Betting the London 2012 Olympics: Handicapping preview
Sports betting is already in the spotlight with the London 2012 Olympics just a month away, but it’s hardly been in a favorable light.
The IOC is determined to get through the event without an illegal gambling or match-fixing incident and has worked closely with British authorities for months to set up an action plan.
"Experts are telling us that the Olympics is not a primary target of match fixing because they are such a huge event, under such scrutiny, that it is a big risk to try to fix competition at the Olympic Games," IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper told Reuters. “We treat this as a serious threat and we have taken measures to be ready in case anyone would want to fix competition at the Olympic Games.”
But as the IOC targets illegal gambling, some legit bettors have already started handicapping for the events.
The United States is a -175 favorite to top the overall medal board with China next at +150 and Great Britain and Russia each at +5000. Here’s a look at the odds for some of the more popular Olympic events.
Odds courtesy bet365.com.
Men’s 100 meter
Usain Bolt is the clear favorite here, priced at -250, and for good reason. The three-time Olympic gold medalist has recorded the two fastest times this year at 9.76 and 9.79 seconds. However, he could have some competition. Yohan Blake (+350) has ran a 9.84 this year while Asafa Powell (+1600) has clocked a 9.85. Tyson Gay could also be in the mix at +900.
The United States is set as a fat -700 favorite to win the gold, but it’s worth noting that newly-named NBA champion Dwyane Wade won’t be heading to London. He’s opting to have knee surgery instead although his teammate LeBron James is expected to suit up. Oddsmakers have Spain (+550) as Team USA’s main competition followed by France (+1800) and Argentina (+2800).
On Euro 2012’s heels, this tournament should give us a good look at some of the best young talent the soccer world has to offer. It is set up as an Under-23 tournament with each team allowed three overage players. England was widely-expected to select David Beckham as one of its overage selections but news that he had been left off the squad came down Thursday. Brazil is set as the +200 favorite followed by Spain +275, Great Britain +600, and Uruguay +800.