Cycling may not boast the year-round viewership numbers of some other sports, but cycling does have a certain prestige. Every year the world tunes in to watch or at least read up on the results of the Tour de France. The winners of the big event achieve worldwide fame (and sometimes infamy). Although the public is most familiar with the Tour de France, there are plenty of other races hosted around the year that present ample betting opportunities.
It was not long after the bicycle itself was invented that cycling racing became a sport. It wouldn’t be much of a surprise if one day we found out that the first race occurred soon after the second bicycle ever was built. In all likelihood, the first wagers on the sport followed shortly after that.
It was once quite a challenge to find a bookie willing to take wagers on the sport outside the occasional odd wager during the major tours. Today, cycling betting sites make it a cinch to place wagers on your favorite riders. Once again, online bookmakers come to the rescue.
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The key to betting on cycling online is to find the right sportsbook. This sport is not covered by default at just any old betting site. Some sites cover it and some don’t. That’s one of the primary reasons I recommend the above sites in particular. Each of these hosts market for all the major tours.
The other factor that played into my decision to recommend these sites is my own familiarity with them. These are all legitimate betting sites that have paid out billions of dollars to winning customers. These sites are trustworthy, they provide competitive lines and they cover a wide variety of cycling and other sports events.
Even with the help of the internet, there will be times in which it is difficult to find open wagers for cycling. This just isn’t the biggest sport in the world and the oddsmakers already stay busy setting the lines for a whole host of other sports. The best cycling bookmakers are fairly reliable, but even the best don’t always have something new to bet on.
You’ll have the best luck if you sign up for an account at a few sportsbooks and check in with each one whenever you’re of mind to place a bet. Sometimes you won’t find anything new at the first book you check but are able to find something at the second or third. A secondary advantage to having a few accounts is you can shop around for the best odds on every wager.
Events to Bet On
The vast majority of the wagers placed on cycling events involve the Grand Tours of road cycling. These would be the Tour de France every July, the Giro d’Italia in May and the Vuelta a España in September. Each of these takes place over a period of about three weeks and consists of stages that emphasize different skills such as mountain climbing, descending and flat sprinting.
Each tour recognizes winners for various categories. There’s the individual general classification, team classification, king of the mountain and the points classification. In addition to monetary prizes, the winner of each class is recognized with a distinct jersey. The most coveted of all is the yellow jersey that is awarded for the general classification winner of the Tour de France.
These various classifications present a good number of wagering opportunities for each race. During Tour de France season, you’re likely to see wagers on who will win which jersey, who will have the fastest stage and so on. Of course, you’ll always have the option to wager on the overall winner.
If you have a particular interest in wagering on the Tour de France, you can read more here:
Types of Cycling Wagers
The majority of the wagers you’ll find in cycling are called futures. In a futures wager, the oddsmaker chooses some upcoming race and provides you with a list of people expected to compete. Each cyclist is accompanied by odds that show how much you’ll be paid if he wins. In most cases, the odds are presented in the fractional format like this:
Prop bets are the second-most popular types of cycling wagers. Props are the wagers that involve random subjects such as the winner of a particular stage, who will complete a stage the fastest, the nationality of the winner, the margin of victory and more. Prop bets are limited only by the imagination of the oddsmaker.
Rider specials are just prop bets for individual cyclists. Some cycling betting websites like to take popular figures in the sport and come up with random wagers such as whether or not he will compete in the Tour de France, if he will compete in more than one Grand Tour, if he will win the green jersey, etc. These are good wagers to consider if you’re the type of fan who follows individuals rather than the sport as a whole.
Tips and Strategy
You will rarely find value in wagering on big name cyclists to win the whole thing. In cycling more than any other sport, a few top players achieve household name recognition while all the other very skilled riders go unnoticed amongst the general public. This results in the odds being very poor for the top 3-5 riders. If you’re only getting 2/1 on someone to win it all, there’s just no value there even if he is the best. His odds of taking first place are always going to be worse than 2-1 against.
This is why if you look at an outright win-it-all futures wager, the top handful of players have odds like 2/1, 5/2, 3/1 and 4/1 and then suddenly the odds jump up to 33/1 and go all the way up to 200/1or higher for everyone else. The big name players attract the lion’s share of the wagers from recreational punters and that exerts downward pressure on the prices.
You can often find better opportunities in underdogs, prop bets and rider specials. These wagers attract less attention and the lines won’t be as lopsided. If you really follow the sport, there is great value to be had in things like betting on the best climber, individual stage winners and the person to score the most points.
Your best weapon in handicapping will always be research. The availability of information on the internet today leaves no excuse for you not to be prepared. All it takes is a few Google searches to see past performances, recent form of each player, cycling schedules, course details and even the road conditions of individual stages.
Don’t skimp on the research. There is no overabundance of cycling wagers so you need to make every bet count. Research is what will give you the advantage over all the casual bettors out there. If you put in the work, cycling betting can be rewarding.