5 Niche Betting Sports You Have Probably Never Heard Of

5 Niche Betting Sports You Have Probably Never Heard Of

Facts Checked
Published Date · March 13, 2024 ·Read Time · 7 mins
  • Why the COVID-19 pandemic increased the interest in niche sports betting
  • The emergence of Car Jitsu and Pillow Fighting Championship during the pandemic
  • Our CasinoRange pick

In the ever-growing world of sports betting, those who enjoy it find an area of expertise and never leave their lane. Many take to wagering on football, basketball, or baseball as their main favorites; meanwhile, some only like to wager one on sport and nothing else. However, there are those sports betting enthusiasts who seem to be able to make a wager on any sort of sport, sports you may have never heard of before.

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This attracts some bettors because they like to have a little bit of action wherever they can. Other bettors may be able to spot an edge that even the sportsbooks themselves may be behind the times on. Whatever the reason, for some sports bettors, if there’s a game, they’ll make a wager on it.

How Niche Sports Betting Became Popular

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, it hit sports too and that means it hit sports bettors as well. With major leagues grinding to a halt, niche and lesser-known leagues and competitions gained popularity among both television watchers, as well as gamblers. This newfound attraction for niche sporting events led to a spike in betting around these events too.


To capitalize on this interest, many online sportsbooks began offering wagering options for these lesser-known sporting events, to allow bettors a place to make their niche sport wagers. Events like curling and slap fighting were nowhere to be seen on any online sportsbook. Now, they’re available at some of your favorite online sportsbook providers including DraftKings, Bet365, and Points Bet.

The niche sporting event may be at the lower portion of the menu page for your online sportsbook provider, but they can still be found if you look hard enough. Let’s go through some of the more niche sports out there that bettors can’t get enough of!


Curling is a team sport that is played on ice, where two teams take turns to slide granite stones towards a target. This target is also known as the House. It is a Winter Olympic and Paralympic sport for women, men, and wheelchair teams.

Curling is one of the oldest sports, still around, as it was invented around the 16th century in Scotland. It was created by Scots who would play the game on frozen lochs with granite stones.

The rules of the game are fairly simple with each team taking turns, sliding the stone towards the House, while members of the team sweep in front of the moving stone to either slow down or speed up the stone’s path. Teams are awarded points for the stones that are closest to the center.


Out of this list of niche sports, Curling is probably the most popular, especially in Canada. Even before the pandemic, Canadians were placing wagers on curling. Post-pandemic however, Americans started getting into the curling wagering side of the sportsbook and it still hasn’t slowed down as we move out of the 2022 Olympics and go into the 2026 games.

In a game that once solely had popularity in Canada, it seems that the rest of North America and other European countries are starting to enjoy the games as well, making it the surprise contender of popular games in our list of niche sports.

Slap Fighting

Slap fighting, which is also known as slap boxing, is the combination of boxing and sparring where opponents slap each other in the face until someone is knocked out or submits. The only protective gear that participants are allowed to wear are a mouthguard and cotton earwicks. There isn’t an exact time or location for when slap fighting was created but most believe that it was invented in Russia.

The first organized league of the sport was created in 2017 in Branson, Missouri. The rules are very simple; competitors take their turn slapping each other’s face and whoever is knocked out or submits loses the game - but you cannot defend yourself.

Additionally, there is a 10-round limit with a winner being announced based on points at the end of the match. A referee is there to determine: knockouts, if a competitor slaps illegally, and other various factors during the competition.


Slap fighting gained immense popularity during the pandemic, as many videos of their competitions went viral across numerous online platforms. It should come as no surprise that the sport has gained a lot of traction, and new fans, due to the recent boom in the popularity of MMA.

While slap fighting is a bit niche for most sportsbooks, there are a few online providers that allow for betting on their competitions. Power Slap: Road to the Title, a TV show that followed 30 power slap contestants as they competed to be in the league’s first title fight, had 413,000 viewers on TBS, showing a large popularity in the United States.


A biathlon, which comes from the Greek word for "two contests", is a winter sport that combines rifle shooting with cross-country skiing. The biathlon was invented in the 18th century through organized military skiing contests. The military skiing contests were created as an exercise for Norwegians as another training method in the military.

Historically though, from the Encyclopedia Britannica, the event is “rooted in the skiing traditions of Scandinavia, where early inhabitants revered the Norse god Ullr as both the ski god and the hunting god."


To put the rules simply; participants in the event ski a distance and stop at designated locations to shoot at targets. If any shots are missed, penalties are incurred. The shooting is divided in two, with half of the shots in the standing position, and the other half in the prone position.

Biathlon betting has been available online since at least 2017 for certain online sportsbooks, but it has really gained popularity over the past couple of years. It should come as no surprise, however, that the popularity of the biathlon spikes when the winter Olympic games come around. Outside of the Olympics, there are several biathlon events that can be found, and wagered on, around the United States.

Pillow Fight Championship

While most of the sports on this list existed before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pillow Fight Championship (PFC) was born during the pandemic. The demand for such a sport came from the need for a socially distanced entertainment and sport combination.

The PFC was invented in 2021 which blends together mixed martial arts and elements of boxing with specialized pillows providing a different style of combat. The first event took place in Florida on January 29, 2022, and it had a competitive mix of eight women and 16 men engaging in the event with two-pound specialized pillows.

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The inaugural games followed a bracket-style event and was available via pay-per-view. The rules of the pillow fight championship are quite extensive with a quick list of some do’s and don’ts.

There is a whole scoring system involved with some additional rules to make sure competition stays even between participants. Points are awarded for agility, style, and the ability to stay on your feet. Back in September, SCCG Management partnered with PFC to allow betting on this ever-growing sporting event.

When it first launched, the PFC had over two billion views on their videos within the first six weeks. For the live events on ESPN, they had upwards of one million viewers tune in to watch the competitors go at it.


CarJitsu is simply, as the name implies, Brazilian jiu-jitsu inside a car. It’s essentially the same rules as regular jiu-jitsu, but within the confines of a car. This unique event allows participants to use the interior of a car to force their opponents into submission.

The sport was invented in Russia in 2020 by judo and jiu-jitsu black belt Vik Mikheev. He launched the sport through his YouTube channel which has garnered millions of views.

The rules for this sport are pretty intriguing, starting with the two competitors buckled into the driver and passenger seats. Once the match starts, competitors unbuckle themselves and try to get each other to submit, with each round lasting three minutes.

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Where things get even more interesting is that participants are allowed to use any part of the interior of the vehicle which includes - but is not limited to - the steering wheel, seat belts, and window seals.

Points are then awarded by judges for different moves and a winner is announced when one of the competitors wins two of the first three rounds. If the competitors each win a round, the last round then takes place in the back seat.

These events are gaining a ton of popularity, over the last few years, via YouTube with millions of views for each video. Betting being permitted on these niche sports events started with the surge in viewership popularity and with the spike in popularity for MMA-type events, and the popularity of niche sports betting only looks to rise in the next few years.

CasinoRange's Pick of the Wildest Niche Betting Sport: Carjitsu


The world of niche sporting events pulls back the curtain of all the diverse and unique competitions that are out there, that many seem to enjoy both watching and betting on. Car jitsu is certainly a sport I did not realize was out there before writing this article, nor did I realize that there were millions of viewers who seem to enjoy the sport as well.

As mentioned previously, I would anticipate that any fighting-style events will only grow in popularity. A sport like the Pillow Fight Championship seems like a less violent alternative to boxing, if a viewer has an aversion to blood but still likes a fighting element to their sport.


Ian Dincuff

US Content Writer


Tim Williams

Head of Content