The Pros and Cons of Betting Each Major Sport

Pros And Cons Betting Major Sports

Sports bettors know that there’s no such thing as an “easy” sport when it comes to gambling. Of course, it’s always beneficial to bet on the sports you know the best, but does that really translate to more money in your bankroll?

The answer isn’t always clear.

While a number of factors go into what makes a sport harder or easier to bet, there isn’t necessarily one that stands out as easier than another. In the end, it’s mostly personal preference. In this article, I’ll outline the pros and cons of betting each major sport.

1. MLB

Betting on baseball is unique in that it’s the only sport that receives the vast majority of its action on the moneyline.

Though there are options available for those who want to play using a point spread, it’s undoubtedly the exception to the rule for most gamblers.

Add in a 162-game per year schedule, and you have the volume required to make real money.

Pro: The Number of Games + Moneyline Odds

Not everyone likes using the moneyline, but I think it’s one of the most underrated options in the world of sports betting. This is especially true when it comes to baseball and its 2,430 regular season games per year.

It’s not quite as simple as just saying “bet the underdog every time,” but when you consider the number of times that even the worst teams in the league win, it’s not exactly the worst strategy. Think of it this way: the best MLB teams lost 60+ times per year, and the worst teams win 60+ times each year. That means if you’re consistently taking underdogs with favorable odds, you can lose more than 50% of your bets and still end up with a nice profit.

In addition, because there are so many games there isn’t as much action on each game as say, the NFL’s regular season. This means that you can occasionally benefit from holes in the odds – but you need to do your research to find them.

Con: Unpredictability

Remember when I mentioned that even the best teams in the league lose 60+ times a year? That’s not always a good thing.

The philosophy behind baseball strategy is to bet a high number of games and hope to make a small profit periodically. With that being said, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be betting on 10+ games every single day, which means the high-volume strategies may not apply. Because baseball is so unpredictable, trying to seek out good games to bet on is a challenge.

If you’re trying to pick your spots, baseball might not be the sport for you.

2. NBA

The NBA’s regular season is notoriously difficult to bet on simply because it’s a challenge to predict what type of effort you can expect from teams on any given night.

Things like “load management” and tanking have made navigating betting waters a little more difficult than in other sports.

Though the NBA can be tough, those who follow the league closely can use the chaos to their advantage. Bear in mind that it does require some attention to detail and constant evaluation.

Pros: Live Betting and Prop Opportunities

Typically I would suggest staying away from prop bets, but the NBA is one of the rare sports where it can be a profitable component to your overall strategy. That doesn’t mean you should ignore more traditional betting options like totals or point spreads, but props have the potential to complement your team-based bets.

The NBA is undoubtedly the most player-centric (vs. team-centric) leagues in sports. Deciding the bet on players to perform – instead of their teams – can make betting on the league a little more manageable. Just make sure you’re getting good odds, as prop bets can sometimes get expensive with odds regularly being around -120.

Cons: Rest, Tanking, and Nights Off

As I mentioned previously, the NBA has struggled with incentivizing each team to put their best product out on the court on a nightly basis. It’s no secret that most quality teams are simply using the regular season as a way to get in shape for the playoffs. That means key players can take nights off for no other reason than getting their bodies in top shape for the postseason.

All of these variables can lead to some unforeseen outcomes. For example, if a top-tier team is playing a non-playoff team and the good team rests their best two players, trying to predict how the game will end up is nearly impossible.

In my opinion, more than other sport it’s critical to stay on top of the latest news when it comes to betting on the NBA.

3. NFL

America’s most popular sport in terms of viewership is also the popular sport to gamble on, whether it’s through traditional betting, daily fantasy, or a multitude of other methods that I won’t name here.

With that being said, football isn’t just loved by the fans – it’s a major revenue-driver for online sportsbooks. Whereas you may be able to occasionally find holes in the odds in NBA and MLB games, you’re getting the sharpest lines possible when it comes to the NFL because there’s simply too much money at stake.

Even though most bettors recognize how difficult it is to win money betting on football, the amount of action continues to grow every year.

Pros: Entertainment Value

Most sports fans know that every Sunday from mid-September through January is already marked on the calendar as a “football day.” Though the NFL has games on Mondays and Thursdays, there’s nothing like submitting your picks on a Sunday morning before the action kicks off.

It’s very difficult to win money betting on the NFL, but if you want to immerse yourself in a gambling world all its own, there’s no better sport than pro football. In fact, betting on the NFL may as well be considered a sport in and of itself.

Cons: Low Volume of Games

The NFL has risen to the top of the sports world in the U.S. because every game is meaningful. Unfortunately for bettors, that means it’s more difficult to make money because sportsbooks only have to focus on 15 or 16 games each week, meaning the odds are as sharp as can be.

Whereas in baseball, for example, you can put together a long-term high-volume strategy that results in profitability, the NFL requires you to not just play the odds, but make accurate picks on a regular basis. Though it’s probably the undisputed most popular sport to watch and bet on, for those who are looking to make money, the NFL is one of the more difficult bets.

4. NHL

Hockey doesn’t have the popularity of the other three major sports on this list, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored by bettors. The NHL provides bettors with a range of options that go beyond typical moneyline or puck line offerings.

Pros: Live Betting

If you’re someone who seeks out value above all else, live betting the NHL is made just for you. Obviously it’s a gamble to bet on a team who is already losing, but if you’re able to consistently identify comebacks before they happen, you can take advantage of some seriously valuable odds. In order to do this, however, it’s important that you’re tuned into the action and not just rolling the dice with no rationale behind your picks.

Cons: Familiarity with the Sport

Most Americans simply don’t have that much experience watching or betting on hockey. It’s not impossible to learn, but it’s not going to happen overnight. Take some time to familiarize yourself with the teams and players and you’ll give yourself a much better opportunity to win.


It’s undoubtedly a challenge to master the art of betting on all sports, but if focus on one or two, things become a little bit clearer.

In the end:
It’s critical to focus on value above all else and to keep in mind the importance of a well-maintained bankroll strategy.

Regardless of the sport, gambling success starts with putting in the time to understand the matchup and the odds. If you’re diligent, there’s no reason you can’t win money betting on any of the four on this list.


Rex Hoffman / Author

Rex Hoffman is a passionate sports writer, with over five years of experience covering sports journalism in line with the Vegas betting landscape. His favorite subjects include football, basketball, and baseball. As a Las Vegas resident, he enjoys finding an edge against the local sportsbooks and aims to share his extensive knowledge with both beginners and experienced bettors. Rex also dabbles in horse racing wagering and enjoys typical casino fare like blackjack and poker in his spare time.

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