New year, new you: A guide to niche sports you’ve never bet on before

Types of Sports

You know that old cliché as the new year approaches: ‘I’m going to try something new this year’. Now, we all know that the diets don’t always work, the exercise regimes thrown out the window when it gets cold and dark outside, and the desire to drink less…..pah.

But for many of us, a change is as good as a rest; and that refers to our betting activities, too. How often do we get stuck in a cycle of betting on the same sports, the same markets, even the same teams?

If we can flip the script, open our minds and consider where else we can invest our money, we might just find new avenues of profit to explore. Here are some examples of ‘niche’ sports, with all due respect, that many punters are yet to tackle:

American football


You may know a bit about American Football already, but for the uninitiated the main betting opportunity comes in the form of the National Football League (NFL): two divisions of 16 teams across the National Football Conference (NFC) and American Football Conference (AFC). Fixtures are generally played on Sundays, with occasional outings on Friday, Monday and Tuesday too.

For each match, there are three main bet types: Money Line, Handicap and Total Points. These are similar to ‘soccer’, with Money Line referring to a 1-X-2 market, the Handicap offering a team a headstart or disadvantage, e.g. +6 or -7, and Total Points offering a guideline with punters betting on Over or Under.

There are individual player markets as well: touchdowns, rushing yards etc. If you want to tackle these, you had better know your stuff!



For basketball, read American Football. Your three main bet types are again Money Line, Handicap and Total Points, with main focus of your affections likely to be the NBA; basketball’s equivalent of the NFL.

There are plenty of sub-markets to sink your teeth into as well, including Highest Scoring Quarter, Winning Margin, Race to 20 Points and more.

The fast-paced nature of the sport particularly lends itself to in-play betting too; games can change in the blink of an eye!



With the advent of in-play betting has come a rise in the number of people wagering on cricket. There are numerous reasons for this, but most principal is that once a batsman is ‘in’ and settled at the crease, they can generally dictate the flow of the game; principally in the shorter formats of the sport.

There is international cricket to bet on throughout the year, with a variety of domestic T20 competitions taking place around the globe at all times it seems.

Punters have match, team and player markets to explore. The most popular is the outright market, because in limited overs cricket there can’t be a draw; handing more of an edge to the betting community. Team markets include ‘Top Batsman’, ‘Top Bowler’, ‘Highest Opening Partnership’ and more, while in the player markets we can predict how many wickets a bowler will take and how many runs they will score.

But in-play betting is where cricket really comes alive; the unique minutiae of the sport offering knowledgeable punters plenty of profit-making potential.



One of the fastest growing sports in popularity – certainly in the UK – is darts, which offers a number of markets to explore.

We’ve got outright match winner and handicaps of course, but a number of side markets that offer intriguing potential to trouser some handsome returns. We can bet on Total 180s, Player with Most 180s, Colour of First/Last Double, 170 Finish and more.

What we would suggest is doing your homework before getting involved. The sub-markets offer excellent value, but knowing a bit about the players and their unique styles really is important. Believe it or not, it’s not just blokes throwing small metal spears at the wall!



Now here’s a new sport to get stuck into. In 2016 alone the PGA Tour witnessed a catalogue of winners at 100/1 plus; there really is ample opportunity for punters here. The fact that two of the sport’s majors, the Masters and the PPGA Championship, were won by players priced 150/1 and 125/1 speaks volumes!

There are a number of different factors to consider when selecting players to back pre-tournament, from course history, current form and suitability for the conditions. But with some research, a bit of luck and patience (you simply aren’t going to pick a winner in a 144-man field every week) you could be enjoying three-figure payouts before you know it.

There’s a selection of side markets to explore too, including three balls (the players play in triples, so you’re betting on the best score between the trio), Top 10/20 Finish, Top English/Spanish/American etc, Theoretical Match-Ups and more.



The way the snooker world is poised at the moment, there are six or seven genuine contenders for each tournament – gone are the days of Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan dominating the sport.

Clearly that gives outright market punters hope with prices ranging from 5/1 to 16/1 for those who have a real chance of winning; very tasty indeed.

Side markets include Handicaps, Total Frames, Correct Score, Total Century Breaks, Match Century Breaks and more, with in-play punters having a wealth of additional options including Frame Winner, Race to 30 Points etc.



If you watch volleyball to enjoy scantily clad ladies and gentlemen rolling around in the sand then shame on you: you could be betting! It’s not the most mainstream sport by any means, but most bookmakers offer markets covering international matches and national leagues.

The first port of call of course are the 1-X-2 markets, and these are backed by tournament outrights too. This could be international events like the World Championships or Olympics, or domestic leagues from Brazil to Turkey.

More precise markets include Total Sets, Handicaps, First Set Winner, Correct Score and Total Points, amongst others.