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A Beginner’s Guide to Fencing Betting

Fencing is a truly ancient sport and one that continues to attract thousands of fans from around the world. Many fencing competitions take place each year, and each one brings a variety of betting options. Don’t worry if you are new to fencing, in this guide you will find all you need to get started, including an explanation of the sport, the different types of bets, and the type of research you need to do before placing a bet.  

Fencing Basics 

Fencing clearly has its origins in sword fighting and in particular in duels. It began to develop as a sport in the 15th century when firearms began to be used for actual battles and sword fighting became a display of skill.  

The early rules of the sport, where university students would fence to draw the first blood, are obviously no longer used. Today, it is a highly civilised sport that uses a variety of complicated equipment and has various different forms.  

There are three main fencing disciplines, whether in the men’s single, women’s single, or team versions of the sport, and each discipline uses a slightly different weapon. The epée is the heaviest sword, the foil is a lighter thrusting weapon, and the sabre is a cutting and thrusting weapon. 

The matches take place on a “piste” that is 46 feet long and 6 feet wide. It has a centre line with on-guard lines six feet to either side across the width of the piste, and this is where the fencers start each round.  

The scoring is slightly different in each of the three disciplines. With the foil, only strikes to the torso, neck, groin and back count, and points can only be scored using the tip of the weapon, not the side. With the sabre, strikes beneath the waist do not count and the hands no not register as a hit. However, the fencers may use both the tip and the blade of the sabre to score points. With the epée, it is possible for both fencers to score simultaneously and only the tip of the weapon may be used. However, the entire body is a target.  

The format of the match differs depending on the tournament. At the Olympics, matches are contested over three three-minute rounds, with the winner being the first to score 15 points or whoever has the most hits after the three rounds. In other tournaments, a variation on this structure is common, with the winner being the first to a predetermined number of points. 

There are various other rules to be aware of. For instance, failure to salute at the start and end of a bout can result in the loss of a point. As you become more familiar with the sport, you are sure to notice the subtle rules, but those described above are enough to get you started. 

Beyond the Olympics, there are many national and international fencing competitions, such as the World Fencing Championships and the Fencing World Cup. At present, more than 150 countries participate in the various International Fencing Federation sponsored tournaments. Thanks to this, fans of the sport can be sure that the next betting opportunity is never far away.  

Betting on Fencing 

When betting on fencing you will be able to bet on both individual matches and tournaments as a whole. As such, there are many different betting markets available, each of which relates to a different aspect of the sport. Here we will explain the most popular betting markets to help you get started.  


This is the most basic bet on a match and the most popular. You are simply betting on which of the two fencers will win. As long as your chosen fencer wins, then you will win the bet.  

Handicap Betting  

Handicap betting is a way of finding more interesting odds in the case of their being a clear favourite to win. The market will place a points handicap on the favourite, such as -3, and give the underdog an advantage, such as +3. If you were then to back the favourite to win, you would only win the bet if they were still the winner once that number of points has been deducted from the final score. If you were to back the underdog, you will win the bet if they were the winners after that number of points has been added to their score.  

Place Betting 

In the case of a tournament, this type of market allows you to bet on a fencer finishing in one of the top places. For example, you could bet on the fencer having a podium finish, or possibly finishing in the top 5. It is an interesting way to back fencers who you do not think will win but will do well.  

Over/Under Points  

These betting markets relate to how many points will be scored in a bout. The most common is Full Time Over/Under, which relates to how many points are scored in total, across both fencers. For instance, the market may offer Over/Under 27.5 points, which simply means that if you think that 28 or more points will be scored you bet over and if you think 17 or less will be scored you bet under. You may also find the same markets available on the scores for the individual fencers.  

Match Ups 

This is another type of betting market that applies to a tournament as a whole. The market pairs up fencers and you can bet on which one you think will do better. Neither of the two fencers need to win the tournament, you are simply backing one of them to go further.  


These are betting markets that apply to the tournament as a whole, not individual fights. For instance, you could bet on which fencer will be the overall winner. You may find many more markets on offer, and with the bigger competitions, they could be quite interesting. Furthermore, as a general rule, the earlier in advance that you place the bets, the more generous the odds on offer.  

In-Play Betting 

In-play betting, or live betting, is a great way to make betting on fencing even more exiting. It allows you to bet on a fencing match as it is taking place. You will find many of the same markets as described above, but the odds will be updated in real time to reflect what is happening in the duel. Furthermore, very often you will find a category of bets known as ‘Next To’, which allow you to bet on the next thing to happen, such as the next fencer to score a point. This means that if you watch both the duel and the odds carefully, you may be able to find some excellent betting opportunities.  

What to Consider When Betting on Fencing  

If you want to place successful and profitable bets, then you should not just blindly back the favourite in each of the betting markets. Rather, you should carry out as much research as possible in order to spot the more rewarding betting opportunities. While this will not guarantee that you win your bets, it will go a long way to helping.  

Fencing is a very individual sport, which means that you will need to study each of the athletes taking part. Not only should you be looking at their statistics, but also, you should be watching them as much as possible to get a sense of their style, strengths and weaknesses.  

Regardless of the discipline, a fencer needs to be fast, have good reaction times, balance, and be clear thinking. Fencing is largely about concentrating and being able to react quickly in the moment. A point is sometimes decided in a fraction of a second. As such, being level headed is extremely important, and this is something that you will only get a real sense of by watching the individual fencers.  

You should also look at the head-to-head results between the two. If they are known rivals then this can have a huge impact on the psychology of the duel, and it is up to you to assess this. Will one become overconfident? Will a desire for revenge end in humiliation? These things are almost impossible to quantify, but they are very important to understanding the sport.  

Another important factor is the prestige of the tournament. Experienced fighters, perhaps nearing the end of their careers, will pay far more attention to the World Cup or Olympics than a smaller local event. Therefore, while they may take part, they may not head there in their best form.  

There is plenty of information to help you on the internet, and you can also look for the latest news regarding the fencers. The more information you are able to gather and incorporate into your thinking, the better your chances will be of placing many successful bets.  

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