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best sports to bet on

We independently review betting sites. Sign-ups through our links may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you, this never influences our listings’ order.

We are going to analyse the best sports to bet on. Our aim is to highlight the sports that hit that sweet spot, between being popular with fans, well-covered by bookmakers and providing opportunities to make profit. Read on to learn more.

What are the Best Sports to Bet on?

In this opening section, we’re going to go through what we believe to be the best sports to bet on today. As we said in our introduction, the list is made up of the most popular sports to bet on, which are covered in depth by betting sites and present a good chance to make profits.

1. Football

Best football betting sites BetMGM

Go to any UK-focused bookmaker and football betting is likely to be their main priority. Here are some of the most popular markets that you’ll find when betting on the beautiful game.

Football is the most popular form of sports betting. It is a sport where many fans consider themselves to be an expert. For that reason, it can be difficult to find value betting markets for football matches that take place in the biggest competitions. Whether it’s the Premier League or international competition, there’s huge interest.

Yet there are more obscure leagues, with teams every bit as dominant as Manchester City, available at bigger prices. Find your niche and betting on football can be very profitable, with a huge range of pre-match and live markets, giving you the chance to find an edge. Here are the pros and cons of football betting.

  • Covered in exceptional depth with huge number of markets
  • One of the best sports for live betting
  • Widespread odds for Euro 2024 and other international tournaments
  • Lots of value to be found in more obscure football leagues
  • Summer competitions such as Major League Soccer make football a year round sport
  • Top leagues are increasingly dominated by rich teams who are always huge favourites
  • Can be difficult to find value in biggest competitions

2. Horse Racing

False Favourites in Horse Racing

Traditionally, bookmaking businesses were built upon the sport of kings and it still remains as one of the popular betting sports at bookies. Here are some of the main types of wagering available at horse racing betting sites.

More than any other sport, horse racing and the UK betting industry go hand-in-hand, with neither able to exist without the other. With so many meetings taking place every day, not just in the UK, but also in Ireland and around the world, bettors never need to wait long before the next big race.

It’s a sport that has popular events such as the Grand National for casual punters to have a fun bet, yet also provides the platform for serious players to make a living from gambling. Understand the form and the impact conditions can have, to see your profitability soar. Here are the pros and cons of betting on the horses.

  • Big odds available even on favourites
  • Large number of relatively short races serve up constant betting action
  • Don’t need to back the winner to make profit
  • Lots of tipping advice and form available
  • Live betting not as developed as football
  • Hard for the casual sports fan to consistently win

3. Cricket

10bet cricket betting 1024x633 1

Cricket is one of the UK’s favourite sports and provides a year-round schedule of action based around the various forms of the game. Here are the biggest cricket betting markets.

  • Match Odds
  • Total Runs
  • Top Runscorer
  • Win the Toss
  • Top Wicket Taker
  • Fall of First Wicket
  • First Over Runs
  • Player of the Match
  • Highest Opening Partnership
  • First Wicket Caught

These days, cricket provides more variety for punters than most sports are capable of. For those into the long-haul there’s international Test and County Championship matches. While for those wanting some faster action, there’s Twenty20 and One Day games. They’re unique enough to almost qualify as different sports.

We’d recommend specialising in one certain type of cricket when betting on it, depending on whether you prefer the slow strategy of the longer format, or the rapid-fire price swings of the shorter version. Here are the pros and cons of cricket betting.

  • Big swings in prices as fortunes fluctuate
  • Great range of cricket formats ranging from short games to long
  • Batting and bowling elements create lots of market types
  • Huge number of matches at different levels taking place around the world
  • A good bet can be ruined by the weather
  • Different forms of the game can make life confusing for the punter

4. Tennis

QuinnBet tennis betting sites

This sport is another staple of bookmakers, with multiple tennis matches to bet on taking place every day, throughout the year. Here are some of the top betting options for tennis.

  • Match Odds
  • Set Betting
  • Both Players to Win a Set
  • Match Result and Both Players to Win a Set
  • Total Sets
  • Total Games
  • Set Correct Score
  • Total Tie Breaks
  • Set With Most Games
  • Set One Winner

When it comes to individual sports, tennis is a smart pick for punters. For one, it provides a near constant supply of matches to bet on. With multiple tournaments starting on every Monday and ending on the Sunday, every single week, across the world, this is one sporting calendar that’s packed with action.

Having only two outcomes in the match result market is helpful for punters, as can be the quick swings in the odds. Here are the pros and cons of betting on tennis as our experts see them.

  • Superb for live betting with odds swinging in every direction
  • Only two possible outcomes in match result market
  • Large range of markets that tap into the stats
  • Year-round schedule provides plenty of betting opportunities
  • Injuries and withdrawals can wreck your betting plans
  • Weather can have impact on results

5. American Football

Spreadex NFL

Over in the US, this is about as big as it gets for betting, with both the NFL and college football being hugely popular. It’s much enjoyed in the UK too and these are the main markets that you can expect to find when betting on this sport.

