Water polo is hardly a popular sport for betting. However, it is one of the oldest sports in Olympic history. Men’s water polo was first contested in 1900. The women’s event debuted at the Games exactly 100 years later, in 2000. We tell you just the basics and the basics about both the sport itself and betting on it.
Special features of water polo, rule changes
Water polo matches have a rich history, but it is not the case that the rules, once established, do not change over the years. Initially water polo was more like rugby: players could grab each other, drown each other and wrestle the ball away in every possible way. The game was very dangerous. So over time the rules became more and more rigid. At the same time it became clear: water polo under the new rules would be a very boring sport. To add to the excitement, time was introduced to develop the attack (constantly decreasing) and the time to remove a player for a foul.
Changes in the rules are a feature of water polo. The main purpose of the changes is to try to make water polo a more spectacular game and add goals. It is a good idea to study the rule changes carefully before each tournament and bet on the competition based on this.
Types of water polo betting
Bookmakers often limit their water polo betting to just the basic bets in their water polo spreadsheet.
Outcome bets. In water polo, a draw is possible, so there are three options available in outcome betting: a win for the first team (P1), a draw (X) and a win for the second team (P2).
Betting on a win with a handicap. Water polo is one of those sports where in most matches there is a known favourite beforehand (too much difference in class). This makes victory handicap betting particularly popular in water polo. A handicap allows you to level the odds of the teams to win, and for the player to consider betting options with higher odds. Most of the time, the handicap in the water polo schedule is 1 or 2 goals, not more.
Betting on a win in a period. A water polo match consists of 4 periods of 8 minutes net time in each. Respectively, a player can bet on a victory in each individual period. Or on a victory in a separate period with a handicap.
Bets on totals. Water polo is being made more and more attractive to spectators each year. The rules are changing to reduce the time for possession, respectively, more goals are being scored. Bets on water polo totals are among the most popular betting lines.
How to bet on water polo
With water polo not being the most popular, it can be assumed that the bookmaker and the punter are in a roughly equal position when it comes to betting on the sport. There are extremely few decent water polo analysts, and bookmakers rely on the same available statistics as the players. Accordingly, with competent match analysis, it is possible to beat the betting odds at the expense of greater knowledge.
Study the pool
When choosing your water polo betting options, it is a good idea to start by familiarising yourself with the arena where the match is to take place. The home pool in this case helps the home team more than in most other team sports. Water polo matches can also be played in outdoor pools, which is also important information before the game.
Important players and goalkeeper
Current team form, team line-ups, injuries to leaders and the form of top players are all standard parameters in the pre-match analysis of any team sport, including water polo. Particular attention should be paid to the goalkeepers: in water polo, much depends on the performance of the goalkeepers, as they can repel up to 25 shots per match on average. The better the goalkeeper, the stronger the team.
Identify your opponents
Water polo has its own pockets of popularity around the world. Before betting on an international match it is worth checking how widespread water polo is in that country. In Croatia, for instance, it is a very popular game and water polo teams have their own popularity. Just as in other countries of the former Yugoslavia or Hungary. In women’s water polo at the moment, the United States has no equal.