Bookmaker's Corner: World Cup Impact On MLB Betting
by Richard Gardner, Bookmaker, Bodog Sportsbook - 6/24/2010
Get more World Cup betting information including betting bonuses, World Cup odds and our famous World Cup picks, which in 2006 earned $100 bettors over ten times their initial investment. ($100 bettors earned $1,820 click here for details)
The 2010 World Cup has given us record soccer betting numbers at Bodog’s online sportsbook. We couldn’t be more pleased with how our players have taken to the beautiful game. From match odds to player props to futures, our offerings have been receiving heavy action. The only question we’re all asking now is, “Is it sustainable?”
Soccer has never been at the heart of North American sports. This is not news to anyone. In the United States, it’s baseball, football, basketball and NASCAR. In Canada, it’s hockey. Golf is popular in both countries, but it seems only if Tiger Woods is playing.
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A lot of people expected big things for soccer in America when the MLS started up in 1996, but that league is still very much a niche entity with minimal media coverage, at least compared to the NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR and NHL. Ask casual sports fans to name three MLS players and you’ll stump more than a few.
Our MLS betting numbers have been steadily improving over the years, but they’re not even in the neighborhood of the average NFL game.
Will the popularity of the World Cup convince more people to bet on the MLS? It’s definitely possible, and ESPN’s investment in the game will help, but we’re not counting on a huge bump.
We saw a similar story during the Winter Olympics with hockey. Americans were glued to their sets while Team USA made its run to the gold-medal game versus Canada, and the betting reflected the strong TV ratings. But when Sidney Crosby won it for Canada, not every American immediately started betting on the NHL because they’d fallen in love with hockey.
Remember that tournaments like the World Cup and Olympic hockey feature the best players on the planet, all of them highly motivated to win. (Well, maybe not France.) When these tournaments and the patriotism that goes with them are over, there’s a natural letdown. Let’s just say a World Cup match between the United States and England is more likely to stoke the imagination than a meeting between Real Salt Lake and the Kansas City Wizards.
Snobbery is also a factor when it comes to the MLS.
“There are a lot of American soccer fans that really look down on MLS,” author David Wangerin told the Financial Times recently. “Many fans who follow Real Madrid or Chelsea wouldn’t dream of going to see their local team.”
Good thing we offer odds on the European leagues as well.
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