Updated Updated: August 29, 2019

Betting on athletics

Athletics History

Athletics is sport in its purest form, primarily
encompassing track-and-field events that include running, jumping or
throwing.  The pinnacle of athletics
comes every four years in the shape and form of the Summer Olympics. Throughout
the year there are also numerous competitions of various levels: world
championships, youth championships and college level events among others.

Athletics came to professional life during the first ancient
Greek Olympic Games which took place nearly over 3000 years ago. Most of the
events at the first 776 BC Olympics were athletics, including running, jumping,
discus throwing and the javelin throw. Wrestling was added to these four events
to make up the first-ever pentathlon. These ancient Olympic Games took place
every four years for almost 12 centuries until they stopped in 393 AD.

It took the Olympic Games a little over 1500 years to
finally make a return in the year 1896 in Athens, Greece. The Modern Olympics
included a wider range of athletic events such as the 100 meters dash, 400
meters, 800 meters, 1500 meters, 100-meter hurdles, discus throw, javelin
throw, long jump and pole vault.

After the return of the Olympics in 1896, athletic
competition was reborn and grew in popularity worldwide. The first
international governing body of athletics was founded in 1912 by 17 countries.
The culmination of athletic competition still comes every four years during the
Summer Olympics. However, since the 1970s there have been more and more athletic
world championships and competitions that began taking place. These events help
to keep an interest in athletics every year instead of every four years.

Competition and public interest is the bread and butter of
bookmakers, so it is no wonder you can bet on athletics. Betting on athletics
is thrilling, especially if you are watching the event live. Most bookmakers
offer betting markets for the major athletic tournaments and events.

What You Can Bet On In Athletics

There are different types of bets you can place on
athletics, although the market variety will not be as rich as in football or
tennis for example. The best-betting markets value and variety are available at
the major athletics events. Some of the common types of bets offered by most
bookies include:


Straight bet
this is the most popular market when betting on athletics. You simply back the
athlete you think will win an event. One drawback is that the odds tend to be
pretty low, especially in events where there’s a clear favourite. Such was the
case with Usain Bolt in all events he took part in during the Summer Olympics
2012 and 2016. This forced bookmakers to offer different markets, such as
“winner without”.


Winner without
this betting market is available on athletic events where there is a clear favourite
athlete to win with very short odds. In winner without, you back an athlete to
win by eliminating the clear favourite out of the race. For example, if you
back Justin Gatlin winner without Usain Bolt in the 100 meters race, your bet
is a winner if Gatlin wins the race or comes second place only after Usain
Bolt.


Each-way
covering the first three position, in any event, each-way betting can be
profitable when you have an athlete you think could win an event, but is still
considered unlikely by the bookies. Each-way covers your bases, where you can
win if your chosen athlete wins the event but you can also win if the athlete
finishes in a predetermined place in the top 3.


Set new world
record
– usually available during the biggest athletics events, the
Olympics or World Athletic Championships. One option you have is to bet on an
athlete who you think will set a new world record in a given event. The second
option is to bet on an event you think will have its world record broken.


Win multiple
events
– here you can bet on an athlete to win multiple events, for example
Usain Bolt to win the 100m and 200m races.


Total medals
particularly for the Olympic Games, some bookies will offer markets where you
can bet on the total number of medals a country will win. You could bet for
example on the exact number of medals to get the highest odds, for example
Great Britain to win 15 medals, or you could bet over/under, Great Britain to
win over 10 medals. Not very often, but sometimes bookmakers can offer the same
markets for medals for individual athletes when a clear favourite competes in
several events.

Athletics Betting Strategy And Tips

Betting on athletics has never been very popular with online
bettors. One of the main reasons is that athletic events are pretty rare
compared to other sports. While it has vastly increased in popularity and
number of events in the last decades, athletics betting odds are still few and
far between. Most bettors are used to having choices every day, but in
athletics, these may come every year.

Even so, betting on athletics has its peak times,
particularly every four years at the Summer Olympics when it reaches its
climax. The most popular event in the Olympics is the 100-meter sprint race.
After all, nearly everybody wants to know who the fastest man in the world is.
Comparatively, the most popular betting market, football, barely makes it in
the top 10 most popular sports at the Olympics.

Major athletic events are exciting and fun to watch. They
are also betting opportunities to turn that excitement and fun into profit. To
do so, one must have a betting strategy and keep in mind some athletics betting
tips:


Familiarise
yourself with the top contenders
– take some time and do some research on
the top contenders in an event. Don’t go into blind betting just based on odds.
Instead, use the odds from various bookies to determine who the top contenders
are but also some of the athletes with an outside shot of winning. Take it a
step further, look at athletes’ recent performances and check their social
media profiles. Social media is very powerful in terms of betting on athletics,
it gives you live updates from the athlete: injury reports, confidence level
and much more.


