Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2023 Betting Preview

Liège-Bastogne-Liège 2023 Betting Preview
Did bicycle tyres look like that back in 1892?

We feel it's always awkward when you're so close to a glorious anniversary edition of a major race. And while 110 years isn't the same as 125, or even better, 150, it's a lot better than 109. But that's where we're at, the 109th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège (LBL) the fourth of five monuments of the year, the oldest, and the last of the spring.

Interestingly, Flèche Wallonne, which ran today, used to be the more prestigious race out of the two. With LBL running on the Saturday and Flèche on the Sunday. But just as life changes, so do races, and when Flèche switched to being midweek it's prestige diminished.

Pogačar is obviously coming in as the favourite, alongside Evenepoel, who's only done it once and won. Ben Healy however is in supreme form as well though over the past few classics he's ridden and shouldn't be counted out of the top 3 on an each way bet. We don't expect Landa, Skjelmose or Woods to make as high a ranking in this classic as today's Flèche given the lack of the Mur de Huy (an intense final climb) that benefited the climbers.

Who's Too Short?

We like to start off by stating who's too short and hence who you might want to stay away from. Big names like Alaphilippe or Mas are too short, but Mas is more in the value range than Alaphilippe. Alaphilippe is basically collecting pension from Soudal Quickstep at this point - with no strong result recently and a semi-feud with the team owner Patrick Lefevere.

Course Profile

LBL is one of the shorter monuments, at only 217km. The race kicks off near the 50km to go marker with a variety of short steep climbs that the region is well known for.

We imagine Pogačar will go early, this race doesn't havea final back breaking climb like the Mur de Huy, and Pog should be able to hold his form right to the end. Even with Evenepoel in the mix, Pog's been outstanding recently and it's why we almost always bet on him.


It's going to be wet. Not surprising for April in Belgium, and while it won't mean as much compared to as if it was Roubaix, it will still affect the race. You should factor in a couple more crashes and a slower peloton speed, which means that UAE's tactic of pushing hard all race may not make Pog's victory as easy (but it will still be easy - let's be real 🙃)

Liège Bastogne Liège - 2022

Recent Past Winners

2016 NetherlandsWout PoelsTeam Sky
2017 SpainAlejandro ValverdeMovistar Team
2018 LuxembourgBob JungelsQuick-Step Floors
2019 DenmarkJakob FuglsangAstana
2020 SloveniaPrimož RogličTeam Jumbo–Visma
2021 SloveniaTadej PogačarUAE Team Emirates
2022 BelgiumRemco EvenepoelQuick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team

While Valverde sadly is no longer active in road cycling (have fun with him gravel riders), all the other riders are currently still active. Jungels, however, is on BORA and they're having a non-starter of a season. Despite showing up recently with some fine performances at Tour of the Alps, we still feel something is amiss amongst the team. We're counting him out.

Poels is having an average season on Bahrain and it looks like Fulsang did the UAE Tour and then took a sabbatical. So honestly it's only the three big names at the end we care about.

Roglič isn't on the start line this year. Apparently Tadej and Roglič conspired to never appear on the start list this year together if they weren't forced to. Which is clever by them, but  not super great for the viewers, or the bettors who are getting slammed with super short odds on the favourites. But alas.

As mentioned above, our bet is on Pog over Evenepoel given Pog's recent form in the classics. But you never quite know when Evenepoel will have that Evenepoel day where his legs are diamonds.

Liège Bastogne Liège - 2018

Value Picks

Top 10

Here are some of our 'Top 10' value picks now that the odds have dropped. Generally we're looking for riders who have performed well recently, able to reach the top five in major one day races, and given a poor recency bias by the betting houses.

Ideally the odds for these picks are >= 10.00

Rui Costa - 17.00

Extremely undervalued in our opinion. Costa finished 4th in Strade-Bianche earlier in the year, along with winning Tour of the Algarve and top three finishes at other one day races. At 17.00 he's a steal.

Benoît Cosnefroy - 10.00

Cosnefroy hasn't been having much luck lately, nor has his form looked superb, but given his recent top three performance at Der Brebantse Pilj, we're thinking the bookies are following prey to recency bias giving him 10.00 top 10 odds.

Tobias H Johannessen - 9.00

Uno X has been clammering for a performance all classics seasons and haven't yet succeeded. We're a believer that there luck will change and think their best shot is Johannessen. At 9.00 odds he's just shy of our 10.00 bar - but hey, we're willing to bend for the Danish/Norwegian team.

Krist Neilands - 67.00

This one is our farthest stretch, but also not completely out of the realm of possibility. Israel Premier-Tech needs a strong second in command after Woods and we think it's Neilands. Neilands has placed 12th a month earlier at E3 Saxo Bank Classic and we think he can crack the top 10 here on a good day.

Romain Bardet

Edit: Recently the odds have drastically changed and we no longer consider Bardet value.

At the time however we were going with Romain Bardet for sure, with one of the best ratios of Top 10s to starts for LBL, along with having long odds compared to another good ratio contender like Julian Alaphilippe (who in our opinion is basically retired despite France pushing back their retirement age).

Add on top his 9th place finish at Flèche earlier in the week and it's wasn't even a gamble.

Neilson Powless

A rider who's stuck out recently with crashes in recent classic races is Neilson Powless. Recent crashes usually means value for us, as betting houses suffer from recency bias too and will place longer odds on them, despite crashes not necessarily affecting their performance.

Still the odds are pretty short for him and we not longer consider him value

Young Riders

There's some young riders we want to include in our top 10 value picks. We believe Sheffield's got to not crash in one of these classic races right? Maybe? Please? Either way, we think his luck has got to change at some point, especially before being locked down as a super domestique for the larger grand Tours

Thomas Gloag from Jumbo, looked hot early in the season during Tour of Valencia, and Jumbo's startlist isn't stacked, so we're going to put some bets down on him as well.

Overall we're ecstatic for this last monument before the grand tours. It's already been a great cycling season in our books and LBL should provide a fine appetizer prior to the Giro.

Head to Head Odds

The odds for head to head bets (aka match ups) are also out - but we find that betting on match ups in classics or one day races compared to multi day stage races is almost a complete lottery. We'd recommend staying away in our opinion but if you're eager here's what we'll say.

LBL is a more puncheur and rouleur based course with a variety of climbs throughout. There's not one major sufferfest like the Mur de Huy right at the end. Expect riders who can consistently climb well but aren't exceedingly punch-y to perform better than usual (think a Mas).

Liège-Bastogne-Liège - 2022