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A Beginner’s Guide to Modern Pentathlon Betting

If you enjoy betting, then in many ways the modern pentathlon is the dream sport as it is really five sports rolled into one. The Ancient Greeks held the first pentathlons, but they have come a long way since then, and today many people believe that pent-athletes represent the height of athleticism. If you want to start betting on the modern pentathlon but you’re not sure where to start, then keep reading. In this guide, is we will cover what the pentathlon involves, the different types of bets you can place and give you some tips on how to research your bets.  

Modern Pentathlon Basics 

As the name suggests, the modern pentathlon combines five separate disciplines, fencing, swimming, jumping, running, and shooting. However, the last two of these, shooting and running, are combined into one. For a long time, only soldiers contested the modern form of the event, as it was designed to demonstrate the skills needed to escape from behind enemy lines. However, today, the competition is open to all athletes.  

All stages of the pentathlon take part on the same day and the performance of an athlete in the first three events will determine their starting position for the shooting/racing combination at the end. The first athlete to cross the finish line in the final run is declared the overall winner of the competition.  

The pentathlon starts with fencing, in which all the participants must fight each other in a circular system. The duel, fought with epee swords, goes to the first successful shot and to meet the standard, an athlete needs to apply 70% of accurate injections. Next is a 200-metre freestyle swim with the standard set at two minutes 30 seconds. Every extra second that an athlete takes results in points being deducted. After swimming is the show jumping, which has a complex scoring system that requires athletes to finish the race as quickly as possible with as few technical errors as possible. 

As mentioned, the starting position in the final stage, the shooting and running, is determined by the score amassed in the previous three stages. Every four points equates to a one-second head start.  

The modern pentathlon was created for the Olympic Games, and as such, that remains the premier betting event. However, there are many more modern pentathlon events that fans can bet on, such as the World Modern Pentathlon Championships, the Pentathlon World Cup, and many more national and international competitions. Thanks to this, fans of the sport will find that there are plenty of opportunities to place bets all year round.  

Betting on Modern Pentathlon 

For obvious reasons, the modern pentathlon offers a huge number of betting markets. You can bet on the individual disciplines as well as the event as a whole. This means that there are many opportunities to place winning bets, and it is possible to put together some advanced betting strategies. Here we will explain some of the most popular modern pentathlon betting markets.  


This is the simplest and most popular betting market in all sports. You simply choose which of the athletes you believe will win and if they do, then you win the bet. The winning margin is irrelevant as is the results from the individual events; it is simply a bet on the overall winner.  

Handicap Betting  

If you want to back an athlete who is not the favourite, then often, handicap betting is a good way of doing so. The market assigns a handicap to the favourite, which they must then overcome if they are to be considered the winner. In the case of modern pentathlon, this will usually be an amount of time in seconds, e.g. -5 seconds. The market will present two athletes. If you were then to back the favourite, you would win the bet if they were still the winner after 5 seconds had been added to their time. If you were to back the underdog, then you would win the bet if they would be the winner after 5 seconds had been subtracted from their time. Handicap betting is a little confusing at first, but once you understand the principle it is quite straightforward and often, it is a way of finding much better odds.  

Place Betting 

This betting market allows you to bet on a particular athlete finishing in the top x places. For instance, you may see to finish in top 3, top 5, top 7, and so on. As long as your chosen athlete finishes within the proscribed number of places, then you will win your bet.  

Match Up Betting 

This type of betting market presents you with theoretical match ups between competing pairs of athletes. All you need to do is pick which one you think will finish higher in the standings, and as long as they do, then you win the bet. This type of market is a great way to bet on athletes that are in the middle of the field.  

Discipline Betting 

These markets allow you to bet on which athlete will perform best within a specific discipline. For example, you could bet on who will win the swimming or who will win the show jumping. You may find further betting markets on individual disciplines, such as handicap betting, bets on the points scored, the time achieved, and so on. These markets can represent some fantastic opportunities, especially if you know that a particular athlete excels in one of the disciplines.  

In-Play Betting 

In-play betting, or live betting, allows you to bet on a modern pentathlon event while it is taking place. You will find many of the markets described above, and possibly quite a few extra, and the odds will be updated as the event progresses. This means that if you are watching live and you keep an eye on the odds, that you will have the chance to spot some exciting betting opportunities.  

What to Consider When Betting on Modern Pentathlon  

The key to successful betting is always going to be research. While there is no way of placing a 100% safe bet, the more information you are able to gather and take into account, the better your chances will be.  

The modern pentathlon is a very complicated sport, there are many components to it, and each athlete will have his/her own strengths and weaknesses. This means that to become a true expert, a huge amount of analysis is needed. Furthermore, as it is not a mainstream sport, it can be hard to find information.  

It means that you need to do your best to research the individual athletes. You need to try to assess their current forms by looking at recent events they have taken part in and if possible, by trying to find some information about how their training is progressing. You also need to be aware if athletes have suffered any injuries, and how this may affect performance, or if they have been unwell recently. 

Nearly every modern pentathlon athlete will have a discipline that he/she specialises in. This is very important to know when planning your bets. You need to know what their records are like in each of the disciplines and if they have any weak spots. You should also consider the nature of the competition. The smaller competitions can produce a number of surprises, as the top athletes will not put too much emphasis on them.  

While modern pentathlon is all about the individual athletes, it is too easy to overlook the role of the horse in the show jumping. The athletes will only meet the horse 20 minutes before the start, so you need to look at the test races very carefully to see how the horse obeys the rider, what kind of form the horse is in, whether the horse struggles with any particular areas, and so on.  

The ultimate winner of the modern pentathlon is the first to cross the finish line. This means that the running and shooting is the most important part. Therefore, you should look into the running background of the athletes. If one is known to be a particularly strong runner, then this should definitely factor into your betting strategy.  

There are a number of external factors that are worth considering as well. For instance, it is always a good idea to check the weather forecast and to see if you can find any historical information about how the athletes have performed in different conditions. Some will be better suited to hot climates, some to cold, and so on.  

The amount of research you can do is almost limitless, but realistically you may not have time to do it. Therefore, the best thing to do is to try to watch the sport as much as you can. That way you will become familiar with the athletes and can hopefully soon start placing many successful bets.  


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