Most Popular Canadian Sports To Bet On

Canadian sports betting has been rising in popularity, not least as legislation in the US (in whose leagues many Canadian teams compete) is loosened to allow for more wagering options.

Here are some of the top sports for Canadians into betting, ranging from niche options to hugely popular sports with hundreds of betting markets for every event. You'll find that most of the top online casinos in Canada with sportsbooks allow you to bet on the following.

Most Popular Canadian Sports to Bet On With the recent push to legalize single event sports betting, we can expect to see lots more opportunities in Canada moving forward.
6

Formula One

Facts and Stats:
  • The biggest race in Canada is the Canadian Grand Prix which has been held since 1961.
  • Gilles Villeneuve is arguably the most famous Canadian driver to ever race in F1.
  • The first Formula One race in Canada was held in 1967 at the Mosport Park circuit.
  • The top two Canadian Grand Prix winners are Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton.
Overview

Formula One is a slightly weird one because it's the most international sport in the world. However, it's also been held in Canada every year since 1967 (the pandemic year of 2020 aside), and has had multiple Canadian drivers, including the excellent Gilles Villeneuve as Quebec online casino players will appreciate.

Unlike most betting sports, Canadian fans of F1 will note there's a major difference here as there's a small number (a couple of dozen or so) of events in a season at which every single team/driver competes. This stands in stark contrast to other sports where there are far more events with just a pair of opposing teams (and may suit gamblers with a little less free time).

F1 is also different in that the rules regularly change massively and this can lead to periods of dominance, as we see today with Mercedes/Hamilton and saw with Red Bull/Vettel previously. The car matters more than the driver, but the driver is not inconsequential, and track conditions, whether due to rain or a car just not clicking, affect speed enormously.

Title bets can be most advantageous when the rule sets change, and sometimes it's worth looking at a team's second driver and going each way (Rosberg was about 16/1 in the first year Hamilton won with Mercedes, which paid off nicely as an each way bet). F1 also has more unpredictability than most sports due to the cars occasionally bursting into flames, reliability failures, or a perfectly good driver getting hit by someone else. Because of this short odds bets (Hamilton perhaps excepted) may be less appealing than in other sports. Correspondingly, longer shot bets can come off more often (Perez was 60/1 to win in Sakhir in 2020, and Verstappen was 250/1 in Spain 2016). These long shots are likeliest to come off due to massive luck (as per Spain 2016 when the Mercedes eliminated one another), heavy weather, or when a circuit has crashes aplenty (as can also happen at Azerbaijan due to a combination of a very tight circuit and one enormous straight).

A specific tip that rarely comes off but pays out big time when it does is to watch the weather forecast during practice. This is because when it's very wet, big and leading midfield teams will rarely venture out. In turn, this can mean backmarkers end up topping the practice timesheets, but the odds on them doing so (early in the week) can be hundreds or even thousands to one. So, wager tiny sums (think of your average stake and divide it by at least 10, if not more) backing those drivers each way, and you have a credible chance of coming out well ahead.

5

Soccer

Facts and Stats:
  • The 2026 FIFA World Cup will be hosted in Canada, America and Mexico.
  • The first game of soccer in Canada was played in Toronto in October 1876.
  • Soccer is still the most bet on sports in the world.
  • To data Canada has only ever qualified for one world cup (1986).
Overview

Soccer, (which is commonly known as football in most of the world), has been the number one global sport for a long time, and is increasingly watched in Canada. In terms of participation, it's actually the leading sport in the country (partly due to the lack of expensive equipment needed) and this will likely drive up interest even more in coming years. And as multiple leagues in Europe show us, the potential for interest in soccer is very high indeed. As with many other top flight sports, Canadian teams participate in the primarily US Major League Soccer, contributing three teams of 27 (with plans to increase it to 30 in 2023).

