Are you getting into betting and want to improve your chances of winning? Check out our list of the most popular sports to bet on in the UK right away!
Football is the most popular sport in the UK for true and passionate fans and dedicated bettors since it offers thrilling matches and the most betting markets anywhere.
However, there are other sports that UK punters also bet on due to their prevalence and because they are supported by a great deal of statistical data, including horse racing, rugby, cricket, tennis, and even esports—an up-and-coming betting market.
So, let’s find out why these sports are so popular among bettors in the UK.
Most Popular Sports to Bet on in the UK
If you are ready for some betting excitement, see what makes these sports the best choice:
When it comes to sports betting in the UK, you can’t go wrong with football.
In addition to being a global phenomenon (two-thirds of the world population are fans), the sport has the most varied market choices for bettors anywhere—you can bet on anything from winners and the goals they score to the number of corner kicks and penalties.
In fact, according to various betting studies, around 45% of the total money spent on sports betting in the UK is related to football matches, players, or competitions. With numbers like that, it’s no surprise every bookmaker offers a varied selection of football markets.
As for the biggest leagues in competitions favoured by UK punters, Premier League matches are by far their go-to choice, but the Champions League is a close second, especially if there’s a UK team competing in it, such as Manchester City vying for the crown in 2023.
The FIFA World Cup, the Euro, the FA Cup, and several other European leagues (La Liga, Serie A, and the Bundesliga) are also popular options among the country’s bettors.
2. Horse Racing
Did you know that horse racing betting is the second most betted-on sport in the UK?
Not surprising, as this sport of kings once dominated the country’s betting activities. However, it still retains a huge following among punters since it comes with fantastic odds thanks to the exclusive Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) promotions offered by UK bookmakers.
Also, knowing that almost every horse racing viewer places a bet or two, it’s understandable how this form of betting takes around 27% of all money sports gamblers spend.
Some of the most popular betting markets include picking the race winner, choosing a range of positions for a certain competitor, and picking the first two finishers. The best thing is watching your slip unfold live since there’s live streaming availability.
The biggest competitions to look out for are the Grand National, Royal Ascot, and the Epsom Derby—all of which still draw huge followings and betting interest.
Originating from England, tennis was, is, and will be one of the most thrilling sporting experiences for UK players, fans, and punters. After all, similar to football, it offers numerous betting markets: from first point and set winner to match and tournament winners.
That said, compared to horse race and football betting, tennis doesn’t draw as many and as high betting slips (single-digit numbers). Those that do bet on tennis, though, are in for a treat—every minute of every match is filled with ferocious and unpredictable action.
Still, the sport generates tens of millions of pounds of betting revenue every year, most of which is reported during the major Grand Slam tournaments and the ATP Tour.
Cricket is a strategically profound sport that comes in several forms and rewards fans and bettors who invest time to master its rules and how they apply in betting.
As one of the oldest English sports on our list, Cricket has a fervent following among enthusiastic fans and expert punters, as they can place a slew of creative bets: Coin Toss Winner, Innings Runs, Team of Top Bowler, Top Batsman/Bowler, etc.
The most popular cricket tournaments available across most betting sites include: The Ashes (the most famous Test cricket series in the world), the Indian Premier League (IPL), Australia’s Big Bash League (BBL), The Hundred, and the ICC Cricket World Cup.
Rugby is another sensational sport for UK bettors since it perfectly blends strategy, depth, excitement, and uncertainty, and most teams are backed by betting sponsors.
The physicality of the sport stirs passion in its fans and opens up some exciting betting markets. For example, people can bet on Handicap markets, Total Points, Winning Margin, and some exotic bets like a team winning certain halves and scoring first or last.
Besides, rugby comes in several flavours—rugby union, rugby league, and a hybrid of both—each with different rules and regulations, which add another level of complexity when it comes to betting but don’t close the sport to newcomers.
Lastly, rugby has some sensational international tournaments that spur the interest of bettors everywhere, such as the Six Nations Championship and the Rugby World Cup.
Let’s also make room for the newest addition in betting books everywhere: esports betting, which involves placing wagers on players or teams who sit on a chair every day and try to beat their opponents with their focus, intelligence, dexterity, and strength of will.
With so many fantastic titles to choose from, such as CS:GO, League of Legends, and Dota, esports betting has exploded in recent years in the UK since it offers unmatched diversity in markets, a wealth of statistics, and live coverage at no added cost.
As for the most notable markets, while they vary from game to game, you can typically bet on First Blood (the person who makes the first kill), Map/Match/Series winner, various Handicap bets, and a slew of game-specific bets.
As avid sports fans, Brits spend significant time discussing strategy and placing creative bets, which adds to the excitement of watching their favourite teams. To meet such a public need, UK betting houses offer a huge selection of markets across many popular sports. However, while some require more insight than others, you need luck for all of them. So, whatever bet you place, look for a four-leaf clover or throw a coin in your favourite fountain.