Popular Sports for Betting in the USA

Football - and the NFL - is the most popular sport to bet on in the USA


What are the most popular sports to consider when looking to place a bet, and what up-and-coming sports should you look to if you want to make the most out of your sports betting?


Most Popular Sports for Betting

Despite being illegal in the vast majority of states, betting has been going on in the US for a number of years.


The most popular sport in the US is football, and unsurprisingly it also tops the charts when it comes to the most popular sport for Americans to bet on. In a 2017 survey, it was found that 77% of Americans had placed a bet on football in the past, and that number is likely to go up with the advent of legalized sports betting in more and more states. Basketball and baseball also get plenty of interest, but nowhere near that of football, while soccer’s rise in popularity in recent years has also led to a significant number of bets being placed on these games.


Boxing and horse racing are two of the more traditional sports for betting and continue to bring in plenty of money from sports bets now, with both ranking among the most popular sports for betting for Americans. Additionally, sports like hockey and golf have also proven popular with bettors.


The most popular sports for betting in the USA are:

  1. Football

  2. Basketball

  3. Horse racing

  4. Baseball

  5. Soccer

  6. Boxing/MMA

  7. Hockey

  8. Golf


Emerging Sports for Betting

Outside of the most popular sports for betting, there are several that are now considered niche markets but should expand with the introduction of legalized sports betting into some states.


Boxing has always been a popular sport for betting, but mixed martial arts (MMA), and notably the UFC, is gaining more popularity every year. The closely matched contests make it an exciting and interesting sport for betting, and with many fights staged in Vegas, it has often been a popular betting choice for visitors to Sin City. Its growing popularity should mean it will begin to match boxing in its popularity with the betting public.


The popularity of soccer continues to grow in the United States, and so it could easily rise from its current position of 5th on the leaderboard of the most popular sports for betting as regulations are relaxed around sports betting.


Otherwise, look for sports like esports to start to enter the limelight, with the global audiences for these events growing exponentially, while other sports like NASCAR could see their stocks rise with the introduction of legalized betting.


Looking across to Europe, where sports betting is completely established, tennis is a very popular sports for betting, so it will be interesting to see if the popularity of betting on tennis grows in the US as well.


Biggest Bets Ever Won

As betting on sports becomes legal in the United States, it’s good to draw some inspiration from some huge winners that have taken place over the last couple of decades.


Sometimes it can be a bit of a pitfall to recklessly bet on your favorite team, especially if they aren’t usually any good. Try telling that to a St. Louis Cardinals fan, though. Back in 2011, one super fan placed a $250 bet on his side reaching the World Series, and another $125 on them becoming world champions. The Cardinals weren’t even close to a wildcard spot at the time, but the fan’s faith was rewarded as they went on a surprising winning run that lasted all the way through to the World Series, netting the superfan a cool $375,000.


The winnings might not have been quite so good for fans of Leicester City, a soccer team from England, but their title win at odds of 5000/1 gave some fans a small fortune on top of their most surprising of successes.


One of the biggest odds wins of all time also comes from England, when a plumber won nearly £1.5 million (close to $2 million) from a single small stakes bet. Steve Whiteley picked six winners from horse races being staged across the UK and Ireland, at big odds, and got them all right to become a millionaire.


Whether we will see similarly big wins in the US in the near future remains to be seen, but with sports betting becoming legal, it’s a great time to be a bettor in the United States. Our bookies have been tried and tested by our team and feature some of the best betting offers around, so make sure to give yourself the best chance of winning big by using Top 10 Best Sports Betting Sites.


About the Author

Dan Bradley

Ever since he was 6 years old and made the fatal mistake of asking his Dad, "What's that on the TV?", Dan has been engrossed by football, and many other sports have since had a similar impact on him. Dan has been blogging and writing about sport for the last few years, usually looking at things from the perspective of a bettor, but most of all as a true sports fanatic. From golf to ten pin bowling: You name it, Dan’ll have an opinion on it.



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