros and no self-respecting tennis fan would allow themselves such a bet. The popularity of tennis translates well to its popularity among punters, as it is the second most popular betting sport in the United Kingdom, with only football ahead of it.
Known as the sport of kings, horse racing was once the only betting option before football and tennis caught on. In the United Kingdom, it is still ranked third among the most popular sports for betting, but even that position is threatened. However, it still rakes in massive profits, with £150 million in placed bets on the 2017 Cheltenham Festival alone. Other events, like Royal Ascot, Epson Derby, and Grand National attract even more punters. One thing that worries is that the younger generations rarely if ever bet on horses, preferring football. The future holds many challenges for the venerable sport.
As far as volume goes, American football is the most popular sport for betting in the United States. With a sheer number of games played over the week, there are numerous opportunities for punters to win big. The National Football League (NFL), although losing to the National Basketball Association (NBA), is still the most popular sports league in the country and it is even gaining traction abroad. This also means that there are more and more international punters betting on it each year.