The 2018 Winter Olympics quickly approaches as PyeongChang, South Korea gears up to host the world’s biggest winter sports competition. It all begins less than a month from today with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for Friday, 9 February 2018 at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium.
Every four years, we are treated to the best in human achievement as athletes put their bodies on the line and perform at the highest level for all the world to see. As much a pleasure as it is to watch athletes do the incredible, there is also something to be said for the thrill that comes with putting a little money on the line.
Having a little skin in the game transforms the Olympics viewing experience from one of passive consumption to one which involves us here at home as well. When we bet on the Winter Olympics, we dig deep researching the athletes who have been assembled, check recent results and embed ourselves deeper into the games than the average viewer. While the athletes on TV strive for gold medals, we too hope to earn a little gold of our own.
The 2018 Winter Olympics will cover a lot of ground, so it is best to choose just a few events and focus on those for best results. You may be tempted to put a little something down on a random assortment of events, but it will serve you best to stick with sports you already know.
If you do not already follow any of the winter sports, it is still best to pick one or two that interest you and focus the majority of your efforts on getting to know those sports. Ice hockey and downhill skiing are two sports worth considering for anyone wondering where to even sport. Both sports receive a good deal of media coverage each year and are easier to research than some of the more niche sports such as curling.
Gold medal betting markets are also a popular pick as those do not rely quite as much on individual sporting knowledge. It helps immensely if you do have a wide breadth of knowledge on individual events, but medal totals tend to be discussed widely in the media ahead of the Olympics each year and that makes it easier to do a little research on the countries likely to come out ahead on medal count.
Something else worth keeping in mind is that although the sheer number of athletes and participating countries is huge, that can also work to your advantage. The oddsmakers who compile the Winter Olympics odds have a mammoth of task in figuring out what to offer for so many individual events, competitions and athletes.
The oddsmakers have their hands full and that means there is simply no way they can produce sharp odds on every event. There will be some mispriced athletes and events to be found in this year’s Olympics. If you look closely, do your research and keep your eyes peeled, you may just find a few bets that offer serious value.
Gold Medal Betting
The main broad category for Winter Olympics betting consists of predicting which country will take the most medals. This betting market appears simple at first because it does not involve picking individual winners across multiple sports.
However, to truly give yourself the best chance, it pays to acquaint yourself with every winter sport, how each country fares in each and then come up with your own probable gold medal count for each country. If you do that first, you will find it easier to determine which countries offer the most value for this market.
One way to make this whole process less of a chore is to begin by looking at the top 3-5 countries as ranked by the bookmakers. Norway, Germany, USA, Canada and Russia would be good countries to consider first. The odds are one of these five countries will be the one to home the most gold medals.
Online bookmakers have priced Norway, Germany and the USA as the betting favourites to win the most gold medals overall in the 2018 edition of the Olympics. Norway and Germany as priced as co-favourites with both priced at 11/10 to take the most Gold Medals. The United States is priced as a more distant favourite with odds of 5/1 or longer.
ComeOn, Betsafe and Betway are all taking wagers on which country will win the most gold medals. Between these three bookmakers, Betsafe has the best odds on average for the favourites while Betway has the best odds on average for the middling and longshot countries. You can refer to the following chart to compare the odds being offered for each country by each bookmaker.
|Most Gold Medals||ComeOn||Betsafe||Betway|
Gold Medal Totals
Another market related to gold medal betting is predicting totals for individual countries. Rather than predicting which country ends up with the most medals among all countries competing in the Winter Olympics, you focus your effort on exactly one country and predict the number of gold medals that country will win.
The way totals betting works is the bookmaker picks a total number of gold medals for each country. You then simply bet on whether that country will end up winning more than or fewer than that number.
For example, ComeOn.com has listed Norway with 12.5 gold medals. Your job in this wager is to choose whether Norway will win more than or fewer than that many gold medals. If you think Norway will take 12 gold medals or fewer, you would take the under. Likewise, you would take the over if you think Norway will win 13 or more.
