It’s easy to see why many athletes and other professional sportspeople might enjoy betting, as the thrill of winning is one of the main reasons why people both play sports and bet. But professional athletes are not allowed to bet on themselves, nor can they normally bet on the sport they play in any way.
The reason that athletes can’t bet on themselves is that it provides them with the temptation to cheat for personal financial gain. While the very best athletes earn enough money not to have to worry about gambling to top up their bank balance, lesser athletes that may have financial worries may be tempted to fix events or matches in order to profit from betting on them.
How Could Athletes Fix Matches Or Events?
Athlete is a term that covers a wide spectrum of sportspeople, but just imagine how easy it would be to fix an athletics race if one or more of the athletes stood to gain financially. A race over 100 metres can be decided by the shortest of margins, and all athletes fluff the start occasionally or simply just don’t bring their A-game.
If the athletes could bet on themselves or each other, just imagine how easy it would be for one athlete to stop himself from winning and bet on someone else. Equally, a few athletes could easily be in cahoots with each other and decide between them which one will win a race before all betting on that person.
However, while athletics has come under scrutiny for other forms of cheating such as the taking of performance-enhancing drugs, there have been few cases of athletes cheating to profit from betting. Perhaps this is because the top athletes, who are very hard to beat, will not risk jeopardising their reputations by throwing a race.
How Could Sports Matches Be Fixed?
While athletics hasn’t been the subject of many betting scandals, other sports have certainly had their fix of them. Unusual betting patterns have been spotted for several snooker and tennis matches over the years, with these matches normally involving players that are not good enough to go on and win a tournament.
Football has also had its fair share of match-fixing scandals, though most of these were many years ago. Again, they normally involved two teams that had no chance of going on to win the league they were playing in. However, the FA and many other governing bodies have now banned footballers from betting on any football matches anywhere om the world.
Is Horse Racing Fixed?
Horse racing is a sport that is more closely linked to betting than any other sport, indeed the two go hand in hand. The world of horse racing is also different than many other sports, as both the owners and trainers of the horses can bet on their own horses to win, but they are not allowed to bet on their horses to lose by laying them on the betting exchanges.
More importantly, jockeys are not allowed to bet on horse races of any description, whether they’re riding in them or not, as it would be easy for a jockey to make a horse underperform. The temptation for lesser-known jockeys to make extra money this way would be far too tempting for many of them.
How Do We Know If Athletes Are Betting On Themselves?
Greed has been the downfall of most people that try and fix athletics or any other kind of sports, as they normally try and win an amount of money that will be flagged up as unusual. In the world of modern-day computers, it’s easy for bookmakers and the organizations that try and make all sports a fair playing field to spot irregular betting patterns.
The other reason why people that try and fix sports to profit from betting must win a lot of money is, just imagine how much money it would take to bribe enough players or jockeys to fix a match or horse race. The fixers would have to win all this money and more to make it worth their while.
Why Don’t The Best Athletes Win Every Race Or Match?
Occasionally in athletics or other sports, an athlete comes along that is simply head and shoulders above the rest of the competitors. They’ll often go unbeaten for a long period of time, but these types of athletes don’t come along very often. Let’s face it, if all sports were dominated by a single athlete, team, horse, etc, then there would be no bookmakers as the outcome of each event would be obvious.
But most athletes aren’t robots, and nobody performs to their best every time. There are also lots of other factors that can make a difference, such as the draw, the type of track their running on, and even the weather.
The other thing to consider is that most athletes try and peak for the biggest events, so they won’t be at their best in the build-up to these. For athletes, they may try and peak for the Olympics or World Championships. For horses, it may be the Cheltenham Festival or Royal Ascot, while the best tennis players peak for grand slams and the greatest golfers peak for the majors.
Should I Bet On Sports?
While there will always be someone somewhere trying to make a quick buck, we hope we’ve put your mind at rest that the world of professional sport and betting isn’t riddled with people that are trying to fix every event to make a profit.
Most sporting events are played on their merits, and statistics and the form book provide you with a reasonable foundation to form a betting strategy about who will win. As we’ve explained, you also need to factor in motivations, such as whether the event is being targeted by athletes or whether they are just using it as a stepping stone to something bigger.
If you’re still worried about the possibility of race-fixing or match-fixing, then we recommend you check out the Betting Gods tipsters, all of whom have proven they can make a profit from betting by studying statistics and form. None of our tipsters try and fix events in any way as, while we aim to make money from the bookmakers, we aim to do it in a fair way.
Our tipsters cover a variety of sports, including horse racing, football, golf, tennis, cricket, basketball, and ice hockey. You can check out sample tips from our tipsters on the Betting Gods daily free tips page or we also offer affordable monthly subscriptions which give you access to all the tips from your favourite tipster.