How much should I be betting (on cycling)?

How much should I be betting (on cycling)?

Cycling is different than other sports in terms of betting, the odds at times, can offer extremely high payoffs (aka long) compared to other sports. On a football or hockey match, you'll see money line odds (a direct bet on who will win) hovering around the 2.X marker (meaning you'll make 2 times your initial bet + your initial bet).

With cycling, you'll see decent contenders for stages and one day races get odds of above 15.00 quite often. That means you'd make 15 times your initial bet (plus your initial bet) back. 15 Times? Yep. You heard that right. We've often won 50+ our initial bet back. But we've also lost a great deal. It's because in cycling you have such a large peloton but only the very pointy end will pay you back. Generally you'll be placing an each way bet on a rider. An each way bet (see the link for a more detail explanation) means that you'll make some money if your rider places in the top three slots (and more if they win). But there's sometimes 180+ places in a race. 🙃

Compare this to horse racing, that also offers each way bets. Horses races generally have no more than 12 horses during a race. Or take a football match between two teams. Either of the teams is going to win, but there's no third competitor. Throw in the fact that your rider could crash, suffer a mechanical, or get a flat and it's intuitively indicative of why cycling odds can get so high.

And by high we mean HIGH. Fancy Derek Gee for Paris Roubaix anyone?

When you bet on head to head match ups between two riders you'll see the stratospheric odds levels be brought back down to earth. This is because you're betting between two options, compared to 180.

Head to head options between two riders

So how should I structure my bets?

We recommend you want to structure your bets in three ways:

  • Have your bets in many "value" riders
  • Go 10x on almost guarantees (unfortunately there's not many almost guarantees in cycling - but we'll get to that)
  • For head to heads, we recommend both stacking parlays and isolating half of them

It's a well known fact that you shouldn't be winning more than 55% of your sports bets. We feel the number is even less with cycling, but the relatively higher odds make up for the drop in in win percentage. Knowing that you'll want to be making around 7+ bets on each race split across the two or more odds offered (generally each way bets on the top 3 and head to heads are offered).

We'll break down the three structures and offer some good starting bet amounts for each.

Many Bets in Many Value Riders

The chance that your one favourite rider that you pick to win, will win, is...slim. That is unless it's Pogačar. But in that case, good luck making any money off of your bets. Those odds are often far too slim.

We won't go into the nitty gritty of what we feel constitutes a value pick, or how to spot them, but you'll want to be on the lookout for riders who have a decent chance of coming in the top three based on a variety of factors: recent form, current GC position (if it's a stage race), skillset of the rider. On top of having a decent chance of winning you'll want to the odds to not be too short (the odds offer a decent payout). This is incredibly nuanced and where the fun of placing the bet is.

If your rider is more likely to come top 3, than you should be willing to accept a lower payout, but not too lower. You'll eventually get a better sense for what that number is. As a super rough rule of thumb, we won't bet on a value picks that's less than 12.00-15.00 odds if we really think they have a decent chance of winning. It's not worth it to us in terms of risk of them coming out of the top 3. We can often find better value picks who have the same chance of winning but higher odds in that case.

Ideally, we're looking for a rider between 30.00 - 50.00 who has a good chance of placing in the top 3. Why? Because we'll be placing around riders in this range. Often we won't win any. But over the long term we've consistently made money.

We started out placing the minimum each way bet on these riders ($0.3*2 = $0.6) and working our way up. We recommend the same.

10x Sure Things

We'll be honest. Sure things don't come around too often. There's too often chances for mechanicals, flat tires, or crashes. However, we often find over the course of week long tours that the timespan reduces the risk of those negatives will iron themselves out. If your rider crashes, they'll generally be able to salvage most of the time they lost. They probably won't win the stage, but they won't be down and out.

And then there's Pogačar. Betting on cycling is so much about rider's motivation. We know without a doubt that Pogačar will always rider for the win. Sometimes we feel Matthieu Van Der Poel (MVDP) will give up during races if it's not going well. Pogačar will almost always give it his all to the finish line.

So we've often placed heavy at the start of a week long stage race that Pogačar is taking part in. Because it's highly unlikely he won't place in the top three. You can view the stats if you want to. But it's almost zero. Not only does Pog always fight, he almost never crashes. So we often 10x our base bet. So if your base bet for each way bets is $0.6, bet $6. This goes against some betting methodology, but cycling betting isn't like other sports as we've stated before.

Note, while we recommend doing this, it can be a bit more stressful to lay down a larger portion. So be prepared.

Stacking & Isolation Head to Heads

We'll go into a deeper post on how we select our head to head bets, but we'll briefly touch on that we both stack and isolate them.

So say we're making four head to heads, we may stack three of them and isolate the last one. If we place five head to head bets, we'll stack three and isolate two.


Refers to you gradually adding riders to a parlay base in separate unique bets. So say we're doing three stacked parlay bets. We'll start out with our surest two riders and make a bet on them in a parlay. We'll then make another bet that includes the previous two riders plus a rider that we're slightly less sure on. We'll do this for the fourth rider and so on.

We'd prefer Rider 4 not take a tumble, but with our stacked bets we're less concerned from a financial perspective.

This will spread out the risk and utilize our knowledge of match ups and balance it with our odds of what we don't know.


If you make five head to head bets, it would be a travesty if a rider happened to be in all five of them and ended up crash. That, cough, has never happened to us...

Isolating a few of your head to head parlays so that riders are unique across them makes logical sense and follows the adage of not having all your eggs in one basket.

Even the surest of head to heads isn't sure in cycling. Anything can happen


We'll place the same base level bet amount as we do on our each way bets as we do on our head to heads. So if we've started betting $0.6 for each way bets, we'll also bet $0.6 for our bets.