The Cheltenham Festival has long been one of the biggest and most prestigious events in UK National Hunt horse racing, generating more than £4 million in prize money over its four days
Introduction to Betting on American Sports
Due to their increasing popularity in the UK and Europe, betting on American sports has become a regular occurrence for punters on this side of the pond. American Football (NFL), Basketball (NBA), Baseball (MLB) and Ice Hockey (NHL) represent the four most popular markets.
Betting on the NFL requires a reasonable knowledge of the game to take advantage of the intricacies involved, else you could end up losing a lot of money in a short space of time.
Taking the long view, many people like to simply back a winner in the sport´s showpiece event - The Superbowl. If you´re placing a bet on the winner here you may wish to consider that some teams have a much greater pedigree than others (compare the Pittsburgh Steelers´ 8 to the Jacksonville Jaguars´ 0). Form throughout the season is clearly important too however.
In terms of betting within each individual match, you can take advantage of more nuanced outcomes such as: match winner, margin of victory, point spread, total points scored in the game, how the first points will be scored, or if someone in particular gets a touchdown.
Remember, you need to get clued up. In American football fortunes change very quickly.
Basketball is an energetic, end-to-end spectacle. It´s perhaps slightly less subtle than other sports when it comes betting in-play.
An interesting market in the NBA is to bet on the overall winner, or - unique to the NBA - the most valuable player (MVP). The MVP award is voted for by sportswriters and broadcasters and rewards the best overall player, usually based on a player´s contribution in terms of things like points scored, assists, successful dribbles and defensive play. Legends including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and more recently LeBron James have all won the award in successive years, indicating that perhaps backing an outsider isn´t the way to go here.
For your in-play fix, or betting on the regular match markets you should think about spreading your cash over several events such as total points in the half, the winning margin, or the top scorer in the match. Following the form guides should assist you greatly here.
In Baseball, The World Series represents the pinnacle of the season. Historically a few of the select, large, teams have monopolized the World Series including The New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox. This being said, as recently as 2008, less established teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies have sprung a surprise.
If you fancy a flutter on this market you should pay close attention to the First-Year Player Draft, when the next cohort of amateur players is selected. Selections are based on statistics, and making the correct choices here is a multi-million dollar industry.
If you´re new to betting on Baseball you should bet on the `overs/unders´ market where you bet on a team scoring above or below a certain points total. Alternatively you could back a certain number of home runs in a match, but your best bet is to keep it simple to begin with. Watch a few games, gauge the average points per team per match, then look at the `overs/unders´ market.
Another huge American Sport, betting on the NHL is perhaps a less-celebrated pastime. However don´t let this fool you; the number of in-play match markets allow for a pulsating experience. Markets to bet on include: match winner, total number of goals, winning margin, and the highest scoring period.