What’s the Easiest Sport to Bet On?

Variety of Sports Played in Background, Guy Holding Money

I think there are three ways to answer this question. Let’s get them out of the way right at the top:

The easiest sport to bet on in terms of beating the book is college basketball.

The easiest sport to bet on in terms of accessibility is NFL football.

The easiest sport to bet on for beginners is MLB baseball.

In answering this question, I looked at ten different sports betting markets to figure out which of them could be considered easy and for what reasons.

I put NHL betting at the bottom of the list, mostly because the scores are too volatile, and the margins are too thin for a newcomer to sports betting to expect any kind of profit. I also put NCAA football near the bottom, mostly because handicapping the sport requires a lot of experience and adolescent psychology.

Below, a short guide to each of the easiest sports to bet on.

College Basketball – Easiest Sport for Beating the Book

If you avoid betting things like holiday tournaments – a tough and outside-the-norm multi-day run of games for college-age players still growing into their bodies – you can make a decent profit without too much work in the NCAA basketball market.

College basketball is weird because you have huge universities with athletic budgets that rival the GDP of some small European nations alongside schools like Davidson.

Davidson is a tiny liberal arts school that plays lots of D1 sports for some historical reason that I don’t care all that much about. What I do care about is how small their market is.

Further Info:

Davidson itself is so small, about 1 in every 120 students is on the basketball team. That’s wild considering how much success Davidson has had in D1 basketball.

The Wildcats have been to the tournament 8 times since the year 2002, going as far as the Elite Eight, most recently in 2008.

Something like 360 schools participate in D1 basketball, though not all at the level that draws attention from Vegas. There are maybe 250 NCAA basketball teams that participate in games covered by the books. You’ll sometimes have as many as 500 lined games to choose from. That means a lot more work for oddsmakers.

Most of those 500 games are non-conference matchups or games in tiny markets involving teams with no March Madness hopes. In other words, most of the lined games in college basketball offer some value.

Davidson is a bad example of the kind of market I’m talking about – their past success and relatively high national profile mean the lines for their games are probably pretty tight.

Consider instead schools like Lamar University, currently playing in the Southland Conference, but soon to join the WAC. Lamar’s been to the tournament a few times, but they don’t really draw any national attention. Becoming an expert in Southland Conference basketball shouldn’t be all that difficult – with a little practice and experience, you can exploit the likely soft lines set by oddsmakers.


Newcomers to sports betting should test the waters in non-conference NCAA basketball, particularly games between unranked teams or from smaller schools without much national profile.

Strategies like fading the betting public work particularly well in these tiny markets because the betting public pretty much makes chalk picks, and you can profit through old-fashioned contrarian sports betting.

I call betting on non-conference and small market college basketball the easiest way to beat the book because there’s tons of games, plenty of soft lines, and you can get a taste of all the traditional sports bets (spreads, game totals, etc.) without getting beat so bad by the book day in and day out.

If college basketball sounds like the best option for you, check out Bovada, our favorite bookmaker for NCAA basketball. You will find competitive odds and lines, juicy bonuses, and more.

NFL Football – Most Accessible Sport to Bet On

If you’re looking to bet on a sport without doing too much work, you should probably get into NFL betting.

I say that because most online sportsbooks put a big emphasis on NFL betting.

Bets on NFL football games range from the typical money line, and point spread wagers to more exotic futures and prop bets, though the most accessible wagers tend to be the simplest ones.

You can’t buy basketball parlay tickets at lottery retailers in Delaware, but you can absolutely buy a whole complicated series of NFL parlay tickets right there where you buy your Powerball and Keno tickets.

There’s no office tradition during baseball season where we bet on the run totals in the various innings of the World Series – but almost every office or group of workers has an annual Super Bowl squares game.

Football betting is king in the US, with more volume and more bets total on NFL games than any other popular American sport.

I’ve run out of adjectives to describe the size of Super Bowl betting in America – we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars exchanging hands for a single 2.5-hour game of pigskin.

