Winter Olympics Betting Angle
Winter Olympic betting preview
THE SOCHI OLYMPICS are just 22 days away and, while there is plenty of FIS Alpine World Cup racing in the interim, the 2014 landscape is reasonably smog free. Of course all that can change if and when the formbooks are set alight.
The mortgage play is American Mikaela Shiffrin in the Woman’s Slalom. Simply an amazing talent, the 18-year-old has seven World Cup Slalom race wins and an additional seven podiums on her CV. Naturally this will be her first Olympic Games but the Colorado native has been to Sochi before and, in her current form allied to her seeming obliviousness to the pressure of the big occasion, odds of 6/4 should be devoured.
The Blue Riband event of the games has to be the Men’s Downhill and it’s foolish to look beyond the Norwegian, Aksel Lund Svindal in it or the Super Gcompetition. The 6ft 3in monster claimed three medals at the last Olympics and the five-time World Champion is arguably in the best form of his career – having won four World Cup races this season already.
The big news in the Woman’s Downhill is poster girl Lindsey Vonn is a no show. I’m not sure where the term ‘poster girl’ has come from as, try as I might, I’ve been unsuccessful in my attempts to wallpaper my bedroom with her posters.
Anyway, following her official link-up with Tiger Woods, she has dislodged herself from my own personal pedestal to be replaced by Leichesnstein’s finest, Tina Weirather. If Queen Tina were a racehorse Dubai would be waving their chequebook as her pedigree runs in blood bluer than a broken biro.
Daughter of the legendary Harti Weirather and Olympic gold medallist Hanni Wenzel, Tina Weirather has been plagued by injuries throughout her career but there is massive underlying talent which has started to show itself this season – the first time in her pro career.
Unlike Svindall and Shiffrin Weirather’s chances are not so clear that they can be found on a GPS and so back her to podium at fancy prices in the Woman’s Downhill and Woman’s Super G.
The Ski Jumping throws up more questions to answer than Cameron fields at PMQ’s on a Wednesday. A fantastic spectacle to experience live, TV does not do it justice. Regardless it’s no sort of betting medium. For the craic I’d like to see German Andreas Wank perform well, therein testing commentators resolve.
Snowboarding events are generally dominated by the Swiss, Canadians and Americans. Shaun White, who has won the last two Olympic Gold’s in the Halfpipe, is missing the X Games for the first time in 14 years to concentrate on the Olympics. It would be foolhardy to oppose the dominant American who stared in last year’s excellent documentary ‘The Crash Reel’.
Compatriot Lindsey Jacobellis had the world laughing their socks off after her faux-pas in the Snowboard Cross final at Turin’s 2006 Winter Olympics. In the race, which is for four competitors scrambling down a BMX-style track, she had a seemingly unassailable 40 metre lead but decided to showboat the final jump situated within the shadow of the post. The result is well worth a watch on Youtube. Anyway, if God has a sense of humour, he will send her to the final one more time.
Norway’s Biathlete Ole Einar Bjorndalen is one of the greatest Olympians of all time and the 93 time World Cup race winner will be competing in his sixth Winter Olympics. The heart says ‘yes’, but the head and the 12/1 on offer about him says ‘no’.
Indeed the 10km Biathlon looks to be at the mercy of fellow Norwegian and 3/1 poke Emil Hegle Svendsen who is going straight to Russia on the back of a faultless win in Ruhpolding, Germany last weekend.
Don’t know the first thing about Bobsleigh, Luge or Skeleton (amazingly) but, for a tip: If ever given the chance go to St Moritz and try Skeleton (named after the likelihood of breaking bones maybe?) for yourself down the Cresta Run …DO.
Norway are as big as 7/4 to win the most Gold Medals at the games. Ladbrokes go even-money however and, as we know via the cozy relationship that is Mike Dillon/Coolmore (isn’t it amazing my friend cannot tell me he does not fancy his 52-rated horse in fear I might lay it on a betting exchange yet Mike Dillon, representing the Betdaq Betting Exchange and Ladbrokes, can be tipped off by one of the biggest powers in horseracing and lay unfancied horses accordingly?) the company is not called the ‘Magic Sign’ for nothing.
