Your last-minute guide to wagering on the 2018 Winter Olympics betting odds

Feb 6, 2018 |

Did you know the 2018 Winter Olympics start this week?

No?! Well, don’t feel bad if you didn’t have a clue or if you don’t even know where the hell PyeongChang is on a map (it’s in South Korea).

In the letdown after Super Bowl, it’s easy to forget that the Opening Ceremonies kick off the Winter Games Friday and leave you very little time to handicap the 92 countries and nearly 3,000 athletes competing this month.

If you want to bet on the Olympics (WARNING: Live events are on really, really late) but don’t know where to start, Covers is your coach to wagering on the most popular 2018 Olympic Winter Games betting odds.

Now, bundle up. We’re going for gold in PyeongChang.

Men's Ice Hockey

Where: Gangneung Hockey Centre, Kwandong Hockey Centre.
When: February 10-25

Favorites: Olympic Athletes from Russia (+100), Canada (+450), Sweden (+450)

The men's Olympic hockey tournament takes on an entirely different complexion this year, with NHL players ineligible to compete. So, you'd better brush up on your Continental Hockey League (KHL) knowledge, because that's where the majority of players taking part in this tournament are playing their competitive hockey.

It'll come as no surprise to bettors that the Olympic Athletes from Russia - do we really have to call them that, by the way? - are the favorites, boasting the deepest and most talented roster in the competition. A whopping 15 players come from SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL, including legendary forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk and up-and-comer Vadim Shipachyov.

Canada is a co-runner-up in the odds department at +450. The two-time defending Olympic champions were the country most negatively impacted by the lack of NHL representation, but still have a talented roster relative to the rest of the field. Stars include former NHL 20-goal scorer Wojtek Wolski, longtime Buffalo Sabre Derek Roy, and one-time No. 3 pick Gilbert Brule.

Sweden is the other co-runner-up at +450, and should give Canada a serious run for its money in the battle for silver. The Swedes aren't as deep or as talented up front as the Russians or Canadians, but boast an impressive defense corps led by consensus No. 1 draft prospect Rasmus Dahlin and a talented goaltending trio that includes ex-NHLer Jhonas Enroth.

Women's Ice Hockey

Where: Kwandong Hockey Centre
When: February 10-21

Favorites: United States (-118), Canada (+110), Finland (+2,000)

Since its inception as an Olympic sport in Nagano 20 years ago, the women's hockey tournament has been a two-team competition, with Canada and the United States combining for nine of the 10 gold and silver medals over that span. Canada is the four-time defending champion, but making it five straight gold medals could prove to be a tall task.

The Americans are sizable favorites considering they've had to settle for three silvers and a bronze since winning the inaugural Olympic tournament in 1998. But the United States has dominated virtually every other competition, winning four consecutive world championships and claiming each of the previous three Four Nations Cups. They're clearly the team to beat.

Canada has plenty of experience on its side, with 14 players who were on the roster when Canada captured gold in Sochi four years ago. But youth is served in a big way on this year's Canadian entry, with only two players - blueliner Meaghan Mikkelson and forward Meghan Agosta - over the age of 30. Expect to see yet another Canada-U.S. gold-medal final.

The Finns are the top team in the second tier but man, is there a lot of space between them and the two North American entries. They've won a pair of bronze medals at the Olympics but will be looking to bounce back after finishing a disappointing fifth in Sochi. The Finns have asserted themselves well since, with two bronzes and a fourth in three world championships.

Figure Skating (Individual)

Where: Gangneung Ice Arena
When: February 9-23

Favorites: Men - Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan (+175); Nathan Chen, U.S. (+200); Shoma Uno, Japan (+200); Women - Evgenia Medvedeva, Russia (+100); Alina Zagitova, Russia (+175); Kaetlyn Osmond, Canada (+600).

The individual figure skating competition is expected to see multiple Japanese and Russian podium finishes. But as we've seen in the past, all it takes is one misstep to completely change the medal table. None of the men's contenders have sufficiently separated themselves from the pack, while a pair of female Russian skaters come in well ahead of the rest of the field.

Hanyu is an ever-so-slight favorite on the men's side as the defending Olympic and world champion, but has settled for a pair of second-place finishes at events in Moscow and Montreal this season. Chen defeated Hanyu in Russia and has won every major event in which he has competed this season. Uno captured Skate Canada and has two firsts and three seconds in 2017-18.

On the women's side, Medvedeva is the one to beat despite suffering a leg injury earlier in the season. She has three victories and a runner-up finish in the European Championships on her resume. Training partner Zagitova has won all five events in which she has competed this season, including the Euros. Osmond is a long shot but prevailed at Skate Canada in Regina last October.

