Guide to Gambling on Track and Field
Gambling on athletics is very popular and never more so when the Olympic Games come along every four years. However there is much more to athletics than the Olympics, with the World Championships taking place every other year, the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games, as well as the many Diamond League meetings that place throughout each year. Additionally, there are many big road races that take place every year, including the very popular Marathons, with cross country races also being a big attraction of the sport.
Here I take a look at all aspects of gambling on athletics. First I take a look at all of the market types you’ll find in Athletics, including some of the special bets you might find available at the major meetings. Then I give some advice on how you should approach your athletics betting. Finally I look at ensuring you are receiving true value for your bets.
Bet Types in Athletics
Winning an Event – This is undoubtedly the most popular bet in athletics. Make a selection and watch them hit the finishing line first, throw the furthest or jump the highest/longest. During the bigger events such as the Major championships you’ll find markets available on every event on both the track and in the field. The smaller athletic events might just see markets on the more popular events, especially the 100m sprints.
Winning Time – This market is particularly popular when it comes to Marathons. You’ll find a range of times and you’ll bet on one as appropriate. For example, in a men’s Marathon you might be able to bet on whether the winner will finish with a time between ‘two hours and five minutes’ and ‘two hours and six minutes’.
Will the world record be broken? – This one speaks for itself, so if the winner is seen posing next to the wining time with a big grin on their face after the race, you’ll be in the money having placed this bet.
How many medals will an individual/team win? – This is a bet available on Major Championships. Individuals who will take part in multiple events will attract this kind of bet – Usain Bolt being a prime example. You’ll also be able to bet on this on a country by country basis – for example, how many Gold medals will team USA win?
Who will win the Diamond League? This is betting on the season long event, the winner of which will display great consistency throughout the whole year.
Athletics Betting Strategy
One of the most popular and effective ways of betting on athletics is by sticking to the Major championships. This can be particularly effective for two reasons. Firstly, you’ll know that the athlete will be fully prepared at peak fitness, having geared their whole season around the championship (be a little careful when it comes to the European Championships or the Commonwealth games, as athletes may not focus completely on these events). Secondly, many of the events have qualifying rounds so you’ll be able to make a good assessment of the form before the final itself.
You’ll find the sprint races will normally have up to three or four rounds, so you’ll see the top sprinters at least a couple of times before the final itself. Consider which runners are easing into the next round, the athletes who are trying to make a mark on the event by posting an impressive time and those who struggle into the next round. The times the athletes achieve in qualifying can be an aid, but the above considerations are in many ways more important.
The longer events will have less qualifiers, maybe just one round and you want to be looking at runners who are easing up at the finishing line having qualified with ease. Field events feature a qualifying round, with a set height/distance that will automatically qualify the competitors for the final, as well as the best of the rest. Look to back the athletes who have qualified with just one attempt – they’ll be the freshest for the final.
When betting on the events with no qualifying rounds, such as the 10,000 meters or the Marathon, you shouldn’t necessarily go for runners with the overall best times on the season. Many races are set up with pacemakers throughout the season, so the athletes who are able to keep up a good pace over a long amount of time will look impressive. However, in Major Championships without pacemakers, the races are very tactical and usually slower, meaning that it might be advantageous to be on the side of a runner with a good sprint finish.
Value when Betting on Athletics
Having decided upon a bet, you should shop around for value. Although popular, athletics is not one of the sports that sportsbooks will generally concentrate on, so you might find that the odds will be different (sometimes markedly) from site to site. There are many odds comparison sites out there, so use these to help you find that great price – be quick, it won’t be there for long.