No doubt, this opening week of the NFL regular season has spurred many to stop by their favorite online sportsbook and place a bet. The NFL regular season is the heaviest traffic period for online sportsbooks, even through January post season play. The USA betting public loves football, and the amount of money wagered at sportsbooks is astronomical. Most sportsbooks hire temp staff for this busy time of year, in order to accommodate the mad dash of customers that literally break the doors off the hinges in order to get their bets placed for Sunday afternoon and Monday night football games.
In February, after the Super Bowl, sports betting experiences what’s known in the industry as the “off-season”, although there is still action to be had with March Mania Betting, the Triple Crown horse racing events, and even baseball. In general, however, once the Super Bowl is over, sportsbooks huddle up for a few months to get ready for the next football season, because that’s when the big money flows in. The only spring sport with regularly scheduled games is Baseball, though the interest in baseball betting is just not as high as the NFL. Advertising money at sportsbooks is actually better spent prepping for football, even if it’s months away.
As a result, sportsbooks tend to survive on single event betting in the off-season, opposed to regular weekly betting that happens with football. With that in mind, we thought we’d list some of the USA’s top sports betting events, ordered by the traffic sportsbetting3.com receives for each respective event. This is not a scientifically researched poll, just what people are looking for when they’ve got gambling fever.
Top Sports Betting Events in the USA
- Super Bowl Betting – The SuperBowl is the crowning event of any NFL season, and is perhaps the USA’s favorite single sports betting event. Whether you bet regularly on football each week, or just dabble betting a few games here and there, there’s one thing for sure: chances are, you’re going to be betting on the Super Bowl (even if your team isn’t playing). At sportsbetting3.com, we noticed a marked increase in traffic for people looking for Super Bowl information towards the end of January right up until the day of the big game itself. Most people are looking for odds, a free pick, or other insider information; although a fair percentage want to find a place to bet. During Super Bowl 43, sportsbetting3.com experienced it’s highest single day of traffic in its short history as a sports betting portal. Given this information, it’s no surprise that the general sportsbook industry consensus is that the Super Bowl is the king of sports betting events for the USA.
- March Mania Betting – Ok, we know that March Mania is not a single day event, but in terms of “off season” sports betting, the stretch of NCAA DIV 1A basketball tournament games between March and April of each year is yet another big attraction for USA sports bettors. Chief among March Mania bettors are bracket contests, where bettors attempt to create the fabled “perfect bracket” and win thousands, if not millions of dollars in prize money offered by the top sportsbooks. Most years, this doesn’t happen, but nonetheless, people love to bet on college basketball, and the drama and intensity of post season tournament play is yet another traffic spike for sports betting websites. In general, the bulk of March Mania betting takes place during the first two rounds of tournament action, and tapers off by the time the national championship game starts.
- College Bowl Game Betting – Although the BCS series has been mired in controversy and mixed emotions in recent years, the college football play-off games are still a big traffic event for sportsbooks. Usually, betting is focused on the major bowl games for the year, while minor bowl games with lesser ranked teams don’t see as much action. The championship bowl game is like a mini Super Bowl for college football fans, and is particularly exciting if the game is a close match. In past years, when the game was set to be a blowout, more people watched than bet, since the payoffs would not be that strong. Between the BCS and NFL post season play, sportsbooks get a nice rush of bettors just after the Holidays, which keeps interest in football bolstered up until the Super Bowl itself.
- Kentucky Derby Betting – To be sure, the Kentucky Derby, held during the first week of May, is considered an “off season” event for sportsbooks. Usually, sportsbooks briefly switch gears from baseball to horse racing as May approaches, which signifies the start of the Triple Crown Horse Racing events. The vast majority of bets are placed in the last 36 hours remaining before the gates open, which makes it one of the top single day sporting dramas for American bettors. The Kentucky Derby is also heavily anticipated if there is a strong field. Aside from the stalwart horse racing bettors who play the ponies weekly, interest in horse racing from the general public is piqued, which means more “single day betting” customers for sportsbooks/racebooks. In turn, when subsequent horse races approach, sportsbooks heavily market themselves to bettors that signed up for the Derby, hoping to retain their business as the Triple Crown Series progresses.
- TIE: Stanley Cup Betting & NBA Championship Betting – Alright, we know we’ll catch some flack for pairing these two events together, but the fact is, non-baseball fans really have one of two things to choose from in June: hockey or basketball. This means interest in the Stanley Cup Play-off games and NBA championship is heightened to a feverish level, mostly because it’s the last time fans get to bet before the following season. In Canada, where hockey is practically a second language (sorry French), the Stanley Cup play off games are the most popular sporting events by far, with millions tuning in to see the best teams in hockey clash on the rink. Likewise, in the USA, the NBA championship is equally revered, with sports bettors betting on the winner of the championship series itself, or the game by game results.
- Belmont Stakes Betting – Sorry Preakness Stakes fans, we had to skip over you: the middle chapter of the Triple Crown Racing Saga is generally slower for sportsbooks than the first and last. Interest in the Belmont Stakes is particularly noteworthy if a horse is in contention to win the Triple Crown by virtue of winning the preceding Kentucky Derby and Preaness Stakes. There hasn’t been a Triple Crown winner in years, but nonetheless, horse racing fans and one-off event bettors alike plow into racebooks and sportsbooks to bet on the Belmont Stakes, hoping to be both a part of history and make a few bucks, too. Even though the Kentucky Derby is considered the most “exciting 2 minutes” in American sports, the Belmont stakes is a close contender for second, with one of the highest horse racing handles of the year.
So, while you’re nursing your Week 1 NFL betting withdrawal syndrome, consider these other great events that your fellow sports bettors hallow from year to year. Football may not last all year, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t action elsewhere. Study up on basketball, horse racing, and hockey; and make each of these sport’s respective championship events a date on your annual betting calendar.
Good Luck and most importantly, WIN BIG!