Five top summer sports to bet on

By Captain Thomsen on 20 Jul 2015

When most people think of summer, they think of Pimms and lemonade, seaside rambles, sunny skies and barbecues.

If you're a serious punter, however, you probably double up on the Pimms and contemplate three long, bleak months without any club football, jumps racing or domestic rugby to bet on. It's not the happiest time of year for bookies either, with far less activity at betting shops around the country.

However, there's no need to be despondent. The British summer has a fair share of betting highlights. Here's our pick of the top summer sports to bet on.

Royal Ascot

horse racingThis one was probably on your radar already. The Royal meeting doesn't quite match the Cheltenham Festival in terms of bringing season-long rivalries between top racehorses to a head. However it makes up for it with a larger collection of races, an extra serving of pomp and ceremony and the sight of rich people in fancy hats staggering around drunk on champagne.

From a punter's perspective, Royal Ascot is notable for the eight Group 1 races on the card. There's no other flat meeting in the UK that draws as many top-class thoroughbreds.

Also, if you know what you're doing, feature races offer great value on serious contenders - thanks especially to less educated bets that jumble up the betting markets and will tilt the odds in your favour.

Wimbledon

Wimbledon tennis ballWhen members of the Royal Family aren't being paraded around Ascot Racecourse, they're hanging out in the galleries of Wimbledon pretending that Andy Murray is English. Wimbledon is probably the highest profile UK sports event in the summer, and bookies go all out to attract punters.

Betting on Wimbledon may give you a reason to watch the tennis. It also offers punters the advantage of genuine predictability. The last time one of the top three seeds failed to win the title was in 2003, when Roger Federer won the first of his seven Wimbledon titles.

Even better, a player outside the top two seeds has won just once during this period. When you can reliably restrict your betting choices to two options, you're onto a good thing.

June Rugby Union Tours

rugbyJune is when rugby fans across the UK get up in the early hours to watch the home nations get beaten by the All Blacks and Australia. The Springboks are decent enough to hand out their beatings at a respectable time of day, and occasionally to lose a match.

Test rugby in general tends to produce victories for the higher ranked team in any given contest. Anyone who consistently bet on the favourite in every rugby match since 1995 would probably be sitting on a small fortune by now.

This is doubly true for the June tests, given the dominance of the southern hemisphere teams when playing on their own turf. Just don't try to apply this rule of thumb to the French - you've been warned.

The Ashes

cricketOnce upon a time the Ashes was a keenly anticipated quadrennial cricket series that celebrated the oldest rivalry in test cricket - that between England and Australia. These days it feels like they're playing the Ashes once a month and twice over Christmas, with the Ashes urn being tossed back and forth between the two teams like a hot potato.

That said, when it's England's turn to host the series, it tends to take centre stage as the biggest sport event of the English summer. It's also worth noting that England has won the Ashes on home soil three times in succession, and statistically, has won half of all series played in the UK. This means that patriotically minded English punters can support England and bet on Australia, and win either way.

England football friendlies and qualifiers

England footballThe reward for being a top-class footballer in the UK is to be imprisoned in what amounts to a highly paid sporting sweatshop. As soon as they're done playing the 50 to 70 odd matches they're contracted to play in the club season, top players are enlisted by their national teams to play friendlies, international tournament qualifiers or regional cups.

So if you're really in need of a footie fix, you can rely on at least a couple of games a month during the summer. Even better, you can attend live matches without risking frostbite. Just keep in mind that betting on random international encounters is a lot trickier than betting on teams in a league you've been following closely for months - and if in doubt, lay Scotland.