Soccer, also known as the beautiful game, is a fantastic sport for Canadians betting for the first time because it's incredibly simple which makes it very easy to learn. Two teams of 11 men compete to score the most goals in two halves of 45 minutes. Players can use their feet, knees, and heads to move the ball, with the only exceptions being the goalies (who can handle the ball in a limited area) and throw-ins. And, excepting the occasionally fiddled with offside rule, that's almost the whole game.

Don't let this simplicity on the pitch fool you, though. When it comes to the world of betting soccer is arguably the single most developed sport in the world, and if you're the sort of betting Canadian sports fan who likes a lot of markets then this is the sport for you. Win, loss, and draw markets are the most obvious, and are often accompanied by a bevy of handicap variants, in addition to no draw win/loss markets (bets typically void and stakes returned if a draw occurs). Betting on half results, both individually and in combination, are also commonly available, or you can bet on total goals, the precisely correct score, and under/over markets for goals (and sometimes even corners). Total number of passes, 'results' at specified points in game time, first team to score, and goal markets are a tiny fraction of the hundreds of markets that some sportsbooks will offer you when it comes to soccer.

And if you really like it then be sure to check out major European leagues like the English Premier League, La Liga, and Serie A.

4

Curling

Facts and Stats:
  • Curling originated in Scotland in the 16th century.
  • Canada has won a total of 6 Olympic gold medals in curling.
  • The first curling club in Canada was formed in 1807 (Montréal).
  • Manitoba has won the Tom Hortons Brier 27 times.
Overview

The long history of curling began in medieval Scotland, with the modern game having firm roots in Canada. Today, Canada is the nation which has curling most strongly embedded in the sporting landscape, having been taken there by Scottish migrants long ago. Indeed, the Royal Montreal Curling Club is the oldest active sports club in the whole continent, and was founded over two centuries ago in 1807.

To a certain extent, curling is boules on ice, which sees teams compete to get stones closest to a target (the button/centre) by alternately sending stones down an alley. In addition to one player delivering the stone, others must sweep to ensure a smoother passage, decrease the amount of curl (rotation), and to increase the travel distance. The sport isn't just a matter of aiming for a target like in darts, however. A key strategic element is using your own stones to shunt aside the opposition's, even using them to keep one of yours in place while sending the opposing team's stone flying off into the great beyond (not unlike a stun shot in snooker). Likewise, teams may place stones deliberately in positions to make life for their adversaries more difficult.

Curling is a tense and strategic sport, and one that can draw people in quickly. Most of the time the markets focus on pretty straightforward win/loss affairs, which can be better for newcomers and Canadian sports betting fans who don't want the option paralysis that comes with hundreds of potential markets.

3

Basketball

Facts and Stats:
  • Ontario born James Naismith invented basketball in the 1890's.
  • The Toronto Raptors are the only Canadian NBA team.
  • The Toronto Raptors won the NBA Finals in 2019.
  • Steve Nash is arguably the most famous Canadian NBA player.
Overview

When it comes to scoring, few games come close to the frenetic pace of basketball (also known as hoops). Teams of five (pretty tall) men compete to score two or three point field goals, and do so at a breath-taking rate. Ontario online casino and sports betting fans will like that the game was invented in the late 19th century by Canadian-American gym teacher James Naismith, and today the NBA is one of the most-watched leagues in the world (it has 30 teams, with one being Canadian and the rest from the USA). It's a sport of limited contact, with fouls punishable with one point free throws.

As with ice hockey, the popularity presents a plethora of potential markets for Canadian sports betting enthusiasts to contemplate. The high level of scoring makes under/over points markets and total scoring markets popular, as well as handicap winning markets (obviously you can also bet on straight win/loss results too). In common with all leagues/tournaments, title betting is available, and you can bet either for the straight winner or go each way to get a (smaller) payout if your pick gets close but fails at the final hurdle. As a rule of thumb, you're better off making title bets the earlier you can as the odds will generally be better. By the time you've working out team X is a sure thing, the sportsbook will have too and the odds on offer will be far less appetising.

