How to Bet on Cycling
Ready Steady, Bet on Cycling
- Cycling has never been more popular, meaning there's never been a better time to have a bet on this most exciting of sports.
- The Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia are the best-known and most popular events in the cycling calendar and the best opportunities to have a flutter.
- Online bookmakers will offer the widest range of bets see our list of UK Betting Sites.
- Betting on the Outright Winner of a particular tournament is the easiest bet to make, though you may get better odds betting on a Stage Winner.
- Remember that some cyclists prefer mountain stages and others are better at sprinting on flat stages, so your bets should always take this into account.
- Other factors such as weather conditions should also be factored into any bets that you make.
- Be aware that betting on cycling can potentially become addictive, so be sure to bet responsibly at all times.
Betting on Cycling
Thanks partly to the success of the London 2012 Olympics, cycling has never been more popular. Not only can sports fans follow the action on the television or live, but they also have plenty of opportunities to make things even more interesting by having a bet on the action. In fact, all high street and online bookmakers will offer a good selection of betting markets, allowing you to shop around for the best odds.
The main events in the cycling calendar, and the best competitions to bet on, are:
- Tour de France: The biggest annual sporting event in the world, the Tour lasts over three weeks, during which time riders cover around 2,000 miles. The competition is divided into many stages, including flat and mountainous parts, giving you the chance to bet on individual races or the overall event.
- Giro d'Italia: Another of the major events, the Giro features some of the most challenging mountain races in the cycling calendar, though the final stage, into Milan, is a straightforward sprint. As with the Tour, you can choose to bet on the whole Giro or just on individual heats, or, of course, on both.
- Vuelta a España: The final of the 'big three' European events, the Vuelta takes place over three weeks and is popular with betting fans around the world. Again, it's a challenging combination of mountain and sprint stages.
- Olympic Games: Taking place every four years, the Olympics are the perfect opportunity for betting fans to gamble on a wider range of events than at other times, with bookies offering odds on indoor events as well as on standard road races.
Where to Bet
All high street bookmakers will be happy to take bets on most major cycling events. However, if you're serious about trying to make money from cycling, then you should go online and open an account with a specialist sports betting provider. This way you can get the best odds and choose from the widest range of betting markets. Check out our guide to the Top 10 Sports Betting sites and consider signing up with more than one firm so you compare odds and shop around for the best possible price.
Understanding the Odds
Before you commit any money, you should be sure you know how odds work. The odds (also known as the price) simply show how confident the bookmakers are that a specific event, such as a rider winning a Tour stage, will happen. The odds also determine how much you will win if your prediction comes true. On most sports betting sites, the odds will be expressed either in fractional or decimal form, and you should always 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 Rider A winning a stage are 4/1, this means if you bet £1, you will receive £4 in winnings (and you will get your original stake back on top of this).
This works on a ratio basis. So, if you place £10 at odds of 4/1, you will receive £40 in winnings. Or, if you place £8 at odds of 4/1, your winnings will be £32, plus your initial stake.
Sometimes you will see that the second number of the fraction is larger than the first. This is an 'odds on' bet and signifies that the bookies believe that the chances of a particular prediction coming true are greater than 50/50. The principle remains the same, however: 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
For example, if you put £2 down on odds of 1/2, your winnings will be £1. And again, this works on a ratio basis. So, if you put down £60 at the same odds, you will win £30, plus your initial stake.
2) Decimal Odds
Given most people 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
During major Tour events in particular, there really is no limit to the range of bets you can make on cycling as bookmakers will be happy to offer odds on almost any possible outcome. However, some bets are more popular than others. Here are some of the most common types of bet made on road cycling:
1) Outright Winner
By far the easiest way to bet on cycling is to put money on one rider winning an event outright. So, you may fancy one rider to win the Tour de France or even an Olympic Gold. All you need to do is back him at the odds offered by the bookmaker and, if your prediction is correct, you will win. It really couldn't be simpler.
Let's take a look at the odds offered by Bet365 for the Tour de France 2014. As you can see, Froome is the bookies' favourite, with Contador second-favourite. So, if you back Froome with a £30 bet, you will walk away with £55, including your initial stake, if he does go on to win the Yellow Jersey.
Note that the odds will vary as a Tour or other event progresses. They could get shorter or they could get longer depending on how well or how badly an individual rider is performing.
Additionally, as well as betting on individual riders, you will also be able to bet on which team you think will win a competition. This works in exactly the same way, though the odds offered on the favourite may be much shorter.
2) Each-Way Bets
3) 'Betting Without'
When there's a clear favourite, a bookmaker may offer the chance for you to bet on another rider to come top of the group of the rest of the riders. For example, if Froome is regarded as the solid favourite to win the Tour de France, a bookie could offer odds on the other riders to 'Win Without Froome'. This means that, even if your rider doesn't come first overall, so long as he is the best-placed rider after Froome, you bet is a winner. Of course, if he also beats Froome and the rest of the pack, your bet is a winner, too.
