One of the questions we are most often asked here at Honest Betting Reviews is what the best sports to bet on are.
It is not an easy to question to answer and can depend a lot on what you are looking for. Do you want a sport that will give you a high strike rate, with a high proportion of winners and short losing streaks?
Or would you prefer a sport that can deliver some massive priced winners at 50/1, 100/1 or more?
Or perhaps you are more interested in betting on a sport with a high return on investment, that could produce a consistent income over time.
All of these factors – and more – come into consideration when you are thinking about which sport is the best to bet on.
Let’s take a look at the question then, taking into account these factors and other important ones.
First we will take a look at the major sports to bet on and what their pros and cons are, before analysing what we think are the best sports to bet on.
The Best Sports to Bet On – Taking a Look at the Contenders
Here we will take a look at the key contenders and see which sports are worth looking at from a punting point of view. The good news is that these days the bookies have prices not only on just about every sport conceivable, but also a whole range of markets to choose from in each game or tournament.
Football (or soccer to our American cousins) is the most gambled-on sport in the world, with an estimated $500bn wagered on the sport each year.
As you can imagine, that should create a lot of opportunities to profit from it and these days the bookies offer markets on just about every market imaginable, from the number of corners to shots on goal, who will get the first yellow card and much more.
From that point of view and in terms of the amount of liquidity there is on major football matches, football is certainly a good sport to bet on. If there is a professional football match going on in the world somewhere, you can be pretty sure the bookies and Betfair will offer odds on it, leaving you with no shortage of action to choose from.
And generally speaking there is good liquidity on the in-play markets as well on Betfair on most football matches, giving you the chance to trade and hedge positions freely.
There are also emerging mediums like Football Index that allow you to buy futures (like shares) in footballers and to trade them for profit depending on whether a player’s value goes up or down.
So that is all good, but what the profitability of football as a sport to bet on?
Well, perhaps surprisingly given the popularity of the game and the vast array of opportunities to bet on it, there aren’t actually that many professional football gamblers out there, certainly in comparison to horse racing for example.
Fortunately there are a few good ones we have found, such as The Football Guru and Chloe’s Football Focus. If you follow experts like these then it is possible to turn a profit, as they have shown over the long run with profits of over 600 points and 400 points respectively.
With football markets being so hugely gambled-on, it can also be tough to find value and a lot of the time most things are “known” – perhaps only late team news can bring a surprise but you don’t have much that is hidden from the market like in horse racing (which we will delve into further below).
On the other hand, the good thing about betting on football is that the strike rate (or win rate) tends to be higher than in sports like horse racing and golf, meaning more of your bets are winners and the losing runs are shorter and less painful.
However, because the strike rate can approach the 50% mark when betting on football, the return on investment tends to be lower, with even top football bettors often not getting above the 10% mark.
That doesn’t matter too much if you are turning over a large volume of bets and making good profits, but it is something to bear in mind.
Overall then, football is a good sport to bet on given the huge number of markets and matches available and high strike rate of winners, but is typically harder to make a profit on than some other sports and there are fewer professional football gamblers than horse racing ones.
Horse racing is known as the “Sport of Kings” but are you likely to live a King’s lifestyle from betting on it?
Well the potential is certainly there, although very few people actually manage it. There are some well known professional gamblers who have become incredibly wealthy from betting on the gee-gees, notably Bill Benter, who made a billion dollars from horse racing, as well as Alan Woods and Zeljko Ranogajec.
Those guys tended to rely on complex algorithms and computer systems though, out of reach of most ordinary punters. So if you don’t have tools like that, is it still a good sport to bet on?
Well there are some very good professional tipsters you can follow and who we have run live trials of here, like the Flat Racing Master, the Elite Betting Syndicate and the Bet Alchemist. They are probably your best choice for trying to make some profit from horse racing.
The good thing about racing betting is that you tend to get higher odds than on sports like football and there is a great satisfaction in seeing a horse you’ve picked at odds of 20/1 or more come flying home.
As alluded to above, there is also more opportunity to spot things that aren’t immediately obvious. There is of course “inside information” which those lucky enough to be connected with stables and trainers may be partial to, but we have yet to see any service promising such information that can actually generate a profit.
But clearly when the bookies price up the markets the night before racing there is some subjectivity in the odds and they will often move quite dramatically before the off, indicating that the “smart money” is able to identify where a mistake has been made in pricing up the odds. There are so many variables – ground, jockey, trainer, draw, distance, form etc – that often bookies won’t pick up on the significance of one of those variables improving a particular horse’s chances in the race.
It is by pouncing on these mistakes that experts like those tipsters mentioned above are able to generate very high returns on investment of over 20% or even 30%, thus generating strong profits over the long run.
