Money ball

Sports Betting vs Financial Trading: What’s the Difference?

You would be excused for thinking that sports betting and financial trading have nothing to do with one another, but think about it for a second and you quickly realize that the two actually have tons in common. In fact, they have way more in common than they don’t. The biggest difference, in fact, comes down to the way the two are perceived. Financial trading has a kind of respectability that sports betting will never have.  


stock market


Both financial trading (whether in terms of commodities, Forex, stocks, whatever) and sports betting are similar in the following ways:

  • Both involve staking an amount of money on the outcome of their respective fields.
  • Both trading and sports betting can be “played” with no strategy or foreknowledge of the markets/ sport in question, making them a form of pure gambling,
  • To properly do either activity, though, knowledge of the markets or your favorite sport is crucial in coming out on tops. Neither should be pure gambling.
  • As such, because both trading and sports betting depend heavily on personal knowledge about which you’re wagering your hard-earned cash, “sticking to your lane” is crucial.
    • When betting on a sport, stick to those you know best. Only bet on sports that you understand how they’re played, who the major players are and how their performances in the past will play out in the future.   
    • For financial trading, if you know a lot about commodities then stick to commodities; if you know a lot about tech stocks, stick to the tech markets.
  • Both sports betting and financial trading has gotten increasingly complex over time so in both cases, you need to combine your knowledge of the sport/ market with the ins and outs of how the actual betting/ trading works.


NFL helmet


That said, for all the many things the two have in common, there are some important distinctions between them. And that goes beyond just public perception.

  • The most obvious difference between sports betting and financial trading is the subject being bet or traded on: sports vs various financial markets.
  • Sports betting is, therefore, much more accessible as far more people know about it than the ins and outs of their favorite sport than the big, bad, financial world.  
  • Financial trading is easier than it looks as all it really takes is learning the basic language around finance, stock markets, foreign exchange and the rest. 
  • Sports betting is harder than it looks because along with the knowledge of your average sports fan – or even passionately above-average sports fan – you do need to understand the statistical aspects behind professional sports. 
  • As such, though one’s unlikely to do too little research when it comes to financial trading, the same is certainly not true of sports betting.
  • The “free market” is something of a misnomer because though there may be a small chance of external factors affecting a sports match, the financial markets, in all their forms, are unabashedly regulated and manipulated by governments and whole industries for larger economic reasons.
  • Sports betting is sports betting – once you know how to bet on one sport, you can do it with pretty much any other sport – but trading is definitely not just trading. It will undoubtedly take more learning time to switch from forex to the stock exchange, for example, then it would to switch from betting on baseball to betting on basketball. 


It’s clear for all to see that for all of their differences in prestige, specific learning curves and challenges, sports betting and financial trading have tons more that unites them. There probably still isn’t that much crossover between them, as sports and finances are hardly similar disciplines, but there is plenty for both traders and bettors to learn from one another.

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