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Biathlon: How to play and how to bet

Biathlon is not one of the most popular sports that there are, but every year more and more people are starting to follow this athletic event. In many ways, this is explained by the amazing telegenic characteristics of the sport: it is not boring, it is fun, and it is always beautiful.

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Biathlon competitions are regularly broadcast on many of the most popular sports channels in the world. Spectacular sports such as this one can be ignored neither betting fans nor bookmakers, which means that biathlon bets deserve special attention, careful consideration and explanation of all of the main nuances.

In terms of forecasting, this sport is also of much greater interest than its counterparts in the Winter Olympic Games. The fact that in addition to somewhat dull to watch ski races, biathlon races include shooting, which adds an element of chance. It is a factor that attracts many to biathlon betting.

Opportunities

There are a large number of boulders

Despite the fact that in most cases the odds in biathlons are subject to above-average margins, a competent player will certainly be able to find boulders in the categories “who is higher” and “who will miss more”. Usually, the analytical centres of the offices do not bother much with biathlons, and therefore the bookmaker can periodically give unreasonably inflated odds, which can be used by experienced players. 

The ability to fork along the early line. The above factors also contribute to the fact that even despite the high margin, between the odds of some pairs in the graph “who is higher” in different gambling establishments form forks (a risk-free bet by making bets with different odds at separate offices). Naturally, the coefficients are fairly quickly assigned, but the quickest players will periodically have opportunities to catch the desired fork.

Disadvantages

High margins. Given that the sport still does not have the greatest popularity, it is not surprising that bookmakers typically set high margins in biathlon betting. However, unwavering fans of these bets will have to put up with this injustice, because they simply do not have an alternative.

Low betting limits. It often works out that a high margin is accompanied by low betting limits. Biathlons, in this case, is no exception. It is unlikely that you will find a bookmaking office, which will place thousands of dollars on the outcome of a biathlon race (on average the maximum is 150 to 300 dollars). Many offices do not offer bets on biathlons at all. Despite the fact that biathlons have growing popularity, especially in Scandinavian countries (as well as Austria and Germany). There are also regular broadcasts on the leading European sports channels, but in many bookmakers’ it is still impossible to find biathlon at all. For many of those who do include these competitions on their lines, everything is related only to the “Race Winner”. That is why biathlon fans usually play in one office for winter sports, and another for all other sports. 

Rare live presence.  Live bets on biathlons are only offered by single bookmakers. Due to the difficulty of providing betting on such dynamically changing races, and because in general biathlons are not the most popular of sports to bet on. Bookmakers offer an extremely compressed, cropped form with constant pauses, changes and suspensions in coefficients. It is sometimes difficult to call this whole process a “live” one.

The role of the accident factor. All results in sports are somewhat random, but in biathlon the factor of luck often comes to the forefront. The fact is the entire event can be determined by a light breeze or, vice versa, a calm minute during bad weather. These factors relate to the unpredictable elements of the race., which makes the biathlon one of the most “lottery” type sports. 

Seasonality factor. The fact is that major biathlon competitions take place only from November to March. Thus, for more than six months out of the year, biathlon fans must stand idly by. In addition, after the start of the new season, serious changes could have occurred during the long break that makes the starting stages of the World Cup predictable only for the insiders of the sport.

Types of bets

The winner of the race. This position has an obvious name and offers to guess which of the participants will finish first in the race. Given that there are usually no clear favourites in the sport, the odds on the main favourite of the race are rarely lower than 2.5. Given the large number of candidates who could win, the margin is usually very solid. 

Who is going to finish top three? Everything that concerns the winner of the race also concerns this position, which proposes to guess which of the riders will stand on the podium after the races. Here, odds on favourites will often fall below the mark of 1.4. 

Who is higher? This position is traditionally the most popular among biathlon betting enthusiasts. It is not offered by all bookmakers, but all offices, more or less qualitatively offering bets on winter sports, will represent these positions. At the World Championship Races, you can find up to 30 comparisons, in each of which you can predict which rider out of each pair will finish higher than the other. This type of bet is also distinguished by a solid margin. 

Who is going to make more mistakes? This position is found much less often in bookmakers’ lines and is therefore in much higher demand. Most often, the upper limits of bets on this event are extremely small, and thus the for big players betting on the number of misses will not be interesting. For everyone else, it is a great chance to get a solid dose of adrenaline and add “peppers” to the viewing race. 

Other suggestions. In addition, some bookmakers who offer bets on biathlon also offer to bet on the number of misses with a handicap, on individual total misses, double total misses, top six places, on which country will boast the winner, etc. Numbers and other types of offers are limited solely on the imagination of the think tank bookmaker.

Pre-race analysis

Before you begin betting on a biathlon race, you need to analyze all possible calculations. Pre-race analysis for biathlons is extremely different from team sports or tennis, as it is not only single but also extremely dependent on a large number of random factors. 

The current form of athletes. The most accurate information for you to know will be learned by studying the athletes’ shooting statistics from the past five or six starts. This indicator will give you a good idea of how well each biathlon athlete has been feeling the rifle lately. Note the net progress rate, which also has a serious impact on the final result. All of this information can be obtained on the IBU website. 

Lubrication. Those who are fond of ski racing and biathlons, in particular, will undoubtedly confirm that getting into the lubricant is the key to a successful race. It is possible to understand whether or not the teams’ representatives got into the lubricant by observing the pre-race warmup or the previous race if it took place earlier in the day. Usually, representatives from men’s and women’s teams of one country use the same technology of lubricant, and therefore one can draw conclusions of each team on the first race of the day. 

Motivation. As in any other sport, motivation in biathlons plays a key role: it in many ways causes athletes to “kill” at the distance to the finish line, saving every second. Do not neglect to study the overall standings of competitions before making a bet. In addition, motivation can be influenced by home stages of competitions and changes in personal life. In general, this is a very important element of analysis, which cannot be ignored by those looking to bet on biathlon.

Weather. Weather is also of great importance when betting on biathlon. For example, if the snow increases, experienced players prefer riders who are in the first half of the starting protocol, because by the time the second half starts course will be damaged, and the speed of the biathletes starting later will fall significantly. The weather has even more influence on the shooting side of the biathlon. For example, if you know that there will be bad weather during the race, you can pay attention to the athletes more suited for racing rather than shooting: on the firing line bad weather equalizes the chances, and on the track will be higher speeds. 

The main types of biathlon racing

Private. The individual race for men is held on a 12.5-mile course and for women on a nine-mile course. Athletes complete five laps with four firing lines: the first and third- lying down, the second and fourth-standing. For each miss, a penalty minute is added to the distance time. The winners of these races are most often the biathletes with a high percentage of hitting the target. 

Sprint. This type of race is held for men at a distance of six miles, and for women- at 4.5 miles. Biathletes complete three laps and shoot at two firing lines. Just like in the classics, standing and lying down. For misses athletes pass penalty circles. The length of the penalty circle is approximately 492 ft. which takes around 22-25 seconds to overcome. 

The pursuit race. This event is based on the results of the sprint race. Biathletes start from the spot in which they finished the sprint. Men’s race is about eight miles, the women’s six miles. Athletes overcome four firing lines (2 racks and beds). 

Mass start. The 30 best biathletes take part in the mass start according to the results of the overall World Cup standings. Men cover a distance of nine miles and women six. 

Relay. A special should highlight the men’s and women’s relay. Four biathletes take part in the teams. Each of them passes two firing lines (rack and bed). Men have a 4.5-mile distance and women around a four-mile distance.