Curlings Main Rules, Major Tournaments and Betting Strategies

Although curling is certainly more popular with our northern neighbor Canada, there are still plenty of serious American fans of this sport. In this article we will talk a little about the history of curling, as well as what you need to know and what you need to pay attention to if you plan to bet on curling.

At the same time, we will tell you which sportsbooks in America accept such bets through the Internet.


The Sport of Curling History and Rules

The roots of one of the oldest sports date back to medieval Scotland. It is not known exactly when the first curling match was played, but the stones, art and literature found indicate that the origin of the sport was at least in the early 16th century. And the first curling clubs began to appear centuries ago, in Scotland of the early 18th century.

Over time, the quality of stones, ice and other equipment has gradually increased, which turned curling from a discipline where everything was decided by the power of the throw and luck, into an incredibly tactical and complex game, even being referred to as "chess on ice."

The game got its name not from the complex swirl marks that the stone left behind on the ice, but from the Scottish verb curr, which describes a low growl or roar. The granite stone sliding on the ice grinded on the notches of ice, which caused the characteristic sound.

Curling became widespread in the world in the 20th century. In 1924, test competitions were held in the Olympics in France, and the game fully entered the Olympic program in 1998 and is now an integral part of the Games. More than 60 countries are represented in the World Curling Federation, and players who are officially registered are more than one and a half million.

The curling area is 147 feet long. At the end of the platform there is a circle painted under the ice, called "home". The game is played between two teams of four people.The game lasts two to two and a half hours and consists of ten periods called "ends".

Team members push the stones one at a time, with the team taking eight shots on each side. After launching the projectile, other athletes try to increase the speed of its movement or change the trajectory with special brushes. In the end the team whose stones lie closest to the center of the target wins.

Each team scores one point for each stone that is inside the "home".

Curling Power Play Rule

While the sport has been around for a long time, it does get updated from time to time, the curling power play rule is one of the newest additions. Introduced for the 2018 Olympics, the curling power play rule differs from other sports like hockey in that they do not require a foul or infraction to be awarded. 

Instead, even though the power play in curling is a rare occurrence, each team in mixed doubles will have one power play to use per game when they have possession of the hammer. This allows the team to position the defending stones to the side rather than the center to their advantage.

There are a couple of common strategies when using the curling power play rule:

  1. Pushes the entire game more out to the side, which could allow the team to get the final stone in the «house» with ease. 
  2. To attempt to prevent the opposing team from «blanking the end». This means to intentionally leave no stones in the house, in order to retain possession of the hammer. 

The curling power play rule was a recent addition to the sport, and with the new strategies it can be used for it keeps fans engaged right until the end. While this power play rule in curling can be used once a game, but cannot be used in the event of an extra end. 

Biggest Curling Competitions

These days, curling season is quite busy, it includes numerous World Curling Tour events and elite Grand Slam tournaments. However, the vast majority of the competitions do not attract much public attention, and therefore sportsbooks don’t offer bets for all. In the lines, as a rule, you can find only five tournaments.

The Winter Olympics

Curling matches at the Winter Games take place only once every four years and attract huge attention from bettors around the world - not only those who are fond of this sport or at least know the rules, but also ordinary fans of their countries. The competition sits in the men's, women's and mixed categories. Ten teams play each other once in the group stage, and the top four teams continue to play for medals.

Curling World Cup

Within the framework of the world championship, the best teams are identified every year. The format almost completely copies the Olympic format, only in the group stage 12 teams are represented instead of ten. A large volume of bets are attracted by the men's and women's tournaments, but competitions in mixed teams and double mix are also in demand.

The European Championships

The tournament has been held annually since 1975 in the men's and women's categories. There are ten men's and women's teams participating in the matches of the Higher Division. The competition system includes the group stage and the playoffs.

The Canadian Championships

This is the only national championship that sportsbooks will offer bets on. This is not surprising, because Canada is the most successful country in curling, and the largest number of players are registered there. The men's tournament, called The Brier, was first played in 1927 and is now held every year, bringing the best teams from different Canadian provinces.

Women's competitions in Canada

known as The Tournament of Hearts, are also annual and have attracted a lot of attention from curling enthusiasts since 1961. The Canadian Championship in both categories is held with 16 teams divided into two equal groups. The best eight teams go to the second group stage, where they identify who will participate in the final four.

Types of Curling Bets

When logging onto a sportsbook with bets on curling, you will find that many of the categories look familiar. In truth, curling competitions will have identical bets to your favorite sports like baseball and hockey. 

The meaning of these bets and how to win them, must be understood for curling. 

Betting on the Outcome. Curling is one of the sports where teams play to the last to determine the winner, and in the case of a draw after the tenth end, a decisive additional end is assigned. Therefore, sportsbooks usually offer outcomes with two options, without the possibility of a draw.

Betting with Handicap. A fairly popular market in matches where teams of a disparate level meet. To bet on the victory of the favorite in such games is unprofitable, and betting on the underdog can be a lost cause, so the handicap can be a good option.

For example, the Swedes meet with the Dutch, and in order for the conditional odds of -111 to rise to odds of +250, the underdog Dutch curling players should not lose by more than three points.

Over/Under Bets. Here you can make a prediction on how many points will be scored by the end of the match, including the additional end (if necessary). In the men's top-level curling, the average total is 11-13 points. At big competitions, such as the Olympics and World Championships, sportsbooks also offer odds on individual totals of both teams.

On the first end. A popular bet for people wanting to get a win as quickly as possible. The element of chance is high, and the chances of a weaker team "shoot" in a separate end are higher but winning a bet on the underdog in this offer will be lucrative. Sportsbooks try to adapt and assign more or less fair odds on individual ends.

Long-term rates. Many sportsbooks offer to bet on the winner of the future World Cup or Olympics long before the competition. Real applicants are usually no more than four or five, so the odds are quite appropriate. In some lines you can bet that a certain team will at least reach the final.

This option will allow you to be insured in case your favorite loses in the gold match.

Making Good Bets on Curling: The Captain is Most Important 

The commander and the main ideological mastermind of each team is the captain (skip), who determines the direction of throws and tactical ideas throughout the game. As a rule, in addition, the captain himself performs the final two throws in each end.

Therefore, for successful curling bets, due to the underwhelming amount of rich statistical information, it is better to simplify the analysis before the competition of the two skips and rely for the most part on the history of their performances and form.

Teams from year to year can bring different captains to major tournaments each with different styles of play - in some countries the principles of selection to the main team are competitive, and in some places the members of the national team are determined by special commissions in national federations.

So curling is not a sport where you can blindly rely on the achievements of a particular country - you need to be well versed in the principles of team formation and understand the skip that the national team brought to the tournament, whether it will be convenient to play if the federation sent him new partners or, on the contrary, allowed to play in the usual environment.

In mixed disciplines, especially in the "duos", the factor of chemistry becomes really important, how long they have played together and what type of relationships the participants have. We can say that in women's curling and double mix it is quite dangerous bets on favorites, unless we are talking about Canadians.

Curling can be called a developing sport, and with the proper attention to training and training of young players, after only a decade it is possible for a country to break into the favorites.

For example, in Russia during the Soviet era curling was considered a bourgeois sport and did not receive funding, but in the 90s development began, and now the women's team of Russia is one of the strongest in Europe.

For the latest news and statistics, you will be helped by thematic Canadian curling sites, where there is any coverage of events, as well as the resources of the World Curling Federation and national associations - where you will see the results of international tournaments and domestic competitions of individual countries.

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