The Olympics roll around every two years and smart sports bettors know there’s great opportunity in the event. For most people they are an excuse to spend far too much time on the couch watching TV, caring intensely about sports you know nothing about and only watch every four years. For bettors who are willing to do a little homework, the Olympics can also be a great time to make some serious profits relatively easily. Here are five big reasons for handicappers to consider betting on the Olympics.
Uninformed bettors – For some reason the Olympics are one of those events where everyone thinks they are an expert. Sure, they don’t really know anything about water polo, but for a few days every four years they sound like an expert, and no one else around them knows enough to say they are wrong. In a lot of cases that instant expertise turns into a desire to bet on the events. Factor in the fact that people are often blinded by their national pride and the loyalties for – or against – some athletes and you can have a lot of money bet in not very smart situations. For bettors who are prepared that’s a dream situation – you are competing against people who don’t know what they are doing, so if you do know your stuff then you can have an even bigger edge than you might normally have.
Wide variety of sports available – In the winter Olympics there are a wide range of sports to bet on. In the summer games there are dramatically more. For bettors who like a lot of variety, or those who quickly want to get a lot of experience learning and adapting to new sports successfully, the Olympics are like a short college course in betting exotic sports. Because there are so many different sports to choose from you can decide the ones that best appeal to your interests and strengths – team events or individual, tournament style or one-off events, sprint events or endurance. There is simply no other time that you can bet on so much variety at one time.
Wide variety of available odds – In a sport like the NFL it can be hard to find a lot of variety in odds between different books – if they start to move at one book they’ll move at most in short order. Because the Olympic betting market isn’t nearly as big or as sophisticated as the NFL market, the oddsmakers won’t work as hard to set the lines, and won’t be as aggressive in moving them in response to what the rest of the books are doing. That means as a sports handicapper you have a better chance of shopping around to find great value – and potentially even some mistakes – in the Olympics than you do in most of the major sports you typically bet.
Can gain a handicapping edge with homework – For a lot of the Olympic sports that you can bet on not a lot of people – including the oddsmakers – have a lot of experience in setting odds or evaluating those odds for value. If you are willing to do your homework – to become a water polo expert for a few weeks, for example – then you have a chance to find very nice value because you can exploit the accidents or lack of information that others have. In the high profile sports you would have to do a tremendous amount of work to find just a small edge. With the Olympics much less work can find you a much bigger edge. You still have to be willing to do your handicapping homework, but the return on your investment of time will be higher than in other sports.
What else are you going to do at the time? – Both the summer and winter Olympics occur at ideal times for bettors. In the summer there is baseball action, but the sport is in the long dog days of summer. The NFL and college football have not started yet, and hockey and basketball are still on the distant horizon. You might as well make a serious run at betting the Summer Olympics simply because there aren’t a whole lot of options to distract you. The same goes for the Winter Olympics. You’ll miss out on some NBA betting action if you concentrate on the Olympics, but only a couple of weeks. The NHL is on hiatus during the games, and no other sports are underway.