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A Beginner’s Guide to Judo Betting

Judo is an incredibly exciting sport. While it is Japanese in origin, today people around the world practise the martial art and it has even become an Olympic event. Beyond the Olympics, many other events and championships take place on a regular basis, which of course means that there are plenty of opportunities to place bets. Do not worry if you are completely new to judo betting. In this guide, we will teach you the basics of the sport, the different types of bets available, and what you should be looking for when placing bets.

Judo Basics

Judo is a system of self-defence that was founded in Japan in 1882 by Professor Jigoro Kano. He viewed it as a way of becoming physically and mentally fit through disciplined training, and while it may be a martial art, the word judo means “the gentle way” or “the way of giving way” in Japanese.

A judo contents takes place in an 8-metre square known as the ‘tatami’. This is surrounded by a red outer metre danger area, which is inside the playing area, but participants can only remain in it for a few seconds before attempting a throw otherwise they will be penalised. Finally, there is a 3-metre outer zone safety area in which participants can be thrown as long as the thrower remains in the contest area.

There are three referees in a judo fight. A central referee who controls the contest by moving around the mat, and two others that sit at opposite corners. Each decision has to be agreed by at least two of the three.

The opponents in a fight try to end it as quickly as possible in one of three ways. The first is throwing an opponent so that they land hard on their back. The second is holding or pinning the opponent on their back for 25 seconds. The third is to strangle or hold the opponent in an arm lock so that they submit.

There are of course many different moves in judo, which you will become more familiar with as you watch the sport. While it is far too complicated to discuss in detail here, there is some basic terminology that will help you understand what is going on:

  • Golden Score: If a match ends in a tie, then it is settled with a sudden death period known as the Golden Score with the first fighter to score declared the winner.
  • Hansoku-Make: This refers to a violation of the rules that is so severe the participant will be disqualified from the tournament.
  • Ippon: This is a score that immediately wins a match, such as by throwing the opponent onto their back.
  • Judoka: The term used for a judo fighter.
  • Koka: This is a legacy term that was used for a score less than a yuko. However, it has not been used since 2008.
  • Maitta: This literally means “I surrender” and it is a way for a judoka to signify that they are submitting.
  • Nage-waza: A catchall term for throwing techniques used in judo.
  • Ne-waza: A term for grappling techniques in judo.
  • Shido: This is a minor rule infringement, such as an extended period of non-aggression. If a judoka is given three Shidos then the opponent wins.
  • Waza-ari: This is a throw that puts the opponent on their back but not forcefully enough to be awarded an ippon.
  • Yuko: A throw that ends with the opponent landing on their side.

There are many judo events that you can bet on, such as the World Judo Championships, which take place every year, and the Olympic Games. There are of course smaller events, and you will often find betting markets available for these.

Betting on Judo

While judo is a complicated sport, betting on it is very simple. You will not find many betting markets available on a judo match and those that are available are easy to understand. Here is a brief explanation of the main types of judo bets.


This is the simplest of all bets, regardless of the sport. You simply need to bet on which judoka you think will win. There are no draws in judo, so as long as you pick the correct judoka, you will win your bet.

Bets on Top 3

This is a very difficult bet to get right, which means that it offers the chance of a big payout. However, the bet itself is very easy to understand. You simply have to predict which participants in a tournament will finish in the top three places. You do not need to predict the order that they will come in, which makes life a little simpler. It is an excellent bet to use if you believe that there are a number of strong participants and you are not sure who will come out on top.

Handicap Betting

Handicap betting is not a market; rather it is a way of adjusting the markets to make them more interesting. As the name suggests, it assigns a handicap to one of the participants and they must then overcome it in order to be declared the winner. For example, you may see one judoka assigned –x points and the other assigned +x points. In this instance, if you were to bet on the first to win, then you would win the bet if that judoka is still the winner once x number of points were deducted from the score. If you were to bet on the other, then you would win the bet if they were the winner after x amount of points were added to their score.


Over/Under betting markets are very simple to understand and can be a lot of fun. You are betting on whether something will happen more or less than the number given in the market. For instance, it could be an over/under market on how long a fight will last. The market will give you a time, e.g. 3 minutes, and if you think the fight will be longer then you bet over and if you think the fight will be shorter you bet under. You may see the same principle applied to many other things, such as the number of points, attempted throws, and so on.

Outright Bets

Before a tournament begins, there may be a number of outright bets that you can place. The most basic of these will be on who will win. However, in major events, such as the Olympic Games, you may also be able to bet on things such as which country will receive the most medals. As a general rule, the further in advance you place these bets, the better the odds will be.

Live Betting

Live betting, also known as in-play betting, is a way to make watching and betting on judo even more exciting. It allows you to bet as a fight is taking place. You will find many of the same markets as described above and the odds will be updated in real time. This means that by keeping a careful eye on everything, you may be able to take advantage of some excellent betting opportunities.

What to Consider When Betting on Judo

Regardless of the sport you are betting on, the more research you do, the better your chances will be of winning your bet. Of course, nothing is ever guaranteed, but the more information you have to hand the better.

However, before you delve into detailed research, the best thing you can do is to follow the sport closely. This way you will become familiar with the different judokas, their styles, personalities, and so on. You will gain a lot of knowledge without having to go to any effort, and this will be invaluable when placing bets.

When it comes to research, there are many different things that you can look at. For instance, you will want to consider their preparation methods, techniques, previous contests, and so on. In regards to specific fights, you can look to see if there is a head to head history between the two judokas and if there is an easily identifiable pattern to their results. If one judoka consistently loses, then you are unlikely to back them as a winner.

However, always remember that surprises do happen. That is why it is important to look at the judokas’ recent form. If one has been performing badly, then even if he/she would normally be the favourite, you may not want to back them.

It is always worth doing a quick search for the judokas online. You may be able to gather some information about their state of mind, how their training has been going, injuries, and so on. Many of them share a great deal on social media, and it is an excellent source of data.

There are other factors that you can consider, such as the prestige of the event, the travel involved, the fighting schedule, and so on. Essentially, you want to gather as much info as you can, and with a bit of luck and skill, you may soon be placing numerous winning bets.

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