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If you’ve spent a good amount of time betting on sports, you already know how hard it is to make a profit. Sportsbooks always set the odds in their favor, leaving you at a disadvantage from the start.
Since the standard odds on 50/50 bets is -110, you need to win 52.38% of those wagers just to break even. While this may not seem like much, the juice that sportsbooks charge (the -10 in the -110) is very difficult to overcome considering how accurate bookmakers are.
One way to improve your chances of making money sports betting is to carefully select which sports you bet on. Some sports are easier to predict, while others leave room for sportsbooks’ lines to be off, giving you a better chance at winning.
With that in mind, let’s check out the best sports to bet on.
Best & Most Profitable Sports to Bet On
When choosing which sports to bet on, you should factor in several things, including the sport’s popularity, the number of games in a season, the overall chance of upsets, the number of markets (especially props), available promos, and more.
1) College Basketball
Hundreds of college basketball games are being played each week during the season. And with so many teams, players aren’t as well-known as NBA players, especially from smaller schools, making it harder for books to set accurate lines.
While it may be harder to find data, predictions, and advice online for college basketball games, you can often find games with value if you know the teams well. One useful strategy is to focus on just one conference or region, watching games and keeping up with trends, and only betting on those specific teams.
On the downside, it’s often difficult to forecast spreads on games where there is a heavy favorite, such as when powerhouses like Duke and UNC go up against small schools. In addition, there often are no player props (and sometimes game props) available for certain games.
The NBA is, in many ways, similar to college basketball. After all, it’s the same sport.
To start with, the NBA features a fewer number of teams and overall games. Still, each of the 30 teams plays through 82 games during the regular season, so expect plenty of action from October to June.
Also, NBA games tend to have a higher score, as they last longer and players are better at scoring, on average. The format is also slightly different, as college basketball games consist of two halves, while NBA games have four quarters.
Due to fewer teams, the talent gap is smaller, with consequently fewer blowouts, making it slightly harder to predict games. If you can judge matchups well, though, and keep an eye out for lines that are off, you can be profitable betting on the NBA.
The NBA has all of the standard bets—with moneylines, spreads, and totals being the most common—as well as many more game and player props than college basketball. It’s often possible to find value in prop bets, especially, as the sheer number of them leaves the potential mispriced lines.
Finally, you’ll also find more NBA-exclusive promotions, such as odds boosts and parlay insurance, that can help you turn a profit.
The MLB is one of the most popular sports for betting in the U.S. Each team plays 162 games during the regular season (a total of 2,430 games), meaning there’s action almost every day for 6 months.
There is tons of data available on MLB teams and players, which can help you predict the outcomes. Of course, the sportsbooks will have access to this data, as well, making it difficult to find value unless you find some profitable trends or mispriced lines.
Still, with so many games during the season, sportsbooks are likely to be off more than a few times.
MLB is also characteristic of upsets. Underdogs win between 40% and 45% of the time and are often given good odds. While you still have to be good at picking winners, you may be able to get a substantial investment return. Of course, this suggests that primarily betting on favorites can be a risky strategy.
4) College Football
College football is similar to other college sports because it features more games than its major league counterpart, and more games suggest a higher chance of making a profit. Like college basketball, there are also many smaller schools that books spend less time setting lines on.
Football is also the most popular sport in the U.S., so learning information on well-known programs is quite easy, but finding data on smaller schools may still present a problem. However, this is the same issue that the sportsbooks face, so if you put in extra work, you may very well find an edge.
We recommend focusing on a specific conference or set of schools, spotting trends, and trying to understand matchups to be profitable betting on NCAA football.
Just remember, you’re betting on 18 to 22 year olds whose performance is much more volatile and unpredictable than pro athletes.
Even though soccer is not that popular in the U.S., many nations worldwide consider it a religion. This means that soccer leagues all around the globe gather plenty of attention, and sportsbooks respond by featuring hundreds of different leagues and matches, including plenty of lower-tier ones.
More matches means more opportunities to find an edge, especially if you’re familiar with lower-level leagues. The market selection is plentiful for both pre-match and live betting, including a large number of props.
The only disadvantage to soccer betting is that some popular markets are not that attractive. For instance, since soccer is a low-scoring sport, spreads have a narrower range, and over/under lines are often set at the same number.
Though U.S. sportsbooks may not feature as many games and markets as European ones, you’ll still find many such as the MLS, Premier League, UEFA Champions League, EPL, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and more.
You’ll hear many people say the NFL is the hardest to make money on. With a max of 16 games in any week, books meticulously set lines and use a ton of data when doing so. They also do this especially for the NFL because it’s the most popular sport in the United States—attracting plenty of action and generating a great deal of money.
In addition, any mispriced lines are often taken advantage of by sharp bettors quickly, and sportsbooks respond by aggressively shifting lines as bets come in. That is why finding an edge on NFL games is extremely difficult, even though collecting data is easy.
Still, since all games attract plenty of action, you can often follow line movement and figure out where the sharps’ money is going.
Sportsbooks also offer countless props on NFL games and there are almost always odds boosts and promotions each week on America’s game.
Boxing has always been attractive to bettors, and there’s no doubt that marquee fights attract a large audience. However, those kinds of fights are not very common, and sportsbooks do not feature that many lower-level bouts to make up for it.
But whenever there’s a blockbuster fight, you’re sure to see bets coming in left and right. This will make the sportsbooks move the line, creating an opportunity to find value. Boxing doesn’t feature that many props, but you can still find interesting bets like method of victory and round betting.
Tennis is another popular sport that you can make money on if you’re smart about it. The tennis season is the longest of all, lasting from early January to November. With four majors, nine Masters, the ATP Finals, and the occasional international competitions like the Davis Cup, there’s no shortage of tennis fixtures on betting sites.
What’s more, tennis is full of exciting markets, and due to the fast-paced nature of the sport, it makes it ideal for live betting, as you can typically wager on every game and point.
However, some of these markets are difficult to predict, especially game spreads. You’ll also need to factor in many things to make a good prediction, like the surface, weather, open or closed roof, match format, and more.
The Best Sports to Bet On Depends on Your Knowledge
Based on all the information we have shared so far, you can notice that some sports can be more profitable than others when betting. However, this only matters if you actually know the sport and do your research.
Knowledge is key, and it’s important to not only know sports betting trends and strategies but also to know the ins and outs of the sport and regularly follow the news. Follow up on injury reports and make sure to be in tune with the current form of teams and players so you can better estimate their future performances. It will also help to watch the games, as raw stats almost never can tell the whole story.
One of the best sports betting tips is simply to focus on the sports you know the best. Even if there is another option that is more profitable, on average, you'll likely do the best on what you know the best.
Focusing on Prop Bets: One of the Most Profitable Sports Betting Strategies
Since the focus is always on main markets like moneylines and spreads, many people neglect the potential of prop bets, but betting on props can be the most profitable strategy due to a few simple reasons.
Namely, there are just so many props, and sportsbooks are likely to be off on more than a few. Additionally, because the focus is on main markets, sportsbooks are slower to change the lines on props, allowing you to swoop in and take advantage of good value.
Of course, you can only do this if you do proper research and react quickly. Also, note that not all props are worth taking. There are many true chance bets—such as the result of the coin toss—that may seem fun to bet but are designed for the players to lose long-term because of the juice that sportsbooks charge.