Betting on Water Polo

You might not see water polo on TV very often outside the Olympics but many sportsbooks on the internet offer wagering on it year round. The game is the most popular among Europeans but is also beginning to pick up in the United States and Canada. As the oldest continuous Olympic sport, it has a long history that dates back to the 1800s.

Strategies and Tips to Help You Win

Water polo is played similarly to handball except it takes place in the water. In a water polo match, two teams of seven players (six fielders plus one goalie) compete to score the most goals. Goals are scored by throwing the ball through the net at either end of the pool. The players may throw the ball straight through the goal or they may skip the ball off the water in an attempt to make the ball more difficult to block.

These matches tend to be fast-paced, with each of the four periods lasting 8 minutes. The clock is stopped whenever play stops so an average game usually lasts about 48-52 minutes total. It is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world because the players may not touch the walls or bottom of the pool during the entire match. The minimum depth of a water polo pool is usually 1.8 meters, or 6 feet.

Wagering on water polo is exciting because the matches move at such a fast pace. High scores are common and spectators never know what will happen next. The game is exciting in its own right but with money riding on the outcome makes it even more exciting.

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Types of Bets You Can Place

You can get started by checking any of our recommended sportsbooks listed above. The larger sites cover a wide variety of sports and water polo can usually be found among those sports. Because it isn’t as popular as many other sports, the betting options are somewhat limited. The most common types of bets are single match bets, totals and props.

Match Wagers

Single match wagers are placed on one team to win a match against another team. Some of these bets also allow bettors to bet on the match resulting in a tie. Ties are relatively rare so the payouts for those are usually higher than for one team or the other.

These are listed in the odds format such as the following example from a match between two Greek teams:

  • NE Patras 1.15
  • Poseidon Ilision 10.00
  • Tie 7.00

In this match, NE Patras is the favored team. For every $1.00 you bet on them, you will win $1.15 if they win. Poseidon Ilision is a major underdog so you will win 10-1 on your money if they win. In fact, Poseidon Ilision is such an underdog, the sportsbook thinks the match is more likely to end in a tie than for them to win. All bets on the tie will be paid 7-1 if the match ends in a tie.

Total Scores

Totals scores are pretty simple to understand. The bookmaker lists a total score and then you can bet on whether you think the combined score between the two water polo teams will be more than that score or less than that score. They usually lists totals with a half point to prevent the final score from landing on the exact total set.


Proposition bets cover just about everything else. They are limited only by the human imagination and they are usually based on random events. For example, a common prop bet is on whether the final score will be odd or even. There is usually little skill involved in these bets.

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