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A Beginner’s Guide to Rowing Betting

It is likely that for as long as mankind has had boats, there have been boat races. There is certainly evidence of rowing races dating back to ancient Egypt when the pharaohs held races on barges. Today, rowing is a very popular sport, particularly in countries such as the UK and South Africa, and it is possible to bet on many different races. If you are interested in betting on rowing then you have come to the right place. 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.

Rowing Basics

Rowing is not a complicated sport and even those who have never seen a race can get to grips with it very quickly. However, it is considered one of the most technical and tiring sports in the world. This is because when rowing on a river, the rower sits on a movable seat and uses the legs, back and arms to move the boat with oars.

People can row in crews or on their own. There are two basic types of rowing, sweep rowing, which is one oar per person, and sculling, which is two oars per person. Boats can have one, two, four or eight rowers, and in some cases, there is also a cox, whose job is to steer the boat and direct the crew. As such, there are many different possible races.

At the Olympics, rowers compete over a 2km and there are several events:

  • Coxless pair — men
  • Double scull — men
  • Double sculls — women
  • Eight with cox — men
  • Eight with cox — women
  • Four without cox — men
  • Lightweight coxless four — men
  • Lightweight double sculls — men
  • Lightweight double sculls — women
  • Pair without cox — women
  • Quadruple sculls without cox — men
  • Quadruple sculls without cox — women
  • Single sculls — men
  • Single sculls — women

However, there are far more types of races, and at a large regatta (a rowing event) you may see multi-lane races, side-by-side races, surf regattas, beach sprints, and so on. Furthermore, the races can be over varying distances. You will also find time trials, also known as Head Racing, and there are special challenge events, such as the Boston Marathon, which is held over 50km.

Each year there are many popular rowing events and each of them offers a wealth of betting opportunities.

One of the highlights of the rowing calendar is the World Rowing Cup. It is a regatta event that is split into three separate races. However, the event is unique as each of the races is held in a different place and at a different time. The races are held in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Poznan, Poland, and Plovdiv, Bulgaria. In each of these three races, the first seven positions are awarded points. At the end of the final race, the winner is the country that has the most points.

An even more popular event is the World Rowing Championships. It includes some of the most prestigious races in the sport and they take place at the end of every season. The event lasts for eight days and it is progressive in nature. In other words, the rowers have to qualify for each round and will progress through the stages (or be knocked out) until they win.

Of course, the Olympic Games is a true highlight for rowers with several races taking place, as detailed above. As such, there are more than enough opportunities for fans of the sport to place bets.

Betting on Rowing

One of the biggest advantages to betting on rowing is that there are not many betting markets available. This means that you do not have to spend a great deal of time understanding them and you can devote your energies to planning your bets instead. Here you can find a brief explanation of the most common types of bets.


Regardless of what sport you are betting on, this is always a good market for beginners. As you have probably guessed, you are simply betting on who you think will win a race or event. While the concept is simple, rowing is often full of surprises, which means that picking a winner can be difficult. The advantage of this is that as a result odds are often very generous.

Head to Head Bets

This is another very simple betting market that can be a lot of fun. It will pair up the participants in a race (be it a crew or an individual rower), and you simply bet on which you think will rank higher in a race or a championship. The rower or crew you bet on does not need to be the overall winner; they simply need to finish higher in the classifications than the team they were paired against.

Bets 1 – 3

This type of bet can be very exciting, but to be successful, it will require detailed knowledge of the sport and the participating rowers. You are betting on which rowers or crews of rowers will take the first three places on the scoreboard. You do not have to predict the order, but you do need to get all three correct. This is obviously not an easy thing to do and as such, the odds are often very generous. In other words, if you get it right then you could be in for a big payday.

Handicap Betting

Handicaps can be applied to almost any betting market. The idea is to even up the odds when there is a strong favourite and give fans reasons to bet on other participants. This is done by assigning the favourite a handicap that they must then overcome. For example, you may see something like Team A +3s and Team B -3s. This means that if you were to bet on Team A to win, then you will only win the bet if the team are still the winners after 3 seconds have been added to their time. If you were to bet on Team B to win, then you would win the bet if they were the winners once 3 seconds have been subtracted from their time.


Over/Under markets are also very easy to understand and can present you with some exciting options. You are essentially betting on whether a value will be higher or lower than that given in the market. For example, you may see Over/Under 6 minutes 30 seconds. If you think the rower will complete the race is less time than that then you bet Under, if you think it will take longer, then you bet Over. You may see this principle applied to many different things, but it will always be just as simple.

Futures and Outrights

Ahead of the start of a major event such as the Olympics, you may be able to place future or outright bets. For example, you might be able to bet on which country will win the most medals, which rowers will take gold, and so on. Normally, the earlier you place these bets, the more generous the odds are.

Live Betting

Live betting, also known as in-play betting, can make watching rowing even more exciting. It allows you to bet on a race as it is taking place. You will find the same markets as described above, but the odds will be updated in real time to reflect what is happening in the race. This means that if you are watching carefully you may be able to spot some excellent betting opportunities.

What to Consider When Betting on Rowing

It goes without saying that you should not be placing bets without carrying out some careful research first. Picking teams or rowers at random is not going to win you much money. While there is never such thing as a guaranteed bet, the more research you do, the better your chances are of winning. However, it is not always easy to know exactly what you should be researching.

To begin with, you will want to look at the statistics of the rowers and squads taking part in an event. Look at their past results and check to see if there have been any recent roster changes. A last-minute change to a crew can be disastrous for even the best teams. If possible, look into the type of training that the rowers have been doing to see if it is appropriate for the event, and also at how frequently they have been training.

You should also try to get a sense of the individual rowers. Don’t assume that a young rower will be better than an old one, as age brings experience. Also, check to see if there have been any recent injuries. You may find that social media is a treasure trove of helpful information as many rowers share information about their health. If you see that a rower is undergoing physiotherapy, then you should definitely factor this into your betting strategy.

In other words, take the time do to careful research as it can only improve your chances of placing successful bets. Be sure to watch as much rowing as you can, and with a bit of luck you will soon be placing numerous winning rowing bets.

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