While curling is not the most popular sport in the UK, it has a fairly large fan base. Among them there are those who whet their interest in watching curling matches by betting on this sport. By reading this post, you will learn about the history of curling as well as some important things to consider when betting at sportsbooks.
Curling History and the Rules of the Game
One of the oldest sports, curling has its roots in medieval Scotland. Although the date of the first curling match is not known for certain, stones, art and literature have been found that indicate the birth of the sport at least in the early 16th century. The first curling clubs originated in Scotland in the 18th century.
Over time, the quality of the game projectile, ice cover and special curling equipment has gradually improved. Thus, curling has gone from a sports discipline in which success depended on luck and power of the throw to an incredibly tactically difficult game nicknamed “chess on ice” in our time.
The name of this sport was given not because of the complex curl marks left by the stone on the ice. It comes from the Scottish verb “curr” meaning low growl or roar. A specific sound occurs when the game projectile slides on the ice and it clings to uneven surfaces.
Curling became the most widespread in the world in the 20th century. Although the first test events held in France at the Olympics date back to 1924, curling – now an integral part of the Olympics – was not included in the full program of the Olympic Games until 1998. With 60 countries represented in the World Curling Federation, the total number of officially registered curlers exceeds 1.5 million.
The curling field is 45 meters long. The “House”, a special circle drawn under the ice, is at the end of the playing field. The game is played by two teams of four players each.
Lasting from 2 to 2.5 hours, the match includes 10 periods called “ends”. Team members take turns throwing stones, with eight throws in total for one end. Using special brooms, other athletes try to increase the speed of the projectile or change the trajectory after it is launched into the game.
If the stone of one of the teams is closer to the center of the house than the opponent’s projectile closest to the center, that team is the winner of the end. One point is awarded for each stone in the house.
Largest Curling Championships
With numerous World Curling Tour events and elite Grand Slam tournaments, the curling season is quite busy these days. However, since most of the competition does not receive much public attention, sportsbooks also bypass them. Bookmakers offer betting on the matches of the five main curling tournaments.
Curling at the Winter Olympics
Taking place only once every four years, the Curling Games at the Winter Olympics attract huge attention of bettors around the world – not only those who enjoy this sport or at least know the rules, but also ordinary fans of the national teams of their states. Competitions are held in men’s, women’s and mixed categories. In the group stage, matches are held between 10 teams. After the group stage, the four best teams continue to fight for medals.
World Curling Championships
At the World Championship, the best teams from different countries compete with each other for the champion title. With a game format almost identical to Curling at the Winter Olympics, it is distinguished by its 12-team group stage instead of 10. Although the men’s and women’s tournaments receive the most attention from sportsbooks, mixed-team and double-mixed competitions are also popular.
European Curling Championships
Not as popular as the World Curling Championships due to the absence of the Canadian national team (one of the strongest curling teams), this tournament still attracts bettors to place wagers on matches as representatives of some countries achieve significant success in this sport.
Started in 1975, this tournament is held in the men’s and women’s categories. Ten men’s and women’s teams compete in the top division. The competition system includes a group round and playoffs.
Canadian Curling Championship – Tim Hortons Brier (men’s teams), Scotties Tournament of Hearts (women’s teams), Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Trials and others. The Canadian Championship is the only one with line is presented at sportsbooks. With the most registered curlers, Canada is the most successful country in the sport. First played in 1927, Tim Hortons Brier is now held annually, bringing together the best teams from various Canadian provinces.
The Tournament of Hearts is also an annual tournament that has attracted much attention from curling fans since 1961. As for the Canadian Mixed Doubles Curling Trials, it includes two groups of 8 teams each. The top eight teams advance to the second group stage, which determines the four finalists vying for the title.
Curling Bet Types
Moneyline Bet (Winner of the Match)
Curling is a sport with matches last until a winner is determined. If the 10th end is drawn, a decisive additional end is called. Therefore, you can choose between two Moneyline Bet options – on the first or second team to win.
This is a fairly popular betting market for matches between teams of incomparable strength. Since, in this case, betting on the favorite is not profitable and placing wager on the underdog is can be dangerous, a handicap bet is the best option.
For example, in the game of the Dutch curlers (the Dutch curlers wins with the odds of 1.9) against the Swedish ones, the inferior Dutch team must not lose more than three points for the bet on the +3.5 handicap to work.
This betting market allows you to predict the number of points a team will score at the end of a match – including extra ends if required. The average total in the top-level men’s curling is 11-13 points. During major events such as Curling at the Winter Olympics, sportsbooks also offer odds on the individual totals of both teams.
First End (Period) Bet
This type of bet is in demand among bettors who want to hit a quick win. With a higher element of randomness and the odds of the underdog winning in the first end, this bet is not very popular as sportsbooks rarely offer high odds for the outsider to win. Having adapted to the conditions and peculiarities of this sport, bookmakers use a rational approach to the formation of odds.
Long before the competition, bookmakers offer to bet on the winner of the future world championship or the Olympics. Since the number of real contenders for the championship is limited to 4-5 participants, sportsbooks offer adequate odds – so this bet might work.
There are also lines offering a bet on a certain team reaching the final. This is a perfect option in case your favorite loses in a golden match.
Team Captain Is More Important Than Flag – How to Bet on Curling
Curling is a difficult sport to analyze. Nicknamed “chess on ice”, it contains in its strategy many unobvious things and pitfalls that often determine the result of a team.
Being the “commander” and the main ideological inspirer of each team, the skip (captain) determines the direction of throws and tactical ideas throughout the game. As a rule, in addition, the skip itself performs the two decisive last throws in each end. Therefore, for successful curling bets – since statistics are scarce – it is better to simplify the analysis to a competition between two skips, relying mostly on their performance history and physical conditions.
From year to year, national teams of countries with skips practicing different styles of play take part in the tournaments. While some countries use competitive selection principles for the main team, in others the team members are determined by special commissions in the national federations.
So, curling is not a sport where you can blindly rely on the achievements of a particular country. To be successful, you must consider several important things – what is the principle of forming the team, what are the strengths of the particular skip, whether he will play in a team with new players or be in a circle of familiar partners.
You should also understand the differences between men’s, women’s curling and mixed tournaments. While men’s teams are showing fairly consistent results, women’s curling is full of surprises with a large pool of championship teams.
In mixed disciplines – especially in “doubles” – the factor of teamwork of the participants plays a decisive role. Speaking of women’s curling and double mixed, betting on the favorite is quite risky (with the exception of the Canadian curling league).
For the latest news and statistics, please visit the Canadian curling websites. In addition, data on the results of international tournaments and domestic competitions can be found on the World Curling Federation and national associations websites.
Having understood the rules and key features of the game, do not rush to make large bets on curling. First, there are limits on the size of bets at small tournaments. Secondly, there are no win-win curling betting strategies. To be successful, you must work to improve your betting strategy daily.
With such a short season and only a few tournaments accepted by sportsbooks, you will need an entire Olympic cycle to get in shape and gain the knowledge you need. However, by developing your forecasting skills in several sports at once, you can become more successful in Winter Olympics betting.