Should You Bet on Only One Sport?
Nowadays you can bet on every sport imaginable but is more always better when it comes to choosing which sports to bet on?
In the United States it’s becoming easier than ever to bet on sports. With big changes happening to the laws around sports betting in the US and the rise of online sports betting, American sports gamblers have more freedom to make bets than ever before.
With all of that power and freedom comes the question: Should you only bet on one sport? Or is it better to spread your bets around? The answer depends on the person, but on this page we present an in-depth explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of both options.
No matter which road you travel down, it’s important to understand why you should or shouldn’t bet on more than one sport. Thankfully, we’ve broken down both sides of the debate for you, including which sports are especially good for singular sports bettors. We’ll also outline the personality traits that make a person best-suited to betting on just one sport.
This guide is valuable because you might be focusing on only one sport right now and missing out on other value. On the other hand, you may be spreading yourself too thin by betting on lots of different sports and would benefit from focusing on just one.
Keep reading to learn how these concepts can translate to better sports betting results for you.
Advantages of Only Betting on One Sport
If you’re new to sports betting, sticking to just one sport is a great way to get started. In fact, you could even limit yourself to betting on just one team within that one sport. Most people have the best results betting on sports and teams they understand well, so consider sticking to wagering only on your favorite team as you learn the basics.
Even for more experienced gamblers, there are a number of reasons why betting on one sport is a good strategy. This advice won’t appeal to everyone, but if you’re on the fence about how many sports to bet on, check out some of the advantages of betting on only one sport.
Good for People Who Are New to Sports Betting
When you went swimming for the first time, did you gradually work your way in, or did you jump in head first?
Chances are that for the very first time, you got into the water gradually. Think of sports betting the same way. Are you likely to succeed if your attention is thinned out by betting on tons of different sports right out of the gate? Or, are you better of focusing on one single sport, so that all of your energy is in one place?
Chances are, you are more likely to inflate your bankroll by focusing on only one sport, especially at the beginning.
Those who are new to sports betting likely have at least a basic understanding of at least one sport that they already follow. If this sounds like you, it’s a perfect opportunity to bet only on the one sport you’re already passionate about.
Easier to Develop Deep Understanding
It’s rare to find someone who has more than one league or sport that they are truly knowledgeable about. An expert-level, deep understanding of just one sport can take a lifetime to develop which gives a clear advantage to the person who puts all their time and effort into a single thing.
To become a consistent winner betting sports, a deep understanding of the game, league, players, coaches and a thousand other things is critical.
There are different types of sports fans: those who like to watch casually, and those who like to dive head-first into all the statistics, interviews, and information they can get their hands on. Both of these groups of people spend time betting on sports, but it goes without saying that those who dive in head-first into the deeper levels of the sport will have a big advantage betting on it.
No matter which category you fall into, betting on one sport allows you to focus and understand a singular sport at a high level. That is especially true for those who are just casual fans. Going back to the swimming metaphor, the more you swim, the better you’ll get.
Easier to Stay up to Date on Important Information
Hardcore sports fans likely follow a number of leagues. There are many who bet on the NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB. While it’s great to have an interest in all of these exciting, high-level leagues, betting on all of them presents a big problem.
Even though your knowledge of all of these sports might be excellent, keeping up to date with injuries, suspensions, and all the latest news is a full-time job. That’s probably not on your agenda if you’re working, or don’t have eight hours a day to bet on sports.
If you are one of those people that’s juggling a ton of different sports or leagues, maybe you should consider giving up betting on multiple sports.
Aside from injuries and suspensions, following one sport and one league makes it easier to stay up to date on which players are on hot streaks or in slumps. You would also have a better idea of which players are being promoted or demoted in their respective lineups, something that has a huge impact on lots of different bets.
Remember, even staying up to date on 30 teams in one league can be an arduous task, further hammering the point home that betting on one sport might be your best option.
Moderates How Often You Bet
You have probably heard from anyone with at least an intermediate knowledge of sports betting that it’s a good strategy to diversify your bets. Often, that goes hand-in-hand with betting on multiple sports, but that isn’t always a good thing for all gamblers.
