How to Bet on Gaelic Sports
What You Need to Know
- There are four main Gaelic sports, but hurling and Gaelic football are far and away the most popular and the best for betting on
- Before you start betting on Gaelic sports, however, you should read up on the rules of each game and how different competitions work
- The best place to bet on both Gaelic football and hurling is online.
- Even if you're unfamiliar with Gaelic sports, the betting markets on offer should be familiar: Match Winner and Handicap bets are the most common and easiest to make
- You can also bet on the overall winners of major competitions, including the All-Ireland Senior Championships for both sports
- As a rule, hurling tends to be less competitive, with just a handful of teams dominating the sport, while more teams compete at the top level of Gaelic football
- Just like all forms of sports gambling, betting on Gaelic sports can become addictive, so make sure to always bet responsibly
Betting on Gaelic Sports
There are four different sports that make up the Gaelic Games, all of them overseen by the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). However, generally speaking, bookmakers only offer betting markets on the two most popular Gaelic sports, namely Gaelic football and hurling.
Both GAA football and GAA hurling are massively popular in Ireland, attracting huge crowds and large television audiences. Thanks to growing TV exposure, both sports are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and elsewhere in the world, with online bookmakers in particular offering sports betting fans the chance to have a flutter on the action.
However, before you put any money down, it's a good idea to read up on Gaelic sports, as well as how you can bet on them. If you're a complete novice, check out this Guide to Gaelic Football and this Guide to Hurling to get started.
Where to Bet
Not so long ago, Irish bookmakers would often be the only place you could place a bet on either Gaelic football or hurling. However, this is no longer the case. These days, most high street bookmakers will offer a range of betting markets on both sports, but especially for the Gaelic football season finale, the All-Ireland Championship.
But the best place to go if you want to have a bet on Gaelic sports is online. Most major online sports bookmakers will offer an attractive range of odds on everything from national finals right through to regional league matches. Plus, by signing up to several different online bookies, you can compare odds and get the best possible return on your money. Check out our guide to the Top 10 Online Sports Betting Sites and take advantage of some great introductory offers to get started today.
Understanding the Odds
Before you start betting on Gaelic sports, 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. In most cases, the odds will be expressed as fractions. However, in some cases, and especially if you are using non-UK betting sites, 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 Team A winning a particular match 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 are extra confident and place £7 at odds of 4/1, you will receive £28 in winnings. Or, if you place £10 at odds of 4/1, your winnings will be £40, 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
Popular Types of Bet
Even if you're completely new to Gaelic sports, if you have experience betting on sports such as football (soccer) and rugby, then having a flutter on hurling should prove straightforward enough. In fact, the most popular bets placed on Gaelic football matches are more or less identical to those placed on better-known team sports. To make matters easier, despite the notable differences between the two sports, the bets you can make on Gaelic football and hurling are essentially the same, which is why the bookies usually put them together.
Some of the most popular bets offered by both offline and high street bookmakers include:
1) Match Winner
The simplest and most popular type of bet, a flutter on the Match Winner needs little explanation. Whether it's for Gaelic football or hurling, all you need to do is put money on the team you think will come out on top in a single match, with the odds usually given in fractions. In most cases, this will be a straightforward three-way bet. That is, you can bet on either team to win, or you can bet on the match being a draw.
Let's look at an example of a Match Winner bet. Here we have the odds offered ahead of the match between Kilkenny and Offaly in the Leinster Hurling Championship. As you can see, this is a straightforward three-way bet, with the bookies clearly favouring the home side. So, if you place a Match Winner bet at these odds, you would need to bet £25 on Kilkenny to win £1 back, though if Offaly do upset the odds, then just £1 on them would win you £10 back.
Note that, like with Match Winner bets in other sports, it doesn't matter by how many points the winning team win by; so long as they score more than the opposition, if you've backed them, then you will win at the odds initially quoted.
2) Handicap Betting
To make mis-matched games more interesting, and to offer punters more attractive odds, bookies may offer Handicap Betting. This is when the give a virtual handicap to the favourites and a virtual headstart to the underdog, with the same system used in both Gaelic football and hurling. With this type of bet, you just need to put money on the team you think will overcome their handicap.
