No longer just for schools, netball is coming up in the world.
This is true most of all in Australia where the brand new Suncorp Super Netball League has big sponsors and draws big crowds.
And with bookies now getting on board it’s never been easier to get into it. So if you’re up for a flutter on netball we’ve put together a simple guide.
The Best Teams
If you grew up in a commonwealth country there’s a good chance you know all about netball.
The game is mainly played by girls and women, but boys take part as well at schools and there are even unofficial mixed gender teams.
The sport was invented in Britain and the best international sides in the world are all from former British colonies.
As with rugby and cricket the Brits have had to get used to life in the shadow of Australia and New Zealand, who are comfortably the best international teams.
Some Basic Rules
If you’re going to bet on netball you might as well be clued up on how the game works. The thing you’ll notice straight away is that players can’t run or even take step holding the ball.
The rules on this are so strict that players have to land like gymnasts when they jump: A player can’t so much as hop on her landing foot after making a catch.
Scoring in Netball
There’s no backboard for the basket (goal ring), and you’re only allowed to shoot within the shooting circle, which is sort of the equivalent of basketball’s three-point line.
It’s one point for a goal. And a typical market is the race to ten, betting on which team scores ten goals the fastest.
Games start off at a fast pace, with more goals scored on average inside the first quarter, before getting more tactical towards the end.
By and large, most matches are close, and a difference of more than ten goals unusual at the top level.
But if you see a big difference between two sides, bookies have markets for betting on a winning margin of 10+.
A Typical Match
In all but the Fast5 games, which we’ll talk about later, netball has four 20-minute quarters.
This sets up plenty of markets, like picking the winner of each quarter, the highest-scoring quarter and halftime/normal time doubles.
These are tempting bets because like basketball the score can balance on a knife-edge until the final whistle.
On average there are around 112 points per game, and you can place bets on whether the score in a given match will exceed or fall below this total.
Other Netball Markets
Netball bettors can put money on head-to-head (win, lose or draw), or line markets where the bookie adds a handicap to make the score closer.
In a sport where there’s a clear home ground advantage, you can also bet on the home or away side’s total goals.
And that’s just match by match. Of course you can place outright bets on the team you fancy to go all the way at the start of or during a tournament. You won’t be shocked to hear that Australia is almost always favourite in netball betting.
The Main Competitions
It’s the right time to talk about betting on netball because the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball season is coming to a head in Australia as we speak.
This came about after the old ANZ Championship, which had sides from Australia and New Zealand, was disbanded in 2016.
The first ever Grand Final will be on 17th June between Sunshine Coast Lightning and whoever wins the preliminary final between Melbourne Vixens and Giants Netball of Sydney.
Suncorp Super Netball
This Australian league is a bright new dawn for the sport, with good attendances, TV coverage and semi-professional contracts.
Many of the big international players have signed up for teams.
And since Suncorp Super Netball is an annual domestic competition with regular fixtures, most of the markets available for netball with bookies like Paddy Power deal with this competition.
If you want to learn the ropes and getting before diving into betting on Netball you can catch the games on Australian channels 9 Gem and Telstra TV.
INF Netball World Cup
The main international tournament is held every four years, with the next instalment coming up in 2019.
And if you fancy a punt, it pays to know that it’s literally always a two-horse race between Australia and New Zealand.
The only exception was in 1979 when there was a strange round robin format without final, and Trinidad and Tobago shared the honours with Australia and New Zealand.
Australia have been crowned world champion 11 times, and have taken the last three titles.
Fast5 Netball World Series
An annual event in October, you could compare this to T20 in cricket. With five players per team instead of seven, matches are quicker and less predictable.
This has seen some smaller nations break up the Aussie-Kiwi dominance.
New Zealand are the team to beat in this code, having won all but one edition since it was launched in 2009. But England have made an impact as well, crowned champions in 2011 and losing the final to the Kiwis by just two points in 2012.
This major sporting event for the commonwealth countries has netball as one of its “core sports”. It has to be part of the program and has taken place at every edition since Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
In the history of the games Australia and New Zealand haven’t given anyone else a look-in, and the Aussies taking home three golds and the Kiwis two. The next Commonwealth Games will be in Gold Coast in Australia in 2018.
Fancy Betting on Netball?
If you’re up for a Netball bet the Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final is fast approaching on 17th June.
This will be the last big event until the Fast5 World Series in Melbourne in October.
For a piece of the action, take a look at Paddy Power’s markets. You’ll never think about netball the same way again.