Guide to Volleyball Betting

Introduction to Volleyball

Volleyball is fast becoming one of the most popular sports in the United States, from the school level through to the heady heights of the Olympic Games. As a professional sport, however, volleyball has yet to reach the ranks of the major leagues. Although if its current trajectory continues, we may see the gap narrowing.

Volleyball is typically played on a hard court, but variations of the traditional sport have emerged over the years. Beach volleyball is the most popular variation, both as a competitive sport and an outdoor pastime.

Although some volleyball sportsbooks offer both formats for betting, traditional volleyball remains the favourite among bettors. With this in mind, let’s get started with some guidelines for volleyball betting.


Main Rules

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Before you launch yourself into volleyball betting online, it’s best to have a basic grasp of the game. This way, you can make more sense of the volleyball betting tips you encounter and can wager with some knowledge of what may or may not happen.

Two teams of six players in each contest count as a match. Each team stands on opposite sides of a net.

A match consists of either three or five sets, depending on the level. Most games from Varsity level upwards have five sets.

Teams play the first four sets (or two in a 3-set match) to 25 points and the final set to 15 points. A team must have a two-point lead to win a set, and the first team to win three of the five sets wins the match.

A team scores a point by hitting the ball onto the floor within or on the opposition’s boundary lines without opponents touching it first. The team that wins a point also wins the chance to serve.

Team members position themselves with three in the front row and three in the back.

Each time the team wins the service back from their opponents, players rotate one position clockwise, and a new server takes the ball.

A team can touch the ball up to three times on their side of the net, but the same player may not touch the ball on consecutive shots.

Throwing the ball is not permitted. Players must either dig (an underarm hit with the forearms), set (overhead shot with the hands), or spike (attacking overhead shot) the ball.

Once the ball is in play, front row players can swap positions for the duration of the rally. If the ball touches any part of a player’s body, the opposing team wins the point and the serve. The same applies if a player touches the net during a rally. During a rally, the ball remains in motion. Players aren’t permitted to catch or hold the ball.

Main Competitions

While volleyball leagues in the US, like the NCAA Division 1 Women’s Championship and the NCAA National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship, draw a significant amount of support, the major international competitions are a huge drawcard for volleyball betting.

Olympic Games

The four-yearly Olympic Games have been around for over a century, and we’ve seen more and more sports added to the lineup. Volleyball was introduced to the mix in 1964 and has remained a fixture on the schedule ever since.

Teams are split into two pools. Each team plays the others in its pool. The top four from each pool advance to the knockout stage, leading to the final match between the two remaining teams.

Twelve nations compete in the men’s and women’s Olympic volleyball tournament. The USA men’s team has won gold three times, in 1984, 1988, and 2008, while the women’s team won bronze in 1992 and 2016.

Beach volleyball officially joined the Olympic lineup in 1996. Team USA fares well in this discipline with six gold medals to date: three each for the men’s and women’s teams. In fact, Team USA leads the charge with the most gold medals, making them a viable pick for your Olympic beach volleyball betting.

FIVB Volleyball World Championship

The FIVB (Federation Internationale de Volleyball) Volleyball World Champs also occurs every four years. Qualifying takes place in the three years leading up to the Championship. The 24 teams to come through the qualifying stage are split into pools for the preliminary rounds, where each team plays the others in the same pool.

The past format for the final round has varied, but recently we’ve seen a push towards bringing this in line with the Olympic format.

While European countries are a dominant force in this tournament, the USA men’s team boasts three medals. It took the gold medal in 1986, the bronze in 1994, and more recently, a further bronze in 2018. The women’s team won gold in 2014, silver in 2002 and 1967, and bronze in 1982 and 1990.

FIVB World Grand Champions Cup

The inaugural FIVB World Grand Champions Cup took place in 1993. It’s one of the newest international events on the volleyball landscape and takes place every four years in Japan, the year after the Olympic Games.

Six teams compete in a round-robin format for the title. Of the six teams, the host Japan is pre-qualified, and one nation is a wild card entry. The continental champions who performed best at the preceding Olympics fill the remaining four spots. Both the US men’s and women’s teams have mixed results in this tournament and have yet to secure the top spot.

