How to Bet on Winter Sports
What You Need to Know
- Opportunities to bet on winter sports aren't restricted to the Winter Olympics. Many bookmakers offer the chance to bet on events such as downhill skiing, ski jumping and biathlon throughout the season
- The best way of finding winter sports betting markets is to go online.
- A good understanding of how odds work is essential before you put any money down. The good news is that most bookies give fractional odds, which are very easy to understand
- Putting money on an individual athlete to win a particular event is the easiest type of bet to make on winter sports
- However, betting on Match-Ups between two competitors is also popular and a great way of making a sport more interesting, and potentially more profitable
- Knowledge is key to making a good bet, so do your research and read up on recent form to increase your chances of taking money off the bookie
- All types of gambling can become addictive, so be sure to bet responsibly on winter sports
Betting on Winter Sports
Winter sports may not be the most obvious of sports to gamble on, but thanks to the rise of online betting sites, you can now find a wide range of betting markets, covering events such as the Winter Olympics and the Alpine World Cup.
Of course, you will never get the sheer range of betting options on offer for sports such as football or horseracing. However, one notable advantage of having a flutter on winter sports is that, unlike more popular sports, even the big online bookmakers may know relatively little about the form of individual athletes. This means, if you take the time to research the form book, you may be able to spot when a bookie gives very generous odds or, conversely, you may know when to steer clear of unattractive odds.
Before you put any money down, however, it's a good idea to have a solid understanding of the different kinds of events you may be able to bet on, as well as an appreciation of the most popular types of bet made on a winter sports. Generally speaking, the main sports bookmakers will take bets on (outside of the Winter Olympics when many more will be available) are:
- Alpine Skiing: This is the classic skiing event, with competitors racing downhill in events such as the Giant Slalom, Slalom and Super G. All events are contested by both men and women.
- Cross Country: This type of race is competed over a long distances, with both men's and women's events. As with alpine skiing, this is a staple of the Winter Olympics.
- Biathlon: Another staple of the Winter Olympics, Biathlon sees competitors ski cross country and shoot at a target with a rifle. Specific events include individual biathlon, pursuit, sprint and team relays.
- Ski Jumping: A crowd favourite at the Winter Olympics and popular with television audiences around the world, ski jumping is exciting and potentially dangerous. As of 2014, events are only open to male competitors.
Where to Bet
While many people may love skiing and other winter sports, they're not that popular with high street bookmakers. So, if you want to have a flutter on anything from ski jumping to the Super G downhill, you should go online.
A wide number of online sports betting providers will always offer a good selection of betting markets, particularly during major events such as the Winter Olympics, the Alpine Skiing World Cup and the FIS Skiing World Cup. Check out our guide to the best Sports Betting Sites and take advantage of some great cashback offers to get started today. It's always a good idea to open an account with more than one online betting firm as this way you can shop around, compare odds and get the best possible deal.
Understanding the Odds
Before you make a bet, you should be sure you know how odds work. The odds (also known as the price) indicate how the bookmakers think an event will happen. The odds also determine how much you will win if your prediction is correct. On most UK sports betting sites the odds will be expressed as fractions. Or they could be expressed as decimal points or even in the American style. In all cases, however, you should be able to change the settings to suit you.
Here's what each of these mean:
1) Fractional Odds
On UK-based sports betting sites, the default setting for displaying the odds will be as fractions. Odds displayed this way show you how much you will win on a bet compared to how much you put on. The first number of the fraction indicates how much you will win if you place the amount of money shown in the second number of the fraction.
So, if the odds for Skier A winning a particular event are 2/1, this means if you bet £1, you will receive £2 in winnings (and you will get your original stake back on top of this). This works on a ratio basis. So, if you are extra confident and place £7 at odds of 2/1, you will receive £14 in winnings. Or, if you place £10 at odds of 2/1, your winnings will be £10, plus your initial stake.
2) Decimal Odds
Since the majority of sports fans are used to seeing odds displayed as fractions, getting your head around decimal odds may seem daunting. But, don't worry! This system is equally straightforward once you've got the hang of it.
The way it works is that you just need to multiply your stake by the decimal shown and this is how much you will receive in winnings, including your returned stake.
So, if you put £1 down on odds of 3.00, you will win £3.00, including your initial stake, if your prediction comes true. And again, this works on a ratio basis. So, if you put down £15 at the same odds of 3.00, you will win £45, including your original stake.
