Volleyball Betting Strategies: A Guide

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It’s fair to say that volleyball isn’t considered to be one of the world’s more mainstream sports – and certainly not one that people would typically associate with sports betting. However, volleyball betting does attract more attention than you might realize. Many people choose not only to have a bet on big volleyball competitions like the European Championship and International Beach Volley but also on the major domestic leagues in the likes of Finland, Germany, Poland, the Philippines and Russia.

In this guide to volleyball betting, we’ll take a look at what the sport entails and the top competitions in volleyball, before exploring the most popular volleyball bets and the most effective betting strategies you can use.

The Basics of Volleyball

William G. Morgan invented volleyball in 1895 – at the same Springfield College in Massachusetts, where Canadian, James Naismith invented basketball just a few years earlier. Having seen basketball’s success, Morgan created the sport as a “less strenuous” version of basketball that would be ideal for older people. He originally called the game “Mintonette,” but this soon changed to “Volleyball” due to the nature of the game.

Nowadays, volleyball is a popular sport across the world, especially in Brazil, Italy, the Netherlands, large parts of Eastern Europe, Russia, China and the United States. It has never quite taken off as far in Canada.

Volleyball is a team game, where the two sides try to outscore the other by ‘grounding’ a ball on the other team’s side of the court. There are, however, many different variations of volleyball played today. The two that are by far the biggest are traditional indoor volleyball – typically played on a hard surface, and beach volleyball (sometimes referred to as just ‘beach volley’).

Differences Between Indoor and Beach Volleyball

beach volleyball

Both indoor and beach volleyball have their Olympic events. They’re also both team games, and the objective of the game remains the same. However, that is where the similarities tend to end.

Indoor volleyball features teams of six players, while beach volleyball teams have just two apiece. Based on this, it’s unsurprising to learn that beach volleyball courts are smaller – although only slightly – measuring 16m x 8m, compared to the indoor court of 18m x 9m. Beach volleyball balls are also significantly lighter and a little bigger than the standard indoor leather volleyballs.

Scoring also differs between the two versions. Beach volley involves three sets of 21 points each – with two sets effectively winning the match. A tied game at one set each leads to a third set played to 15 points. Meanwhile, indoor volleyball features five sets, but with 25 points needed to win a set, although if a fifth set is required, this also goes to just 15 points. In both volleyball versions, the requirement is two clear points to win.

Biggest Volleyball Competitions

volleyball olympics

The biggest and most prestigious volleyball competitions take place at the Summer Olympics every four years, with men’s and women’s teams entering in both indoor and beach volleyball.

Indoor volleyball has been a mainstay at the Olympics since 1964. Brazil, the former Soviet Union and the US have been dominating the men’s game, while the Soviets, along with China and Cuba, have enjoyed the most success in the women’s game – although Brazil won back-to-back golds in 2008 and 2012.

Beach volley, though, wasn’t an Olympic event until Atlanta 1996 but has proved to be very popular since. In both men’s and women’s beach volley, Brazil and the United States have been extremely dominant, with the pair accounting for nine of the 12 gold medals as of 2016.

Outside the Olympics, there is a vast number of international volleyball competitions around the world. The Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) is responsible for organizing most of these competitions, which include the World Championships that takes place every four years (between Olympic years). Twenty-four teams make up the championships and the most exclusive 12-team World Cup, which again takes place every four years (most recently 2019). But the “world” events don’t stop there, with the only remaining free year occupying the World Grand Champions Cup, which is more exclusive yet, with just six teams entering. The relative volleyball confederations also find time for biannual continental events.

Most countries also have domestic volleyball leagues, which then feed into bigger continental and even world events. In Europe, you’ll find the European Champions League, while there are also Club Championships in Africa and Asia, as well as the South American Volleyball Club Championship.

Eight teams make up the Club World Championships in the men’s and women’s game, involving the winning teams from each of the continental competitions, plus the host city’s team, a nominated team from North America and a wild card entry. The men’s tournament was dominated by Italian teams for many years, with Italian sides winning the first eight events. Their dominance was ended by Brazil’s Sada Cruzeiro in the subsequent years, as well as a couple of Russian teams, although Italian side Trentino picked up their fifth title in 2018.

The women’s event has proven to be more unpredictable, with no team retaining the title until Eczacibasi Vitra managed to do so in 2016. Turkish sides have enjoyed a lot of success in the women’s competition in recent years, claiming six of the nine titles available between 2010 and 2018. Of course, the Brazilians and Italians are never far behind, and both tasted success alongside Azerbaijan’s Rabita Baku.

