The Winter Olympic Games have been making headlines over the past few months. However, which country will take the most gold medals and which sports should we be placing our bets on?
Sochi is prepped to launch the Winter Olympic Games of 2014 this week, and for months the upcoming games have been hitting the newsstands for quite some time. Whether it’s related to sports, current affairs or even gambling news, everyone has their eye on Sochi at the moment.
With the Nevada Gaming Board being brought on board by the International Olympic Committee to help guard against match-fixing and other kinds of manipulation, it looks like things could get interesting in the gambling arena at the Olympics.
Whether it’s the involvement of the US’s gambling capital in monitoring illegal activities to the favorites to win, let’s have a look at the hottest topics surrounding Sochi 2014.
All Bets on Norway
When it comes to the leaders of the world’s sporting nations, Norway is often not high up on the list of sporting powerhouses, however the odds are stacked in Norway’s favor when it comes to this year’s Winter Olympic Games.
Sportsbooks around the world are favoring the Nordic nation to win more gold medals than any other country competing, and for a good reason.
Norway has an excellent track record when it comes to the Winter Olympics, and this year they’re set to be this year’s hot tip for those looking to place their stakes on one particular country.
Norway, at present, have their gold medal benchmark set at 11.5 gold medal, with the OVER being offered at 1.617, although this is subject to change, and the current odds are set at +100 for Norway to win.
Russia is coming in second place where odds are concerned, with the OVER/UNDER set at 10.5 gold medals and odds of +313, placing them quite far behind Norway’s chances for success.
The USA is the third top betting choice, with odds of +373, Germany is in fourth with odds of +458 and Canada is in fifth place with +562.
The confidence in Norway’s forecasted success has been on the rise, since the Scandinavian team was listed with odds of +167 only a few weeks ago. The change in the odds just shows how strongly the experts expect the team to do.
Games to Wager On
While Norway is taking the lead in wagers on one particular country, what can we expect about the individual games themselves?
Right now, Olympic hockey is the hottest game to bet on at a number of sportsbooks in the UK and in other countries, but other sporting events like curling, speed skating and alpine skiing are heating up in the betting arena.
Ice hockey is one of the most popular games at the Winter Olympics and has seen some tough competition since 1996. While Russia dominated the scene between the 1960s through to the 1980s, other countries finally took the gold and toppled Russia from its dominant position.
Currently, early odds have put Russia and Canada as the favorites, and the odds for the winning team seem to fluctuate slightly, although, Russia does have the advantage of playing on home ground.
But, despite that, at present Canada is in the lead slightly with its odds set to 3.25, whereas Russia comes in at second place with 3.3.
Sweden also makes an interesting bet in third place with odds of 6, and has been shown to be on top form of late.
Curling is another sport to watch out for, where the ten nations will compete for gold in both the men’s and women’s events this year. Curling is a complex game, sometimes referred to as “chess on ice”, for its strategy, but it’s a game determined by speed and accuracy.
Right now, the odds are in Canada’s favorite, at 1.8, followed by Sweden at 5.5. However, even though Great Britain hasthe odds of 7, they are the second most popular bet at the moment. Perhaps this comes from a loyal UK market looking to support their own team.
Alpine Skiing is expected to be one of the most watched events of the Winter Olympics, most notably the Men’s downhill. Former favorite, Didier Cuche has retired from the sport last season, so all eyes will be on his potential replacement.
Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal is currently in the lead in terms of both odds and popularity, coming in with odds of 3.
Winter Olympics Stats:
• The Winter Olympics grew out of the 1901 Nordic Games hosted in 1901. The very first Winter Olympic Games were hosted in Chamonix, France in 1924 .
• The Sochi Olympics will be the first time that Russia has hosted the Winter Olympics since the breakup of the USSR in 1991.
• Norway has won more medals than any other country in the Winter Olympics, totaling 303 medals, including 107.
• However, the US holds the World Record for the country to have won the most medals in a single Winter Olympic Games, with 37 won by the US in 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.
Although, experts cite Canada’s Eric Guay as his closest competitor, he’s listed as fourth in terms of popularity, with odds of 23, which could make him an interesting competitor to bet on.
Las Vegas Working for Sochi
As bookmakers around the world are taking bets on the Winter Olympic Games, measures are also being taken to keep cheating and match fixing in check.
Sports betting might not be permitted in the US gambling capital of Las Vegas, but the Nevada Gaming Control Board has partnered up with the International Olympic Committee to monitor for irregular betting patters in offshore and illegal sportsbooks.
While some take the move to ring alarm bells for dirty dealings on the upcoming games at the Olympics, the board claims that the monitoring is just a safety measure.
Interpol has also signed a deal with the International Olympic Committee to focus on match-fixing, fight doping and irregular sports betting.
The Winter Olympics is set to be the most exciting sports event of the year, with the potential for some interesting betting choices.
So, are you going to play it safe and back Norway for the gold medal total or are you going to go for the rogue team no one expects?