2

Lacrosse

Facts and Stats:
  • Lacrosse was Canada's only official national sport from 1859-1994.
  • Lacrosse was originally played by the First Nations peoples.
  • The game was first witnessed by Europeans in 1637.
  • Canada has won the World Lacrosse Championship 3 times.
Overview

One of Canada's official national sports, lacrosse is not for the faint of heart (some time ago rule modifications were put into place to reduce the violence involved). The ball is caught, passed, and shot by means of a stick with a tiny net at the end. In addition, there's a range of variants including outdoor and indoor types. The men's game is a contact sport featuring a plethora of protective gear, while the women's game and intercrosse are non-contact codes.

Field lacrosse is played by ten men on each side, outdoors. Stick lengths vary, with the goalie and four defending players having long sticks (up to 72 inches) and other players wielding short sticks of around 42 inches. One interesting rule is that four players must always be in the defensive zone, and three in the offensive zone at all times. Violating this rule means loss of possession, or a technical foul if the opposition had the ball. A match is four quarters of 15 minutes each, and, as always, the more goals the better.

Box lacrosse features six men on each side and is played indoors, while the women's game has 12 players per team. Intercrosse, also non-contact, typically has five players on each side.

Although the lacrosse stick is a unique feature, the sport has a lot in common with many other team sports that are broadly similar, and this applies to the Canadian sports betting markets as well. Naturally, there are basic results bets and title markets to consider, and it's a good idea to look at teams you know well. Sportsbooks are pretty smart but if you're really into a sport and know certain teams inside out that can definitely give you an edge. Likewise, consider how competing teams' styles will face up against one another, and important short term information (such as the return of a key player, or the loss of the same due to injury).

1

Ice Hockey

Facts and Stats:
  • Canada is the birthplace of ice hockey, and it's the official winter sport.
  • The first organized game of ice hockey was in Montréal in 1875.
  • Canada has 7 teams in the National Hockey League.
  • The Stanley Cup is the largest sporting event in Canada.
Overview

In the past, ice hockey's reputation as rough and tumble was such that ice hockey video games featured brawling among the features. Not so much a contact as a collision sport, ice hockey is also one of Canada's national sports, and betting on it is popular. The pace is fast, action-packed, and occasionally bloody, with teams of six (goalie, two defensemen and a trio of forwards) in ferocious competition for the puck. As with most such team sports, scoring goals is the aim of the game.

Ice hockey has a greater geographical spread than some previously mentioned sports, so Canadians into betting and no deposit bonuses can find more developed markets due to more worldwide interest. The sport's areas of popularity, beyond Canada, include Eastern/Northern Europe, and the USA (with whom Canada participates in the NHL, seven of 31 teams being Canadian).

High popularity means plenty of attention from sportsbooks and, consequently, more markets on which to bet. Ironically, it can sometimes be better to wager with non-Canadian bookies, who may lack the knowledge of Canadian odds setters. The win/loss market is an obvious favourite, and this can be with or without overtime. You can also find double-chance markets that cover two of three results without overtime (win for team A, win for team B, or draw) although the odds on these will be very much on the thin side. Handicap betting and precise score results are other options, although it's worth noting it can be very hard to get the scoreline exactly right (you may want to hedge your bets with live betting).

Period betting (highest scoring and team to win most periods) are also available, in addition to total goals under or over a given scoreline. If you have accounts with multiple sportsbooks and can find a perfect overlap with that kind of market, it can be a nice way to have a high chance of finishing ahead.

There are plenty more sports that Canadians can bet on, but these are some of the best. The more niche a sport is the fewer available betting opportunities, but the easier it will be to outwit the sportsbook and find great value. We can only hope that soon it'll be completely legal to bet on a single sporting event anywhere in the country, which will only serve to make sports more exciting.