Way back in 2006 I made my most successful tip on the race ever: I told a friend who does a fair bit of betting to take Flooyd Landis to win on Betfair at around 70/1. He might well have put a hundred quid on him while I didn’t, not wanting to jinx his bet. Regardless of what happened after the race, it paid out in July.
It was probably a month or two out from the start when he placed his bet and that’s when the market tends to be at its ripest for picking. But there’s still some pretty good prices to be had, even on some of the most obvious favourites you can still make a reasonable return on a 5 quid fun bet if it comes off.
For me the obvious value is currently in the sort of riders who don’t get the sort of talk up that Armstrong, Contador and Evans will. They tend to be a bit longer odds until the race starts to shake out.
Most striking is the price on the defending champion, Carlos Sastre, who can still be picked up at the equivalent of 27/1 and last year’s 4th place rider, Christian Vandevelde, at monstrous 129/1. Denis Menchov, 3rd last year and winner of the Giro D’Italia 2009, at 15/1 looks decidedly short odds by comparison.
Perhaps it’s a case that the money going into the market isn’t as smart as it should be. Vandevelde’s price probably reflects his injuries at the Giro but if he has a good Tour de Suisse, then it could come in pretty quickly.
If you are an experienced gambler and know how to balance your books, I imagine that there’s good money to be made in lay betting, something which I’ve never been able to get my head round. Looking down the list there’s plenty of riders who are unlikely to even start (Alejandro Valverde, Andreas Kloden, Ivan Basso) so it might be worth checking what the policy is. Betting on them not to win would seem to be all too easy, so obviously I’ve missed something.
Closer to the time you should see head-to-head bets appear (ie X vs Y) which are usually fun and frequently poorly chosen meaning that a bit of cycling knowledge can go a long way, for example in sprints.