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Which Sports are the Most Profitable to Bet?

by June 5, 2019

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a brand new bettor, everyone is always looking for the “easy money” opportunity. Some bets seem like locks from the moment you see them, while others leave bettors flipping a coin. But how can we ensure that the bets we’re placing aren’t simply based around luck? Below I will take a look at which sports are the easiest and which are the hardest to bet.

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MLB

This is by far the hardest of the sports to bet. I never touch baseball. There’s just too much that can happen over the course of the incredibly long season. Great teams lose to bad teams all the time and even the best starting pitchers normally end up with at least five losses on their record in Cy Young type seasons. In a league where the best team has always lost at least 46 games (in the modern 162 game era) it’s a sad fact that anyone really can beat anyone on any given day. Remember that the team with the best record in MLB history, the 2001 Seattle Mariners, didn’t even make it to the World Series.

Baseball is also full of prop bets that normally land themselves in the toss-up category. Will a team score in the first inning? How many home runs will there be in a game? Even something as simple as runs scored can be a toss up a lot of times. Because of all of this, it is incredibly difficult to create a great return on investment betting on baseball.

NHL

The NHL is another tricky one but it is far easier to turn a profit off of it than it is to turn a profit off the MLB. Sure, the Tampa Bay Lightning were historically great this season and then got swept in the first round of the playoffs, while the St. Louis Blues had the second-worst record in the league in December and are now playing for the Stanley Cup, yet hockey is still easier to foresee than baseball. It’s primarily because a lot of hockey is based around moneylines and anytime you take a puck line that is -1.5 or greater you are normally getting favorable odds. Mix in the fact that total goals is much less random than total runs and hockey starts to show itself as a pretty profitable sport to bet.

Soccer is very similar to the NHL, where it can be a bit tricky, but you can get good odds for very reasonable bets. Over/unders can sometimes be hard to predict, but generally aren’t too unpredictable, at least by betting standards.

NBA/NCAAB

I’m lumping both levels of basketball together, because this is where betting starts to become much easier. The Golden State Warrior are in the NBA finals for the 5th straight year and no one is surprised. At the beginning of the season, the Warriors were -195 to win the NBA title. Future betting on teams that are that heavily favored is normally not a great idea, but with the NBA it is, because out of all the major sports leagues the NBA is the easiest to predict.

NCAA basketball can be a bit trickier, but once you know where to look it gets much, much simpler. Early in the season teams’ lines are based around their performance from the season prior, which typically creates unfair lines. Loyola-Chicago was favored by 4.5 on the road at Boston College in November of this past season. Boston College won by 12 in a game that wasn’t close. Then when conference tournaments start up, lines for teams that generally don’t get much attention are created and by doing a little research you can get great odds on over/unders and spreads. Then, of course, there is the NCAA tournament where upsets happen every single season. Even this season when Oregon was considered a better team than Wisconsin in a 5/12 matchup they still found themselves dogs. Parlaying Oregon and the over in this first round matchup proved to be a wise choice for many bettors.

NFL/NCAAF

Football is tricky because it is often very easy, or at least it seems that way. Very rarely in the NFL does a terrible team beat a very good one, though there are still fluke games like when Buffalo beat the Vikings in Minnesota this past season. Both levels of football take a lot of thinking, and simply betting because it seems obvious is very rarely a good idea. Vegas knows how much people pay attention to football and they are far too good at what they do to let a really bad line slip by. But in the early weeks of the NCAA, much like with basketball, you can get some very good lines on both spreads and over/unders because of previous season performances. As the season goes on things start to level out. Though there are always mismatches that fool Vegas. I’m looking at you Notre Dame and Clemson.

Golf

Golf is a hard one because there are just so many people and pick the winner of a tournament involves a lot of luck. However, there are props now that allow you to bet the winner of a certain grouping, or to pick a golfer to do better than another. While these bets won’t have as pleasing odds to the eye, they give you a much better chance to pull it off.

Tennis

Tennis is one that you generally have to parlay to get any type of favorable odds, as upsets between very high seeds and very low seeds don’t happen all that often. When they do you don’t want to be the person who took someone at -1000 who lost.

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Philip Wood is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Philip, check out his archive and follow him @Phil_Wood_Jr.