Table Tennis is probably not be your first thought when you hear the words sports betting. However, since it flies relatively low on bookmakers’ radar, Table Tennis – also known by the more vernacular name Ping-Pong – can be a real boon for bettors. Read on to find out more.
A Little Ping-Pong History
Table Tennis started out as an after-dinner parlour amusement among the upper classes of Victorian England. The game remained popular and in 1901 the use of celluloid balls was introduced. Biennial World Championships have been held since 1926, and from 1988 the sport has been part of the Summer Olympics.
Though widespread around the western world, Table Tennis is probably most beloved in China. Here, it’s considered the country’s national sport and Chinese athletes dominate competitions and tournaments. Before the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, changes were made to ensure that the game would broadcast well on television.
The changes included shorter sets, where the winner must score 11 rather than 21, and more sets in a match for major tournaments – players now need to in best of 7 rather than best of 5. The unexpected result of all this was that it became more popular with spectators and armchair experts and with the introduction of online sports betting in NZ and around the world, Table Tennis really took off!
Table Tennis is a lot more complex than most people realise – and that includes bookmakers. Since the 10 top-ranked men and women all have roughly equal chances of winning any major event, you have to pay very close attention to their current, or most recent, performances. One player could be on an upward swing while another is facing a downturn, or one opponent’s style could dominate the other’s.
In such cases, the lower-ranked athlete often wins; the take-home message being that seeding isn’t everything in the world of Ping-Pong. You need to pay attention to the latest reports on form, injuries and off-field personal issues that may affect play. Keeping up with players is a good idea too, so that over time you’ll be able to judge when they are going into a high-performance period or relaxing for some downtime.
As a punter you can really benefit here, since you can build an intricate knowledge of Table Tennis over time. Your insights will be much greater than those of most bookies, who will cast a superficial eye over the stats before setting their odds. The upshot? Know the players and their styles, and spend a little time looking for sites with the most favourable odds.
The wagers you can place here are similar to those in regular Tennis, including who will win each set and match, and who the overall champion will be at the end of a tournament. Totals and propositions are also very popular.
Most sportsbooks will offer markets on the major Ping-Pong tourneys only, so you’re likely to be making predictions on the Summer Olympics, World Championships, Commonwealth Games, Asia Championships and European Championships. Start with these, and as your confidence grows you can look for coverage on smaller events too.