Especially if you’re a beginner with a limited bankroll, making fewer bets can be a good strategy too. Making fewer wagers overall can help you spend more time researching and understanding your plays before you make them.
Remember, even if you’re making fewer bets, it’s still important to only bet a small percentage of your bankroll each time. That way a run of bad luck won’t completely wipe out your finances.
For more on bankroll strategies, read our full guide on money management in sports betting.
Easier to Shop Lines at Different Sportsbooks
If there’s one word that defines why betting on one sport is beneficial for your betting strategy, it is this: Focus.
Have you ever been to a restaurant that offers everything on its menu, from pasta to chimichangas to prime rib? How often do those restaurants serve you everything at a top-notch quality?
Sports betting operates the same way. If you shift your focus to one just sport, it’s a lot easier to do everything it takes to make smart bets. One huge way this is possible is by shopping for the best odds and lines at lots of different sportsbooks.
Instead of spending time studying and betting on multiple sports, consider spending that time looking for better odds for the bets you already know you want to make. If you pick up just five or ten percent better odds on average, it’s enough to turn many losing gamblers into long-term winners.
With so many options available online for you to place your bets, it’s usually possible to find more favorable odds and a bigger payout on the same bet. You just have to put in the legwork.
Sports Betting on One Sport Is More Advanced Than Ever Before
Hands up if you’ve heard this one before: the betting ends once the game begins.
If you have heard someone say that before, then perhaps they’re still using pen and paper to place their bets with bookies. Sure, there was a time when you bet on the outcome of the game and that was that, but sports betting is far more advanced in today’s day and age.
Even if you stick to betting on one sport, you could still be in a position where you’re spreading yourself too thin. That’s easy enough to do nowadays because virtually every sports betting platform offers in-game betting, also called “live betting”.
MLB baseball, for example, offers one of the most comprehensive selections of in-game bets of any sport. You can literally bet on every single at-bat if you wish. One of the most popular in-game bets is betting on if a hitter will produce a hit during his next at-bat.
You can also bet on how the next at-bat will go, aside from simply betting a hit. You can bet on whether they will strike out, walk, get hit by a pitch, hit a double, homer, or any other outcome. Here are some of the other in-game sports bets available to baseball fans.
- Strikeouts in the next half inning.
- The number of innings a pitcher will last.
- Win margin live bets (often opens up when a team starts off 2-0 or more early).
- First team to a specific number of runs.
The Sport You Know Best = Your Best Results
It might sound obvious but a lot of gamblers don’t understand this simple truth. If you’ve been passionate about one sport your whole life and you know the ins and outs of everything from the game to the teams to the players, you’re going to win more betting on that sport than something you barely follow.
A lot of gamblers, especially when their favorite sport is in the off-season, turn to bet on things they don’t really understand in an effort to make it more exciting.
While that’s certainly one way to pique your interest in a sport or league that’s not at the top of your watch list, it doesn’t always make you fall in love with that sport. Often, it doesn’t help you expand your bankroll either.
Especially in the United States, there isn’t one major professional sport that one could consider “easy” to bet on. Making a consistent profit betting on any sport takes hard work so sticking to the sport that you know best is often the best way to make money.
Disadvantages of Only Betting on One Sport
Some people like the simple things in life, but there are always some people who want more. In this section, we’ll cover the biggest downsides to betting on only one sport.
Each Sport’s Season Doesn’t Last All Year
Unless you want to take a hiatus from sports betting for part of the year, betting on one sport only has a glaring downfall.
There aren’t many sports leagues that go 12 months around the year. Unless you’re venturing into the esports realm or watching poker players, you won’t find a major sport that lasts all year.
Some sports leagues definitely have longer seasons than others. The NFL regular season begins in September and concludes with the Super Bowl in February, for a grand total of five months of action. The NBA and NHL, however, both have seasons that run for nine months of the year.
Whichever sport you choose, you’re going to be faced with a period of the year when you can’t bet without branching out into other sports. One great strategy is to spend that time studying strategies and historical data to get ready for next season.
If you’re like most people, however, you’ll just find a new sport to bet on.
Some Sports Have Short Seasons and Few Games
We touched briefly on the NFL and the length of their season, but they are the glowing poster child for this category. With only 16 regular season games for each team per season, It’s a bit limited when you look at it on the annual calendar.
