What People Bet on the Most in 2020
January 7, 2021
2020 is finally over and for many people, that’s a reason to celebrate. 2020 was a terrible year—a pandemic wrecking the world, earthquakes, locusts, floods, and lockdowns galore. But amid all the things that happened last year, online sports betting gave millions of people a way to have fun.
Sure, many sports leagues went on a hiatus for several months. But even with no sports on TV, punters still found ways to make money through betting. Here are some of the most popular betting markets in 2020.
The US Election
Forget the Champions League. The US election held last November was the biggest betting market in 2020, attracting over €500 million on Betfair alone. The last time Betfair hosted such a big betting event was in 2016 when thousands of punters thronged the site to wager on Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump in the presidential election.
At least one person wagered $1.29 million on Joe Biden to win the election. And boy did he make a big profit—he walked away with $696,170 on top of his wager after Biden was announced the US president elect. This was the third biggest bet placed at Betfair, behind the $1.4 million placed on Rafael Nadal at the 2010 French open.
Unfortunately, some punters lost up to $100,000 on bets backing Trump for a win. However, that was not until December 14, when the US confirmed Biden’s victory. Before then, many bookmakers held people’s wagers avoiding a repeat of 2016—they paid out millions of pounds to bets on Hillary before the election went in favor of Trump.
When many sports leagues took a break in March for safety reasons, the betting industry nearly collapsed. There was little to predict on websites besides table tennis in Ukraine, Mexican soccer and casino games. Slots and card games took center stage quickly for several reasons.
Unlike second-tier Mexican soccer, slots are easier to wager on. No need to look for statistics, team histories and odds. All you need is to choose a slot and wager on it. With card games, the requirement is to learn how they work and perfect your skills through strategies.
For example, if you want to play blackjack online, you can start by reading guides on how it works. Hint: the goal is to produce a hand closest to or equal to twenty-one (21). After that, you can practice playing the game free of charge on free to play sites before you place your first real money bet.
Many casinos also give you bonuses to play some of their games free of charge for a while. So, if you’re keen on playing slots and table games for real money, you can skip social casinos and find real money bonuses. The best operators give you up to €1000 in bonuses.
The Super Bowl
Bets on the Super Bowl keeps growing. Before sports betting became legal in the US in 2018, Americans used to wager over $200 million on black markets each year. In 2019, legal Super Bowl bets hits $5 billion as the New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams.
Last year, bets on the Super Bowl increased by 15% to $6.8 billion as the Kansas City Chiefs took down the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Miami. The Super Bowl is consistently the biggest single-day sports event in the US every year. So, with more states legalizing sports betting, wagers on the Super Bowl will continue to increase.
For clarity, Americans don’t just predict which team will clinch the Vince Lombardi Trophy. They also wager on totals—whether the Super Bowl will end with over 30 or under 30 points. Another wager type is the point spread—predicting by how many scores a team wins or loses.
Esports was the lifeline of many betting sites in 2020. They couldn’t provide football, basketball or boxing betting markets after most leagues suspended games. As a result, they went for one of the few available sports throughout 2020—eSports.
Many eSports competitions take place online, usually at no costs to viewers. This makes them easy to access for millions of punters around the world. Finding the data required to bet successfully isn’t always easy. But it’s not impossible.
That’s because betting on eSports is similar to wagering on traditional sports. You can predict one of two players or teams to win. Or you could wager on totals, props, handicaps and all the other bet types available for football, basketball and hockey.
There are numerous video games to bet on: Fortnite, CS: GO, Dota 2, PUBG, League of Legends and FIFA 20 to name a few. Although each game works differently, winning comes down to making correct predictions. That means you need to understand each game well enough for you to win consistently.
Although football was affected by COVID-19 restrictions, there was always a way to bet on the beautiful game in 2020. A few leagues never shut down, at least not initially, mainly Belarus and second tier Mexican football. Additionally, some leagues opened up early in May—German football.
Since May, most football leagues in the world have since resumed, from the EPL and La Liga to Bundesliga and Serie A. National and inter-league competitions like the Champions League and the Europa League also came back, giving punters a wealth of football betting options.
North American Sports
Thanks to increased sports betting legalization, North American sports like basketball, baseball, hockey and NASCAR ranked highly among the most wagered on events in 2020. In the usual fashion, American football leads the way as the biggest sport for American punters. Baseball and basketball follow next, then hockey, the MLS, NASCAR and boxing.
Of course, it’s not just in the US where people wager on American sports. Betting on basketball and baseball is pretty common in Canada, Europe, Asia and Australia. In fact, some British and European bookies specialize in North American sports, providing hundreds of daily betting markets at competitive odds.