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Athletics betting, what’s it all about?

One of the oldest sports in the world, athletics requires a measure of endurance, along with a calm and focused attitude. Athletics dates back to 776 BC and is a popular sport enjoyed by millions, the world over. Major events attract huge audiences and, therefore, attract a host of betting offers and promotions. With the next major tournament just around the corner, there will be a variety of events – and in turn, bets – for bookmakers to offer a whole host of introductory offers on.

Most people only take notice of major competitions, such as the Olympics and the World Championships, but there are plenty of markets and events throughout the year. With track and field events such as 100m sprint, long jump, high jump, javelin, shot put, 200m hurdles and 400m relay (to name but a few), there are plenty of opportunities to add a little excitement to your viewing experience.

Betting on athletics/Olympics events

There are a number of major events that offer markets to bet on – and you can place a host of specialist bets (or promotions) that you can access here. With the Commonwealth Games, various World Championships and the Olympic Games, you can guarantee that there will be an event to satisfy your needs.

Betting on athletics is relatively easy and simple and most bets hinge upon who will win on any of the events due to play (and sometimes in-play). There are many markets – broken down as follows:


Who will win the 100m sprint? Who has a better chance of beating the odds? Who is the underdog in the shot put? These are the kind of bets where you are betting on the winner, outright. Usain Bolt has pretty much dominated the 100m sprint market of late, but there are plenty of other excellent sprinters who compete in various other events. Stay up-to-date on latest odds and markets by using the links provided above.

Winner ‘Without’

There are a handful of events where an individual dominates so much (like Usain Bolt), that some markets are offered with that particular person excluded. Either anyone winning, or finishing second, is counted as the winner. In a way, it is like hedging your bet on an outsider – a good way to cover any uncertain contenders who may have experienced a recent spurt of form.

To win a medal

There are three places on the podium and therefore three medals to be awarded. Much like horse racing, or F1, you can wager on any athlete to win a medal. You are spreading the betting over a longer field, so it is important to keep informed of the odds at an early date. This kind of bet can yield massive wins if planned in advance – bronze medals are hard to predict and therefore offer exciting markets.

Specials and promotions

Various bookmakers offer specials and promotions on big events and finals. World records are often broken in major competitions, and bookmakers make rewarding offers from time to time. The links to our affiliate sites above will provide latest deals on current events, however, it is important that you know about the different specials and promotions’ small print before attempting to predict winners. 10,000m and 5,000m running events offer markets for record breaking – records are continually being broken, and mostly every event offers, at least, one competitor who is targeting a record-breaking attempt. Further afield, however, larger markets are available whereby customers can bet on whether the US, China or UK lead the medal table in individual events.

Other bet types in athletics

  • Winning time

In events like marathons and cross-country meets, bookmakers often offer punters the opportunity to bet across a timeframe. Like in other sports, you can bet over a period of time when the winner finishes.

  • Will the world record be broken?

A risky bet it may seem, but certain athletes may be on a personal goal to break a world record. Predicting when and by who a world record will be beaten is a risky feat, because it doesn’t happen often, but the returns can dwarf a straightforward bet.

  • Number of medals an individual/team will win

In all major championships, this kind of bet will be on every bookmaker’s page. Often, athletes will take part in numerous events and predicting a figure (or close to) can give you an excellent yield.

Specific rules to take into consideration

The rules of athletics betting are fairly easy and straightforward. Athletics betting is akin to many other sports betting rules.

Bets are settled after the official results have been awarded, as per disclosed at an awards ceremony or official result. There may be mitigating circumstances or appeals that could affect the decision process – but disqualifications are always taken into account and customers will always be reimbursed should such an event occur.

Customers should note that when betting on medals, in some events, bronze medals can be awarded based on overall stats that are calculated using official medals tables – team events may only contribute to one medal to the total. Watch out for bets for future events that are classed/named as ante-post – furthermore, noting whether non-competition of your selection constitute a losing bet (injuries for example). In most cases these will be voided and customers will be refunded.

What kind of strategies can I adopt to athletics betting?