Not only that, but the NFL puts the majority of their games on just one day of the week: Sunday. For sports bettors looking to sprinkle bets throughout the week, sticking to betting on the NFL can cause a problem there.
Even if you stuck to betting on a sport like football across multiple leagues, you still only get the chance to get a few days out of the week. Leagues like the Canadian Football League and College Football primarily play games on the weekend. These seasons also tend to be brief, even if a league like the CFL tends to start and end earlier than the NFL (June to November is the typical CFL season).
The Foil to Football, Real Football
For people in the United States, American Football is real football but for the rest of the world it means something totally different.
Football, soccer, or whatever you want to call it, is in a similar position as the NFL in terms of games played on select days during the week, The Barclays Premier League has 38 games in a season, whereas leagues like Bundesliga and the MLS play 34 games total in a season.
While that’s more than double the games that American Football offers up, it is a low amount of matchups compared to leagues like the NHL, NBA or MLB. Playoff games in this league are also a one-game, winner takes all format. In the NHL, NBA, and MLB, playoff series are between five and seven games (other than the one-game, Wild Card matchup in Major League Baseball).
Missing Out on Great Betting Opportunities in Other Sports
While betting on one sport allows you to become an expert in one area, this might be the glaring flaw to only sticking to one sport.
By giving yourself more options for betting on sports, you will be able to find better deals in the marketplace. Every online sports betting site offers its own personalized bets for their customers, and the growth of these online platforms means that the sports betting landscape is anything but a monopoly.
With stiff competition for sports betting across the market, online sportsbooks are often competing with each other to offer the best deals. As you become more immersed in sports betting you will start discovering which platforms offer the best bets on a particular sport.
You’ll also start to notice that certain sports betting outlets tend to be better or worse than the average on certain sports.
Sportsbooks will also often run special promotions on certain sports, offering enhanced odds or free bets to promote an event. By betting on a variety of sports you’ll be sure not to miss out on any of these deals. Read more about sportsbook promotions.
To truly maximize your value, a good strategy is to look for the very best bets in a variety of sports.
Some Sports Are Harder to Bet on Than Others
Maybe this sounds familiar to you. You’re a big fan of one sport and one league primarily, let’s say it’s the NFL. You’ve been placing bets on NFL football for a while but just can’t seem to find much luck winning.
Traditionally, the NFL is one of the hardest leagues to bet on. Parity in the game is at an all-time high. Since the volume of games isn’t as high as some other leagues, it can be hard to make up those losses.
By expanding your horizon to bet on other leagues, you’re giving yourself more betting options. Chances are, you might find a sport that’s easier to bet on than NFL, or whatever your favorite sport or league happens to be.
For the record, research shows that European soccer leagues can be the easiest to bet on, but that doesn’t mean that they are actually easy to bet on …
Volume Bettors Often Have the Most Success
We will preface this by saying that being a successful volume bettor across multiple sports takes time, dedication and patience. Don’t think you’ll become an amazing sports bettor across multiple sports overnight.
That being said, some of the best sports bettors in the business are guys that focus a ton of time and energy to betting on multiple sports leagues. It takes time to become an expert but once you get there across multiple platforms, then you are really setting yourself up for success.
For the record, the best volume sports bettors win about 55% of their bets. Remember that you will lose some bets, it’s about how you learn from those losses and take those lessons into future bets that make the difference.
Too Much Variance Between Results
Betting on one sport usually means that you usually don’t place a ton of bets. Here’s why that’s not necessarily a good thing.
When you’re betting on one sport, your results aren’t likely to be as varied as they would if you bet on multiple sports. Placing bets on multiple sports across multiple leagues tends to save you from the variance inherent in placing just a few bets.
Many of the North American leagues are difficult to bet on. If you only place a few bets on leagues that are difficult to bet on, your bets are likely to be really good or really bad. By placing more bets in different leagues, you can start to refine your strategy so that you’re never losing big. The goal with this would be to find what works for you and find advantages within each sport so that you can turn your bets into profits.
There is such a thing as spreading yourself too thin, but diversifying your bets will help you ride out runs of bad luck more easily.
Which Sports Are Good for Singular Sport Betting?