Understand the
events
– betting on athletics is not available on a daily basis, but when
available it offers a huge selection. It is important to understand what you
bet on, not just who you bet on. Each athletic event has its own distance,
height or time to beat. A bettor should understand the rules and regulation of
the many athletic events in order to make it profitable. For example, track and
field is the most popular athletics betting market, but even it divides into 3
main events: track, field, and combined. The 100m sprint is just one of the
many track events in the track and field discipline of athletics, such as the
200m, 400m, 1500m race and others. There are six disciplines in athletics, each
with its various events:

1.
Track and field

2.
Road running

3.
Race walking

4.
Cross country running

5.
Mountain running

6.
Trail running


Where does the
event take place?
– When you decide on an event or athlete to bet on, you
should learn about the conditions surrounding the event. Look at the layout of
a venue, the facilities it offers and what the weather conditions will be at
the time of the event.


Where to bet?
Once you have shortlisted the events or athletes you wish to bet on, it’s time
to take it to a reputable bookmaker. There are numerous online bookies as well
as brick to mortar ones that offer betting markets on athletics, especially
during major events. Do some research on each bookmaker and pay close attention
to their recent user reviews to determine the most suitable one to bet on
athletics.


Slow and simple
if you’re new to athletics betting, keep your bets simple at first. Once you
have some experience and a pulse of some events, you can start wagering on more
complex selections.


Discipline and
consistency
– to make money betting on athletics you have to have
discipline. Don’t get carried away if you have some beginner’s luck or are on a
winning streak. Determine an amount of money you would be comfortable losing
and put together a staking plan around it. Predetermine some percentages of
your funds you will use to back a bet based on your confidence level. Be
consistent and stick to those percentages and under no circumstances stake your
entire funds on a single bet. A £100 bankroll can be gone in a split second
when going all in on a bet. On the other hand, it can provide tons of
opportunities to make some money betting on athletics when each wager is at the
most 5% of the bankroll.


Compare odds at
different bookies
– when you decide on an athletic bet you wish to place a
wager on, don’t just go for comfort. You may be tempted to use the online
bookie you are already registered with or the land bookmaker just across the
road, but you might find better odds value at different online bookies or
farther away than across the road bookmakers. It is definitely time-consuming
but it can give an edge to your athletics betting profits in the long run.

Athletics Major Events

The most prestigious athletic events that draw the highest
public interest and bring the biggest stake for athletes, open the bookmakers
to numerous betting markets on athletics. While on some bookies you can bet on
college athletic events or even youth athletics, the best diversity and
diversity in the betting market comes during two main events:

  1. Summer Olympics
    athletics has been a staple of the Olympic Games since their beginning in ancient times, almost 3000 years ago. To this day, it still remains the
    most popular discipline at the Olympics. Bettor or not, everybody wants to
    see who world’s fastest man is in the 100m sprint race. The only negative
    with betting on athletics in the Summer Olympics is that it only happens
    every four years.
  2. World Athletic Championships – they take place every two years
    and are very popular for the athletes and public alike. After the
    Olympics, the World Championships are the next competition in terms of
    prestige. The original World Athletic Championships took place in 1976 and
    only had one event, the men’s 50 km walk. Since then, the competition
    expanded by adding other events and grew in popularity globally. At the
    most recent 2017 World Athletics Championships in London, over 2000
    athletes took part from over 200 countries. It broke a record even before
    the opening of the competition: the highest number of tickets sold in the
    history of the championships, over 700,000 of them.

Other notable athletics competitions that offer good betting
opportunities are:


European
Championships –
taking place every two years, the European Athletics
Championships bring some good betting markets. They also offer a look at the
favourite athletes leading up to the Olympics.


Commonwealth
Games –
an international competition that takes every four years with
athletes from the Commonwealth of Nations.

Athletics Bookmakers

Betting on athletics is thrilling and entertaining. It can
also be profitable when a bettor has a strategy and takes time to do some
research on events and individual athletes. Whilst not a big hit
among bettors, most UK bookmakers do offer athletics betting markets. Some reputable online bookies
for betting on athletics are:

  1. BetVictor
    covering the Olympic Games, World Championships, European Championships
    and Commonwealth Games
  2. Paddy Power
    also covers most major athletic events and has a good ante post athletics
    markets. You can bet years in advance on who will win a certain event at
    the Olympics.
  3. William Hill – caters to almost all athletics competitions and
    offers a good range of selections from total medals and world records to be
    broken to the more traditional markets like a straight winner.
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