Bookmakers that cover the Olympics offer this wager for all of the most prominent countries competing this year. The following chart shows the total medal count offered by each bookmaker for each country along with the odds for each bet. Note that a total of 102 gold medals will be awarded in this year’s Winter Olympics.
|Norway||Over 12.5: 20/27
Under 12.5: 1/1
|Over 12.5: 19/20
Under 12.5: ¾
|Germany||Over 10.5: 4/9
Under 10.5: 8/5
|Over 10.5: 5/11
Under 10.5: 3/2
|USA||Over 9.5: 2/3
Under 9.5: 11/10
|Over 9.5: 9/14
Under 9.5: 11/10
|Canada||Over 8.5: 10/11
Under 8.5: 4/5
|Over 8.5: 9/10
Under 8.5: 4/5
|Netherlands||Over 6.5: 10/11
Under 6.5: 4/5
|Over 6.5: 19/20
Under 6.5: 3/4
|South Korea||Over 5.5: 1/2
Under 5.5: 7/5
|Over 5.5: 1/2
Under 5.5: 7/5
|France||Over 8.5: 7/5
Under 8.5: 1/2
|Over 8.5: 7/5
Under 8.5: 1/2
|Austria||Over 5.5: 2/3
Under 5.5: 11/10
|Over 5.5: 9/14
Under 5.5: 11/10
|Sweden||Over 3.5: 6/5
Under 3.5: 20/33
|Over 3.5: 6/5
Under 3.5: 3/5
|Poland||Over 1.5: 2/5
Under 1.5: 6/4
|Over 1.5: 5/11
Under 1.5: 3/2
|Italy||Over 1.5: 13/10
Under 1.5: 5/9
|Over 1.5: 5/4
Under 1.5: 6/11
|Finland||Over 0.5: 5/7
Under 0.5: 21/20
|Over 0.5: 7/10
Under 0.5: 1/1
2018 Olympics Alpine Skiing Odds
Alpine skiing will consist of four events for men and women plus a newly-introduced mixed teams event contested by teams of four (2 men and 2 women).
When it comes to alpine skiing, there is a huge disparity between “snow-faring” countries and all the rest. Austrians, Swiss, French, Norwegians, Italians, Germans, Croatians, Canadans and Americans tend to fare well in alpine events with athletes who have spent their entire lives on the slopes.
Here’s how the oddsmakers have priced the top athletes in each of the men’s and women’s events.
|Aksel Lund Svindal||23/10||5/2||3/1|
|Men’s Giant Slalom|
|Women’s Giant Slalom|
|Men’s Super G|
|Aksel Lund Svindal||7/2||17/4||4/1|
|Aleksander Aamodt Kilde||10/1||14/1||14/1|
|Women’s Super G|
Ice Hockey at the Olympics
Ice Hockey is always a big draw at the Winter Olympics with high drama at the international stage and national pride on the line. We only have to look back at the Miracle on Ice to see the types of theatrics international ice hockey can deliver at the Olympic Games.
There is already some drama as we had into PyeongChang 2018. Russia has been banned from the Olympics due to the ongoing doping scandal, but certain individual athletes will be permitted to compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) under a neutral flag.
The Russians have managed to assemble a world class hockey team nonetheless and now enter as betting favourites followed by Canada and Sweden. The Russians will be coming with some of the top talent in ice hockey and have made it clear where they stand and what they plan to do.
When asked if they consider themselves the favourites at PyeongChang, Russian captain Ilya Kovalchuk simply said, “We always are.” And when asked about competing under the OAR designation, he said this:
“Everyone knows where we’re from. It doesn’t matter. The flag is in our heart.”
Don’t be surprised if the Russians play with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove after the doping allegations and a disappointing quarter-finals loss in Sochi. The Russian hockey team will also bring with it active and former NHL players who will be among the best to take to this ice in PyeongChang.
Here’s how the oddsmakers are pricing each nation to take gold in ice hockey.
Wes Burns has more than a decade’s worth of experience as a writer, researcher, and analyst in the legal online betting industry and is co-founder of OnlineBettingSites.com. Wes approaches his work from the viewpoint of players.