4) Stage Winner
In addition to betting on the Outright Winner of a major Tour or other competition, you can also bet on which rider you think will win a particular stage. This is a very common type of bet to make in cycling since there are often stages where specialists come into their own. For example, some stages of the Tour de France are perfectly-suited to mountain specialists, with even the best riders, including those who are most likely to go on and win the whole thing, usually struggling.
A Stage Winner bet is also very easy to make and in most cases will be a Win-Only bet with no option of putting money on an Each-Way bet. Here we can see the odds offered ahead of Stage 16 of the Giro d'Italia. Again, it doesn't matter if the rider you back wins the stage by a split-second or by a massive margin, so long as comes first, your bet will be a winner.
5) Jersey Winners/King of the Mountain
A natural extension of the Stage Winner type of bet, bookmakers will also give you the chance to put money on the riders you think will wear the famous coloured jerseys of the major Tour events. Alongside the famous Yellow Jersey for the overall winner of the Tour de France, several other jerseys are given out for riders winning certain stages.
The most famous competition within a competition is the battle for the title 'King of the Mountains'. In the Tour de France, points are awarded to the first riders who make it to the top of difficult climbs first. These points are tallied up and, once the mountain stage is complete, the rider with the most points is named King of the Mountains and gets to wear a distinctive polka dot jersey. In the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta d'Espana, the system is the same, though the winning riders wear a blue jersey and a blue jersey with white polka dots respectively.
As with other types of 'winner' bet, this type of flutter is very easy to make. The bookmaker will simply offer a list of riders and you need to back the one you think will win the King of the Mountains jersey or any other jersey at the odds given. For example, here we have the odds offered on King of the Mountain for the 2014 Giro d'Italia:
6) Rider Match-Ups
To make things even more interesting, bookies will often give you the chance to bet on little races within the race. Match Bets are quite simply pairs of riders that the bookies put together, giving you the chance to put money on who will come out on top. It doesn't matter if the rider you back finishes first or 101st, so long as he beats the opponent he is matched with your bet is a winner.
Let's take a look at a Match Bet for riders paired together during the Giro d'Italia. Here we can see two match-ups. You can either bet on Uran versus Makka or on Rolland versus Quintana, with the odds for each rider clearly stated. So, let's say you fancy Uran to perform better than Majka and back him at 10/11. It then doesn't matter how he performs, so long as he beats Majka, your bet will be a winner.
7) Other Popular Bets
In addition to the main bets listed above, there are a whole range of other bets you can make, especially during major events such as the Tour de France and the Olympics when online bookmakers in particular will offer a massive selection of betting markets. Some other popular bets include:
- Winning Margin: A classic under/over bet, here you just bet on the distance by which a rider will win a stage by. In most cases, the bookie will suggest a time in seconds and you have to predict whether the winning margin will be over or under this.
- Podium Finish: Essentially an each-way bet but in different words, here you just back a rider or a team to achieve a top-three finish. To get the longest odds, try putting down an accumulator and backing two or even three riders to get on the podium.
- Red Lantern Winner: In the Tour de France, the Red Lantern is awarded to the rider who finishes last. Some bookmakers will offer odds on which rider will be awarded the lantern before a competition even starts.
Hints and Tips for Betting on Cycling
- Appreciate the race conditions. Obviously, some riders are great mountain cyclists while others are excellent sprinters and favour flat races. Be aware, however, that not all flat stages favour sprinters. Stages that go through old towns with cobbled streets, for example, may not be best for betting on an out-and-out sprinter.
- Take the weather conditions into consideration at all times. Certain riders may struggle in bad weather, while others may thrive. A good understanding how a range of conditions could potentially affect the outcome of an individual race or stage can help you make a smart bet.
- Understand the tactics behind cycling. Remember that, in most cases, cycling is a team sport, with riders competing in unison for points and stage wins. This means that the best rider may not finish first if it doesn't benefit his team.
- Bet savvy at all times. All the major Tour events take place over several weeks, with dozens of individual stages. Don't blow all your money on the first stage, then, but bet sparingly and look at major events as a long game rather than the chance to make some quick and easy money.
A Note About Responsible Betting
Betting on cycling can be extremely exciting and, if you know what you're doing and enjoy a bit of luck, it can be profitable, too. Do be aware, however, that, like all types of gambling, betting on cycling can potentially become addictive. Given this, it's important you bet responsibly at all times. Never bet under the influence of alcohol or drugs and never gamble with any money you genuinely can't afford to lose.
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Further Sports Betting Reading
If you're keen to get stuck into the exciting world of sports betting, we have a great range of guides designed to help get you started:
- If cycling's a bit too slow for you, check out this guide on How to Bet on F1 and start making money from the fastest sport on the planet
- Cricket is now one of the most popular sports in the world and a great sport for betting on. Check out this guide on How to Bet on Cricket before you have a flutter
- And, of course, you can always bet on football. This guide on How to Bet on Football will help you get off to a winning start
Further Cycling Betting Reading
- Good knowledge is the key to a good bet, so keep up to speed with all the latest developments with the help of Cycling News (http://www.cyclingnews.com/)
- The Daily Telegraph is also a great source of cycling news, so follow its sports pages (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/cycling/) to boost your knowledge