Sports betting is thriving. Per a report from Grand View Research, this industry is expanding at an annual rate of 10.1%. Yet, compared to other sports, not a ton of people choose to wager on cycling events. That remains one of the least popular betting options out there. Much of this stems from bike racing having a somewhat niche fan base, despite recent surveys suggesting that more people than ever indulge in it as both a leisure and competitive activity. Thus, gambling sites that carry cycling markets offer only a few.
Regardless of popular belief, predicting cycling races is a fraught practice. In the past, things were simpler as clear-cut favorites existed. Upsets did not happen with the same degree of regularity they do now. However, today, bettors have technology on their side. They have software that they can input with vast amounts of data that can help them better tailor their predictions. According to experts, the determinants of cycling performance can get grouped into several dimensions. These are tactical features, individual characteristics, interpersonal dynamics between racers, environmental factors, and competition format. Experienced bettors know all about these, and they rank as common questions asked when betting on cycling. Nevertheless, post-2015, AI technology has entered the mix. Thus, it is now playing a more dramatic factor in forecasting bike race outcomes.
Predicting Winners via Machine Learning
Anyone desiring to learn more about this topic has likely done some Googling and read multiple studies discussing using machine learning to predict bike competitions. These describe algorithms that weigh different aspects, giving varying levels of importance to each one, before churning out what they believe are well-educated guesses. Tour de France fans have likely heard of Dimension Data, a global technology integrator that sponsored Team Qhubeka. It supplied real-time predictive data complete with possibilities for different race outcomes. In 2018, they invented a predictive analytics algorithm that uses third-party environmental data, combined with info from on-bike GPS trackers and historical results from five years back. The software employed all of this data to generate rider profiles and odds on who will finish in what position.
None of what Dimension Data did is particularly novel, as many programmers have created robust machine-learning algorithms that produce dozens of decision trees by utilizing dataset variables. Even the most basic predictive model cycling software has had an accuracy rate of over 50%, which is excellent compared to those available for other sports. The data used to feed these models is available at USACycling.org, which has detailed stats on all amateur and professional races in America, dating back decades. Loads of research have gotten done on cycling performance over the years. For instance, the Lamberts and Lambert Submaximal Cycle Test monitor fatigue/recovery in cyclists and can get used to prognosticate performance. Therefore, there are now many ways to approach creating software with an accuracy rate above 70%.
How to Wager on Cycling
Those with access to the software mentioned above would be wise to take advantage of it and put down some modest cycling wagers. The most common markets available online for this sport are race and stage winner, top finish, mountain king, matchups, and specials. The latter are usually unique operator-determine options like how many contestants will finish the race and so on. Live betting on bike races is not widely accessible. Those platforms that offer it will likely have markets like allowing users to wager which competitor goes through a specific checkpoint first, the margin between the winner and the rest of the pack, and the winning time.
The best advice one can receive about putting their sporting knowledge to use via betting on cycling is to do it online by picking a site that offers competitive odds and enticing promotions with acceptable terms. Moreover, it is also super essential to always keep reason over bias and only wager responsibly.
Betting on the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France & Vuelta a Espana
Most laypeople that are not deep into the sport have likely only heard of these three races. While the UAE Tour, the Tour of Britain, the UCI Championships, and the Classic Brugge-De Panne attract gambling action, the three races listed in this subhead account for a sizeable portion of the wagers made on biking contests. The chief factor used for predicting them is primarily past results, form, and cyclist/team behavior. Unfortunately, there is no universal strategy on how to prophesize who will win a specific race. That said, in cycling, the odds of those that have previously crossed the finish line first of a particular track usually have a better chance of completing this feat again than their competitors. Their familiarity with the terrain and the confidence of their previous victory is guaranteed to give them an edge.
About the Author
Shelly Schiff has been working in the gambling industry since 2009, mainly on the digital side of things, employed by OUSC. However, over her eleven-year career, Shelly has provided content for many other top interactive gaming websites. She knows all there is to know about slots and has in-depth knowledge of the most popular table games. Her golden retriever Garry occupies most of her leisure time. Though, when she can, she loves reading Jim Thompson-like crime novels.