It’s fair to say that people in the UK love betting on sports. A whopping £14 billion is spent on sports betting in the UK each year by British punters. So without any further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most popular sports to place a bet on in the UK.
Football Betting in the UK
It probably comes as no surprise that football is the number one sport for online betting in the UK, considering it’s the national sport and borders on an obsession for many British adults! For this reason, you can bet on pretty any football match that is taking place anywhere in the UK.
The simplest bets available in a football betting market are called match bets and they involve predicting either a home win, away win, or draw (sometimes referred to as Win-Draw-Win bets). In addition, there is a wide range of bets that you can place before or during a football match, including:
- Full-time or Half-time Result (FTR/HTR)
- Full-time or Half-time Correct Score (CS)
- Total Goals Scored (Exact or under/over bets)
- First Goal Scorer (FGS)
- Last Goal Scorer (LGS)
- Draw No Bet (DNB)
- Accumulator Bet
- Plus, many more niche bets such as the time of the first corner, number of throw-ins, number of free kicks, etc.
The abbreviations given above are commonly used on online sports betting sites.
You should be aware that there are certain rules that apply to football betting and some vary from site to site. For instance, some sites include extra time or penalties when deciding the match result, others will only accept the result at the end of 90 minutes of normal play. Most sites also disallow their own goals when it comes to goalscorer markets, e.g. first or last goalscorer bets.
Some sites even offer football transfer betting now, with markets covering player transfers, manager transfers and other transfer-related bets across the big European leagues.
Horse Racing Betting in the UK
Horse racing is one of the oldest forms of sports betting in the UK and is still one of the most popular. When it comes to betting on horse races online, there are plenty of options, with all major online sports betting sites offering horse racing markets, for both ante-post (at least one day in advance), pre-race and during-race (or in-running) betting.
One of the most exciting things about horse racing is the wide variety of odds available on any given race. The odds are worked out by the bookmaker according to the form and ability of the horse compared to the race conditions.
To the beginner, horse racing can seem a bit confusing with all the different groups, grades, classes and race meetings. To confuse matters more, in the UK there are different classes and groups for both flat racing and jump racing (also known as national hunt racing). Don’t worry too much about the terminology for now though, the betting process is similar for all sites.
There is a wide variety of bets you can place online on any given horse race including:
- Straight bets - win (first), place (first or second), or show (top three places)
- Exotic bets (combinations) - horizontal wager (parlay bets) or vertical wagers (exactas, trifectas, and superfectas)
- Quinella - pick first and second horses, but can finish in any order.
- Boxing bets - picking the placement of horses in order - e.g. from first to sixth.
- Totepool betting - a type of betting market that offers fluctuating odds rather than fixed odds, set price betting.
- Plus other more obscure bets such as Classix bets.
Tennis Betting in the UK
Tennis is another popular and dynamic sport for betting in the UK. There are major events and tournaments throughout the year in various parts of the world, both indoor and outdoor, to wager on. Some of the most popular events to bet on are the four grand-slam championships: Wimbledon (grass courts), US Open (hard courts), Australian Open (hard courts), and French Open (clay courts).
When it comes to betting on tennis through UK online bookmakers, you can choose between match bets to predict the winner of a given match or tournament place bets. There are other more exotic bets that can be placed such as the number of double faults in a match, the number of net calls, etc.
Due to the sizable duration of tennis matches, often lasting several hours, it is a popular sport for live betting. Many tennis betting punters like to analyse the in-match stats and if they see that a player’s first serve percentage is dropping, for instance, they can place a bet against that player.
Cricket Betting in the UK
Another massively popular sport in the UK is cricket. Cricket matches go on for hours or days, which means there is plenty of scope for live betting, especially with the growth in the popularity of cricket in India which has made it the second most popular sport in the world.
Cricket is a game that can be analysed in-depth due to the time it takes for each bowl to take place. This makes it a popular option for serious or even professional sports gamblers.
There is a multitude of ways to bet on cricket. Online sports betting providers offer bets such as:
- Match Outcome
- Series Winner
- Highest Run Scorer
- Highest Wicket Taker
- Highest Scoring Openers
- Man of The Match
- Number of Boundary Points Scored (fours and sixes)
Rugby Betting in the UK
Rugby is another popular sport in the UK. UK punters bet heavily on the outcome of big rugby events like the Six Nations or British Lions Tour. You can bet on both Rugby League and Rugby Union games, depending on which is your favourite variant of the game.
Rugby bets tend to be on the match-winner or tournament winner, as no-score draws are pretty rare in the game.
Golf Betting in the UK
Golf betting provides good value for UK punters, with the ability to win big amounts if you know what you’re doing. But it can be pretty difficult to select an overall tournament winner as many tournaments have big fields of over 100 players.
The great thing about golf is the big variety of bets you can place, such as:
- Tournament Winner
- Head-to-head Winner
- First Round Leader
- First Birdie
- First Eagle
- Hole in One
Snooker Betting in the UK
Snooker is a very popular sport in the UK, and it is growing rapidly in popularity in the Asia-Pacific region. This means that there are plenty of online betting opportunities on snooker all year around. Most online sport betting providers offer snooker betting with favourable odds.
Snooker provides lots of opportunities for different types of bets, including:
- Match Winner
- Tournament Winner
- Total Winning Frames By Player
- Highest Break By Match
- Correct Match Score
- Correct Frame Score
- Number of Fouls By Frame or Match
Virtual Sports Betting in the UK
Virtual sports are sporting events, matches, and games that are simulated by a computer. In other words, they don’t happen in real life and use a computer program to decide the winner. You can watch the race, match, or edited highlights on most online sites that offer virtual sports betting.
The computer algorithms are designed to decide winners and placement in races to match the correct frequency dictated by the odds. In other words, in a virtual horse race, a horse that is 14 to 1 on to win the race will win one race out of every fifteen, on average.
The most popular virtual sports for online betting are:
- Virtual Football Betting
- Virtual Horse Racing Betting
- Virtual Dog Racing Betting
- Virtual Tennis Betting
- Virtual Motorsports Betting
- Virtual Cycling Betting
UFC/MMA & Boxing Betting in the UK
Brits love to bet on the outcome of a fight. Big fights between well-known fighters in the MMA or boxing world generate a flurry of bets. For this reason, there are plenty of top UFC betting sites that offer odds on the outcome of bouts or tournaments.
In the UK, darts is a popular sport for playing, watching, and betting. Let’s face it - Brits enjoy any sport that you can play with a drink in your hand! In terms of betting, online sports betting sites offer odds on match or tournament winners, as well as plenty of over and under-betting on the number of sets won by individual players.
Other interesting bets are available on some sites, such as “King of the Oche” which is where you bet on a player to win a match, as well as getting the highest checkout and the highest number of 180s.
Obviously, the most popular motorsport to bet on in the UK is Formula 1. You can also place bets online on other race series such as NASCAR and smaller events around the world. You have plenty of betting options such as race winner, championship winner, fastest lap driver, fastest lap time, etc.
eSports are growing in popularity, especially amongst the younger generations. eSports involves individuals or teams of players competing in video game tournaments.
The growing popularity means that online sports betting operators have started offering odds on the outcomes of big eSports events such as the FIFAe Club World Cup, VCT Challengers, RLCS, etc.