  • Moneyline
  • Spread
  • Anytime Touchdown Scorer
  • First/LastTouchdown Scorer
  • Half Time/Full Time
  • Correct Score
  • Winning Margin
  • First Drive Result
  • Total Points
  • Match/Total Points Double

Unlike some of the other sports betting options on this list, American football has a relatively slim schedule. For one, it’s not commonly played outside of the US, so you are tied to the American calendar. Though with college football to enjoy alongside the NFL, you will be busy once the season is in swing.

Then it’s up to you to make the most of the opportunities that this sport provides, which are plentiful. Here are the pros and cons of gambling on American football.

  • Draft system prevents same teams regularly winning the Super Bowl
  • Number of stats-based markets rewards research
  • College game gives you a wide range of extra opportunities
  • Super Bowl has huge number of additional betting markets
  • Virtually no action to bet on in off-season
  • Few fixtures compared to NBA, NHL and MLB

6. Basketball

luckster basketball

Basketball is hugely popular around the globe and with US franchises playing 82-game NBA seasons it features a packed schedule. Here are some of the most popular basketball betting markets.

  • Moneyline
  • Spread
  • Total Points
  • First Basket
  • Line/Total Double
  • Win Margin
  • Player To Score
  • Rebounds
  • Assists
  • Made Threes

Unlike the NFL, basketball is a sport that is played all over the world, with many European leagues providing games at convenient times for UK audiences. Of course, it is the US that provides us with the highest quality basketball with the NBA, while college basketball games shows off the stars of tomorrow.

The fast-paced action of basketball ensures that you have to pay attention during live betting, but there are great rewards to be had. Basketball is a sport where it is not necessary to bet on the teams at all, such is the depth of the player props on offer. Here are the pros and cons of betting on basketball, according to our experts.

  • Unrivalled amount of prop bet opportunities
  • Large amount of leagues around the world despite NBA dominance
  • March Madness and college scene a smart choice for punters to specialise in
  • Bets can be more player than team focused
  • Amount of NBA games leads to unexpected off nights
  • Really need to pay attention during live betting due to pace of the game

7. Combat Sports – Boxing & UFC / MMA

boxing betting round betting

Whether it’s betting on boxing or MMA, there are regular fight cards taking place throughout the year. They are great sports to bet on and feature these sort of markets.

  • Fight Winner
  • Method of Victory
  • Round Betting
  • Will Fight Go Distance
  • Total Rounds
  • What Round Will Fight End
  • Point Deduction
  • What Minute Will Fight End
  • To be Knocked Down
  • Both Fighters to be Knocked Down

A fight night is exciting at the best of times, but things get even hotter when you have a bet at stake. Following on from boxing, how to bet on UFC is pretty unique. Combat sports can come to a thrilling conclusion, at just about any time.

For that reason, live betting requires quickness of thought and action. Pretty much every weekend there are huge fights to enjoy and if you do your research, there is always value to be found. Here are the pros and cons of betting on combat sports.

  • UFC puts on lots of competitive fights with tight odds
  • Potential for knockouts mean that your bet can win at any second
  • Round betting and method of victory a good way to boost value
  • Boxing matches that go the distances can see big swings in the odds
  • Questionable judging decisions
  • Amount of one-sided boxing contests

8. Rugby

Rugby League Betting Sites Handicap

With two different codes regularly providing major events, rugby is one of the top sports to bet on. Here are some of our favourite rugby betting markets.

  • Handicap Betting
  • Match Odds
  • First Scoring Play
  • Tryscorer Odds
  • Winning Margin
  • Double Result
  • Double Chance
  • Odd or Even Total Points
  • First Half Betting
  • Highest Scoring Half

There are two codes of rugby, with rugby league being popular in northern England, Australia and New Zealand. Rugby union can boast of the bigger worldwide appeal, with international events such as the Six Nations and Rugby World Cup, attracting huge audiences.

Bookmakers promote these large events accordingly and there can be some useful bonuses to be had. At lower levels, there is value to be found for dedicated fans, who know more about the teams involved than casual punters and even the oddsmakers. Here are the pros and cons of betting on rugby.

  • Two unique codes of rugby to bet on
  • Teams only play once a week so team selection is more predictable
  • Favourites tend to be reliable especially at international level
  • Value betting odds at lower level club rugby for in the know fans
  • Not as easy to find statistics as with other sports
  • Bookies’ margin can be inflated compared with more popular sports

9. Baseball

QuinnBet Baseball 1024x471

Baseball is one of the US sports that has a strong following in the UK, especially amongst bettors. These are some of the most popular markets that you’ll find when gambling on the sport.