I also think NFL betting is the easiest sport to bet on in general because of the existence of things like parlay tickets sold as part of state lottery programs.

You can also usually find a guy at a bar willing to put down some cash on a game. The same goes for friends and family – who hasn’t bet a cousin $20 that the Cowboys would blow it in the playoffs again this year?

Okay, so how easy is the football market to beat? That depends on who you ask.

On the one hand, the sheer volume of NFL bets means there’s an uninformed betting public you can usually parlay into profit. On the other hand, there’s such a wealth of information about NFL games and players, and so much sharp money affecting the market, some bettors may shy away.

A good exercise for new bettors interested in the football market is to spend a little time early each week setting your own lines. Then, comparing your lines to what’s available at the books, you should be able to zoom in on opportunities for value.

That sounds like a lot of work – and it is – but you don’t have to dig that deep to have some good easy fun with NFL betting. You can start by picking just one or two games a week and tracking your progress.

If you decide to give it a go, you should try BetOnline. The bookmakers offers all kinds of NFL betting markets, player props, futures, and more.

MLB Baseball – Best Sport for Beginning Sports Bettors

I like suggesting baseball betting to legitimate newcomers to sports betting, especially people who aren’t comfortable with point spreads. MLB’s run line is unique in that it stays almost 100% consistent across every game of the season – sort of like a fixed point spread.

The run line isn’t the only thing that makes baseball betting easy. I think of all the popular US sports, baseball betting rewards fandom, familiarity with the game, and baseball experience. If you understand the rhythms of the game, the ups, and downs of players across its impossibly long season, you’ll sometimes be able to get an edge against the books.

Betting trends in baseball are easier to use – you can almost blindly bet on underdogs (especially home dogs) and turn a profit. Betting against the public is also more consistently profitable in baseball, maybe because of the huge number of games every week or maybe because of the psychology of the herd tending to believe a team’s next result will be the same as their last.


If you’ve ever looked at baseball lines, you might also be familiar with reduced juice. Most US-facing sportsbooks offer lots of reduced juice in the MLB market, for reasons that go way beyond the scope of this post.

Just know that it’s common to see -107 or even -105 specials every single day of the regular season. Over time, those small savings against the book’s edge add up for bettors.

The fact that baseball’s run line offers a plus line for favored teams (because of the perceived difficult of winning by 2 or more runs) means it’s an obvious fit for advantage gamblers. It’s not often in sports that you can earn plus money on a team favored to win. That’s a common feature of baseball betting.

A word of caution – a lot of the features of baseball that make it an ideal easy bet for beginners go completely out the window around September, when the playoff picture starts to clarify. Postseason baseball betting requires a different approach and results in a more volatile experience that may not be great for beginners.

With that in mind, BetUS is my recommended sportsbooks for MLB gambling. The betting site offers high odds, many markets, and generous promotions.


I’ve had lots of people interested in starting a hobby in sports bets ask me what’s the easiest sport to bet on.

I usually recommend bettors looking for easy sports try out college basketball, NFL football, or MLB baseball bets, depending on their reasons for wanting to start betting and what experience they’re interested in having.

My answer depends on a few follow-up questions – what do you mean by easy? How much do you want to be? Do you want high volatility or low volatility?

The cool thing about the US sports betting market is that you can tailor your experience to match what you’re looking for.

Jim Beviglia
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About Jim Beviglia
Jim Beviglia has been a gambling writer at LegitGamblingSites.com since 2018. During that time, he’s written just about every type of article related to gambling, including reviews of betting sites, guides to popular casino games, betting tips on both casino and sports betting, sports and casino blog posts, and game picks. In addition to online gambling, one of Jim’s other major interests is music. He has been doing freelance work for various music sites and magazines for two decades. Among his outlets past and present are American Songwriter, VinylMePlease, Treble, and The Bluegrass Situation. Jim has also written five books on music that were published by Rowman & Littlefield.