Now that you’ve got a better idea of the pros and cons of singular vs. multiple sports betting, you can make a decision as far as what’s best for you. There’s no wrong answer. For some people, betting on lots of different sports is the best strategy. For others, digging deep into one sport and all its nuances can be the best option.
If you do decide only to bet on one sport, it’s important to know which seasons run short and which leagues produce games and contests that last much longer, plus all the other reasons that make each sport a good or bad candidate to focus solely on.
Some of these sports aren’t the most popular for sports betting but that can actually be a good thing. For more info check out our guide to betting on non-marquee sports.
American Football (NFL)
Even though the NFL is arguably the most popular sport for betting in North America, it poses some problems if it’s the only sport you want to bet on. The biggest challenges are the relatively short season and a small number of games but NFL football is also one of the hardest and most competitive sports to be successful betting on.
Nevertheless, the NFL thrives on betting, and every Sunday throughout autumn is a gambler’s delight. More than ten games take place on one day, making every Sunday an extravaganza of betting action.
Unfortunately, similar to baseball, the season comes quick and fast for football fans. The NFL regular season only runs for four months of the year, from the beginning of September until the end of December. Playoffs extend the season for another month, and the Super Bowl takes place on the first Sunday of February.
That leaves those who solely bet on the NFL without an outlet for betting for seven months of the year. With daily fantasy football betting along with traditional sports betting, the NFL is a fun league to bet on. The main downside is that the ride is so short.
The NBA isn’t a bad choice if you want to limit your betting to just one sport. The season is relatively long and there are lots of games to work with.
NBA training camps take place towards the end of September, and by mid-October, the season is underway. There are 82 games in a season and the regular season goes until the latter half of April. Playoffs then take place from April to June, meaning that there are only three months of the year when betting on the NBA is a no-go.
Compared to other major professional sports leagues, basketball offers a good season length and volume. It’s also not too heavy all at once like baseball which has twice as many games but also has an offseason that’s nearly twice as long.
When it comes to season length and volume of games, hockey and basketball are nearly identical for sports bettors. Since one is played on ice and the other on wood, that’s where most of the similarities between the two games end.
The NHL and the NBA run parallel to one another all year long. The NHL starts just two weeks before the NBA season and ends right around the same time, depending on how the playoffs play out. Just like the NBA, the NHL has 82 games in a season, and a number of prop and in-game bets are available in both.
Another benefit they both share is that both sports run during times of the year when the weather isn’t very nice in many parts of the US. Summer months often aren’t the most popular for sports betting, and both of these leagues take a hiatus in July and August.
This one is right on the borderline of being good or bad for singular sports betting, and it’s largely due to its relatively short but very high-volume season.
If you’re looking to bet on a professional sports leagues with the most game action, then the MLB is your best bet. With 162 games in a season, there is a huge amount of volume for bets in the MLB.
Aside from all the games, there are a ton of prop bets and in-game bets that you can make during each game. During the season, every team plays almost every day, so it’s important that you stay within your bankroll if you like making lots of bets.
The downside to baseball? There’s a huge volume in a short period of time. Betting on baseball is like binge drinking. You consume a lot in a short period of time and before you know it, it’s all over. The season begins in April and ends in October, meaning that there is a five-month hiatus for fans and bettors of the sport.
If you’re restricting all your betting to MLB, hopefully, you don’t wake up with a financial hangover after the World Series.
Another reason why baseball might be a bad sport to bet on? Sports betting usually increases outside of the summer months when people are often going on vacation or spending more time outdoors. Baseball follows the weather and doesn’t offer sports bettors much entertainment during the winter months.
This list’s next two entries are hugely popular sports to bet on in the United States, NCAA football and basketball. Let’s look at football first.
For football fans, the college circuit offers a wealth of betting opportunities thanks to the sheer number of teams across the nation. Virtually every state has multiple University teams you can bet on. If you’re lucky enough to see games live, college football crowds tend to be some of the rowdiest in the United States.
Unfortunately, the college football season is even shorter than the NFL season. Its regular season begins during the end of August and ends in early December. The playoffs across the country all wrapped up in early January, meaning that the college football season is only four and a half months long.
