Volleyball is the world’s fifth most popular sport, with 900 million global fans putting it ahead of basketball, NFL, baseball and golf. Its popularity is soaring around the world, and the spotlight thrown on it by the Olympics every four years is a huge boost. Brazil won gold in the final of the 2016 Rio Games and will be going for the World League later this year in what looks a very competitive field, also featuring defending champion Serbia, along with powerhouses Italy and the USA.
Volleyball is easy to understand and does not have complicated rules, while it is also easy to play as it requires minimal equipment, so it is easy to understand why it is such a popular sport to play. But it is also really growing as a spectator sport. You only have to look at a volleyball odds coupon at a leading sportsbook to see how widespread it is. Bovada has odds for them, review before you place a wager and you will see a plethora of games from all over the world.
Over in Greece, there is futures betting on the A1 league. All the famous Greek soccer teams also have a volleyball team, and Olympiacos currently leads on 62 points, ahead of PAOK and Panathanaikos. Olympiacos to win the league at -250 with Bovada looks a very good bet as it has a comfortable lead and is in great form.
There is similar futures betting in Turkey, where Fenerbache SK Istanbul looks a good option at +315 ahead of Halkbank Ankara (+260) and Arkas Izmir (+385). The coupon is updated daily and features games from Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Brazil and more, plus international games. A huge number of sports do not have any betting lines at all, so the sheer volume of betting options available on volleyball games from across the world shows just how popular it is.
The World League is definitely the biggest draw, not least because it comes with a $1 million prize pot. It will feature all the world’s top players and leading international teams, and looks set to be fiercely competitive once again. It begins on June 2 qnd runs to July 2, and is held in Brazil. That home advantage for the Olympic champions could well prove decisive once again. In front of passionate home crowds, the Brazil team surged to Olympic gold last summer.
The main attention will be on Group 1, which features the world’s 12 top teams: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, France, Iran, Italy, Poland, Russia, Serbia and the USA. Serbia won its first ever gold last year by beating Brazil in straight sets in the final, while 2015 champion France claimed the bronze by beating Italy. But the Brazil team made amends by claiming Olympic gold with a comfortable victory over Russia. In the bronze medal match the USA beat Russia.
It is these teams – Brazil, Italy, Serbia, France, the USA and Russia – that are set to be the main contenders this summer. Italy is being heavily tipped to go one better and win the gold this year, but Brazil should enjoy a psychological edge over the Italians, and the home support they will garner could also help swing it in their favour. Bruno Schmidt and Alison Cerutti were on fire in Rio, and Brazil has been churning out some of the world’s top players for years. An interesting longer shot could be the USA, however, which put in a very strong showing in Rio and has a lot of potential, which is just waiting to be unleashed. Either way, it is set to be another thrilling tournament and volleyball’s popularity will continue to skyrocket.