December 24, 2021

The Most Popular Sports to Bet On

Ever wonder which sports are the most popularly bet on? Or, more importantly, ever wonder which sports are the most profitable to bet on? We did, and we dug into some data to get to the bottom of it. In the next few sections, we’ll look at both of these topics and then take a closer look at how you can get started sports betting on the most popular and most profitable options out there.

What Sports Are The Most Popular to bet ?

Statistica conducted a research survey on the most popular sports bet on by US residents aged 18-69. The study asked participants to answer yes or no on which sports they’d bet on at least once in the past. The study listed eight sports, an ‘other’ column, and a ‘none of the above’ option.

HAVE YOU BET ON?% YES
Football77%
Basketball24%
Horse racing20%
Baseball17%
Soccer9%
Boxing/MMA7%
Hockey6%
Golf4%
Other2%
None of the above1%

What Professional Sports Leagues Are More to Bet On ?

You can take the data further to see which professional sports leagues more Americans are betting real money on. A study from GlobalWebIndex looked at US sports fans aged 21-64. The study asked, “Which of the following sports might you be interested in placing a bet?” Respondents were able to answer yes to as many options as they wanted to.

RANKSPORT/LEAGUE% YES
1stNFL61%
2ndNBA58%
3rdMLB53%
4thBoxing42%
5thHorse racing35%
6thNHL32%
7thNASCAR28%
8thEsports23%
9thMLS21%
10thWNBA16%

What Sports Are The Most Profitable to Bet On?

A question we get all the time is which sports will you make the most money betting on. It’s important to note before we get into the data that the most profitable sport for you to bet on depends on where your knowledge and experience are.

If you spent a decade watching the NFL and hours researching stats, will that be more profitable for you to bet on than baseball? Probably.

YEARFOOTBALLBASKETBALLBASEBALLPARLAYOTHERTOTAL
20154.86%6%4.39%29.56%6.27%5.47%
20165.39%5%3.08%17.28%6.07%4.86%
20174.38%6%3.23%24.12%7.56%5.11%
20185.65%7%4.59%24.08%5.10%6.01%
20196.55%6%5.10%29.84%6.74%6.19%
Average5.37%6%4.08%24.98%6.35%5.53%

The Popularity and Profitability Winners

Football – The Most Popular Sport to Bet On

  • Betting action is available on the NFL, NCAA (college), Canadian Football League (CFL), XFL, and more.
  • The most popular types of wagers made on football are moneyline wagers and spread bets.
  • The largest betting event in football is the Super Bowl, where over $6 billion is wagered annually, according to the American Gaming Association (AGA).
  • There are 130 Division I football teams in college football and 32 NFL football teams. Throughout the NFL season, 256 games are played that you can bet on, not including preseason and the playoffs.
Baseball's Most Unusual Season Is Halfway Over - The New York Times

Baseball – The Most Profitable Sport to Bet On

  • Real money betting action is available on the MLB, NCAA (college), international baseball leagues, and even on the Little League World Series (LLWS).
  • The most popular baseball bets are moneyline bets and run line bets. Series bets are also quite popular as you get into the postseason.
  • 18% of Americans say they are ‘Avid Fans’ of baseball, while 36% say they are ‘Casual Fans,’ and 46% say they are ‘Not a Fan,’ according to a recent 2020 study by Morning Consult.

Basketball – A Strong Showing in Both Categories

Basketball sports betting action is available on the NBA, NCAA (college), Euro leagues, and other international leagues.
The most bet on basketball league is the NBA with 30 teams and 1,230 total NBA games during the regular season.
According to Morning Consult, 27% of Americans in 2020 said they were ‘Casual Fans,’ 18% said they were ‘Avid Fans,’ and 56% said they weren’t fans at all.

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