The other side of the coin is that the strike rate tends to be lower than in football, often at around the 10-30% mark, but that just means you need a bigger bank and a little more patience.
If you have those, and a professional gambler to guide you, then horse racing can be a very good sport to bet on.
Golf has grown in popularity as a betting medium in recent years and is now one of the most gambled-on sports in the world, behind just the “big two” of football and horse racing.
It has a lot of similarities with horse racing in terms of having big-priced winners – probably even more so with regular 100/1+ winners on both tours – and needing patience and a decent-sized betting banks.
Much like horse racing, there are some top professional golf gamblers – the likes of Keith Elliott, Steve Palmer and Roger Chapman being known to most punters via the Racing Post and online presences.
Bookies tend to focus a lot of attention on the top of the market and the big names like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth and whilst they are undoubtedly great players, it means you can often get very good value on less-heralded players who may be in red-hot form or have a strong record at a particular course.
This, coupled with study of stats, can be a recommended path to profit when wagering on golf. As mentioned though, you will tend to need a really big betting bank and lots of patience because if you’re backing at odds of 40/1, 50/1 or 100/1 plus then you can wait months for a winner, which can become quite frustrating.
So betting on golf won’t suit everyone’s temperament, but it can quite a thrill when one of those 100/1 shots does land the spoils and you are one of the select few shrewdies who picked them.
Tennis has a lot going for it as a sport to bet on with usually excellent liquidity on in-play matches and events all year round to get involved in.
With just two outcomes on the main match market and no possibility of a draw it is also straightforward to approach.
Tennis betting shares some similarities with football in that you are generally have a high strike rate if you are betting on the match odds market but conversely the return on investment doesn’t tend to be very high.
We don’t know of any famous professional tennis gamblers but there probably are some out there.
From the way the markets operate with so much liquidity on individual matches but little on the outright tournament winner, it is likely that a great deal of trading is happening on tennis matches.
There are some good trading guides like Trade Shark Tennis that can help you with trading ideas if that is something you are interested in.
One of the benefits of betting on tennis is that the bookies often have very low percentage books, meaning in other words that there is good value compared to other sports and by using an odds comparison site like Oddschecker you should be able to get odds that are very close to the actual chances of the player winning.
So whilst in theory tennis should be a good sport to bet on, we have come across very few people who have figured out how to profit from it.
Cricket has grown tremendously popular as a sport to bet on with the emergence of 20-20 cricket and fuelled by huge interest in India and the subcontinent.
This has led to massive amounts being wagered on cricket matches, particularly on events like the IPL and big T-20 tournaments. Much as with tennis, quite a lot of this is probably a result of people trading the matches in-running.
It also has other similarities with tennis in terms of being a high strike-rate, low return on investment, good value sport to bet on, but at the same time not being famed for professional gamblers making a living from it (although again it may be that there are some out there but they are just not well-known).
There is a promising tipster in the form of The Cricket Betting Tipster, who focuses on the man of the match market and has made good profits to date, so that is one to watch.
If you are looking to bet on cricket it may be best to focus on one particular form of the game, whether it be test cricket, one dayers or T-20.
Overall cricket has a great deal of interest in it as a betting medium but we are not sure at the moment it is the best sport to bet on.
There are of course many other sports to bet on and whilst it wouldn’t make sense to get through them all here, it is probably worth looking at some of the contenders for best sport to bet on amongst the rest.
Boxing is very popular and will have its adherents as a good tool for betting. The big bouts have massive amounts wagered on them and can have profitable angles to use, whether it be fight winner, method of victory or round betting. Although not offering as many events to bet on as other sports, it can still be worth taking a look at.
Another popular sport for betting is greyhound racing and although it is often regarded as the poor relation of the more glamorous sport of horse racing, it can also yield results for those with the knowledge and expertise. One who has done that admirably is Premier Greyhound Tips, which has made over £6,000 profit to just £10 stakes since starting up.
Finally, US Sports like NFL, basketball and ice hockey also attract a lot of gambling activity and will probably attract even more now that gambling has been legalised in the US. Whilst we haven’t yet come across many profitable angles for taking these sports on, hopefully we should see some more tipsters starting to emerge as betting becomes more established in states across America, so watch this space for that.
So there is no easy answer to the question of “what is the best sport to bet on” and it depends on which angle you approach it from and what is most important to you.
If you are looking for the most markets and action to gamble on regularly, with some top experts to guide you, then football is probably the way to go.
Golf is also a contender with winners at 100/1+ being possible, although you do tend to need a big betting bank and a great deal of patience if you want to make it work.
Overall it is perhaps horse racing that just about gets the nod in the end, with numerous professional gamblers having shown the way to make profits and enough angles to exploit to beat the bookies.
Whichever sports you choose to bet on though, please always gamble responsibly and only risk money you can afford to lose.