There are only 30 teams in the NBA and MLB, 31 in the NHL and 32 in the NFL. That makes these major sports a lot easier for sportsbooks to keep track of and make sharp lines. They are also among the most popular sports to bet, garnering more attention from bookmakers who go over these lines with a fine-toothed comb.
Considering these major sports are a bookmaker’s strength, it should come as no surprise that they are among the toughest to consistently beat. But what about the less marquee sports? Honing in on leagues and teams that get less attention is a great way to find line discrepancies and potential winners.
Smaller College Conferences
College football and college basketball are both extremely popular, so bookmakers will obviously spend a worthwhile amount of time on making lines for these sports. That said, with over 120 Division 1 FBS teams in college football and over 300 Division 1 teams in college basketball, it is unrealistic to expect every single line to be extremely sharp.
Bookmakers spend the most amount of time on games they know will garner the most interest, such as those involving teams in the Top 25 and in major conferences. For example, in college football, sharp lines can be expected for Top 25 teams and teams in the SEC, Big Ten, Pac-12, Big 12 and ACC.
But what about conferences like the Mid-American and the Sun Belt? Most people can’t even name the schools in these conferences, let alone the players on the teams. Taking the time to focus your betting efforts on one of these smaller, lesser-known conferences could pay huge dividends in finding lines that are off.
NASCAR, Golf, and the WNBA
With sports like NASCAR and golf, the sportsbooks (and most bettors) just focus on the biggest names — Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, etc. Studying the sport on a broader spectrum can help you find excellent value on lesser-known drivers and golfers, resulting in potentially huge paydays if they emerge victorious in that week’s race or tournament.
As for the WNBA, it simply lacks popularity — which translates to little betting interest. With only a dozen teams it wouldn’t be a hard league to master with focus and a little work.