Betting on Alternative Sports

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About the author

Name Luke Garrison
Job Agate Editor for The Canadian Press

Luke Garrison is a professional writer who grew up just outside of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He currently works at the Canadian Press and enjoys the outdoors in his free time.

Canadian bettors, and sports bettors everywhere, should be able to bet in a safe, non-convoluted way.

Individual Sports

There are several exciting individual sports including golf, tennis, and combat sports. A handful of individual sports are sometimes played in teams as well, like the ‘Davis Cup’ in tennis. All of the aforementioned individual sports have tournaments that take place year-round, which can definitely help during slower sports seasons such as the summer.

The most popular events will draw a large annual crowd, like ‘The Masters’ in golf and ‘Wimbledon’ in tennis. What some don’t realize is that these same athletes are essentially always competing in major tournaments. The same goes for combat sports such as mixed martial arts and boxing.

For example, men’s golf has four major championships: The Masters, PGA Championship, The Open Championship (aka ‘The British Open’ in North America), and the U.S. Open. The Masters is always played at Augusta, whereas each of the other three tournaments is played in a different location every year. For women’s golf, the LPGA Tour has five major championships that take place annually.

Tennis has a similar system to golf as well. Both men’s and women’s tennis revolves around the four major tournaments that make up ‘The Grand Slam’ of Tennis – the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. If one tennis player wins all four tournaments within the same calendar year, it is known as ‘winning a Grand Slam’ – an example of a futures bet that could be placed on an athlete like Novak Djokovic.

When it comes to combat sports, most eyes are on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) which is an American mixed martial arts (MMA) company headquartered in Las Vegas, California. It’s the largest promotion in the world, boasting nearly 700 fights spanning 11 different weight classes (three women’s classes) dating back to 1993. Other promotions include ‘The Professional Fighters League’ (PFL) and ‘Bellator MMA’.

Women’s Sports

Some of the best women’s individual sports were already mentioned in the previous section, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Women’s sports are on the rise as a whole, including team sports at both the professional and college levels like hockey and basketball.

NCAA Division I is the highest level of women’s collegiate basketball, with television ratings reaching all-time highs during the 2024 March Madness tournament. A lot of this can be attributed to Caitlin Clark, a college ball legend for the Iowa Hawkeyes (NCAA) who has since moved onto the Indiana Fever of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Betting on Clark and other stars is a great way to have some fun while watching some great quality basketball. Like individual sports, the WNBA runs throughout the summer and is a great league to get into during the warmer months.

Speaking of up-and-coming women’s pro leagues, the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) had a strong debut in its inaugural season. Previous versions of women’s pro hockey leagues didn’t experience enough success to survive, but things were done differently this time and it’s hard to imagine the PWHL disbanding any time soon.

The growth of the PWHL has done wonders for NCAA women’s hockey as well, giving talented young female players a chance at a career in professional hockey (aside from the Olympics). Learning a whole new league and its players can seem daunting, but it’s not hard to get hooked on these leagues either. In fact, they’re a great way for Canadians to check out alternative leagues of their favourite sports.

Esports

The world of electronic sports (aka esports) has continued its astronomic rise in the sports world, and within the sports betting scene itself. Any organized video game competition can be considered an esport, with the top tournaments featuring the best professional players spanning a wide variety of video games.

In fact, the sheer volume of esports and associated betting options is the most interesting part of it all. Popular competitive games include anything from first-person shooters to motor sports and can even include virtual versions of traditional sports – such as baseball and archery.

Many bet types are centered around wagering on an outright winner, whether that be an individual player or a team. Some of the most popular esports include ‘League of Legends’ (LOL), ‘Call of Duty’ (COD), ‘StarCraft II’, and ‘Overwatch’. Card games like ‘Hearthstone’ and ‘MTG Arena’ also garner a lot of attention, as do traditional strategy games like chess.

When it comes to esports teams, professional gamers are often affiliated with broader entertainment companies. An example of this would be ‘Team Liquid’, which is an esports organization with teams in several large esports. Most popular video games now have some kind of esports presence, so chances are there will be at least one league that everyone can bet on and enjoy.

Sources

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