Popular Types of Bet
Again, right before and during the Winter Olympics, the number and range of the betting markets offered by both high street and online bookmakers will increase massively. However, for the rest of the time, the range will be relatively limited, especially when compared to other sports. Some of the most popular types of bet you will see will include:
1) Outright Winner
By far the most popular type of bet for skiing, as well as the easiest to make, is to put money on the individual skier you think will win either a single race or a competition. For instance, you could bet on one athlete winning Gold in the slalom at the Winter Olympics, for a competitor to win their heat in the ski jump, or for Skier A to beat Skier B in the Cross Country.
In most cases the odds offered for Outright Winner bets will be expressed in the fractional form. Here's an example of the odds offered ahead of the skiing World Cup, with odds given in fractions. As with all other sports, the odds offered will change over time, especially if an athlete's form changes for better or worse.
As well as betting on the overall winner of a race or whole competition, you may also be given the chance to bet on who will achieve a podium finish. That is, you bet on an athlete to finish in the top three. Importantly, it doesn't matter if they finish first or even third, so long as you back them for a podium finish, you will win at the odds originally given. Here's an example of a Podium Finish betting market ahead of the 2014 skiing World Cup:
All winter sports are incredibly competitive, with athletes competing against one another as much as against the clock. One popular way of making any event more interesting, as well as more profitable, then, is to put money on one athlete coming out on top against a rival. This type of bet is known as a Match-Up. Here, the bookmaker will pair athletes together and offer odds on which will do better. It doesn't matter if the athlete you back finishes second overall or second-last, so long as they beat the competitor they have been paired with in the Match-Up, you will win at the odds originally given.
Let's look at an example of a Match-Up offered ahead of the 2014 World Cup. Here you can either back Prevc or Bardal. It doesn't matter where they finish in the whole competition, so long as the one you back beats the other, you will win at the odds given below:
Other Popular Bets
Again, before and during the Winter Olympics you will almost certainly be able to take advantage of many more betting markets than is usually the case. Some of the most popular types of bet usually offered by online bookmakers during the Olympics and other major events include:
- Winning Margin: In most winter sports you should be able to bet on by how many points, or even by how many seconds, the winning athlete will win by. In most cases, this will be a simple under/over bet, with the bookie giving a fixed number for you to bet around.
- Winning Team: In addition to betting on individual athletes, you may be able to bet on which team or country will come out on top in major events. Just like the football World Cup, you may even be able to place a bet on the nationality of an event winner or which country from a certain continent will fare best.
- Interval Winners: To make events more interesting and more profitable, bookies will often let you bet on which team or athlete will be ahead after a fixed amount of time. For example, you could bet on who will be top of the leaderboard after the first round of jumping in the ski jumping, or who will be ahead on points after the first shooting stage of the biathlon.
Hints and Tips for Betting on Skiing
- Research is key to making a well-informed bet on any of the winter sports. Read up on the sport you want to have a flutter on, find out a little about the form of each of the competitors or teams involved and learn how past form, as well as factors such as location and weather can influence proceedings
- Be sure to shop around and compare the odds and sports books of different online bookmakers, Not only do you want to be sure you're getting the most favourable odds, you also want to be sure that the bookie themselves knows what they're doing and that the odds on offer reflect things like form and weather conditions.
A Note About Responsible Betting
All forms of sports gambling can become addictive, so if you do want to try and win money having a flutter on winter sports, you should be sure to bet responsibly. Don't bet in an effort to win back any losses or bet under the influence of alcohol as this may impair your judgement. You should also refrain from gambling with money you can't afford to lose.
Important Information on Gambling
You must be 18+ to gamble and use the offers and betting odds featured
Every new gambling account offer has "Terms & Conditions" that will apply - make sure you read these before opening an account.
See www.gambleaware.org for help and advice on problem gambling.
Please gamble responsibly.
Further Sports Betting Reading
If you want to get started making money from sports betting, then you've come to the right place. We have a great selection of betting advice guides aimed at helping the novice gambler:
- Check out this video tutorial and guide on How to Make a Bet on a Horse and start making money from the most popular type of sports betting in the UK
- Join millions of fans around the world and start making money on motor racing with the help of this guide on How to Bet on F1
- Look outside the UK and consider betting on American sports. This guide to Betting on Basketball can help you get started
Further Winter Sports Betting Reading
- Keep up to date with the latest news from the world of skiing with the help of the Ski Club of Great Britain (http://www.skiclub.co.uk)
- ESPN is also a great place to keep up-to-date with the latest news relating to the main winter sports (http://espn.go.com/espn/wire?sportId=1811)