Very underwhelmed by today’s Racing Post Olympic Games treatment which is comparable to their Fish O’Mania coverage and as sizeable as their daily Tour de France reporting which, as we know, goes on for week after week after… Additionally the Games do not start tomorrow (only some obscure qualifiers) but on Saturday. Irksomely the piece, in places, features some amazing similarities to a preview I distributed a few weeks back.
Granted a little more time I would have scratched the surface but this may help:
The Good Things
A) Get you conkers on American Mikaela Shiffrin in the Woman’s Slalom. Simply an amazing talent, the 18-year-old has seven World Cup Slalom race wins and an additional seven podiums on her CV. Naturally this will be her first Olympic Games but the Colorado native has been to Sochi before and, in her current form allied to her seeming obliviousness to the pressure of the big occasion, odds of 6/4 should be devoured.
B) Norwegian Axel Lund Svindal is an even shorter price, even-money, in the Men’s Super G. He’s bombproof in this sphere and the betting market of 20/1 bar two says all that needs saying.
C) Norway will win the most Gold Medals. The Norwegian Team is mighty strong in Cross Country and Biathlon events (as short as 1-10 to win gold in some disciplines, such as the women’s Cross Country Relay) and will pick up a hatful of Gold Medals in this sphere.
True, Norway only came joint-third in the Gold Medal table at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics behind host country, Canada and Germany. Norway’s nine Gold’s actually drew with the USA in third. But, Canada have had a mighty fall from grace as reflected by their odds of 12/1. 25/1 looks a more accurate reflection of their chances this time on the balance of form. They have nothing for the Alpine Skiing and there is not enough Ice Hockey for them.
Amongst Germany’s Vancouver haul were three woman’s skiing Gold’s which cannot be repeated this year. Their women athletes are not strong this Olympics and men claimed just two of their Gold medals last time around.
The USA’s 2010 Gold’s came from a broad cross-section of sports but this time they have some serious strength (odds-on shots like Hannah Kearney in the Moguls and the Davis/White coupling in the figure skating, Shaun White Snowboard Half-pipe) but are now very much lacking in depth.
The Ice Hockey, Bobsleigh and Curling events are scheduled for the closing days of the Olympics. The Luge, however, is done and dusted on Thursday February 13th (ten days before the Game’s conclusion. As Germany are massive odds-on to scoop the Gold’s in the Luge events, it’s likely they will tumble in the Gold Medal betting before other countries have an opportunity to make a name for themselves. USA are strong in the Bobsleigh and so consider a late flurry of money for them if in contention half-way through the closing week. Backing Norway remains the only play, but timing is everything as they should drift in the betting at some stage.
D) The host nation will win the Figure Skating Pairs with 1/2 poke Trankov & Volosozhar. And, unlike in 2002 when a French/Russian mafia-style vote fixing hit the headlines, they will do it on merit.
The Not Such Good Things
A) Ted Ligety is too short at 11/10 in the Giant Slalom. Brilliant at his best, the American has been a little hit-and-miss this season and has posted one too many DNF’s for my liking.
B) In the showpiece Men’s Downhill the 6ft 3in monster Axel Lund Svindal is the rightful favourite. He claimed three medals at the last Olympics and is a five-time World Champion. However 36-year-old Bode Miller looks to be hitting top-form having missed 2012/2013 with knee injury/surgery. There’s been turmoil aplenty in Miller’s personal life, which saw him getting married several months before a former flame gave birth to his son! Additionally, in a surprising result, Austria’s Hannes Reichelt trumped Svindall in the biggest dress rehearsal (Kitzbuehel in late January) and therein, on this occasion, for this event, Svindall rates a reluctant ‘avoid’ at 15/8.
C) Maybe I’m speaking purely as a recreational skier but I detest anyone/anything with a board attached to it. Snowboarding is a load tosh. It’s loud, noisy, new-age high-five nonsense. Little wonder the Yanks are so good at it. However their North American neighbours could upset their candy store so lay Shaun White in the Men’s Slopestyle (not the Half-pipe which he will win) where two good Canadians stand in his way and back Canadian Spencer O’Brien in the Woman’s Slopestyle at 9/2.
Familiarise yourself with some of the competitors maybe? Great viewing…
Lindsey Vonn (sadly missing the Olympics through injury)
Aksel ‘The Machine’ Lund Svindal
Bode ‘Jack Rabbit’ Miller
Anglo French/Russian Relations
Betting odds comparisons for the Winter Olympics games are here
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