Beach volleyball events, however, are much more streamlined, with three major international events for both men and women: The Olympics, The World Championships and the annual World Tour.

Popular Volleyball Betting Markets

volleyball betting odds

Volleyball odds are available on nearly all professional domestic and international competitions from around the world, with the match result bet the typical type of bet among followers of the sport. However, lots of outright markets are also available, as are other much more niche bets on individual matches, such as the popular sets handicap bet – all of which we’ll cover below.

Match Result

The easiest and most common type of volleyball bet is predicting the outcome of the match result. Many people prefer betting on volleyball to other team sports such as football as there can only be two outcomes – as there’s no possibility of a draw. To enhance the potential winnings from match result bets, many punters often choose to compile selections into multiples, with doubles, trebles and accumulator bets all a popular way of doing this.

Sets Handicap

The other most popular type of bet on individual volleyball matches involves the sets handicap. What this means is that you can bet on a particular team winning a minimum amount of sets. You’ll get the best odds on a side to win by three sets (i.e. 3-0 or 4-1), although you can also bet on a team to win by two sets (i.e. 3-1). Again, this is an excellent way to attain some more value from your bet than you would typically achieve in a simple match result bet – although many people again choose to add their selections into multiples.

Total Sets

If you’re not convinced about which team will win a particular match – or you even want to stay neutral while watching it – betting on the total number of sets is a good general interest bet to place. Should you think that a tight match is on the cards, then bet on five sets, but if you think it will be a clean sweep for one side or another, bet on just three.

Total Points

Likewise, betting on the total points expected in a match can also be an effective way to get the excitement of a bet while staying impartial on the result. Again, if you’re predicting a very tight and even match, bet on a high number of points while making a low selection if you think one team will run away with it.

Outrights – Competition Bets

To get more lifespan out of your bet, you may choose to place a bet on a team to win a specific competition (e.g. the Olympics or Champions League). This bet can generate some very long odds for you – especially if you’re not backing the tournament favourite.

You can get odds on all of the major indoor volleyball and beach volleyball tournaments from around the world, which can bring an extra level of excitement to any competition you choose to follow and watch.

Volleyball betting tips

volleyball betting

What are the best volleyball bets? Well, the best bets are the ones that win. So, to help you create your betting strategy, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help boost your chances of success. No rule will guarantee you of winning 100%, but if you implement these volleyball betting tips, you can at least optimize the way you bet.

Research, research, research

The absolute best thing you can do before placing a volleyball bet – or any sports bet for that matter – is to research what you’re betting.

The primary advantage for players betting on sports rather than casinos is that nearly all outcomes are people-driven instead of pure chance. So, the more you know about players or a team, the more you’ll understand how they will react to certain situations or, indeed, certain opponents.

Many factors can impact a volleyball result. A new partnership between players can be especially challenging, while a gruelling tournament schedule or even a nagging injury could certainly hamper a teams’ chances of getting a positive result. On the flip side, a new partnership can also reap the rewards, such as after winning silver in the 2012 Olympics with Emanuel Rego, Alison Cerutti went one better in 2016 winning gold on home soil with Bruno Oscar Schmidt.

So, what is the best way of doing volleyball research? Well, for starters, watching a lot of volleyball and gaining a good understanding of the sport will be hugely beneficial. Likewise, following the results, even if you’re not watching the games won’t hurt either. Surrounding yourself in the sport and following tournament events closely, better places you to make an educated prediction about the outcome of future matches.

Get to know Volleyball Statistics

Even if you haven’t gotten around to watching a lot of volleyball, merely following the latest volleyball results will give you a clearer picture of the more significant patterns at play. Checking in-match volleyball statistics can also help you see a team’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, if a team with a strong service game is playing a team with a weak service return rate, you may well expect the strong service team to dominate proceedings – regardless of how their relative results and competitions have gone.

In the age of the internet, there’s no shortage of information out there – especially in the sporting world – so put it to good use and keep an eye out for underlining patterns that others may not yet have spotted. In men’s beach volley, for example, no pairing has ever defended Olympic Gold – so although the previous winner may be the favourite going into the event, they may be available at too short a price considering this information.

On the flip side to this, if you combine studying statistics with watching matches, you may spot other unusual patterns or even anomalies. A team that has been on a great run based on their statistics are likely to have quite short odds. If you’ve watched this team play, though, and have seen some flaws in their game or even spotted the team only getting lucky on occasion, it may be worth betting against them for better odds.

