Head to Head Bets: Stacking vs. Isolation

Head to Head Bets: Stacking vs. Isolation
La Vuelta 2022

Recently we lost a fair chunk of change after having Mohorič in too many of our head to head (H2H) bets for Tour of Flanders. This is where isolating more of our head to head bets would have come in handy.

We recently wrote an article that touched on how we structure our head to head bets and we'll go in more detail here on possible variations. As a refresher though we'll re-hash the concepts.


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.

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.

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


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


Generally we'll aim to isolate between 25-50% of our H2H bets, and bet the same amount as our default bet. So if you're starting out with $0.6 E/W bets (the minimum of $0.3 * 2) then we'll also bet $0.6 on head to heads. We'll aim for between three to five head to head bets per stage or one day race to average out our risk and payoff.


Generally, we'll parlay a few of these H2H bets together to try to generate odds of around 8.00-10.00. We try to stick to between three to five H2H match ups in our parlay. We try to avoid going to five matchups, as it dramatically increases the risk, but we've had success in the past.

Failure and success both plausible with 5 rider head to heads.But we try to stay away from them.

In terms of who to parlay, we'll be looking for riders who want to maintain their prospects in the general classification (GC) or want to produce a result at the race. A rider who hasn't had a strong result in a while is generally more motivated than one who has in our opinion.

The GC aspect however we've found to be far the most successful. With those in the top 10 wanting to maintain their position, and those on the fringes wanting to break into the top 10. Factor in the stage design and the rider profile and you'll have a pretty good idea of who will come out on top.

For example the betting house may lay a head to head between two riders who are seventh and eighth respectively on GC, but not take into account the rider's profile and stage design. Say you know that the stage is a sprint stage and that one of the riders in the match up is a sprinter and the other is not, that's an easy pick to add to your parlay.

When not to parlay

Almost all our head to heads are parlayed in 2+ pairs of riders, but that's not always the case. If we see an odd ratio of 3.25 or greater against a specific rider beating another rider we may take a direct bet on that H2H battle and double or triple our default betting amount.

There was once a head to head that Ethan Hayter would beat Aberasturi - with 4.00 odds against Aberasturi, mainly based on the fact that Hayter had won the previous stage. We didn't buy the hype and did very well for ourselves. Stay on the lookout for these opportunities.

When to have fun

It's important to remember that we also promote the fun aspect of sports betting. Given that there's so many variables in cycling races we'll often spin up a parlay on head to head bets of all the underdogs. Don't be naive of course, betting against Pogačar in a H2H is basically throwing away your money. But if you parlay even four match ups of between 2.5 - 3.0 - you'll end up with odds of around 57.19 which is, well, temptingly fun.

And a maxim we quote often on our site is nothing is a sure thing in cycling - and neither are the bookies favourites for head to heads. Pro cycling betting is an extremely niche market, and they don't always get it right. Which could mean a large payoff for you.

We've been keeping track of these long odd H2H bets and will report back on how successful we've been in the long run.