Sports bettors are naturally attracted to the world's biggest sporting events and the potential profits that are attached to them, and sportsbooks love the guaranteed income that such major occasions supply. So what exactly are the world's biggest events, and why are they so popular? Read on to find out and get ready to place a bet on the next big game!
The Olympic Games have taken place every four years since the end of the 19th century, and continue to capture the attention of the world every summer that they take place. The games feature an increasing number of sports (currently 33), and within each sport there are multiple separate events. This means that there are a huge number of gambling opportunities, especially as the games last for over a month. Our tip? It's important to focus on particular events and do plenty of research on the event in question to maximize your chances of success. With the majority of events available on live TV, there are plenty of in-play betting opportunities, too.
The FIFA World Cup is one of the events which attracts more sports bettors than any other. The World Cup involves 32 teams, 31 of which qualify through regional play-offs, with the host of the event getting an automatic spot. Traditionally, teams such as Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Spain and France are always highly regarded. Of course, the World Cup offers countless betting opportunities, from simply choosing the overall winner to predicting the top goal-scorer and group winners. Every game is televised live in most regions and/or streamed online, so there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with in-play live betting.
While cricket isn't exactly a favoured sport with Canadian bettors, there's still huge interest globally in the Cricket World Cup. The Indian team in particular attracts enormous support, which comes as no surprise given that India is the second most populated country in the world! Taking place every four years, the major test nations are guaranteed slots, while the rest have to qualify through the World Cricket League and the ICC World Cup Qualifier. This makes life hard for the smaller nations, and though there will be more guaranteed games between big names, it doesn't help the global growth of the sport. Regardless, millions tune in and place bets on the matches.
The United States hosts its show-case sporting event every year in February. The game sees the NFC and AFC champions face off to see who will win the Vince Lombardi trophy and the associated glory. The Superbowl is watched by hundreds of millions around the world, and is second only to the soccer Champions League Final in terms of viewing figures for an annual sporting event. Las Vegas does a lot of extra business in the build-up to the final, and Canadian audiences have the advantage of being able to place bets online before and during the game, unlike the majority of US residents.
As mentioned above, the UEFA Champions League Final is the largest annual sporting event in terms of international viewing figures, with an estimated 350 million people watching the final worldwide. The Champions League has been running since 1992, when it replaced the old European Cup. The main difference is the league format which operates in the early stages of the competition, a factor that makes it more likely that the big European soccer clubs will advance to the later rounds. Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are generally among the favorites to win, along with teams like Bayern Munich (Germany) and Manchester United (England). Taking a look at past winners will have you decide who to place your wager on.
The Wimbledon tennis finals held in London every year marks the beginning of summer and inspires millions of people to tune into tennis. Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slams of tennis, along with the Australian, French and US Opens. However, none of the others match the sense of occasion that the Wimbledon slam brings, plus it's the only one of the major events to be held on grass courts. Tennis is a hugely popular sports among bettors, with each match offering countless betting opportunities. Players like Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Andy Murray have dominated the men's game in recent years, while women's tennis has been dominated by the Williams sisters.
There are four golfing 'majors': the Masters, US Open, British Open and PGA Championship. Golfers' careers are measured according to how many major titles they have accumulated, and none is more prestigious than the Masters. While the other majors rotate between different golf clubs every year, the Masters is always held at the exclusive Augusta National. This event first took place in 1934, with the formidable Jack Nicklaus holding the honour of having won the most times. Nicklaus won six over a 14 year period and only Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods have come close to this total, having won four apiece. One of the many famous traditions of the Masters is that the winner is awarded a green jacket, and then chooses the menu for the celebratory dinner held at the end of the event.
The world's premier cycle race takes place every July, wending its way through idyllic French countryside. One of the most gruelling sporting events on earth, the race has been the subject of controversy in recent years due to widespread doping among the athletes. America's greatest ever cyclist – Lance Armstrong – was the most high profile racer to be exposed as a drugs cheat. The last few years have shown signs that doping is on the wane, and Le Tour still attracts a global audience in the millions.
The NBA Finals see the best basketball players in the world compete in a best of seven series and is watched by millions. In 2016, game 7 of the finals drew more than 30 million US viewers, making it the most watched game since Michael Jordan's final championship back in 1998. Basketball is the most global American sport, with fans all over the world, and it attracts a huge betting audience as well. The fast paced action and frequent scoring allows for all types of betting opportunities, with in-play gambling being especially popular.
The Stanley Cup Finals is the best of seven series which determines the champions of the National Hockey League every June. The Montreal Canadiens hold the record for the most finals appearances with 34, way ahead of the next placed Detroit Red Wings with 24. The 2017 final between the Pittsburgh Penguins (winners) and the Nashville Predators was the most viewed ever for a final which didn't feature one of the original six NHL teams. Over the six games, the finals averaged almost 5 million viewers per game. Hockey is one of Canada's favorite sports, of course, and that means plenty of online gambling opportunities. Having a familiarity with the sport makes it one where knowledgeable players can make a profit.