If you’re a bettor in the U.S., you’ll find a lot of sports to wager and a huge number of bets to make. There is an endless list of opportunities when it comes to betting on American sports. Here’s a look at some of the major markets, a consideration of other betting opportunities, and some advice on elements that make each sport challenging for bettors.
With 32 teams playing 16 games each, plus an extended postseason, the NFL is probably the most heavily-bet league in the U.S. One reason is that professional football itself has a huge fan base. Another element that draws people to it, especially sports bettors, is that football can be analyzed in a detailed manner in terms of individual players and various units and squads. Football may be the ultimate team sport – because of this, team stats tend to be very helpful in predicting outcomes.
Also, NFL games are offered over the course of two days (that becomes four days later in the season). One of the weekly games is played on Monday, and the rest usually occur on Sunday in the late morning or early afternoon.
Football is also a popular betting sport because it is simple to follow. Teams score most of the points in one of three ways: touchdown, extra point, and field goal. On rare occasions, they will score a two-point safety.
This makes determining a final score and assessing it against the spread manageable. It is not always easy, but with the right type of analysis, football bettors have a decent chance at getting their pick right.
The game is fairly easy to understand but not always easy to handicap. Fortunately, sports bettors have almost a full week to perform their analysis and make their football picks. No other sport offers that amount of time between games.
College football is popular for many of the same reasons that the NFL is popular. However, there are some major differences between the professional and college game. The first is the sheer volume of games. There are about 110 Division I college football teams, which translates to about 55 games each week. Those are a lot more teams and games than you’ll find in the NFL. It’s easy for sports bettors to miss some important information when handicapping an NCAA football game, as there’s so much more to know.
College games also tend to offer a lot more mismatches than the pros. This can happen in non-conference and conference play. These mismatches can lead to excessive spreads and totals, so being able to recognize when these are accurate or inaccurate can be a major challenge for some bettors.
With college football betting, pick two or three conferences and get to know them very well. You cannot know enough about every conference to bet successfully in NCAA football betting. Choose those you are going to focus on wisely.
There are 30 basketball teams in the NBA. Unlike football, however, professional basketball tends to be less of a team sport. Although there is some team play, in the NBA one or two players can dictate the outcome of a game.
Also, there are clearly haves and have-nots in the league. About 40% of the teams are the haves and the rest are the have-nots. That means that many games can result in blowouts. These are hard to predict, as major shifts in score can occur in a matter of minutes, with a team using three-pointers and foul shots to make up 10-point deficits quickly. The final minutes of a basketball game often determine the winner and whether the spread will be covered.
There are 350 Division I college basketball teams and 32 conferences, and each team plays close to 30 games a season. Many of those games are nonconference contests. When it comes to NCAA basketball, sports bettors really need to focus their energies on specific conferences and teams to make smart bets.
There are a lot of mismatches, so spreads can be tough to analyze. Duke may be a powerhouse, but on a given night they might barely cover a big spread or lose outright. That tends to happen on a weekly basis to various top teams, which is very hard to predict. College teams play about two games per week and the long season can take its toll on the best of teams.
Major League Baseball, with its long season and 30 teams, certainly provides U.S. sports bettors with ample opportunity to make cash. However, the season length can work against some sports bettors because they often have little time to prepare an adequate analysis of team matchups.
For the sports bettor that’s willing to do the work and who wants to stay involved in the seven-month season, MLB can provide them with weekly value-based betting choices. If you love baseball and understand the game, or will make the commitment to do the work to get to know the sport thoroughly, then bet it.
For many Americans, ice hockey is a foreign experience even if they enjoy watching it. The three other major sports are played by many of us, and a majority of us have played them on competitive levels in amateur leagues. It’s true that many kids do grow up playing hockey in the U.S., but many more grow up playing baseball, basketball, and football. Thus, a lack of practical experience means that there’s less interest in the sport. That makes the sport a lot tougher for many Americans to analyze.
Sports that are not popular with sports bettors include NASCAR, Major League Soccer, boxing, UFC/MMA, tennis, and golf. Do people in the U.S. wager on these sports? The answer is, “yes.” However, each is under bet. One reason for this is that only one is considered to be a team sport. These are the type of sports that tend to be preferred by bettors. Part of it has to so with the popularity of team sports in the U.S., but it also has to do with the fact that sports like golf and NASCAR, with such large fields, are difficult to pick, and boxing, UFC/MMA, tennis aren’t known well enough by most sports bettors. Finally, soccer, although a team sport, is not popular, and many U.S. bettors don’t understand the subtleties, strategies, and techniques of the game.
A Lot to Know
Obviously, when it comes to online sports betting markets in the U.S., there is a lot to know. First things first when it comes to betting. Get to know one sport really well, and once you’re making money at that one, then find one more in which you can become an expert. Try to bet on two sports that will allow you to make wagers throughout the year, so that if you want to bet every week, you can do so.