Betting on the Summer Olympics can be very exciting and potentially lucrative. Needless to say, there are some sports that are better to bet on than others. Before you head to your online sportsbook to place your bets, here are six sports that are particularly attractive for Olympic bettors. Some will be obvious, and others could be a surprise:
Basketball – This is the sport at the summer Olympics that is likely the most comfortable for most North American bettors because it is certainly the most familiar. The biggest stars in the tournament will be NBA stars that we see every day during the season. There is a big gap in the sport between the best teams in the world and the rest. Smart sports bettors can regularly find mismatches that they can exploit. You need to be careful though because while talent often turns into wins that isn’t always the case. Basketball teams like the Americans are stacked with stars, so players that are used to being stars on their own teams are forced to learn to play roles they aren’t always used to or comfortable with. Their ability to adapt and adjust – and quickly find chemistry with their teammates can be a big factor in their success – and can be very different from the experience of teams that play together more frequently.
Soccer – Like basketball, soccer is a sport that a lot of bettors are familiar with handicapping and betting. Bettors who have had success in other tournaments could be comfortable betting on Olympic soccer as well. However, they need to be careful to recognize the differences between this soccer and other major tournaments. The Olympics don’t feature the big stars that you would see at the World Cup or elsewhere. They are younger, and they play a less polished game. Winning sports bettors understand that means that teams that are superpowers in major international soccer may not be as strong in the OIympics, and vice versa.
Water polo – Water polo isn’t the most popular sport in the world, but it is surprisingly formful. With a little bit of homework you can learn about the powers of the sport, the upstarts, and the teams with no hope. As much as any team sport, and more than most, water polo is a sport that can be predictable at times, delivering value as a result. The biggest advantage, of course, is that there aren’t many people in North America who follow the sport closely, so soft lines and nice value are certainly possible for savvy sports bettors to find.
Field hockey – Like water polo, Olympic field hockey is a sport that is surprisingly true to form, and can be understood by bettors with a little homework. It’s also a surprisingly entertaining sport to watch – fast, exciting, and rough.
Tennis – Olympic tennis is easier than many sports to handicap because we are already so familiar with most of the players. Before they go to the Olympics they have played two Grand Slams in the months just before, and other major tournaments in between. We know their form, we know how they match up, and we can have a decent sense of how they will suit the surface of the tournament. We also know how players are likely to handle the stress and pressure of the Olympics because we see them play major tournaments so often. You need to be careful when handicapping doubles because many normal teams feature players from different countries that can’t play together at the Olympics. Singles tennis, though, is as simple and straightforward to handicap as any sport in the games.
Road cycling – Cycling is a great sport to bet on at the best of times, and that is especially the case with the Olympics. There is a huge gap between the pro riders and the rest in the field, and only the pros stand a real chance of coming out on top. The large majority of those riders will have just finished the Tour de France not long before the Olympics start. From this we know what form they are in, what their current strengths and weaknesses are, and how ready they are likely to be for this challenge. By understanding the Olympic cycling course they will be riding sports bettors can also get a good sense of what type of riders will be favored in the field. If it is going to be the sprinters that have an edge, we can look closely at which ones will have the best support to get them into the position they need to be in to win. If the climbers are going to be more favored then we will know from the Tour which ones are in the best form.