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In the world of professional athletics, betting is big business. Major events in the athletics calendar such as the Olympics and the Premier League finals tend to be the busiest times of year for bookmakers, with fans around the world trying to get a piece of the action by wagering on their favourite athletes and teams. Whenever bets are made available for a particular athletics event, a bookmaker will provide odds on each athlete, team, and outcome.

These odds determine how much you stand to win if your bet pays off, as well as what the likelihood of a particular outcome is, such as an athlete winning a gold medal at the Olympics. So, how are these odds actually calculated, and what kind of considerations go into the formation of those odds? Read this explainer to find out.

Who creates odds for athletes?

First, it’s worth looking at who is responsible for actually deciding the odds for athletes. For this, much of the responsibility falls with the bookmakers that are taking the bets themselves. Odds determine how much bookies will payout, so it’s important to take into account as many factors as possible, as well as the actual margin that the bookmaker will take for each wager.

This is a highly competitive industry, with most of the top sportsbooks being attached to major online casino brands. Much in the same way that land-based bookies have operated out of Las Vegas casinos since time immemorial, online sportsbooks are nearly always offered as part of an online casino’s product.

Each casino might even offer different odds on the same sports markets, with some offering more competitive odds to attract punters. Most of the largest online casinos also tend to offer various bonuses to sports bettors and gamers, such as free bets and no deposit bonuses, to encourage take up of their betting markets.

Bookmakers will also look closely at competitors to see what kinds of odds they are offering customers. That’s why it can be worth shopping around to see if a particular bookmaker offers superior odds on a certain athlete or event.

Track record

Probably the most important factor that goes into calculating odds for athletes is their previous track record. Let’s use the example of a professional footballer. A bookmaker would look at all of their career history, including their goal-scoring record, playing style, historical possession, and how well they have previously performed in home and away games. This can help to give a reliable idea of how an athlete will perform in the future.

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Athlete stats

In addition to their historical career performance, bookmakers will also look at an athlete’s specific stats. Injuries will play a critical role in calculating odds, with recent injuries usually resulting in less favourable odds being given. They will also look at an athlete’s technique and compare this to the conditions of an upcoming event to help calculate odds.

Conditions of play

Finally, the conditions of play during the upcoming event, race, or match will also play a role in the calculation of athletics odds. Bookmakers tend to take a huge amount of factors into account. For example, tennis odds will often look at the type of court that the upcoming event will take place on, as this could positively or negatively affect the odds. Weather conditions also play a role sometimes, with a forecast of rain or snow sometimes being taken into account when calculating odds for sports such as football or rugby.

These are the main considerations that go into calculating betting odds for athletes. Keep these in mind next time you’re trying to figure out how likely it is that your favourite athletes will bring home the gold.