This makes college football arguably the worst league to bet on if this is your sole sports betting endeavor. Similarly to the NFL, most of the games are played on one day of the week which cuts down on your opportunities to place bets.
When you hear NCAA basketball most of us think of March Madness, especially when it comes to betting on NCAA basketball. It absolutely dominates March headlines with the NFL out of commission and the MLB yet to start up.
Even though March Madness is a gambler’s heavan, when it comes to season length NCAA basketball is arguably the worst league to bet on exclusively. It has the shortest season, along with college football, of all the popular North American leagues. NCAA basketball doesn’t get going until the second week of November and it’s all over by the time March Madness concludes in early April.
That means there are only about four months of college basketball action per year for you to bet on. There’s a bit more volume for betting compared to NCAA football, but it’s still a short season compared to most other notable sports leagues in North America.
Global Soccer Leagues (BPL, MLS, Champions League, etc.)
Soccer fans might just be the luckiest fans in the world when it comes to all the different options and variety of leagues you can bet on within the same sport.
The Barclays Premier League in England and the European Champions League are two of the most popular sports leagues in the world but that barely scratches the surface of the different soccer leagues you can bet on.
Here are some of the other most popular soccer leagues for wagering:
- MLS (Unites States)
- Serie A (Italy)
- La Liga (Spain)
- Bundesliga (Germany)
- English Football League (Second Tier)
- Ligue 1 (France)
- Eredivisie (Netherlands)
That doesn’t even include some of the top professional soccer leagues in countries such as Belgium, Russia, or Greece. There are also a ton of popular leagues in South America that dominate the sports market there.
All this adds up to soccer being one of the options for singular sports betting.
If you only have a passing interest in NASCAR, you might be under the impression that NASCAR doesn’t have an offseason. Contrary to popular belief, NASCAR does actually take a break at one point during the year.
The NASCAR season begins in February and ends in November, meaning that fans of the sport are able to enjoy Nascar for ten months.
Even though the season spans almost ten months, the downside to being a big fan of NASCAR is that there are only 38 races in a year. Bettors should also pay attention to the track, qualifying and practice runs before the actual race. That’s beneficial for bonafide fans of NASCAR, but casual fans might have a hard time tracking all of the pre-race material that changes the outlook before race day.
You thought a ten month season was long? Well, the ATP Tennis tour is even longer. Tournaments start at the beginning of the year in January and run right until the end of November.
Hardcore tennis fans might be the luckiest in sports since there are multiple tournaments every month around the world. Many of the largest events, such as Wimbledon, take place in the summertime, which is the climax of the season for tennis.
If you’re looking to bet on a sport that has tons of matches, tons of tournaments and goes year-round, then tennis might be it for you.
Similarly to tennis and NASCAR, the PGA tour runs nearly 12 months around the year. It actually touches on all 12 months, with the last tour of the season heading into early December. As soon as the calendar flips to a new year, the first PGA tour kicks off on that opening weekend.
With professional golf, you can bet not only on the winner of the tournament, you can also bet on individual golfer’s scores, or put two popular players head to head to compete only against each other.
Much like tennis, the golf season does ramp up with major events in the spring, leading into the summer.
Having cricket in the category of good sports to bet on comes with the caveat that cricket fans will watch leagues of all different types.
Cricket is a sport that certainly isn’t popular in America, but there are notable leagues on most other continents. Europe, Asia, and Australia all boast popular leagues, with the benefit being that they run during different times of the year. In England, the cricket season runs from mid-April until September, whereas in Australia the cricket season goes from October until March.
If you’re a fan of cricket, that means year-round betting opportunities.
We’ll throw in one other league that’s not hugely popular in the US: rugby.
It’s a huge game in other parts of the world and there are lots of popular rugby leagues you can bet on. The National Rugby League in Australia is arguably the biggest. Since rugby spans across the Northern and Southern Hemisphere, there are better betting opportunities throughout the year. In general, however, rugby seasons are short and there aren’t a ton of games.
The NRL schedule runs from March until October, so the six-month campaign isn’t ideal for those only looking to bet on the NRL.
What Kind of People Should Bet on Just One Sport?
Are you wondering if you’re the type of person who should consider betting on one sport exclusively? Read these five main traits that lend themselves to singular sport betting and then decide for yourself.
