The biggest sporting events in the world include the Summer and Winter Olympics. There’s also the FIFA World Cup, Cricket World Cup, and Wimbledon Championships.Billions of sports fans tuned in to watch these events over the last two decades. Now with the increasing popularity of sports betting—forecast at 7.6 million online bettors for this year’s Super Bowl, a 63% boost from 2020—there’s never been a better time for the industry.
There are many different ways to bet on sports today. So what are the highest-rated sporting events? They include football, soccer, basketball, and horse racing—the most bet on sports in the world.
The 2020 Summer Olympics set to take place in Tokyo last year were postponed at the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. So they’re scheduled for July 23 – August 8 of this year without any visiting international spectators.Despite 10,000 volunteers dropping out and an estimated 50%-80% of Japanese citizens not in favor of the games, the Olympics remain one of the most popular sporting events worldwide.The Summer Olympics draw a slightly bigger audience than the Winter Olympics. Track and field, gymnastics, and swimming are the most popular games to watch.
As the most popular sport on the planet, soccer (or football to the rest of the world) also draws in the most bets. An estimated £1 billion worth of wagers in the U.K. every year comes from soccer.The 2018 World Cup garnered $136 billion in bets and $7.2 billion in the final game. The next World Cup takes place between November 21 – December 18, 2022.Much like the Summer Olympics, the World Cup usually has over 3 billion viewers worldwide.
Among American sporting events, football reigns as the most popular in the country. Although the 2021 Super Bowl took in 96.4 million viewers, it’s the lowest since 2007. The American Gaming Association (AGA) forecast 23.2 million Americans to bet on the game.The Super Bowl in 2020 took $6.8 billion worth in bets, while the AGA estimated $4.3 billion for the 2021 matchup.The NFL season garners a whopping $100 billion worth of bets every year. So states across the country working to legalize sports betting will want to get their legislation finalized before the next football season begins.
The coronavirus pandemic affected the NBA season for two straight years. Reducing regular-season games to 72 amounted to a 50% loss in viewership for the championship series in 2020.At the end of the year, a new NBA season began around Christmas, giving the league its most-viewed opening week in seven years. The number of hours fans spent watching NBA games doubled from the previous opening week in 2019.The NBA Finals experienced a viewership of more than 15 million each year between 2010-2019. With more than 2 billion fans worldwide, the league has grown in popularity, especially in China.While it’s assumed that most of the betting on NBA games happens through off-shore sportsbooks, about $500 million per month comes from legal wagers in Nevada.
Much like the other sports on this list, Covid-19 also drastically affected Major League Baseball in 2020. Last year’s World Series became the least-viewed final series since 1973, drawing 9.785 million viewers.Ratings reported as of April 2021 saw an increase from the previous two seasons, with MLB.tv acting as the lynchpin for this newfound success.It’s popular among bettors to wager on their favorite team to win the World Series before or throughout the regular season as lines change.This could be another sport gaining popularity among American gamblers as states continue to legalize sports betting in time for the World Series. Online sportsbooks apps partnering with MLB teams to open retail sportsbooks at significant sports venues also signifies a bright future.
Different Ways to Bet on Sports
When it comes to top sports bets and the most popular sports bets today, there are a few things you should know. First, you can wager on these sporting events through straight bets. Some straight bets depend on point spreads.
Here’s an example:
Atlanta Hawks +7.0 (-110)
Philadelphia 76ers -7.0 (-110)
The point spread set at 7.0 gives the Atlanta Hawks an underdog edge.This is a game seven matchup in the playoffs where the Sixers get home-court advantage. (They blew double-digit leads twice in previous games.) So for this wager, the Sixers need to win by more than seven points.Considering the betting volume, you can see that over 70% of wagers placed on the Hawks mean gamblers like the points. Both wagers set at -110 identical offer payouts. (A push occurs when neither team covers the spread; thus, no money gets exchanged.)
The Moneyline bet on the same matchup offers gamblers something quite different:
Atlanta Hawks (+250)
Philadelphia 76ers (-300)
Here, the Sixers garner an implied probability of 75%. (That means they win the game 3/4ths of the time, while the Hawks win about 29% of the time, statistically speaking.)With a Moneyline bet, you wager on who you think will win the game outright. For example, a $100 bet on the Hawks pays $250, while the same bet pays $33.33 for the Sixers.
Next, you can wager on total line bets.
Total line bets incorporate the combined total score of both teams. It’s referred to as an over/under (O/U) set at 216.5 (-110) for the Atlanta Hawks vs. Philadelphia 76ers matchup.Both the over and under odds set at -110 means the payouts end up alike. You’d win the same amount if the total score results in less or more than 216.5. (If the combined final score comes to 216, then that would be a push.)This matchup provides a great example of why point spread bets remain the most popular among sports gamblers.
The game also offers more than 100 propositional bets—or prop bets—based on various outcomes.
Some examples of prop bets for the matchup:
*Spread, Win, Total for the 1st Quarter and the First Half
*Alternate point spreads with different odds
*O/U for points, rebounds, assists (team or individual players)
*Parlays (grouping two or more picks into a single bet)
*Head-to-head bets (between two competitors)
Beginners might want first to choose the winner outright, while experienced gamblers work up to prop bets and live, in-play betting as well.Check out Safest Betting Sites for more insight and analysis on betting sites and U.S. sportsbooks.
What is the safest way to bet on sports? What are the best sports to bet on? That all depends on you and where you live. For example, it might help to be in a place that legalized sports betting.How to bet on sporting events requires a little bit of research on your part. However, starting with a sport familiar to your knowledge could help you build up a few necessary skills.For example, the best place to bet on sports could be right at your fingertips. Of course, you’ll want to find a reputable sportsbook capable of protecting your data. And you should pay attention to terms and conditions when it comes to welcome bonuses and other promotions.
You should find a sportsbook that works best for you with easy accessibility and plenty of sports options. If you want to place bets on any of the top sporting events worldwide, that should come into play when choosing your sportsbook.
There should be plenty of great options for you to get started today.