Tour de France Betting Rides Into Sportsbooks

Tour de France betting rides into sportsbooks across the globe next week when the world’s premier cycling event launches its annual trek across level farm country and bumpy cobblestones, over hills, and up the steep and treacherous mountains of Europe, July 5-July 27. The 101st Tour de France will be ridden over a grueling course that include one time trial, five hill, six mountain and nine flat stages that encompass 2,277 miles of racing in 23 days.

This year’s Tour, which most believe favors riders who excel at climbing, looks like a two, or possibly, three-man race among defending champion Chris “Vroom” Froome, two-time Tour winner Alberto “The Gunman” Contador, and Vincenzo “The Shark” Nibali, the third place finisher at the 2012 Tour de France.

Froome, who was born in Nairobi, Kenya but competes for Great Britain, opened as the even money favorite. Not only did the 29-year-old Froome win the Tour de France last year but he also finished second in 2013. Froome signaled his fitness by winning the Tour of Oman earlier in the year and the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland, in May.

Spain’s Contador, the narrow 6/5 second choice in Tour de France future book betting, won the French race in both 2007 and 2009 and also finished first in 2010 before being stripped of that title for doping. The 31-year-old is one of only five riders to have secured wins in all three of the Grand Tour events in road racing, the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, and Vuelta a Espana.

At odds of 8/1, Italy’s Nibali joins Froome and Contador as a single-digit cycling betting option. In addition to his podium finish at the 2012 Tour de France, the 29-year-old Nibali owns victories in the 2010 Vuelta a Espana and 2013 Giro d’Italia.

Beyond the top three riders, odds escalate quickly, with more than 100 cyclists offered at triple digit odds, including Australia’s Cadel Evans, 150/1, the 2011 winner and 2007-08 runner-up at the Tour de France; Luxemburg’s Frank Schleck, 200/1, third at the 2011 Tour; and Italy’s Ivan Basso, 750/1, the Tour runner-up in 2005 and third place finisher in 2004.

As befits the sport’s No. 1 global attraction, sportsbooks have devised several other ways to bet on the Tour de France. Among the most intriguing propositions is a pair involving favorite Chris Froome. You can get 5/1 that Froome not only wins this year’s Tour de France but also wins it in 2015 and 2016. What’s more, the truly ambitious can accept odds of 18/1 that Froome wins the Tour in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. 

There are futures on a bevy of riders being able to win at least one of the Tour’s 21 stages as well as prices on a number of cyclists wearing the maillot jaune, or yellow jersey, symbolic of being the Tour leader. Along those lines, there’s also a totals prop on how many different riders will wear the yellow jersey. It’s -150 (bet $150 to win $100) that over 5 1/2 riders don yellow and +110 (bet $100 to win $110) that under 5 1/2 cyclists have the Tour lead at the end of one of the stages.

There’s also an over/under prop and/or an index wager on how many riders finish the 23-day endurance test that is the Tour. Gamblers lay -120 either way on 165 1/2 riders in the totals wager. The index prop may be more appealing to Tour de France betting aficionados in that it offers a “plus” for every category: +225 for 153 or fewer riders; +500 for between 154 and 157 riders; +450 for between 158 and 161 riders; +400 for between 162 and 165 riders; +500 for between 166 and 169 riders; and +250 for 170 riders or more. 

Tour betting advocates also will have the option to wager on the winning margin of the race: 0:00 to 45 seconds is +200; 46 seconds to 1:30 minutes is +250; 1:31 to 2:15 minutes is +500; 2:16 to 3:00 minutes is +650; 3:01 to 3:45 minutes is +900 and 3:46 minutes or more is +250.

Another prop asks cycling bettors to pick which rider who will be recognized as “King of the Mountains,” a distinction awarded the best climber. Since 1933, the leader in the mountains competition of the Tour de France has worn a distinctive maillot à pois rouge or polka dot jersey.

Contador opened as a narrow 3/1 favorite to don polka dots with France’s Pierre Roland, 7/2; Froome, 9/2; Spain’s Joaquim Rodriguez, 8/1; and France’s Thomas Voeckler, 9/1, the winner of the mountains competition at the Tour in 2012, also in contention.

Additionally, Tour betting enthusiasts can wager on riders making it to the podium (top 3) or earning a top 10 finish. There also are props on the nationality of the winning rider and which team will win the overall competition.

Finally, after 100 years, Tour de France betting seems to have caught up to the world’s premier cycling event as a global attraction.