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A Beginner’s Guide to Water Polo Betting

Water Polo has been an Olympic sport since 1900 and it is continuing to grow in popularity. There are a number of European leagues and the Olympic competition remains a firm favourite with spectators. It is an intense and sometimes aggressive game that is packed with action, which of course translates to betting opportunities. In this guide, we will introduce you to the basics of the sport, explain the most popular betting markets, and explain the kind of research you need to do before placing bets.

An Introduction to Water Polo

Water Polo is in some ways a water based version of handball. It is played by two teams of seven players each, and the objective is the throw the ball into the opponent’s goal, which is floating on the water.

Some people assume that the sport must be similar to horseback polo. However, the only similarity lies in the way that the ball is passed between players. In all other respects, they are entirely different sports.

The game is played in a pool that is at least 1.8m deep, with a goal 3m wide and at least 0.9m high. The size of the pool is different for men and women. Men play in a 30mx20m pool while women play in a 25mx17m pool. In both cases, there are two important lines marked on the pool deck. The first is the 2m lines, which are two metres out from the goalposts and only player with possession of the ball are allowed within the 2m area. The second is the 5m lines, which marks where penalty shots are taken.

A game is made up of four eight-minute periods. At the start, the ball is placed in the centre of the pool and both teams sprint for it from their own goal lines. If the scores are level at the end of regular time, then two extra periods of three minutes each are played. If there is still no winner, then a sudden-death period is played and the first team to score wins.

There are of course many more rules, but by understanding these basics, you should be able to begin following Water Polo matches.

You can bet on many different Water Polo competitions. For example, many countries have domestic leagues, the most popular of which include Italy, Spain and Hungary. There is the Water Polo Len EuroLeague, which is the premier European club competition each year. There is also the World Water Polo World League, which is an annual international competition. You can also bet on the European Championships, which takes place every two years, the FINA Water Polo World Cup, which is also every two years, and the Olympic Games.

Water Polo Betting Markets

Match Bets

This is the most basic type of Water Polo bet that you can place. It is simply a bet on one of the teams winning or the game ending in a tie. Ties are very rare in Water Polo, so the odds are often very long. However, if you back a team, then as long as that team wins then you win the bet, it doesn’t matter what margin they win by.

Total Score Bets

This is a very simple type of bet, but there are often a number of variations of it on offer. You are betting on what the total number of points scored will be from both teams. It is presented as an Over/Under bet. For example, you may see Over/Under 20.5, which means that you can bet Over if you think there will be 21 or more points or Under if you think there will be 20 or less.

There are normally a number of markets available, for instance you may be able to bet on the total score within each period. You can possibly bet on the total score after the first two periods, or even the first three. In each instance, the market works in exactly the same way, the only difference is the period of time the market covers.

Handicap Betting

If one of the teams is a clear favourite to win, then the odds may not seem very attractive. In other words, the returns may be very small, so to win a significant amount you will have to risk a large amount. This is why Handicap Betting was introduced.

The idea is very simple; a points handicap is applied to the favourite team. For example, Team A may be given a handicap of -2.5 while Team B would receive +2.5. This means, that if you bet on Team A to win, then they must win by at least 3 goals in order to overcome the handicap and for you to win the bet. Conversely, if you were to bet on Team B to win, as long as they lost by 3 goals or less, then that would be considered a win and you would win the bet. This way, the odds offered on the favourite will be more generous, as they will have to work harder for the win.

Proposition Bets

This is a category of bets on an event happening or player achievements. For example, you could bet on a specific player to score, or even to be the first or last goal scorer. You may also be able to bet on whether the game will be tied at a certain time, if a foul will be committed, and so on. The markets will vary from game to game, and it is always worth taking some time to look through them carefully to see what is available.


These are bets that refer to the league or tournament as a whole. The most basic of these will be on one of the teams to be the overall winner at the end of the season or competition. However, you can find a number of other outrights. For instance, you may be able to bet on the top scorer of the season or tournament, or teams to finish in the top three. The bets on offer will vary, so just like the proposition bets, it is worth checking on them. Furthermore, these bets’ odds are adjusted as the season progresses, so the earlier you place your bets, the better odds you are likely to find.


In-play, or live, betting is a great way to make watching Water Polo even more exciting. It allows you to bet on the game as it takes place. You will find many of the same markets as discussed above plus a number of special ones. You can bet on the next event to take place, such as the next team or player to score, the next foul, and so on. The odds are updated in real time, and if you can keep a close eye on the action and the markets, then you may spot some fantastic opportunities.

What to Consider When Betting on Water Polo

As with any sport, the key to successful Water Polo betting is doing as much research as possible. Of course, there is no such thing as a completely safe bet, but the more knowledgeable you are, the better judgements you will be able to make.

It goes without saying that you will need to research the teams in as much detail as possible You should start with the basic team news, such as are there any injuries or players missing for any other reason. Look at the teams’ recent results to get a sense of what kind of form they are in. You should also consider the schedule; if a team has been busy then they may be fatigued and not play at their best. Similarly, if they have had to travel a lot then this could also have an impact, as will whether they are playing at home or away.

While it can be dangerous to read too much into it, you can also consider the head-to-head record of the teams. Upsets happen in sports all the time, but if one of the two teams consistently beats the other, then it is definitely worth being aware of and taking into account when planning your bets.

Although the entire team is vital, the goalkeeper has particular importance in Water Polo and is widely considered the most important player. The goalkeeper must not only block shots on goal and is the last line of defence, but is also responsible for initiating quick counterattacks. Because of this, Water Polo goalkeepers tend to have many assists. Therefore, when researching your bets, look at the goalkeepers; check out their form, if they have suffered any injuries and so on. If a top team is missing their regular goalkeeper then it may represent an excellent betting opportunity.

You should also look at the pool where the match is taking place. If the match is being played outdoors then this can make a big difference and you will need to look into how the teams perform outside and also consider the weather conditions.

In short, the more factors you can take into account, the better your chances of placing a successful bet. By using all the different betting markets you can then build a strategy and have a great deal of fun betting on numerous Water Polo matches.

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