The Summer Olympics are a celebration of athletes and competition on an international stage. COVID-19 has put a lot of things around the world on hold for the past 12-18 months, and the Summer Olympics were a victim of this as well. That all changes later this week with the games kicking off in full Friday.
Sportsbooks already have betting lines for many events. The Olympics create a unique opportunity for gamblers. If you are willing to put in the work, value can be found in various sports.
Here are some things to think about before you wager on the Olympic games.
What Olympic sports can you bet on?
The Summer Olympics consists of hundreds of different events. Sportsbooks will not have lines for every one of them, but you would be surprised at how many sports they do offer.
Sports like baseball, basketball and soccer are ones typical gamblers wager on. In the case of basketball and soccer, you have many professional players we’re already familiar with playing. The typical wager offerings of spreads, money lines and totals will be available to bet on these games. Most gamblers will feel very comfortable betting on them the same way they do for the NBA, MLB or any major soccer leagues worldwide. Some of the more ambitious books even offer prop bets on these contests.
These include first to score, props and all the normal markets we see for these various sports on a daily basis when they are in season. Remember, international rules are a little different for some sports, especially basketball. Do not be shocked if the numbers look lower than you are used to with NBA games. Remember the international game has a shorter clock than the NBA, meaning fewer overall minutes to rack up stats.
What are the easiest Olympic bets to win?
We also have sports available we probably would not be betting on outside of Olympic play. Sports like swimming, diving, gymnastics and track and field are all contests where one or more sportsbooks have betting lines up. These markets typically take less betting money than some more well-known sports. Gamblers are creatures of habit, especially recreational ones. It is much easier to be knowledgeable and understand the wagering on the main sports mentioned above and those betting lines tend to be sharper and harder to beat. Unlike the major sports, the markets for some of the more obscure sports tend to offer better value and more mispriced opportunities. This is where we can find some of the best bets.
When a sport is not as popular and does not take as many gambling dollars, the bookmakers will not put as much time and effort into making sure the lines are sharp as they would with some of the bigger sports. A savvy bettor who is willing to dive deep into men’s gymnastics or scour the internet for the information on javelin throws, triple jumps or 400-meter hurdles will be able to use that knowledge to gain an edge in some of the smaller markets. This is not to say money can’t be made on major sports, but the chances of finding a mispriced line in basketball, soccer or baseball are much lower.
If you want to find the biggest edges, they are likely to come in markets that are not taking as much gambling action as the main ones. Therefore, if you are willing to do that work or have a vast knowledge of a secondary sport, you will have the opportunity to use that knowledge to make some money.
The Olympics bring the best the world has to offer in various athletic events. Gamblers worldwide will be betting into these pools, so it is also an event that showcases the best gamblers on the planet. You may not end up winning a gold medal like the athletes, but you could earn enough money to buy one.