Half-Pipe Snowboarding

Where: Phoenix Park
When: February 19-22

Favorites: Men - Shaun White, U.S. (+200); Ayumu Hirano, Japan (+300); Yuto Totsuka, Japan (+350); Women - Chloe Kim, U.S. (+170); Kelly Clark, U.S. (+450); Queralt Castellet, Spain (+450)

Phoenix Park will be the site of one of the most wildly popular events at the Olympics. Snowboard half-pipe has come a long way since being exclusively an X-Games fixture and this year's edition features the ultimate redemption story, with Shaun White looking to rebound from a stunning fourth-place finish at the 2014 Olympic competition in Russia.

White is a modest favorite despite having to overcome a number of obstacles, including his disappointing showing in Sochi and a training accident in New Zealand back in October that left him with more than 60 stitches in his face. Hirano is expected to be his main competitor. The 19 year old won silver in Sochi. Totsuka, 16, has four podium finishes in four competitions this season.

Kim is America's next snowboarding superstar. The 17 year old is a four-time X-Games SuperPipe champion and has no equal on the half-pipe. Clark is tabbed as Kim's biggest hurdle to gold. The 34 year old is a three-time Olympic medalist and placed third in Sochi. Castellet has first and third-place finishes this season, but is considered a long shot to challenge Kim.

Super-Giant Slalom

Where: Jeongseon Alpine Centre
When: February 15 (men), Feburary 17 (women)

Favorites: Men - Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway (+275), Kjetil Jansrud, Norway (+500); three others tied at +800; Women - Lindsey Vonn, U.S. (+300); Lara Gut, Switzerland (+400), Sofia Goggia, Italy (+500)

Jeongseon Alpine Centre will host some of the fastest humans on Earth later this month, with the men's and women's super-giant slalom events taking place two days apart in the middle of the Games. A pair of familiar names find themselves atop the Bet365 odds chart heading into the competition, with a host of challengers hot on their heels.

Svindal, 35, is competing in his fourth Winter Games and has already completed his medal set (one gold, one silver, one bronze) but would love nothing more than to repeat his gold-medal performance from the Vancouver 2010. Countryman Jansrud won gold in Sochi and silver at last year's world championships. Three other skiers are all tied for third in the pre-competition odds.

Vonn has been installed as the favorite in Pyeongchang despite missing the 2014 Games with a knee injury and not completing the Super-G at the 2017 world championships. Gut won bronze in Sochi and is coming off an identical third-place finish at last year's world championships. Goggia finished third in the overall World Cup standings last year but was 10th at the worlds.

Men's Short-Track Speed Skating

Where: Gangneung Ice Arena
When: February 10-22

Individual - Dee Heon Hwang, South Korea (+350 in 1,000m, +175 in 1,500m); Sjinkie Knegt, Netherlands (+500 in 1,000m, +450 in 1,500m); Hyo Jun Lim, South Korea (+800 in 1,000m, +350 in 1,500m); Relay (5,000m) - South Korea (+175), Canada (+200), United States (+500)

The fastest male skaters in the world converge on Gangneung Ice Arena next week as part of the always-entertaining short-track speed skating competition. The host side is expected to be well-represented on the podium, with a pair of gold-medal contenders in the individual events and overwhelming odds for a Top-2 result in the 5,000-metre relay race.

Hwang and Lim are their country's best shot at men's speed skating gold and they both have big shoes to fill, as South Korea has won five of the previous seven Olympic titles in the 1,000-metre event and two of four gold medals in the 1,500-metre competition. Knegt gave the Netherlands its only 1,000-metre medal in Olympic history with a third-place showing in Sochi four years ago.

It should come as no surprise that the South Korean relay team is the gold-medal favorite. It hasn't struck gold since the 2006 Games in Turin and didn't even reach the podium in Russia. The Canadian team is also looking to return to the podium after settling for a win in the B final four years ago. The U.S. is coming off a second-place result in Sochi but is a longshot here.

Women's Short-Track Speed Skating

Where: Gangneung Ice Arena
When: February 10-22

Favorites: Individual (500m) - Min Jeong Choi, South Korea (+175); Elise Christie, Britain (+300); Marianne St-Gelais, Canada (+350); Relay (3,000m) - South Korea (-154), China (+250), Netherlands (+450)

As dominant as South Korean men have been in the individual short-track speed-skating events, a South Korean woman has never won gold or silver in the 500-metre event. But oddsmakers believe that drought ends this year, with Choi a comfortable favorite over Christie. Choi won the world title in 2015 and showed incredible form at an event in Budapest back in September.

Christie battled a quad injury at that event and failed to reach the 500-metre final, but insists she has had sufficient rest to challenge Choi for gold in Pyeongchang after winning three titles at the previous world championships. St-Gelais might be the most interesting name on this list, after winning four silver medals at the 2017 worlds in Rotterdam.

No other team on this list is a heavier gold-medal favorite than the South Korean women's relay team, which has won five of the seven gold medals awarded in the competition and is well-positioned to add to that total. China captured gold eight years ago in Vancouver and is expected to make the podium. The Netherlands has never won an Olympic women's short-track relay medal.

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