From Football to Wrestling: The Sports French Bettors Love

Betting on sports has long been a favored pastime for many, and in France, this is no different. With a rich history in sports and a burgeoning betting industry, French gamblers have shown a clear preference for certain sports over others. This article delves into the most popular sports to bet on among French gamblers, exploring the cultural and historical contexts that have shaped these preferences.


Football, or soccer as it’s known in the United States, stands unrivaled as the most popular sport to bet on in France. The nation’s passion for football is deeply ingrained in its culture, with Ligue 1, the top professional football league in France, drawing massive viewership and participation in betting. Major European leagues like the English Premier League, La Liga, and the UEFA Champions League also attract significant betting interest.

The French national team’s success, especially their 2018 FIFA World Cup victory, has further fueled the enthusiasm for football betting. Bettors enjoy a wide range of markets, from predicting match outcomes and goal scorers to more intricate bets like the number of corners or yellow cards.


Tennis is another sport that enjoys immense popularity among French gamblers. The country hosts one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, the French Open, at Roland Garros, which is a major highlight on the sports calendar. The French Open, with its clay courts, draws massive betting volumes each year.

French bettors also actively wager on other Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open) and ATP and WTA tour events. The individual nature of tennis, with its head-to-head matchups and the relatively straightforward format of games, sets the stage for a variety of betting options, such as match winners, set scores, and in-play betting.


Basketball has steadily risen in popularity in France, partly due to the increasing influence of French players in the NBA. The French basketball league, LNB Pro A, along with major leagues such as the NBA and EuroLeague, are popular among bettors.

The fast-paced nature of basketball games, combined with high-scoring action, makes it an exciting sport for live betting. Bettors can place wagers on point spreads, total points, player performances, and other dynamic aspects of the game, which keeps the betting experience engaging and thrilling.


Rugby, both in its union and league forms, has a strong following in France. The Top 14, France’s premier rugby union league, and the Six Nations Championship, where France competes annually, are key events that draw significant betting interest.

The physical and strategic nature of rugby provides a range of betting opportunities. Gamblers can bet on match results, point spreads, and individual player achievements. The Rugby World Cup, especially when hosted in France or involving the French national team, sees a notable spike in betting activity.

Horse Racing

Horse racing has a long and storied history in France, with events like the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe being among the most prestigious in the world. The country’s numerous racecourses, such as Longchamp and Chantilly, are central to the horse racing scene and attract significant betting.

Pari-mutuel betting, where bets are pooled together and odds are determined based on the share of the total pool, is the traditional form of betting in French horse racing. This form of betting, along with fixed-odds betting, offers various options such as win, place, show, and exotic bets like exactas and trifectas.


Cycling holds a special place in French sports culture, primarily due to the Tour de France, the world’s most famous cycling race. This event captures the nation’s attention for three weeks every summer and generates a substantial amount of betting activity.

French gamblers bet on stage winners, overall winners, and specific classifications such as the King of the Mountains and the Points Classification. The unpredictability and endurance challenges inherent in cycling make it a captivating sport for bettors.


Motorsports, particularly Formula 1, have a dedicated fan base in France. The country’s rich history in auto racing, combined with the excitement of events like the Monaco Grand Prix and the French Grand Prix, fuels betting interest.

Betting markets include race winners, podium finishes, fastest laps, and head-to-head driver comparisons. The high-speed action and strategic elements of motorsports make it an exhilarating betting option.


While not as mainstream as some other sports, wrestling, especially WWE-style professional wrestling, has a niche but dedicated following among French bettors. Events like WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Royal Rumble attract attention, with fans placing bets on match outcomes, championship titles, and various match stipulations. The scripted nature of professional wrestling adds a unique twist to betting, blending entertainment with prediction.

Responsible Gambling

As the popularity of sports betting continues to rise in France, the importance of promoting responsible gambling cannot be overstated. The thrill of betting should be balanced with awareness of its risks. Gamblers are encouraged to set limits on their betting activities, ensuring they gamble within their means. Various organizations and resources are available to help those struggling with gambling addiction, such as SOS Joueurs and Adictel.

Bookmakers and betting platforms also play a crucial role in promoting responsible gambling. They provide tools for self-exclusion, deposit limits, and reality checks to help bettors manage their gambling behavior. By fostering a culture of responsibility and support, the betting industry can ensure that the enjoyment of sports betting remains a positive and sustainable experience for all participants.


The diversity of sports popular among French gamblers reflects the country’s rich sporting culture and history. From the universal appeal of football to the niche excitement of wrestling, each sport offers unique thrills and betting opportunities. This variety of French sports betting ensures that gamblers are never short of options when looking to place a wager, whether they are seasoned bettors or casual enthusiasts. As the sports betting industry continues to evolve, these popular sports are likely to maintain their prominent place in the hearts and wallets of French gamblers.

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