Speedway racing has a long and proud history dating back to at least 1928 when the first race took place in the UK. The format of the races is very straightforward. Up to six drivers race over four laps of an oval circuit. The tracks themselves are surfaced with loosely packed shale or dolomite and they range from 260 metres up to 425 metres. Furthermore, they must not have a gradient or more than 5% on the straights and 10% at the bends.
Each event consists of a number of heats, in which four riders compete. The winner receives 3 points, second place 2 and third place 1. Each heat can be as short as 1m30s. In the Speedway Grand Prix (SGP), sixteen riders compete over 20 heats. The top eight riders on points then compete in two semi-finals and a final to crown the champion for that GP. Over the course of the season, the rider who collects the most points from the 11 Speedway Grand Prixes is crowned World Champion.
There is also league racing in which two teams go head to head, each with five riders and two reserves. In the heat, the riders work in teams with two from each squad taking part; therefore, a team can collect five points, by finishing first and second. It is possible to collect 90 points from a match, so the winner is the first team to reach 46 points.
Speedway is hugely popular in Northern Europe and Australia. Many believe that Poland’s Ekstraliga is the best in the world, followed by Sweden’s Elitserien and the UK’s Premiership. With so many leagues around the world, there is Speedway action taking place on a very regular basis, which means that fans of the sport have a huge number of betting opportunities.
While the sport is very straightforward, there is a lot of terminology used, which may be a bit confusing for beginners. To help you, here is a small glossary of the most common terms:
- Gating – This is a term used when talking about the efficiency and speed of a rider when they leave their position at the starting gate. It can have a huge impact on the outcome of the race.
- Gates – These are the colour coded starting points. The inside gate is red and the blue, white, yellow, and black are on the outside late.
- Curve Speed – These is the average speed that riders manage around the curves. The top riders will average around 62mpg.
- Powersliding – Also referred to as broadsliding, this is the technique used by Speedway riders to angle the bikes and reduce the speed when going round a corner.
- Grading – This is the texture of the racetrack and it has four layers, a mixture of shale, granite, and brick granules, and it will affect the speed of the bikes.
- Dutch Peg – This is a protection mechanism that will prevent a chain from injuring a rider.
- Tape Infringement – This is when a driver fails to remain on the starting position before the start of a race.
- Dead Heat – This is a race to determine the winner in the event of a tie.
Betting on Speedway
Each Speedway event brings a huge number of betting possibilities and a range of different markets to take advantage of. There are also outright markets that relate to the season as a whole. Here you will find an explanation of the most popular betting markets.
This is by far the most popular type of bet in almost every sport. It is simply a bet on which team you think will win a meeting. Usually the market will offer you three options, you can back the home team, the away team or a draw. However, in Speedway draws are very rare, so while the odds may be attractive, it will not be an easy bet to win. As long as your chosen team wins the event, then you will win your bet, regardless of by how many points the team wins.
It is not unusual to for Speedway meetings to be unbalanced. In other words, often there is a clear favourite to win and a clear underdog. As such, the odds offered on the Money Line bet may be quite short, meaning that you have to bet a large amount in order to try to win big.
This is why Handicap Betting was introduced. A handicap is assigned to the favourite. Another way of looking at it is that the underdog is given a virtual head start, and this is then reflected in the odds. For example, in a meeting between Team A and Team B, where Team A are the favourites, then Team A may be given a handicap of -4, meaning that they have a points deficit to overcome. Therefore, Team A would have to win by 5 points or more in order to overcome the handicap. If they draw, lose or win by 4 points or less, then they will not have ‘covered’ the handicap. Meanwhile, Team B were given a 4 point headstart, which means that if they lose by 3 points or less then they will be considered the winner. However, if they lose by 5 points or more then they will be the loser. The odds on these markets are often far more attractive than the Money Line bets, and while they are more risky, they offer larger potential returns.
Rider Match-Up markets are designed to allow you to bet on individual riders in a meeting, rather than the teams as a whole. The markets will pick a rider from each team and you simply bet on which one you think will amass more points. As long as your chosen rider has more points than the other does at the end of an event, then you will win the bet. The exception to this is if both drivers in the match up reach the final, in which case the bet is determined by the result of the final.
This is a simple bet on the number of points that you think a specific rider will accumulate in a single meeting, or sometimes in a heat. It is nearly always offered as an over/under bet. For example, it might be over/under 4, and you are then betting on whether you think the rider will accumulate more or less than 4 points.
A similar bet may be offered for teams, Team Totals, and it may be possible to bet on a heat or an entire meeting. Once again, it will be a very straightforward over/under bet.
These types of bet are longer term and will not be determined by a single event. However, given how many accidents there tend to be in Speedway, they can be very hard to predict, and this means that the odds are sometimes very generous. The markets will allow you to bet on the outcome of whole seasons or competitions such as the World Cup.
Live, or in-play betting, allows you to bet on the action as the event is taking place. You will find many of the same markets as described above; however, the odds will be updated in real time to reflect the action. As such, by keeping a careful eye on the event and the betting markets, you may spot some fantastic opportunities, and it will make watching the sport even more exciting.
What to Consider When Betting on Speedway
Speedway is one of the least predictable sports due to the large number of accidents that can happen. As such, every bet really is a bit of a gamble and there can be no guarantee of success. However, by doing your research carefully, you can give yourself the best possible chance of winning.
For example, you need to stay on top of all the latest news. A team’s top rider may miss a meeting due to injury, and this can have a huge impact on the team as a whole and the driver’s longer-term prospects. As such, before placing a bet, you need to be aware of any injuries. You can also look at how teams and individual riders have performed at specific tracks in the past as this can often give you a good indication of how they will perform in the future. Another thing to consider is a rider’s schedule, if they are busy and tired, then it may affect performance.
One often overlook factor is the weather, which will have a big impact on track conditions. Keep an eye on the weather in the days leading up to a race. Normally, the host team will have a week of training on a track before a race, which can give them a big advantage. However, if it has been raining, then this advantage is effectively removed.
The best thing you can do is to watch as much Speedway you can as possible so that you become familiar with the sport, the teams and the drivers. Then, by combining your knowledge with the information provided in this article, you will hopefully soon be on your way to Speedway betting success.