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Motor Sport Betting
Betting on Motor Sport is about more than just Formula 1, but true petrol-heads can sometimes find themselves a little short-changed when it comes to betting on other motor sports, with bookmakers historically reporting little interest in many of these.
Moto GP is the sport with the biggest following after Formula One, and the betting markets are much the same, albeit on a reduced level compared to F1. The Race Winner will always be the primary market ahead of any race, and it’s worth taking a few moments to weigh up the each-way terms offered by different firms when betting on this market.
Usually betting companies will offer either 1/5 odds for the first three places, or 1/3 for the first two places. When betting with firms offering 1/5 for three places, it’s worth calculating the e/w odds, as you can sometimes improve your odds by placing a win-only bet, and a podium finish bet separately. Of course this can work both ways, and occasionally you will discover a cracking e/w bet which offers good value on the place part – particularly so when you have a short priced favourite at the head of the betting. The 2011 Japanese Grand Prix for instance saw Casey Stoner start the race as the 1/5 favourite, so there was definitely some decent e/w value available on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th favourites ahead of that race, allowing an e/w bet to return a decent profit just by finishing on the podium.
A few firms offer sub-markets on Moto GP, such as Fastest Qualifier, Podium Finish, Top 6 Finish, and betting without the favourites, while on race day you can also find a range of race match bets with bookmakers such as Bet365, Ladbrokes and Skybet. With these being offered as a head-to-head bet between two named riders, they offer the punter the opportunity to oppose a rider whom you may believe to be overrated, rather than having to back a particular fancy. It’s well worth shopping around for prices on the match-bets as it’s not uncommon to find 100% books in the market, effectively removing a bookmakers edge.
Some bookmakers also offer betting on the 250cc and 125cc classes, although these are usually limited to the Race Winner market with most. Bet365 excel in this area particularly, offering a wide range of bets on both junior classes.
Other classes of motorcycle betting are also offered occasionally, such as the World Superbikes and British Superbikes, but these are very limited, and often bet to high margin.
The World Rally Championship (WRC) is another form of motor sport with a reasonably wide betting service. The dominance of Sebastien Loeb has restricted the appeal of the sport for some, but recent campaigns have been closer and allowed the betting markets to return with a more competitive offering. The most important factor when betting on Rallying is to consider the surface which the event is run on, and not simply consider each drivers recent form.
Like tennis, rallying results show a remarkable pattern of surface form. For instance, Rally Sweden is the only snow rally, and course experts have always had a massive advantage there - every rally except one since 1950 has been won by a Scandinavian!
Loeb has been a dominant force in rallying for a decade, but that dominance can be multiplied when considering only asphalt rallies – his record on the surface is simply astonishing – 6 consecutive wins at Cataluña, 8 consecutive victories in Rally Deutschland, and 5 wins from 7 starts at the Monte Carlo Rally. Knowing who is likely to perform well and when is the key to successful rallying betting. If you can get that part right, rallying can genuinely become one of the most profitable sports in anyone’s punting portfolio.
Returning to motorbikes and speedway is the other form of motor sport betting you can wager on regularly. Both the UK’s Elite League, and the World Grand Prix’s are broadcast live on Sky Television, and this has allowed bookmakers to develop a betting product around the sport.
As a niche sport, speedway tends to attract very knowledgeable punters, and as a result the bookmakers will keep their liability limits relatively low. You should also expect to find your accounts restricted to lower bets if you prove too successful at speedway betting so it’s worth being aware of.
Elite League meetings will typically see a bookmaker offering a match handicap and match betting among his primary markets, with the underdog in the fixture being given a head-start for betting purposes. Bookmakers will also offer betting on the winning margin of the event, as well as betting on certain heats, which could be the winning rider, the team with the most points, or the team to win the heat.
Each heat consists of four riders, who compete for points in a 4-lap race. Points are awarded for the riders based on their finishing positions, with 3 points for the winner, 2 points for 2nd, and 1pt for 3rd. No points are awarded to the rider finishing last - with two riders riding for each team, the possible results by team are 5-1, 4-2 or 3-3. With 15 heats making up a meeting there are a total of 90 points available as standard, although in some situations teams can play jokers if they fall significantly behind during the course of the meeting, allowing them to score double points on a particular heat. These bonus points are ignored for betting purposes on heat related markets.
Riders can occasionally change in the heats, and bookmakers offer various different rules when this occurs, so check these out before placing a bet on the heat winner. You could successfully pick the winner for instance, only to find your bet has been made void if another rider is replaced in the heat by a reserve. Betting on all speedway markets is offered live throughout the events when they are televised.
The Grand Prix events work slightly differently, with riders riding for themselves rather than a team. During the course of the meeting, each rider will race once against every other rider in the Grand Prix over 5 heats – this works out at 20 heats in total, with points picked up along the way. The top 8 scoring riders will then progress to the semi-finals, and the top two from each semi head to the final.
Gate bias is extremely important in speedway, and you should definitely take this into account whenever betting in-running on a grand prix. You can bet on individual heats, the outright meeting winner (settled on the result of the final) and on a variety of rider match bets across the Grand Prix.