There are only 30 teams in the NBA, MLB, and NHL, and there are 32 teams 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 bookmaker’s strength, it should come as no surprise that they are among the hardest 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.
1. College Sports: Small 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 120 Division 1 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 teams in the Top 25 and teams in major conferences. For example, in college football, sharp lines can be expected for Top 25 teams and all six of the BCS conferences; but what about conferences like the Mid-American and the Sun Belt? Most people can’t even name the teams in these conferences, let alone players on the rosters.
Taking the time to focus your handicapping efforts on one of these smaller unknown conferences will pay huge dividends in finding lines that are off.
2. WNBA, NASCAR, and Golf
In sports like NASCAR and Golf, sportsbooks (and most bettors) just focus on the biggest names in the sport. Studying the sport on a broader spectrum, you can find excellent value on unknown golfers and drivers, resulting in potentially huge paydays if they emerge victorious.
The WNBA simply lacks popularity, which translates to very little betting interest. With only 12 teams, it wouldn’t be a hard league to master with some focus and hard work.