Give In-Play Betting a Go

You can also bet on volleyball live thanks to in-play betting. So, if you’re an avid watcher of volleyball, you could bet on the play as it unfolds before your eyes. Not only can this be a great deal of fun, but you also have the advantage of recognizing traits in the play as they’re happening.

In-play markets can be perfect for highly knowledgeable sports fans who can spot patterns of play and can see how situations may play out. You’ll find lots of in-play volleyball at Mr Green, most of which will be on the match result, although you may also find set handicap markets and next set winner markets on more significant events.

Remember: Even Favourites Get Beat

A common trend among sports odds is that the most famous or popular teams end up with odds that are too short. While some teams naturally tend to dominate the sport, it’s something of a fallacy that people think these teams always win. And when people start seeing teams as “dead certs,” bookmakers will naturally shorten the odds to limit their losses if the team in question performs as expected.

The best example of this came in 2013 when everybody was expecting Trentino to bag a fifth consecutive Club World Championship – with the team massive favourites in betting markets to do so. Instead, they stammered the entire competition, being comfortably beaten 3-1 by Novosibirsk in the semi-finals, which in turn were trounced by Sada in the final.

However, this may leave an opportunity for other bettors who are happy to bet on teams with longer odds. The reason is they know that while they may lose individual bets more often, they are still getting better value in the long term compared to these shortened odds on big sides.

Avoid Rose-Tinted Glasses

Similarly to the last point, you should always be cautious about betting on a team that you follow. While following a team is a perfect way of building knowledge about them, by actively supporting a team, you may become blinded by hope and not placing the best bets. Of course, it’s always possible for any organization to win but, where possible, you should weigh up a potential bet objectively and not while wearing your rose-tinted glasses for your team! Try and keep emotion out of betting on volleyball.

Go With Your Intuition

Our gut tells us a lot. Sometimes it’s right, and sometimes it’s wrong, but there’s usually a reason for your instinct, even if you can’t express it.

By being well-prepared with a good knowledge of volleyball, with statistics and lots of recent action in your memory, you should start to build an instinct about what is a good or lousy volleyball bet.

Like we discussed before, if you’ve seen a team on a winning run, but they’ve been less than convincing when you have watched them, follow your instincts as to whether you think they will win their upcoming matches or not.

Predict First, Bet Later

While it’s important to look for value when betting, you should try to avoid selecting bets purely based on the odds and the hope that it might happen. Wherever possible, make your volleyball predictions first and then set about finding the best odds based on what you already think will happen.

Letting the odds sway your thinking will effectively undo all the good work you’ve done through research and ignores your volleyball knowledge. That said, of course, it’s essential to keep an eye out for good value and overpricing – just make sure you can back the odds with a sound mind.

Don’t Chase Your Losses

The number one rule when placing a wager – whether that be in sports betting or in a casino – is never to chase your losses. Even if you’ve lost ten bets in a row, it doesn’t alter the outcome of the next bet.

Never, ever, bet more than you can afford to – and are comfortable with – losing. We all want to win when we gamble, of course, but just make sure that if your bet doesn’t win, you’re not really feeling the loss. This point is by far the most critical volleyball betting strategy out there. On the same lines, certainly don’t increase the amount you are betting to cover previous losses – this is a very destructive path and one that Mr Green would never recommend.

Betting – especially on sports – should be seen as entertainment. Get the thrill of having a bet on the latest volleyball action and – by all means – enjoy your wins, but just don’t be left out of pocket if your bet does not win.

How to Increase Your Volleyball Betting Value

One thing that all sports betting fans love is to get more for their money. Sometimes this means getting the best odds, but at Mr Green, you can also enjoy a plethora of bonuses and promotions on the latest volleyball action to boost your betting value.

Volleyball Betting Bonuses and Promotions

There are lots of sports bonuses and special offers available to both new and existing customers at Mr Green, with our free bet offer to new customers proving to be one of the most popular that we have.

After placing their first $20 sports bet on the site, new Mr Green customers will receive another $20 free bet for them to enjoy on any sports market they want – including volleyball! There’s no doubt that this is a fantastic way to get more value when betting online.

But don’t worry, if you’re one of our loyal existing customers, we take care of you too. We’re always updating our promotions page with new and exciting sports betting offers, ensuring that you’re always getting excellent value and enjoying your Mr Green experience. Also, make sure to check out emails from Mr Green, as we will often send you an exclusive reward or treat directly.