FIVB World Cup

Another tournament on a four-yearly schedule is the FIVB World Cup. It takes place the year before the Olympics, with twelve top member nations of the FIVB fighting for the crown.

There are lots of volleyball betting opportunities in the World Cup. Teams are divided into two pools with six teams in each. In the first leg, each team plays against the other teams in the same pool, while in the second leg, each team plays the teams in the other pool.

Final overall standings depend on match points, matches won, sets ratio, and points ratio.

The top two teams overall qualify for the following year’s Olympic Games. Only teams that haven’t yet qualified for the Olympics can participate.

Where to Bet on Volleyball?

With volleyball still growing in popularity, it’s not surprising that not all sportsbooks feature it on their betting menu. However, there’s still a substantial choice of volleyball betting sites that you can visit.

We’ve done our due diligence and narrowed the list to those we feel are the most trustworthy and live up to our high standards. Pop on to any of these and check out their volleyball betting picks.

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The Olympic Games is by far the most sought-after event for volleyball betting. If you’re just dipping your toes into the water of volleyball betting, you may want to look at college volleyball odds and place a few bets on collegiate teams first. There’s nothing like a warm-up before the main event.

Volleyball Facts and History

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Volleyball dates back to 1895, designed as an alternative to basketball for those who found that sport too energetic. Its inventor was William G. Morgan from the YMCA in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

In those days, volleyball was called mignonette until the following year when a college professor commented on the volleying nature of the game. The name Volleyball was created and has stuck ever since.

The game appealed to people of all ages, both male and female, and quickly spread from the United States throughout the world. Morgan wrote the original rules in 1897, but after more countries adopted the sport, there was a need for an overhaul of the volleyball rules.

The YMCA and NCAA released more extensive rules in 1916, and although these have undergone various changes over the years, the basic rules of gameplay have remained relatively unchanged.

USA Volleyball, formed in 1928 under the name United States Volleyball Association (USVBA), regulates volleyball in the US. Volleyball worldwide falls under the Swiss-based Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVD), based in Switzerland. USVBA was one of the 13 founding members of this body, which now encompasses 210 nations.

The FIVB proposed a four-year cycle of international events, which started in 1969 and continues today. The first year’s event is the World Cup, the second year the World Championship takes place, the third year is reserved for regional events like the Pan American Games in which the US competes, and finally, we reach the pinnacle of the four-year period with the prestigious Olympic Games.

Beach volleyball is a fast-growing sport and also features in the international arena. It’s grown from a beach activity to a huge crowd-pleaser. With its own world championship event and a spot on the Olympic roster, beach volleyball is here for the long haul.


Since it began, volleyball has quickly spread worldwide, becoming one of the most widely played sports and gaining popularity year on year. The different formats of indoor and beach volleyball give it broad appeal and the potential to become a major sport in the US.

Volleyball is fast-paced, easy to understand, and offers a range of betting opportunities. With a host of college leagues and international tournaments, players aren’t short of exposure to competition, and bettors are never short of volleyball betting options.


What is the most popular bet on volleyball?

The most popular bet is a moneyline or matches bet, which is a wager on who you think will win the game.

What other bets can I place on volleyball?

You can place a total points bet, betting on the total number of points scored, or you can wager on a handicap in your match bet. Other popular volleyball wagers are total sets and correct score.

Which is the best tournament to bet on?

The Olympic Games is a fan favourite for volleyball betting. You can choose to wager on the indoor event or place your bets on beach volleyball.

Do I need to know how to play volleyball to bet on the sport?

You don’t have to, but it’s advisable to have some understanding of how volleyball works before you wager your cash.

Do all sportsbooks have volleyball betting?

No, they don’t, but we’ve provided a guideline to the ones with betting markets for volleyball.

Elica Martinova
Betting expert
Certified Betting Expert
Elica Martinova
Ellie is in charge of writing, editing, and publishing reviews in Bulgarian, English, and German. She has a long track record as a journalist and is passionate about writing. Also, she is quite experienced when it comes to bookmakers as well.