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Betting on the 2018 Winter Olympics – Betting Options and Best Value

By Luca D. W.
Published on January 08, 2018
PyeongChang Winter Olympics Rings 2018

The 2018 Winter Olympics are set to start on February 9th in PyeongChang, South Korea. As with all the Olympic Games, there will be billions of people tuning in on their TVs to watch their country’s athletes perform on the biggest stage in the world.

The Olympics present the biggest opportunity for these athletes to showcase their talents, especially for those competing in the Winter Games, events that often don’t get much publicity elsewhere. These athletes will have been training for four years for this moment, and it’ll be interesting to see who can handle the pressure and come up big when it matters most.

I’ll take a look at the various options you have when betting on the Games – from individual results to heats to the national medal tally. Which ones give you the best opportunity to make some cash? Let’s find out!

Betting Options

Before we jump into my value picks, let’s take a look at a few of the options that are available to bettors. Options are key when betting, especially on such a large event such as the Olympics, and it’s key you know which option you’d like to pursue before betting.

  • Medal Count – If you’re more concerned with your country’s overall performance than that of the individual athletes, this is your category. You can bet on almost anything – who will have the most gold medals, most silver, most bronze, most total. Over/under. The opportunities are limitless.
  • Event Results – This is the typical betting that goes on. Bet on the winner of each event. It’s a simple concept – the simplest in all of betting – but it’s one that will no doubt bring great opportunity for winning.
  • Prop Bets – These are always fun, and while they’re not your best option for winning money, they’re a fun way to keep yourself entertained while waiting for the events to start. These often relate to the opening ceremony, but they can also be tied into events and specific athletes as well.

Value Picks

Now that I’ve shared the most frequent and easiest options for bettors at the 2018 Winter Olympics, I’ll be taking a look at the various odds and making my selection as to which options present the best value. It’s important to conduct your own research prior to betting, and chances are that you are not as familiar with the Winter Olympics as you are with the Summer ones, so familiarize yourself with the top athletes, figure out which ones you like best, and make your pick!

Men’s Hockey Winner – Russia (7/4)

While this may not be the best bet in terms of odds, giving you only $2.75 for every dollar, it’s a pretty safe bet in terms of value. While the IOC has declared that they will ban many Russian athletes from the competition, the decision from the NHL to bar its players from competing will eliminate much of the North American powerhouses’ chances.

Russia may be without star, Alexander Ovechkin, but with the KHL standing as the second best league in the world by far, the Russians are the favorites to take home the gold in South Korea. The Americans and the Canadians will lose practically all of their main teams, forced to find players from the minor leagues and potentially some youth to fill their place.

The decision from the NHL marks the first time since 1998 that the league will not participate in the Olympics, citing a disruption in the season and disapproval from the fans as reasons for their absence. This very absence gives the Russians the perfect opportunity to reclaim gold for the first time since 1988, making this bet one of my value picks.

Alpine Skiing (Women’s Downhill) – Lara Gut

This has always been Lindsey Vonn’s category, but with the American returning from a broken arm that cost her a year of competition, this is the perfect opportunity for another woman to step in and claim the gold. Her first race back at Lake Louise didn’t fare too well either , effectively ending her chances at any sort of medal.

There are a few women who could take Vonn’s place atop the podium – Weirather, Huetter, Shiffin – but the one who stands out the most is Lara Gut. The Swiss earned a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and with nine years of experience under her belt, she certainly has what it takes to dethrone Vonn.

Vonn will always be the safer pick, but with Gut giving 6/1 odds, the Swiss simply provides more value. We have yet to see Vonn truly return to her true self, and until that happens, it’ll be a tossup for the gold.

If you’re looking for a riskier play but a larger payout, one name that could pique your interest is Mikaela Shiffrin. The twenty-two year old has dominated the skiing world for quite some time, placing first in the overall World Cup standings for 2017. With her downhill results fastly improving and her odds of 9/1, she could present some excellent value should she replicate her success on the big stage.

Curling Mixed Doubles – Switzerland (4/1)

The 2018 Winter Olympics will see a new curling event added to the schedule. Diverging from the traditional two events, the third event will see one male and one female combine in mixed doubles. Canada has dominated curling at the past Winter Olympics, but this only presents bettors with better odds for athletes from other countries.

While Canada may be the favorites, it was the Swiss who claimed the 2017 Curling World Championships in curling. In fact, the Canadians have yet to claim a single title in mixed doubles while the Swiss already have six to their name. The trials are currently underway in Canada to determine who will take the ice in PyeongChang, but whoever they are, they’ll have to face some tough competition if they wish to continue Canada’s legacy.

With the Swiss offering 4/1 odds, I see no reason why you shouldn’t jump on the ship. They have been the leaders in mixed doubles for quite a while now, and while the Olympics may be an entirely different story, they have what it takes to beat the Canadians. If you’re looking for a relatively safe bet with some good upside, look no further.

Most Overall Medals, Most Gold Medals – Norway (2.75/1), (2.1/1)

This is the easiest category to follow, and it will also likely be the ones that most bettors lean towards. But while it might be the most popular, it is definitely not the simplest; you must know not only the favorites for one event, but the favorites for all the events and their nationalities. This can be tedious, but if you see it as an opportunity to watch more of the Olympics and truly familiarize yourself with the events, it can prove fruitful.

The Norwegians are favorited for both categories, and rightfully so. They have proved themselves time and time again, and experts and programs are projecting this to be a . With Russia’s participation heavily cut due to the IOC’s decision to bar many of their athletes from competing, this year’s Olympics will be interesting to say the least.

The Norwegians have some of the best skiers in the world, in both the alpine and cross-country versions and also biathlon, and this is where they’ll likely rack up most of their gold medals. In fact, nine of their elven gold medals from the 2014 Sochi Olympics came from these three categories, and it’s likely that even more will come this year.

In addition to their incredible talent, they also have great depth. When counting the total number of medals won, it is depth that matters; bronze, silver, and gold medals are all worth the exact same amount.

The United States have won the most medals in the last two Winter Olympics, but with Norway’s incredibly deep pool of competitors, that streak should fall this year. Their strength lies particularly in skiing, where Svindal, Jansrud, and Kristoffersen compete. Five or six medals solely from men’s skiing should come in handy when the medals are tallied on February 25th.

Recommendation

While these are the picks I believe have the most value, what I recommend dong is diversifying your bets. Spread out your money on a variety of different events that way you can limit your losses. One of the deadliest mistakes bettors make is risking it all for a chance to win big, and while that philosophy might work once in twenty tries, it is simply not going to work out in the long run.

Find an event that you really enjoy watching, and research it.

Watch videos of old competitions, look at the athletes’ recent form, the odds for that particular athlete. Soak up as much information as you can about that one particular event, and you’ll not only give yourself a huge advantage with your bets, but you’ll also find yourself watching a lot more of the Winter Olympics and having a lot more fun while doing it.

The Winter Olympics are often underrated, a shadow to their summertime brother. But if you take the time to get to know the sports, you’ll find that it can be just as entertaining and even more so. Betting on the events only makes it more exciting as you get to see them play out live. Win or lose, this should be a great experience and an entertaining one to say the least.

The Winter Olympics are set to kick off on February 9th, so make sure to do your research now and place your bets. Who knows? You might just strike it rich!

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