  • Money Line
  • Spread
  • Run Lines
  • Futures
  • Total Runs
  • Home Run Totals
  • Winning Margin
  • Total Strikeouts
  • First Pitch to be a Strike
  • Both Teams to Score

If you want a single sporting competition that constantly churns out matches to bet on, then Major League Baseball could be the best sport to bet on. With a huge amount of games every season, you can adopt a low-risk strategy that sees small margin wins, knowing that there are enough baseball betting opportunities, for those wins to add up to a tidy amount.

With so many innings, fortunes can change throughout the match. Baseball is a sport where statistical research is rewarded, with lots of numbers to get lost in, which can reveal value wagers amongst the many available prop bets. Here are the pros and cons of gambling on baseball.

  • 2430 regular season games every year in MLB
  • Fans of stats-based research will love this sport
  • Big competitions also available to bet on outside of US
  • Lots of props markets to delve into
  • Unpredictable sport in which even the best teams lose 60 times a year
  • Number of games brings temptation to chase losses

10. esports

This is a relative new sport which has grown at a huge rate. Betting on competitive video games is big business and these are bet types that you can enjoy with esports.

  • Match Odds
  • Map Winner
  • Total Maps
  • Map Overtime
  • Correct Score
  • Kills
  • Kills Handicap
  • First Blood
  • Handicap Betting
  • Draw No Bet

The appetite of younger audiences for watching esports alerted bookmakers to the potential of providing bets on video games contests. It’s an area of betting that remains in its infancy and for that reason, there is value to be had, if you know your stuff.

It’s far more difficult for a bookie that knows the world of esports inside out and can accurately price up markets, than it is for sports such as football or tennis. If esports is your passion, it can be a great sport to bet on. If not, it probably ranks amongst the hardest sports and should perhaps be avoided. Here are the pros and cons of betting on esports.

  • Oddsmakers don’t know esports as well as traditional sports
  • High percentage of contests feature live streaming
  • Many games fit into a certain genre making it easier to identify bets across titles
  • Lack of fatigue for players sees packed schedules with lots of contests to bet on
  • Constant changes with new games and players make it hard for bettors to keep up
  • Regular sports fans find it hard to engage with eSports

Obscure Sports to Bet on

There are many wonderful and weird sports to bet on. What might seem strange to you, might seem entirely logical to a dedicated fan.

Take snooker for instance, a staple of UK betting sites, but is essentially a pub sport, that feature players who rarely look like athletes.

Or F1, which is a sport where any driver can win a race, as long as they are driving one of the handful of cars that are actually capable of winning a race.

Athletics is basically school sports day writ large. Ice hockey is literally hockey – on ice, with a sprinkling of MMA thrown in. The growth in popularity of darts, meanwhile, mirrors a growth in betting on it.

So the next time you’re scrolling the A-Z of sports at your chosen bookmaker and wondering who on earth is betting on curling, harness racing, or sumo wrestling, just remember that someone, somewhere, considers one of your favourite sports to be one of the worst sports to bet on.

And also remember, that someone, somewhere, knows everything that there is to know about that weird, obscure sport and is making an absolute killing from their online bookie.

Easiest Sports Bets to Win

For most UK sports fans, it’s core sports such as football, horse racing, cricket, rugby or tennis that will prove to have the easiest route to profit. These are the sports which they are likely to know, will enjoy researching and will be able to identify value bets in.

For fans of US sports, then American football, baseball or basketball might fit the bill. We’d say that the easiest sports to win money on, are the ones that you know well and are also popular enough for there to be plenty of opportunities to win. 

What Makes the Most Profitable Sports to Bet on

Here are some of the factors that tend to feature in any sport where it is possible to make a profit.

  1. Betting Odds

    Your chances of making a profit are always boosted by generous odds. It can be difficult to find value it in the most popular sporting competitions and contests, as the margins are often quite tight. Yet even if that is the case, you can always find more value lower down the ladder, of whatever particular sport is your favourite.
  2. Range of Markets

    Even with the sort of hugely popular contests that we’ve spoken about, there is always value to be discovered if there are enough markets. The more markets there are, the better the chance of the bookies making a mistake. A range of markets provides the punter with variety, giving them the opportunity to keep things fresh and find different angles.
  3. Coverage of Leagues and Competitions

    As we’ve mentioned, it can be easier to find value lower down the chain of a major sport. A tennis player that has exactly the same chance of winning an obscure Challenger Tour event, as Novak Djokovic has of winning Wimbledon, will be guaranteed to be available at bigger odds. For that reason, look out for bookies that provide deep coverage of sports, so that even the smallest events are available to bet on.


We hope you enjoyed our guide to the best sports to bet on. As you will have learned, there are a wide range of sports that fit into this category. We’d always recommend that you’re passionate and knowledgeable about any sport that you bet on, so we hope that one of your favourites made our shortlist.


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Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch

A writer and editor for some of the top names in the gambling industry for nearly 20 years, Dan also works as a freelance sports journalist for publications and websites such as ESPN, FourFourTwo and LiveScore.

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