Cycling Betting 1
Cycling is a long way from being the most popular betting medium in the sporting world, but that is not to say it does not represent a decent window of opportunity for profitable punting. You are not going to make a living as a professional cycling punter. There simply aren't enough races priced up for that to be considered remotely viable.
But therein lies its advantage. Cycling, like other fringe betting sports, is such an insignificant factor in the overall scheme of things that no bookmaker can afford to employ a dedicated cycling expert. Thus, the punter need not feel he is gravely disadvantaged when he has a cycling wager just because he does not devote his entire life to following the sport. The person who is setting the odds does not either.
That said, it would be an error to underestimate the ability of the part-time cycling compilers. No bookmaker would release prices on anything unless they had reasonable faith in the person chalking up the odds.
But I have had numerous conversations with these people down the years to convince me that, shrewd though they are, they can be beaten where cycling is concerned.
As with all sports these days, it is harder and harder to offer laughably wrong prices. Not only does the internet afford ample research and verification opportunities — www.cyclingnews.com is among the best sites - but Betfair provides an established market from which the compiler can always cross-check his prices.
Additionally, a number of European bookmakers are usually up and running with cycling markets - don't forget, the sport is far more popular on the continent - well before the UK compiler needs to release his prices.
This means that chaotic situations like those which used to exist before the Tour de France's team time trial stage are now increasingly rare, more's the pity. In 2001, the prices, both fixed-odds and spreads, for the team time trial were all over the place.
This was perfectly understandable. The team time trial is a rare and extremely specialised discipline. Some Tour de France teams practice them with supreme thoroughness, while others just go out there with a vague gameplan not to haemorrhage too much time. But when the priceboxes for the stage appeared in that morning's Racing Post, seemingly every arb-hunter in the world rushed to snap up all the value.
ONCE, odds-on with one firm, opened at 6-1 with another, while on the spreads the same team was quoted at 8-11 on one index while on another, with an identical scoring system, they were as high as 35-38, easily the most dramatic example of an arb I have seen.
IG Index, responsible for the 8-11 quote, came up with a novel way of ensuring the genuine cycling punters were accommodated at the standout prices while the arbers were rebuffed. Clients coming on looking to buy ONCE were refused if they pronounced it 'wunce' as in one time, but were allowed to trade to small stakes if they used the correct pronunciation of 'on-say'.
Punters have been able to bet on cycling since the late 1980s, when Coral were among the first firms to price up the Tour de France.