Keeping up-to-date with current news and form is key to identifying the best athletes. Another key strategy is to remain informed of bookmakers’ last-minute deals on events. Some events are built-up in the media and bookmakers buy into the hype by offering welcoming bonuses or highly-stacked odds. You can find the latest offers and promotions above. Forward-thinking and reading the sports page of the local newspapers can offer a statistical insight into form and current level of ability.

Knowing which athletes have the endurance to last over a longer period, or who can consistently challenge the front-runner, can offer attractive markets. For multi-event athletes like Jessica Ennis-Hill, the current fitness levels can provide a dip in her odds – yet, this could be a temporary blip in her regime that will disappear over time. So a longer bet over a period may give you better odds – some bookmakers even allow you to get better odds if they rise.

Basic 101 of athletics betting

Having knowledge of an athlete’s form within specific venues can offer an opportunity to get in before the bookies do. Knowing how different athletes perform under different weather conditions can also provide an insight into the eventual result of the event you’re going to be betting on. An American long-distance runner from California may have trouble adapting to the murky streets of northern Europe country for example, while British athletes may wilt in the heat of the southern hemisphere summer. In addition, it is worth noting whether certain stadiums or tracks have histories of breaking records.

How do I get free bets?

The answer is simple really – this page. Bookmakers often offer special promotions and advertising strategies to develop a customer base. If you keep your wits about you and keep checking back here, you can have a comprehensive spread of free bets that will give you more bang for your buck (so to speak). Most bookmakers offer a free money back bet whereby a losing bet repays an amount that is then credited to your account. It is a risk-free way of testing the market and having a pre-thought strategy in place can reap benefits in the long-term. Some bookmakers offer this in the way of a free bet token – either way, it is worth the risk if you are willing to do your research beforehand.

Opting into the free bet couldn’t be simpler

  • Firstly, select one of our free bet offer/promotions; browse our long list of the hottest offers from the sites above. Ensure that you read the terms and conditions for wagering requirements and you will see a ‘CLAIM IT NOW’ button.
  • Secondly, register with the bookmaker – registration is quick and simple and you can complete the online registration form on all tablets and devices. Be sure to enter the promotion code where appropriate. You should have your payment details to hand, as you will need them to register.
  • Thirdly, deposit some funds and place a bet on an event. Whatever you bet, the bookmaker will usually offer you an insurance bet of some kind. It is worth reading the terms and conditions of each bookmaker to see qualifying bets – ensure your bet falls into the free bet requirements. Some bookmakers offer insurance on bets as little as £5 – while some offer insurance on higher valued bets.

So what strategy should I take?

Choosing an event to specialise in will reap greater yields. Sprint races will normally have three or four rounds, so in theory, all of the top sprinters should make a few rounds before the final itself. Note their times and the conditions and also note any outsiders who may have caught your eye. Looking out for athletes who look to be ‘psyched up’ can usually offer an insight as to who could take the race. Sometimes, last minute gambles on small gut feelings can give you an edge over the bookmakers.

Longer events that require more endurance will have less qualifiers. Look out for runners who seem to be finishing any qualifiers with minimal effort. Field events will always mostly have a qualifying round where the height or distance is preset for athletes – to qualify and progress through the heats, they will have to better these presets. Keep an eye-out for qualifiers who qualify with minimal effort; they should have more energy to expend in further heats and can be a marker for a gold winner.

Certain events – 10,000 metres and the marathon to name but two – have no qualifying rounds, and so form can go out of the window and you should base your assumptions on best times of the season. Athletes who can ‘stay the round’ and look impressive over the long-term will be the ‘safer’ bets, but it depends how much of a risk you want to take. Races of these kinds are usually paced by what is called a ‘pacemaker’; it is worth noting in advance who the pacemaker is and who you think could keep up with him/her. In major championships, tactics are often deployed in teams and the winner will often be the one who has a good, strong finish.

However you decide to bet on athletics – you can be sure that this page will have up-to-date information about current offers and promotions. You will find informative articles that will give you the upper-hand on the Bookmakers, and you can take advantage of their generous ‘welcome bonus’ offers.

Please check out other sports suitable for betting, including Badminton, Baseball, Basketball & Boxing.