IAAF’s (Track And Field) World Championships Draw Some U.S. Betting Interest

Track and field is more popular in European and elsewhere, but some legal U.S. books are offering action and there could be value spots.

The 2020 Olympics are approaching, and in the lead up to the “games,” the world’s top athletes in track and field are set to compete later this month at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Qatar.

Hundreds of millions of people globally are expected to watch the World Championships, which are scheduled to run from Sept. 27 to Oct. 6. The events appear popular for sportsbooks outside of the U.S, and now the nascent U.S. legal market has some interest in booking some track and field action.

FOX Bet, which is active for online/mobile gambling in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is offering some markets on the World Championships. The gambling provider appears to be focusing on events in which Americans are poised to do well, which makes sense because track and field isn’t a popular spectator sport in the U.S. like it is elsewhere.  In addition to FOX Bet, the Parx Online Sportsbook in PA has IAAF lines. Parx has a much more robust menu than its competitor formerly known as BetStars.

Here’s a look at what you can gamble on through FOX Bet, followed by the options at Parx.

FOX Bet IAAF wagering options

100m sprint

American 23-year-old Christian Coleman is the FOX Bet favorite at -188. He was the runner-up at the 2017 World Championships. Coleman’s personal best of 9.79 seconds, a distant 0.21 seconds off Usain Bolt’s 2009 world record, was recorded just last year.

Fellow American Justin Gatlin, a veteran of the sport at age 37, won gold at the 2017 WC and has a personal best of 9.74 seconds, set in 2015. However, Gatlin (+300) has been caught using PEDs in the past. Canadian Andre De Grasse (+400) is also in the race and has run a non-wind assisted PR of 9.91.

Yohan Blake, the aging Jamaican superstar but still, remarkably, only 29, is listed at +1200. His PR of 9.69 was recorded in 2012, and he stands tied for the second-fastest 100m runner in history.

Does Blake have more blazing fast races in him? Perhaps. He’s still winning races, for what it’s worth, so if you’re looking for some skin in this game, Blake might be worth a flier at such a price.

In total, there are 13 men on the board at FOX Bet for the 100m.

The 2019 IAAF World Championships will mark the absence of Bolt, the fastest 100m and 200m runner in history. He retired after finishing third in the 100m in 2017.

400m hurdles

The one-lap hurdles event isn’t known for being quite as popular as other races, but there’s a budding superstar in the event that appears to be causing FOX Bet to put it on the board.

Karsten Warholm, a 23-year-old Norwegian, won gold in this event in 2017, and recently ran the second fastest time in the history of the 400m hurdles. He’s a -225 favorite to win.

The only other athlete on the board for this event is 22-year-old American Rai Benjamin (+163). Remarkably, Benjamin ran the third fastest time ever in the same race that Warholm ran his PR.

On Aug. 29, Warholm ran a scorching 46.92, while Benjamin clocked in at 46.98.

While Warholm is a legitimate favorite, there’s likely better value (or less negative value) on Benjamin given how close their last race was. Anything can happen once the gun goes off.

Sprint combos

Another top American sprinting talent is 22-year-old Noah Lyles. At FOX Bet, you can’t bet on Lyles in the 200m, where apparently he’s a mind-boggling favorite. He ran 19.50 in the 200m back in July, the fourth-fastest time ever. It doesn’t look like anyone is near his level at the moment.

FOX Bet is offering the following combo bets, involving Lyles.

  • Coleman to win 100m; Lyles to win 200m: -133
  • Gatlin to win 100m; Lyles to win 200m: +320
  • Coleman to win 100m and 200m: +700

Don’t be too tempted to go on the Coleman double win, as his PR in the 200m is 19.85, set in 2017, which is light years behind Lyles’ PR. He’s been the best in the world in the 200m for the past two years.

Pole vault

The reigning IAAF World Championship winner in the event is American Sam Kendricks, 27, who also holds the national record of nearly 20 feet. He recorded that height in July, so he should be in top form. That PR he set is also good for third-best in the history of the event.

FOX Bet has him at a -143 favorite. He probably would be a larger favorite if it weren’t for 19-year-old Swedish American Armand Duplantis, who in August 2018 recorded a performance that tied him for fifth-best of all time. FOX Bet has the teenager at +110.

Options at Parx

The menu at Parx more closely resembles a European online sportsbook than FOX Bet does.

At Parx, you can also find lines on the 110m hurdles, the 1500m, the 200m, 800m, discus, hammer throw, shot put, and javelin. Parx even sorts the betting options by day, given bettors a better idea of when they have to place their bets by. It’s fair to say the Kambi-run Parx book is superior for the IAAF markets.

At Parx, you can find a better price of -155 on Coleman in the 100m. There are also better prices on Gatlin and De Grasse, though FOX Bet has a better price on Blake.

Additionally, Parx offers lines on whether runners will finish in the top 3. The line on Coleman in the top 3 is -670. Gatlin and De Grasse are relatively small favorites to finish in the top 3.

Parx shows just how dominant Lyles is in the 200m. He’s -1000 to win and -3335 to finish in the top 3.

As for the 400m hurdles, Parx is offering -155 on Warholm (way better than the -225 at FOX Bet), and +275 on Benjamin (far superior than FOX Bet’s +163). Interestingly, Saudi hurdler Abderrahman Samba, who isn’t on the board at FOX Bet, is +225 to win the event at Parx.

The 800m is on the board at Parx, and you might find some value here. The favorite is Nijel Amos of Botswana, who ran the third-fastest time ever when he finished second in the 2012 Olympics. Amos is +140 at the 2019 IAAF World Championships. American Donavan Brazier, though, beat Amos in August with the 24th fastest time ever. Brazier is +250. In July, Kenyan Ferguson Rotich ran the 15th fastest time in history, and he’s currently listed at +650. Rotich is a +150 underdog to finish in the top 3 — and that might be the best bet to make if you want to wager on the men’s 800m.

The 1500m features a sizable favorite with Kenyan Timothy Cheruiyot listed at -167. He ran the seventh fastest time in history back in July 2018, a year after winning silver at the 2017 World Championships. According to the sportsbook, his biggest rival is a +250 underdog.

For the sake of brevity, we’ll conclude here with a market for most medals at the 2019 IAAF World Championships. Parx is offering -670 on it being the U.S. Both the U.K. and Kenya are +700.

Be sure to price shop if you want to wade into the water of track and field gambling.


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