While it originated in Scotland, and is now played all over Europe and even parts of Asia and South America, there’s something uniquely Canadian about the sport of curling. Curling is certainly more popular here in the Great White North than anywhere else and Canada pays more attention to its major curling championships than any other country in the world.
It’s not exactly Hockey Night In Canada during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but the Brier, Scotties Tournament of Hearts, and Olympic Curling are big television events across Canada. So big that the ice sport of curling may very well be one the hottest betting markets in the country now that single-game sports betting is here. Curling betting is most likely a mystery to most, but the following guide to curling betting across Canada, from province to province, aims to change that.
What curling events can you bet on?
The biggest curling events on the calendar include:
Tim Hortons Brier
The Tim Hortons Brier is the Canadian men’s curling championship. It is traditionally held in March at a different Canadian host city and curling club chosen by Curling Canada. It is contested by 16 teams, two from Ontario, the provincial champions representing every other Canadian province and territory, and the defending champions.
The winner represents Canada at the World Curling Championships. It is the most watched event in all of curling worldwide.
Scotties Tournament of Hearts
The Scotties Tournament of Hearts is the Canadian women’s curling championship. It’s traditionally held in mid-February at a different Canadian host city and curling club chosen by Curling Canada. It now features a 16-team format with 14 provincial champions representing the member associations of Curling Canada, the defending champions, and the winners of a play-in game between the two highest-ranked teams in the country that did not win a provincial title.
The winner is named Team Canada and represents the country at the women’s world curling championships.
World Curling Championships
The World Curling Championships is the world championships for curling organised by the World Curling Federation. It features national championship teams from World Curling Federation member countries and is traditionally held at the end of March and early April. Canada hosts in odd years and a different World Curling Federation member country in even years.
Women’s World Curling Championships
The Women’s World Curling Championships is the world championships for women’s curling organised by the World Curling Federation. It features national championship teams from World Curling Federation member countries and is traditionally held at the end of March and early April in a different venue than the World Curling Championships. Canada hosts in even years and a different World Curling Federation member country in odd years.
Curling was included in the inaugural Winter Olympic Games in 1924, but did not become an official Olympic Sport until the 1998 Nagano Games. Canada has dominated both men’s and women’s Olympic Curling since then. The next Olympic Curling competition will be held during the 2022 Winter Olympics, Feb. 2-20, 2022, at the Beijing National Aquatics Center. It will feature men’s, women’s, and mixed doubles events with teams from ten nations competing.
How do you bet on curling?
There are two basic ways to bet on a curling match and both are similar to betting on other sports. These include:
- Moneyline: Betting on the moneyline in curling is the same as it is for most other sports. You simply bet on a team to win a match, straight up. You place your bet at the currently posted moneyline odds and get paid at those odds if your team wins. The odds may change ahead of the match, but you lock the odds in at the time you place your bet. Curling matches have tiebreakers, so betting on a draw is not an option.
- Totals: Betting on the totals line in curling is the same as it is for most other sports. You bet whether the combined final score in a match will be over or under a line set by oddsmakers. You place your bet at the currently posted totals odds and get paid at those odds if your team wins. The curling betting lines and odds may change ahead of the match, but you lock both in at the time you place your bet.
Men’s curling vs. women’s curling
Men and women curlers send the same stones down the same sheet to the same house. In other words, there’s no difference in the rules between men’s and women’s curling. Of course, men have a natural edge when it comes to strength and power, and while that may not impact rock throwing, it may have an effect on rock sweeping.
What are the rules of curling betting?
Most sportsbooks employ just a couple of basic curling betting rules, including:
- Settlement of all curling bets is based on the results after extra ends, unless otherwise specified.
- Curling betting markets may not be offered in all jurisdictions.
Why bet curling over other sports?
There really isn’t a ton of curling action to bet on, which makes it easy to research the very few teams and players involved in the biggest curling events. Do enough of that research and you’ll build an edge on oddsmakers more concerned with the big time sports like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL than the lowly ranks of the curling world.
Become a curling expert and you’ll start to see why betting on this sport over just about everything else makes complete sense.
Bet on Canada’s best curling teams
Brendan Bottcher’s Alberta team is the top men’s curling team in Canada right now, having won the 2021 Brier. Team Bottcher represented Canada at the 2021 World Men’s Curling Championship posting a 9–4 round robin record before losing in the playoffs against Scotland.
