The global sports betting market is currently worth over $100 billion. It’s expected to reach over $150 billion by 2024. No matter which way you spin it, we’re talking huge amounts of money.
And while bookies will make a profit on the majority of players, you don’t have to be one of them. There are certain sports, some consisting of the big leagues, while others just niche events in certain countries, where big money can be made.
In this mini-guide, we’re going to give you a bird’s eye view on the most profitable sports to bet on, how to approach your betting strategy, and the type of resources you need to equip yourself with the best information.
Let’s start with the most popular sport in the world, football (or soccer, as some call it!). Now, most people think that because the market is worth so much money, the experts setting the odds will finely tune them to such an extent that it’s impossible to make a profit.
Now there’s some truth to this, but it doesn’t stop the sport from being profitable. It just means it won’t be profitable for most people. And you don’t want to be part of that crowd.
The first reason that football is so profitable is the ridiculous number of market options. Companies like 22bet, for example, offer dozens of betting combinations per match. You can bet on how many yellow cards a team will get, who will score first, whether an injury will occur, you name it. You can find plenty of niche markets beyond the standard win/lose/draw to increase your chances of winning.
In addition, companies often do booster bets on the day of a big match. These are mainly designed to draw people in and so often offer very good value. Sure, some of these boosters look better than they are on paper, but in the majority of cases, the odds make it a must-bet. Research the specific markets and leagues, the trends of the boost offered, and you can make a nice little profit.
The reason MLB is one of the most profitable sports to bet on can be summed up in a single word: data. MLB has historically been the most data-driven sport in the United States, and the volume of it that is tracked in 2020 is mind-blowing. Let’s just say that without a computer as your betting partner, processing these data points would be near impossible.
So, for example, you can take a pitcher-based approach to your bet. WHIP, or walks plus hits per innings pitched, is the average hits plus walks that the pitcher allows in a single inning. The WAR (Wins Above Replacement) gives you the number of extra wins gained as a result of a single player, based on an expected average. These are just two heavily tracked data points you can access relatively easily by doing a quick search online.
Use data to your advantage. The average person will be too lazy to do so, which is why casinos make a lot of money from the sports betting industry. By simply doing a little bit of research you’ll improve your chances of winning tenfold. Become a data geek, and there’s a very good chance you’ll win big.
And now for our niche entry: eSports. There’s massive value in the bets you can place in this industry. The market is not at all mature, which means the powers that be (i.e. those setting the odds) don’t quite know what they’re doing yet.
If you know eSports well then you’ll be able to see where the value is. Incredible individual players and teams can be seriously underestimated, while others that have the backing of a fancy sponsor will often be thought of as far better than they really are. Become a real authority in eSports and you’re on your way to making a profit.
Bets Without Data = Loss in the Long Term
What you need to understand is that casinos depend on the careless gambler. There are many types. There’s the guy who drinks a little too much and starts placing reckless bets. The other who places bets based on a ‘gut feeling’ or ‘intuition’. Or perhaps it’s just someone who wants to have a little fun and doesn’t care about winning or losing.
Listen, we’re not here to lambast people who choose to bet in this way. If you consider gambling a bit of harmless fun, the losses can just be seen as the price of the ticket to take part.
But if you’re looking to make money out of sports, you need data. If you don’t become a Billy Bean master of numbers, you’re destined to lose in the long term. Don’t think you can beat the market using the ‘gut feeling system’.
It’s the Bet, Not Always the Sport
Okay, if you’ve followed the guide so far, this final point will seem a little contradictory. But we’d like to emphasize this point: the market, or rather the specific bet is the most important profitable element of the bet.
This point explains why MLB baseball is such a potential goldmine for the savvy bettor. The sheer number of data points will make the number cruncher salivate, and the resulting number of different bet types is astounding. The same goes for Premier League football, where UK betting companies offer hundreds of bets per game.
So, leave with this message carved into your brain: data + betting markets + value bets = profit. Never bet using emotion, focus on value, even if you’re betting on what’s least likely for a given single event, and take advantage of any bonuses.