Amid the world sporting apocalypse caused by the coronavirus outbreak, one low-profile constant has remained: Eastern European table tennis. Interest in table tennis betting has skyrocketed courtesy of competitions such as the Moscow Liga Pro and Ukraine’s Setka Cup and Win Cup, which offer punters a plethora of match-ups.
With dozens of table tennis matches on the schedule every day, sports betting enthusiasts are putting cut-out passes, speccies and alley-oops aside to learn about top spin, handshake grips and high-toss serves.
“He’s probably texting other girls”
“Hmmm, I wonder which Table Tennis player I should bet on to win their Moscow Liga Pro game today” pic.twitter.com/8apNs1cOP3
— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) April 11, 2020
Not just ping-pong: Table tennis is serious business
Ping-pong is a mainstay of garages, rumpus rooms and basements around the world – or in the middle of the office if you work somewhere ultra-progressive or hipster – but table tennis is serious business for the world’s best exponents.
Table tennis has been a fixture at the Olympics since 1988. China has collected 31 of the 48 men’s and women’s singles medals, although Korean, Swedish and Taiwanese players have regularly broken through for podium finishes.
Budapest hosted the biennial World Table Tennis Championships in April 2019. Reigning Olympic champion Ma Long claimed his third straight men’s world title, while fellow Chinese competitor Liu Shiwen won the women’s title. The 2020 World Team Table Tennis Championships is scheduled to be held in Busan, South Korea, in September–October, following its COVID-19-related postponement from its original March start date.
Kirill Skachkov (66th) is currently the highest-ranked Russian men’s player in the ITTF rankings, while Kou Lei (58th) leads the way among Ukrainian men. Margaryta Pesotska (36th) is Ukraine’s top-ranked woman, and Russia’s Polina Mikhailova (45th) is also inside the top 50.
The length of a regulation table tennis table is 2.74m, meaning players are maintaining social distancing. We’re unsure of the protocols around ball-washing (mandatory in beer pong), however.
Matches are played over a best-of-five-games format. A game is won by the first player to 11 points, with a margin of at least two points needed to win the game.
Eastern Europe is now the centre of the sports universe
While pro sports in Australia, America and Western Europe have been largely decimated by COVID-19, codes in Eastern Europe are forging ahead.
Belarus boasts one of the few still-active football leagues in the world. Russian Liga Pro ice hockey is powering on. Belarus and Russia are staging exhibition tennis matches. But it’s table tennis in Russia and the Ukraine that has enjoyed the most meteoric rise on the sports betting landscape.
What we know about the Moscow Liga Pro, Setka Cup and Win Cup
While information on the exact format of the Moscow Liga Pro, Setka Cup and Win Cup is difficult to come by, tournaments are rolled out every day amid a hectic match schedule.
Players to watch out for include Aleksandr Petrov, who won back-to-back tournaments in the Moscow Liga Pro after returning from a fortnight’s break. Evgenii Kryuchkov has been similarly dominant, winning two of three tournaments following a short rest.
Setka Cup stalwarts Maksym Marchuk, Yevhenii Sokoltsov and Vladimir Voronenkov are wily competitors who have proved profitable propositions for punters during the table tennis betting upsurge.
Sportsbet has table tennis odds and betting options available on all Setka Cup and Moscow Liga Pro matches. Bet now.