Team Bottcher includes Brendan Bottcher as skip, Darren Moulding third, Brad Thiessen second, and Karrick Martin lead. Bottcher has competed in five Briers after a successful junior career where he won the 2012 Canadian Junior Curling Championships and the 2012 World Junior Curling Championships.
Kerri Einarson’s Manitoba team is the top women’s curling team in Canada right now, having won back-to-back titles at the 2020 and 2021 Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Team Einarson represented Canada at the 2021 World Women’s Curling Championship posting a 7-6 round robin record before losing to Sweden in a playoff qualification game.
Team Einarson includes Kerri Einarson as skip, Val Sweeting third, Shannon Birchard second, and Briane Meilleur lead. Einarson has competed in four Scotties Tournament of Hearts.
Curling betting tips
Betting on curling is easy, but picking winners consistently can be quite hard. These three tips should help:
- Do some in-depth research: Don’t just bet randomly; research (deeply) the teams and players involved in any curling competition. Knowing curling and curlers intimately is the key to success in betting on curling.
- Bet on Canada: Canada has won 36 World Curling Championships since 1959 and 17 World Women’s Curling Championships since 1979, dominating both since the beginning. Canada has also won gold in curling at the Olympics in 2006, 2010, and 2014, and silver in 1998 and 2002. Plus, the women’s team won gold in 1998 and 2014, silver in 2010, and bronze in 2002 and 2006. More domination means Canada is always a good bet in international curling competitions.
- Shop around: If you can, shop around for the best price on your curling bets. Finding a better price on a bet at a different online and mobile sportsbook is like printing money.
How can I watch curling in Canada?
Coverage of The Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Tim Hortons Brier, World Women’s Curling Championship and World Women’s Curling Championship all air on TSN and RDS2 in Canada. Live streaming is available via TSN.ca and the TSN app. The Winter Olympics generally air on CBC in Canada.
What about international curling (and can I bet on it?)
Curling isn’t the kind of sport that includes pro leagues from around the world. Instead, World Curling Federation member countries hold local and national championship tournaments and qualifying event tournaments known as Bonspiels. The Brier and Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Canada are two examples of national championship Bonspiels.
Similar events are held in the US, Scotland, Norway, and several other European countries. Canadian sportsbooks may make curling odds available for these tournaments and their matches.
How do you play curling and score points?
Curling matches feature two teams of four with each team member taking turns throwing eight granite stones with a handle along a strip of ice with a circular target area called a house at each end. One team member throws the stone, two others sweep the ice with brooms in an effort to direct the stone and adjust its speed up to the tee line. Only one can sweep after that. A total of 16 stones, eight for each team, represents a complete end.
Whichever team is closest to the centre of the house at the completion of each end is awarded a single point. Plus, additional points are scored for each stone the team member lands closer to the centre than the opposition’s best stone. Although, stones must be in the house to count.
Matches are won by the team that scores the most points after all ends are complete. Most curling matches feature eight or ten ends. Extra sudden-death ends are played if the score is tied.
Who is the all time greatest curler?
Edmonton, Alberta’s Kevin Martin is considered the greatest curler of all time. He won four Briers, a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics, and the 2008 World Championship.
Who are the top teams/nations in curling?
Canada dominates curling. Canadian teams have won 36 World Curling Championships since 1959 and 17 World Women’s Curling Championships since 1979. Canada also won gold at the Olympics in 2006, 2010, and 2014, and silver in 1998 and 2002. The women’s team won gold in 1998 and 2014, silver in 2010, and bronze in 2002 and 2006. Sweden, Scotland, Germany, and Switzerland are also competitive.
What is handicap betting in curling?
Some sportsbooks may offer handicap betting on individual curling matches as a way of evening out the odds for betting on the favourite and underdog. That means factoring in a spread in the final score. Typically, the line will be similar to the puck line in hockey, at 1.5 stones. This means that the favourite has to win by 2 stones or more for bets to pay off.
How long is a curling match?
Typical curling matches are ten ends and last a total of around three hours. Teams are given a set amount of Thinking Time to develop strategy and plan shots ensuring the matches don’t go too long.
Is curling better or easier to bet on than other sports?
Basic curling betting isn’t much different than betting on other sports. Betting on it is as easy as picking winners, but picking winners consistently can prove difficult.
What are the curling positions?
The curling positions are Lead, Second, Third, and Skip. Each player throws two rocks, the lead throws first, then the second, the third and the Skip throws last. While the Skip is throwing the third takes over calling the shots for the Skip.