Let's look at an example from hurling. Here the bookies have Tipperary down as the favourites, with Limerick the underdogs. To make matters more interesting, the bookies have given Tipperary a 3 point handicap (-3.0). If you put money on them to win, then, they need to first overcome (or 'cover') this handicap for you to win on your bet. That is, they need to win by 4 points or more.
Conversely, Limerick have been given a 3 point headstart by the bookies. This means that, even if they lose by 2 points, they will still be declared the winners under this Handicap Betting market.
Again, Handicap Betting is commonplace for both Gaelic football and hurling and can be a good way of getting better odds, and so potentially boosting your winnings, on matches where the outcome seems relatively predictable.
3) Futures Betting
One other very popular type of bet to make on Gaelic sports, and one which all major bookmakers will offer, is to put money on the team you think will win championships or other competitions. This type of bet is known as a Futures bet as it's betting on events that will happen in the future.
The format is very simple. You will be given a choice of teams to bet on, with the odds clearly marked. Here, for example, we have the odds offered for the Munster Football Championships, with Cork the clear favourites and Waterford the long shots. In most cases, both for Gaelic football and for hurling, these will be 'win only' markets. That is, you won't be able to bet each-way on a team and win some money even if they come second in a specific competition.
For Gaelic football, the most popular competitions to bet on are the National Football League and the All-Ireland Senior Championship, both of which are contested between counties, and the All-Ireland Club Championship, which, as the name suggests, is contested between individual clubs.
Meanwhile, for hurling, major competitions to have a Futures bet on include the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship, the National Hurling League and the Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster Senior Hurling Championships.
4) Other Popular Bets
Throughout much of the season, most bookmakers will only offer a relatively limited range of bets on Gaelic sports, including Match Winner, Handicap and Futures bets. In the run-up to major finals, including the All-Ireland finals for both sports, you may be able to have a flutter on a wider range of markets. Other popular types of bet include:
- Winning Margin: This will almost always be an under/over bet as you are asked to put money on how many points you think the winning team will win by.
- First Team to Score: A simple bet to make: just put money on the team you think will score first.
- Half-time/Full-time: A good way of getting better odds than for a simple Match Winner bet, this lets you put money on the team you think will be winning at the half-way point and then the team that will win overall.
Hints and Tips for Betting on Gaelic Sports
Like for all sports, there's no such thing as a 'sure thing' in Gaelic games. That said, there are several things you should bear in mind if you are serious about trying to make money from sports gambling. Here are just a few:
- Generally speaking, Gaelic football tends to be more competitive than hurling. In hurling, just a handful of teams have dominated the All-Ireland Senior Championships over the past few decades and upsets are relatively rare, especially when compared with Gaelic football.
- As with most sports, knowledge is power. By reading up on a team's form, you will be better able to spot attractive odds or steer clear of bad ones.
- To get the most from your money, try and steer clear of simple Match Winner bets. If you can, put money on Winning Margin bets, or even make savvy use of Handicaps to boost your possible winnings.
A Note About Responsible Betting
Just as with other forms of sports gambling, betting on Gaelic games can potentially become addictive. You should, therefore, always bet responsibly. Never bet when you're under the influence of drugs and alcohol as this can impair your judgement, and never gamble 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
Betting on sports is a great way to make a little bit of money from your passion. To help you get started, we have a great selection of YouTube video tutorials as well as a range of other guides.
- As well as Gaelic sports, you could try having a flutter on American sports. Check out this guide on How to Bet on Basketball
- Also, ice hockey is fast-paced, exciting and ideal for sports betting. This guide on How to Bet on Ice Hockey will help you get started
- You can also have a bet on the F1. Read this guide on How to Bet on F1 before you put any money down on this most exciting of sports
Further Gaelic Sports Betting Reading
- To learn more about Gaelic sports, visit the website of the Gaelic Athletics Association: http://www.gaa.ie/
- Knowledge is power, so read up on the latest news to make an informed bet. The RTE website (http://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/) is a great place to read all the latest football and hurling news