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A Beginner’s Guide to Weightlifting Betting

Weightlifting is one of the world’s oldest sports and there are some major events that attract a huge amount of attention from fans. This of course means that you can bet on these competitions, and there are often opportunities to place some serious bets. Even if you know very little about weightlifting it is not difficult to get started betting on the sport. In this guide, we will go through everything you need to know to do just that. We will explain how the competitions work, teach you about the different types of bets, and give you some ideas for research that you may wish to carry out before placing bets.

Weightlifting Basics

At first weightlifting may sound very straightforward, simply a matter of which competitor can lift the heaviest weight. However, there is far more to the sport than first meets the eye and it is essential that you properly understand it.

The sport weightlifting is also known as Olympic weightlifting, where there is a specific set of rules and different types of lifts. The International Weightlifting Federation sets the rules and there are many of them. However, you do not need to understand them all in order to bet on the sport.

There are eight bodyweight categories in the men’s competition, ranging from 56kg to 105+kg, while the women’s has seven categories, from 48kg to 75+kg. The competition consists of two events, the Snatch and the Clean and Jerk (C&J). In each competition, the athletes are given three attempts at each lift. The heaviest weights successfully lifted by a competitor in each event is known as the Total. The competitor with the highest total is the overall winner, but in some competitions there may also be awards for individual lifts.

The first event in the competition is the Snatch. The lift is done with great power and speed with the bar being raised from the floor to arms’ length over the head in one motion, which takes less than one second. In the men’s competition, you will see weights in excess of 210kg being lifted while in the women’s 140+ kg is not unusual.

The second event is the Clean and Jerk, and it is the one in which the most weight can be lifted. In this event, the barbell is lifted overhead through two continues motions. First is the clean, which brings the bar to the shoulders, and then the jerk, which requires the athlete to raise the bar overhead. The weights reached are truly astounding with the heaviest male athletes going for 260+kg and the women going for 180+kg.

As mentioned, each athlete has three attempts at their chosen weight for each lift. There are three referees and if the lift is successful, the referee hits a button to acknowledge it and record the score. If a lift fails or is considered invalid, then the referee hits a red button. When the highest value has been collected for each lift, the total weight lifted in the snatch is added to the total weight lifted in the clean and jerk. The lifter with the highest combined weight becomes the champion. If there is a tie, then the lifter with the lesser bodyweight is declared the winner.

There are a number of weightlifting competitions that you can bet on. The most famous is the Olympic Games, but of course, this only happens every four years. You will also be able to bet on the IWF Weightlifting World Championships, which takes place every year. There is also a Youth World Championships, which attracts a great deal of betting attention.

Betting on Weightlifting

Just as weightlifting is a relatively easy sport to understand, so are its associated betting markets. There are not many of them, so you do not have much to study. Here is a brief explanation of the main types of weightlifting bets.


This is always going to be the easiest betting market to use. You just select which athlete you think will win the competition. If that athlete then goes on to win, you will win your bet. As there are no draws in weightlifting, it will always be a yes or no choice.

Head to Head Bet

For this market, two weightlifters will be paired up. You simply need to choose which one you think will do better. It doesn’t matter where your chosen weightlifter finishes in the rankings, as long as he/she is higher than the one they have been paired with.

Bets on Top 3

This type of betting market often offers very generous odds, as it is not easy to predict. However, it is an excellent one to use, especially if you think the competition is going to be close. It simply requires you to pick which three weightlifters you think will finish in the top three. You don’t have to pick the order. If you get it right then you could be in for a big pay day.

Handicap Betting

Handicap betting markets are designed to make the odds more attractive on underdogs. The idea is that the favourite is given a handicap that they must overcome, thereby shortening their odds. In the case of weightlifting, a typical market may pit two athletes against one another. You may see something like Athlete A -3.5kg, Athlete B +3.5kg. In this instance, if you were to bet on Athlete A to win, then you would win the bet they were still the winner once 3.5kg have been subtracted from their total. If you were to bet on Athlete B, then you would win the bet if they were the winner after 3.5kg were added to their total.


Over/Under betting markets can represent excellent value. As the name suggests, they require you to bet on something being above or below a given value. In the case of weightlifting this will most often be on the total weight lifted by an athlete, e.g. Over/Under 200kg. If you think that the athlete will lift more than that then you bet Over, if you think the athlete will lift less then you bet Under.

Outright Bets

Before the start of a major tournament or event, you may find a number of outright bets available. The most basic of these is picking the winner. However, you may find more and they can be a lot of fun. For instance, ahead of the Olympic Games you can often bet on which countries will win medals or what the medal tally will be for each country. It is always worth looking at these bets to see what is available.

Live Betting

Live betting, also known as in-play betting, gives you the opportunity to bet on weightlifting competitions while they happen. You will find the same markets as described above, but the odds will be adjusted in real time to reflect what is happening. It means that you may be able to spot some great opportunities if you think an athlete is going to cause a surprise having watched a few lifts.

What to Consider When Betting on Weightlifting

The key to placing successful bets is always research. While you can never be sure of placing a winning bet, the more knowledge you have, the better your chances are. If you are a long-term fan of weightlifting then the chances are that you have already a great deal of knowledge about the athletes and this is a fantastic starting point. However, if you don’t there is no reason to worry as you can find out a huge amount online.

You are going to want to look into the participants’ statistics. Examine how they have performed in recent competitions and if there has been a gradual improvement or decline. You should also try to find out what state of mind they are in and what their goals are. While this may sound difficult, you’ll be surprised by how much is shared on social media. Often you can even gain an insight into their training and into how much they have been lifting.

A huge thing to be on the lookout for is injuries. If an athlete has suffered an injury, it is worth looking into what the usual recover time is. If they are returning to competition very quickly, then it may suggest that they are not fully healed and this could affect their performance.

You also need to consider how important the competition is. If there is a big name taking part in a small competition then they are likely using it as a warm up event for something bigger. Very often, they will not be there to win, just to get into the right frame of mind for competing. If it is a major event, such as the Olympic Games, then you can assume that the athletes will be in top form, but you may then want to consider the pressure they are under and how that may affect their performance.

The better you get to know the athletes, the more informed your bets will be. With a bit of experience, careful research and luck, there is every chance that you will soon be placing numerous winning bets.

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