1. People Who Are New to Sports Betting
Are you new to the sports betting landscape? If so, chances are that you don’t want to dive head-first into the sports betting world without testing the waters in at least one sport first.
Does it make sense to dive into sports betting in multiple sports if you’ve never bet on sports before? How can you know that you’ll be successful in betting on multiple sports, nevermind just one?
Whether you agree with betting on multiple sports or not, if you’re a newbie to the scene, you’re best to try one just one sport first. The chances of you being successful betting on multiple sports long-term are slim, compared to being successful betting on just one sport initially.
2. People Who Only Follow One Sport as a Fan
There are certainly different levels of fandom, but for those who have a passing interest, it’s probably best for you to only bet on one sport. If you have a passing interest, there’s a good chance you don’t watch every game, every highlight, or know every player on a particular team.
Even if you’re higher on the fandom scale, chances are you’re so enamored with your particular team that you don’t have an astute knowledge of other teams in other sports.
One thing to be aware of if you’re beginning sports betting as a fan of one team: don’t let your fandom get in the way of your bets. Don’t be constantly betting on your team to win if they aren’t the favorite. You’ll find yourself fed up with sports betting faster than you can say bankroll.
3. Someone Who Doesn’t Easily Understand Other Sports
This one goes without saying. If you don’t understand sports other than the main one you might follow, what makes you think you’ll be successful in betting on other sports?
It’s easy for sports betting beginners to be enamored by their early luck in placing bets. That can often happen to beginners who bet on multiple sports, regardless of their knowledge level. This can happen for beginner often, especially at the beginning of a given season when bets are less successful.
Early luck, however, isn’t indicative of long-term success. Getting lucky on your first few bets can entice newbies, but it never lasts. The bottom line is, if you don’t understand multiple sports, it’s better to be cautious with your wedding strategies.
4. Someone Who Gets Carried Away Gambling
While sports betting can be a great way to enjoy sports for many, the reality is that betting on sports can be addictive for some. Gambling addictions are a serious matter, and some people can spiral out of control quicker than others.
It’s even easier for those who a prone to gambling addiction to losing control of their bankroll if they bet on multiple sports. It is easier than ever to place bets on sports, so those who want to gamble, will at the end of the day.
Does this sound like you or someone you know? If so, make sure you ease yourself into the sports betting world. Place a small number of bets and don’t risk a large chunk of your bankroll. Always be cognizant of your bankroll and losses, and set stop limits so that you don’t go over your personal constraints.
If you ever know someone who you believe is suffering from a gambling addiction, make sure you reach out and tell someone. There are many gambling addiction hotlines and websites you can go to that aim to help those who struggle with this issue.
5. Someone Who Has Limited Time And/or Patience
Let’s be real: most of us who love and enjoy multiple sports don’t have the time to pay truly pay attention to everything that’s happening. Most of us have jobs, family, hobbies, and commitments that prevent us from watching or following our favorite sports as closely as we want.
Since it’s almost impossible to pay attention to as many sports as we like, it’s often a safer bet to stick with the one sport you follow the most. If you’re able to focus your energy and free time on your favorite sport, you’re more likely to be successful.
Remember that you can always pay attention to other sports without betting on them. Build up your confidence with one sport while gaining knowledge of other sports. That way, you can ease yourself into a second sport when the time is right.
Choose a Sport and Start Betting Now
As you’ve seen, there are pros and cons to focusing on one sport but luckily we have one golden rule for you to follow:
Bet on only one sport … AT A TIME!
You can get all the advantages of focusing on one sport but none of the boring off-season of sticking to just one sport year-round.
If you live in a state where sports betting is already legal, choose the sport you know best and use our list of recommended online sportsbooks to get started making bets right now.
If you live in a state that doesn’t allow sports betting yet, chances are that’s going to change. With the 2018 Supreme Court decision in favor of each state’s right to legislate its own sports betting rules, more and more states are getting on board.
Keep an eye on our state-by-state guide to sports betting legislation for the lateset developments.
Use the time pre-legislation to study up on your favorite sport and all the special sports betting strategies you can use to improve your chances of winning when it does become legal.