The Most Challenging Sports to Bet On (Listed from Least to Most Difficult)

  • Last updated
  • 2024/04/15
The Easiest To Hardest Sports To Bet On

Placing a bet on a sport you're passionate about adds an unparalleled level of excitement. The stakes feel higher when money is involved, even if it's just a small amount. It's a way to demonstrate that you have superior knowledge and are right, compared to the bookmaker.

However, cashing in on winning bets is not always simple, and even the most skilled bettors have to accept losses along with their victories. In this article, we will explore the most challenging sports to bet on, so you can fully understand the risks before placing a bet. Continue reading to discover which sports offer the best chances of winning.

Information Is Authority

Before delving into the ease or difficulty of betting on individual sports, it's crucial to emphasize that regardless of your level of experience as a bettor, the most critical factor is conducting thorough research and acquiring knowledge. The more information you gather to inform your choices, the greater your likelihood of success.

The severe punishment imposed on Premier League star Ivan Toney for betting on his own team underscores the significance of having inside information that provides an advantage in predicting match outcomes. However, even without such privileged knowledge, the same principle holds true. The more informed you are, the better your chances of accurately predicting the outcome of a sporting event.

Therefore, while some sports may be more straightforward to bet on than others, it's essential to always wager on sports that you comprehend and ideally have a deep passion for and closely follow.

Ranking Sports from Easiest to Hardest to Bet On

Here’s our list of the hardest sports to bet on, starting with some of the easiest:

1. NBA

Hardest sports to bet on - NBA

The NBA is considered the most straightforward sport to bet on for several reasons. Firstly, it is easy to access information about the NBA due to its popularity and the large number of games played each season. Additionally, with each NBA team playing a minimum of 82 games, there is a wealth of data available for making informed betting decisions, unlike the NFL where teams play fewer games. Furthermore, the NBA often features dominant teams that consistently perform well, making it easier for bettors to predict outcomes. Lastly, the consistent nature of the basketball court eliminates external factors that could affect the game, making it easier to forecast player performance and playoff series outcomes.

2. College Football

College Football

The argument for a 'dynasty' is also compelling in college football, which is why this sport is ranked second on our list. Although college football playoff victories may not hold the same weight as NBA Championship wins, certain teams consistently dominate each season. Since the implementation of the playoffs in 2014, Alabama has made the most appearances, secured the most wins, and claimed the most championships. Clemson and Georgia have also fielded dominant teams, with the 2022 Georgia Bulldogs maintaining a flawless record throughout the season and securing consecutive National Championships. This pattern theoretically makes college football one of the more predictable sports to wager on, as historically established schools are seldom upset by lower-ranked opponents. While there are no guarantees in sports betting, it would be a major surprise if Georgia does not achieve a three-peat this season.

3. MMA


MMA is the most recent sport on the list, with the UFC being just 30 years old and the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts developed in the 2000s. This means that the talent pool and level of competition may be thinner compared to other more established sports. In women's MMA, there have been several dominant champions in the past decade, such as Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko, Cris Cyborg, and Amanda Nunes. Men's MMA has also seen dominant champions like Jon 'Bones' Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov. One advantage for bettors is that fighters often have a specific style that influences their approach to a fight. For example, UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya's background in kickboxing and boxing has shaped his fighting style, making him a striking specialist. However, it's important to note that in MMA, there is always the possibility of an underdog winning, as demonstrated by Ronda Rousey's defeat by Holly Holm after a 10-fight winning streak.

4. College Basketball

This is where things start to become more challenging. Betting on college basketball is not easy, but there are aspects of the sport that can assist bettors. Similar to the NBA, college basketball has a level of predictability because external influences are minimal. Each game is played on the same court, and teams are not affected by weather or conditions as much as in other sports. Some college programs consistently have strong records and reach the final four and elite eights. However, it's important to remember that the playoffs, known as 'March Madness,' can be unpredictable. Even smaller schools without a history of success can defeat established names in college basketball, a trend that has been increasing in recent years. The introduction of the NCAA transfer portal in 2018 has also caused instability, and bettors are still adjusting to its impact.

5. NFL

The NFL has dominant teams, with the current dynasty being the Kansas City Chiefs led by Patrick Mahomes. Betting on the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl in 2024 could be a good choice, but the NFL is a challenging league to bet on due to numerous variables. Football is physically demanding, and injuries to star players are more common than in other sports. Despite measures to protect quarterbacks, accidents can still occur. For example, Mahomes suffered a serious ankle injury in a playoff game, causing concern for fans and bettors. Additionally, adverse weather conditions during the autumn and winter NFL season can contribute to unexpected outcomes, making it difficult for bettors.

6. Baseball

Hardest sports to bet on - MLB

Coming in at number six on our ranking is baseball, a sport that presents unique challenges for betting. With each team in the MLB playing 162 games, there is a wealth of data available for bettors to analyze, which can be both advantageous and overwhelming. While having extensive data theoretically increases the potential for success, it can also be daunting to study statistics from thousands of games. Additionally, the fluctuating performance of baseball teams, who often experience hot and cold streaks during the season, adds another layer of complexity to betting. For instance, in 2022, the LA Dodgers had an outstanding regular season, winning 111 out of 162 games, yet still lost over 30% of their matches. This inconsistency is common in baseball, making it an exciting sport to watch but a challenging one to bet on.

7. Soccer

Hardest sports to bet on - Soccer

Soccer presents challenges for betting due to numerous variables. The game's duration, potential for extra time and penalty shootouts, as well as factors like weather, injuries, and player behavior, contribute to its unpredictability. Soccer's passionate nature, particularly at the professional level, also adds to its unpredictability, with frequent headline-grabbing incidents. The difficulty of betting on soccer varies depending on the type of wager and the league, such as the highly competitive and unpredictable nature of the Premier League. For instance, while it may have been relatively easy to predict Manchester City winning the league, forecasting their performance throughout the season was much more challenging.

8. Golf

Golf is widely recognized as a challenging sport to play and even more difficult to wager on. The mental and physical demands of golf can be grueling, especially during major tournaments. The outdoor nature of golf tournaments, typically spanning four days, exposes players to a multitude of variables. Weather conditions, such as rain and wind, can significantly impact a player's performance. Additionally, golfers must navigate various terrains and rely on luck when their shots veer off course. The sport is highly competitive, with an immense depth of talent at the highest level, allowing even players ranked outside the top 100 in the world to have a realistic chance of winning major prizes. Notably, between 1991 and 2011, eight golfers ranked outside the top 100 claimed major titles, demonstrating that lesser-known players could achieve significant success in golf, even during the era dominated by Tiger Woods.