The bookies and cycling

by TERatcliffe26   April 9, 2013  

Where do bookies get there info from with regards to the odds for races? I know that you can interpret whether you think the odds are correct or not, but some of the odds I have seen for the Giro and Le Tour have baffled me abit.

For the Giro Uran is 50/1 and Pozzovio 66/1, which ok fair enough, but Jose Rujano is only 33/1 and Pellizotti is 25/1. I know I watch a lot of cycling and see how riders have been going all season. But where do they dream up that Rujano has a more realistic chance than those two? Even more Baffling to me is that you can get Nocentini at 600/1. I know he is unlikely to win, but for his odds to be that big again surprises me.

As for the Tour Sagan is 400/1 which you would probably expect, but what I cant understand is how riders such as Velits, Kwiatkowski and Cunego can have better odds at 600/1. Again I know these riders are again unlikely to win, but to me the way Sagan is playing his 'career' as you may put it, he will not even be targeting winning, yet if Cunego discovered his form he could win it.

As if you asked anyone who has more chance of winning im sure all those 3 would come before Sagan, and the same can be said for Uran and co above compared to Rujano and Pellizotti.

8 user comments

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Agree with you. Odds don't make any sense.

Have you looked at Betfair? Wiggo's odds on to win. I reckon a bet against that would be an interesting one.

posted by Tom Amos [246 posts]
9th April 2013 - 11:48


Totally agree, sometimes they seem spot-on, so when they throw up an anomaly it is really baffling. The trick is to spot the ones you can benefit from I guess - Hesjedal was 40/1 to win the Giro last year...

Also last year, I saw some bets where you could pair up 2 riders, and predict which one would finish higher (I had Rodriguez vs Cunego in the Giro I think) - this might be the kind of bet where you can more exploit the bookies' mistakes.

posted by chrisdstripes [1719 posts]
9th April 2013 - 11:54


chrisdstripes wrote:

Also last year, I saw some bets where you could pair up 2 riders, and predict which one would finish higher (I had Rodriguez vs Cunego in the Giro I think) - this might be the kind of bet where you can more exploit the bookies' mistakes.

Yeh they normally appear closer to the race, and you can get stage match ups too. Obviously the odds are not as good, but normally you can get odds of around evens when its two similarly matched riders

posted by TERatcliffe26 [4451 posts]
9th April 2013 - 12:05


I threw a couple of quid on Tommy Voeckler for Milan-San Remo, I didn't really fancy him but I saw the odds of 300-1 I thought it was worth £2.

posted by farrell [1914 posts]
9th April 2013 - 12:09


Having worked for a book maker, it depends on whether they have (or can pay for) anyone with sufficient knowledge to come up with the odds. For example a lot of foreign football is based on knowledge of local "experts". Bookies without the knowledge would tend to set an initial set of odds and then change them based on the betting patterns of punters. At the end of the day the odds are adjusted to reduce the bookies liability so not necessarily to reflect who is going to win, just who the punters think is most likely to win. That is why the bookies hate the favourite winning as although the odds are short they have to pay a lot of people so they would prefer the long shot to win as they pay more per bet but to less punters.

Exchanges like BetFair are different as both sides are punters who set their own odds based on their knowledge.

As I was told when I worked there, the knack to making money is to spot "good value for money bets", i.e. where the bookie may have the odds more in your favour.

posted by Jonathan Knight [17 posts]
9th April 2013 - 12:36


Sagan 400/1 for the Tour? Could be worth a couple of pound if nothing else. Thinking

posted by Marauder [279 posts]
12th April 2013 - 7:42


For low volume betting events you have to remember the only real markets based on actual bets are the exchanges. And even then they require a decent amount of volume in them. I have no idea if the Giro would generate enough but the TdF probably would.

The fixed odds bookmakers will be just educated guesses and prone to massive changes within individual bookmakers as bets are made. Its not uncommon for the big high street bookmakers refusing bets as small as £20 on 25/1 if they think you have any idea what you are talking about.

The trick is to look at what a mature exchange market says and find the fixed odds that offer value.

The exchanges are also good for picking riders with a high probability of going in a break. Think of the guys chasing KoM points. In the recent Basque tour, Txurruka was absolutely nailed on to go on the break the day after he won the mountain jersey. His odds will drop massively once he is in the break and you can lay it and free roll it. Obviously that's the Basque tour and nobody will be betting but in the big tours this situation will happen.

posted by Benway [75 posts]
12th April 2013 - 10:03

1 Like

There's definitely an opportunity to make some money from the bookies on cycling as it's an area where they don't have the same expertise as they do with horses and better known sports. The main issue is that you are likely to be limited to small stakes with many of them - I recently had a bet on someone at 100-1 for a stage and was limited to £1.50 each way with William Hill. Some other bookmakers do seem to be better though. Very often with non Grand Tour races stages are only priced up around 9-10pm the evening before and you will then see significant discrepancies between bookies - sometimes on Oddschecker, but often you need to go to individual sites. Bet365, Sportingbet and Betvictor are the most likely to price up a race early.

posted by andynic [60 posts]
12th April 2013 - 14:00