Five Most Popular US Sporting Events To Bet

Sports betting is big business in the USA and since May of 2018, it’s also become a legal and regulated business across the country. That was when the US Supreme Court overturned the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA), effectively removing the governor that had prohibited legal sports betting in the USA outside of Nevada.

Currently, there are 38 US states, as well as Washington, DC, offering legal and regulated sports betting action. Of that total, 30 states provide access to betting online via a mobile app. Certainly, these readily available betting opportunities are playing a substantive role in the increase in sports betting in the USA. Naturally, the convenience of placing your bets online, or even better, with your mobile device from anywhere you are located during your day, has also ramped up the amount of money being wagered.

Sites such as will show you exactly where you can make those bets. But now that Americans can bet on sports without virtually unfettered access, which sports are seeing the most action?

Let’s have a look at that.

Super Bowl

There’s a reason why people who work in the gambling industry describe Super Bowl Sunday as sports betting Christmas. That’s because for them, it’s the gift that keeps giving.

At Nevada sportsbooks alone, a whopping $185.61 million was wagered on the 2024 Super Bowl game. That shattered the record $179.82 million bet on the game in 2022. Across the USA, the American Gaming Association estimated that a record $16.1 billion would be wagered on the game nationwide.

The massive increase the cross-country option to legalize sports betting has created is blatantly evident. In 2018, the first Super Bowl played after PASPA was overturned, $4.76 billion was wagered across the USA. The prior year, Nevada sportsbooks saw $138.48 million bet on the NFL’s big game.

Another huge factor always pushing the Super Bowl to the top of the list is the unique wager known as the Super Bowl prop bet. These bets can be about something in the game, such as who will score the first touchdown, to a non-game outcome such as which color of sports drink will be dumped over the winning coach.

March Madness

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament, better known in the sporting vernacular as March Madness, saw a record-setting $15.5 billion wagered on the event in 2023. It was the first time that the tournament had generated double digits in wagering numbers. Of course, it helps the bottom line that there are 60+ games to bet on throughout the event.

Long before widespread sports betting, the NCAA Tournament was entrenched as part of the US betting culture. Every office held an NCAA pool, and everyone in that office—even if they didn’t know Gonzaga from Gorgonzola—was filling out a bracket.


Connecticut’s title win in the 2024 Final Four came to the chagrin of prominent sports bettor and Houston mattress magnate Jim McIngvale. Known affectionately as Mattress Mack, McIngvale made separate $1 million bets with Caesars and DraftKings on the Houston Cougars to win the NCAA tournament at odds of +750. Houston lost 54-51 to Duke in the Sweet Sixteen.

Kentucky Derby

Country-wide sports betting wasn’t even considered possible when horse racing was ruling over the US sports betting landscape as the only wagering option that was considered to be legal and above board in almost all 50 states.

These days, just because you can bet on almost everything being played in the USA and around the globe, that doesn’t mean people still aren’t betting on horse racing. Playing the ponies is a time-honored tradition and on the first Saturday in May, it’s also home to the biggest sporting event in the country that day.

You might not understand a thing about horse racing, but we’re willing to bet you’ve watched the Kentucky Derby. And probably more often than once.

People also continue to bet on Derby day and continue to do so in record-setting numbers. The 2024 Kentucky Derby saw a record $210.7 million wagered on the race. That was more than $20 million than the previous mark of $188.7 million established in 2023.


Overall, $320.5 million was bet on the entire race card during Derby Day, a new standard that shattered the prior mark of $288.7 set in 2023.

TwinSpires, the online racebook operated by Churchill Downs and the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby, handled a record $92.1 million in wagering on the 2024 Derby day races at Churchill Downs.

World Series

The nature of baseball, with more than a dozen games being played daily, ensures that plenty of bets will be laid on the sport. Even in 2017, before widespread sports betting was available across the USA, $1.1 billion was bet on baseball. With today’s game, unique prop bets such as the NRFI (no runs in the first inning) and YRFI (yes runs in the first inning) and five-inning result bets only add to the action being played on the action taking place on the diamond.

However, wagering on baseball ramps up during the Fall Classic, the best-of-seven showdown between the American and National League Championship Series winners to determine which club will be proclaimed World Series champion.

On average, the World Series generates a betting handle of $50-$90 million.

NBA Finals

In 2023, 54% of people who bet with a US sportsbook placed at least one bet on the NBA. The seven-game series to determine the association’s champion is a big betting business.

As recently as 2019, Nevada sportsbooks handled $34.8 million in wagers on the NBA Finals. Considering that there’s around $80 million bet on the NBA throughout the season, it certainly identifies how much more popular wagering on the NBA Finals is compared to regular-season play.