The awarding of the 2022 Winter Olympics to Beijing shows that just about any region could host the winter games.
And so it begins: the great quadrennial sports carnival of human beings of Planet Earth when our manifold, disparate, oft-clashing, ever-closer cultures hold a great coming together for one express purpose … gambling!
Yes! Punting! For seventeen days! Ha-ha-haaa!
But not really. For of course upon that path lies madness and destitution and the terrible angst-filled regret of The Loser. Right, Trumpy? Nobody likes a Loser, particularly a Loser.
And that’s what you’d surely be were you to wager actual money upon all of the following. Even the – please note quotation marks, they’re important – “Certainties”.
Because, barring an all-up of Lotto-esque proportions, how shall we put this I know like this: you would lose, you fool.
That said … for fun, for a modest recreational spend, for innocent diversion on a Tuesday evening while locked down and flicking between table tennis, kayaking and modern pentathlon, punting on the Games can give it a little context.
Here’s a half-dozen “certainties”, value “overs” and really quite rough bets.
Nothing is certain, of course, in a 100-metre dash in which the barest scintilla of hesitation can cost a person four years of effort. And that’s before the deer-in-the-headlights realisation halfway down that mad manic straightaway that yes, while you have been the fastest man in the world, this is the 100m final at the Olympic Games, Bubba, and the other fellows look to be flying.
And yet … Trayvon Bromell of the USA – based on form, which is all one can really can ask of a form guide – should win. He’s run the fastest 100m in 2021 (9.77). He has the best PB of his contemporaries. He is your even-money go. And that could seem like overs if he shreds ‘em in the semis.
South Africa’s Akini Simbine was 0.33 seconds behind Usain Bolt in Rio and 0.07 seconds slower than Brammel in 2021. He’s the “fastest man in Africa”. He is far from out of this. He is $5.50.
You’ll get 150-1 for Australia’s Rohan Browning to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics, even more if you fish about on Betfair.
And there is a good reason for this – or even 33 good ones, which is the number of human beings who’ve run faster times than Browning in 2021. He did once run 9.96 with a +3.3 tailwind in Wollongong. But he’ll need Bradbury’s Luck in Tokyo. A better roughie is Fred Kerley of the USA. He’s run 9.86 officially – equal-third fastest in 2021. And you can get $13 for Fred, the No.3-ranked sprinter on Planet Earth.
— 7Sport (@7Sport) April 17, 2021
Judo and Wrestling
There is scope for upsets in judo as one need only be flipped onto one’s back and four years of violent body-weight manipulation is for nought.
But the fine country of Japan invented the sport in 1882 and has several representatives who are long odds-on to win gold. These include Shohei Ono in the men’s 48kg ($1.45), Uta Abe in the women’s 52kg ($1.28) and Hifumi Abe in the men’s 66kg ($1.40).
Thus their Mixed Team is $1.14. Elsewhere Teddy “Bear” Riner of France is $1.22 to win the men’s +100kg division because, well, have a look at him. Also because he’s a 31-year-old 10-time world champion and two-time Olympic champion who once won 154 fights in a row.
Anna Maria Wagner of Germany is the reigning world champion in women’s 78kg judo and $6 to win gold in Tokyo. Jorge Fonseca of Portugal is world champion of the men’s 100kg and $5 to win gold.
Look, we’re not saying they’ll cheat. But Russia, well, y’know, isn’t allowed at the Olympic Games because under Vladimir Putin they ran a state-sponsored blood doping program.
But the Russian Olympic Committee is in Tokyo and there are Russians competing. And old mate Vlad will be watching. And he loves a wrestle, Vlad, and will richly reward any Russian who wins an Olympic gold medal, particularly in wrestling or judo. International testing hasn’t been what it might have been in the Covid-interruptus year of 2020.
So! Consider any Russian who looks extra fit and focused in the parade ring. Consider husky man Tamerlan Bashaev of the Russian Olympic Commitee who is $7 to get over Big Teddy “Bear” Riner of France. Consider, too, an all-up of Zaur Uguev in men’s 57kg freestyle ($1.72), Gadzhimurad Rashidov in men’s 65kg freestyle ($2.10) and Abdulrashid Sadulaev in men’s 97kg freestyle ($1.30).
Of course, yes, it’s the latest version of the “Dream Team” who are $1.25 because they’re full of NBA superstars and could field a dozen teams that would trouble international competition. That said … they did lose two warm-up games on the trot including their opening one with Nigeria, a team that Australia went on to pump by 39 points.
Then Australia beat America, too, by 9 points. America did beat Argentina by 28 points. And they are America. And they will probably win.
That said… Australia! Our Boomers have beaten America the last two outings and even without Ben Simmons (boo, Ben, you know not what you’ve done) have plenty of NBA-hardened ballers in their best XII. And they are a $9 second-favourite. And for an Olympic head-and-heart bet accept no substitute.
Spain is the second-ranked team in the world and paying $12.
While they lost their opening match of these Games to Sweden, the USWNT is the reigning (and four-time) World Cup champions and gold medallists in 1996, 2000, 2008 and 2012. They were shock 5th-place-getters in Rio in 2016 and won the 2019 World Cup.
Sweden! Just beat the USA in the opening match of the Tokyo Olympic Games and yet remain $9 to take out the gold. They won’t face America again until the final if they both reach it. And you won’t get $9 then if they do.
Brazil is $17 and there are reasons why, notably that they were beaten 3-2 by Australia in the 2019 World Cup and didn’t get past the round of 16. However, as any number of judokas or the fine country of Argentina could tell you, upsets happen. And Brazil is Brazil. And Brazil has a player called Marta considered the best player of all time.
Marta – just the one name, only needs one, she’s that good she’s like Pele or Ronaldo or the exotically named Brazilian “Fred” – is the first player, male or female, to score a goal in five consecutive Olympic Games including this one. She will score again. Australia? The Matildas are $26. On form that seems skinny.
Of course golf shouldn’t be in the Olympics and of course there are no “certainties” in a 4-round, 72-hole strokeplay competition.
But the United States of America is sending four of the best players in the world to Tokyo and you’d assume gold goes to one of Collin Morikawa ($9), Xander Schauffele ($11), Justin Thomas ($12) or Bryson DeChambeau ($15). John Rahm of Spain is favourite at $5.50 but doesn’t represent value in a field where the top-15 should be, effectively, 15-1.
Get behind local hero Hideki Matsuyama, winner of the 2021 Masters at Augusta National. He’s $15 so maybe not “value” value, per se. But he’s a good value fellow and if he wins gold in Japan during their beleaguered Olympics it will be great value in terms of the craic. Not as good, of course, if either of the Aussies get up.
Cam Smith is $29 and Mark Leishman is $41 and there’s a bookie offering $17 should either of them drape the great golden bullion about their necks. Same mob is offering only $8 for either Shane Lowry ($21) or Rory McIlroy ($13) to do the same and $11 for Hannah Green or Minjee Lee to win gold in the women’s. These numbers feel like unders.
There’s a thousand; there always is in professional golf tournaments. Some ridiculously good players can be upwards of 80-1 which means someone at big odds will come from the clouds.
In terms of form Ryan Fox of New Zealand had his moments nudging up the leaderboard in the Open Championship, and you can get $126 about him. Canadians Mackenzie Hughes ($101) and Corey Conners ($31) did the same.
And to see how sexy a five-figure potential payout looks like in your betting app you could put $25 on the finely-named German Hurly Long. Hurly’s 26, from Heidleberg, ranked 269th in the world and paying $400 to exotic, omen, heart-over-head speccie bettors. Gamble very responsibly. Gamble like it’s your mum’s money.