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Can You Make Money Betting the Olympics?

July 10, 2021
Betting the Olympics 2021

The question could easily be “Can you make money betting on sports?” With the 2020 (now 2021) Tokyo Olympic Games coming soon, smart bettors are looking at betting boards digging for value. The short answer to the question is yes, you can make money betting the Olympics but there is homework involved.

Like betting on the NFL, NBA, or any other sport, there is money to be made. Bettors just need to approach the Olympic Games as they would any other sport where they are looking to have success. Here are some of your best (and worst) bets for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.


Total Medals

No country has won more Summer Olympic games medals than the United States. No country has won more gold medals in the Summer Olympics than the U.S. It’s no surprise that the U.S. is favored to win the most medals at the Tokyo Games. The U.S. is also favored at -1000 to win the most gold medals. China is a distant second at +600.

While there is no value on the total medals bet, there is on the Over/Under number.  The U.S. totals 112 medals in 2008 at Beijing, 104 in 2012 in London, and 121 in Rio in 2016. The Tokyo Games will feature 339 events in 33 different sports. That is up from 306 in 28 sports at Rio.

Several of the new sports are ones in which Americans excel. Both baseball and softball are back in Tokyo. There are three new swimming events as well as 3-on-3 basketball for both men and women. With all these new events, betting on the U.S. to go Over 110.5 total medals at -134 is a pretty safe bet. 


No to Basketball, Yes to Soccer

The U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team has won more gold medals than any other country in the sport. They have won the last three straight gold medals winning in 2008, 2012, and 2016. This year’s team is favored to win at -305. Unless you think Serbia (+800) or possibly Spain (+800) can pull of the upset, forget men’s hoops and turn your attention to men’s soccer.

The favorite to win the men’s soccer tournament is defending Olympic champion Brazil. Several of the world’s best players played in the Euro 2020 tournament in lieu of the Olympic Games, including France’s Kylian Mbappe. The Brazilians are listed at +275 and bettors can find value on a number of the world’s best teams. Spain (+350), France (+400), and Argentina (+400) have all won Olympic gold medals since 1984. Argentina won in 2004 and 2008.


Water Polo

Only 12 teams compete for the men’s water polo gold medal. The U.S. is one of the 12 teams, but is not a favorite and likely will not make it to the knockout stage. Hungary and the three countries that used to make up what was called Yugoslavia – Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro – are among the best in the world.

Hungary is listed as the +300 favorite. Serbia is next on the board at +350. The best team in the world in 2019 was Croatia, which is listed at +450 to win gold in Tokyo. The best bet might be on Italy, which is the most recent world champion. The Italians are listed at +400 to win.


U.S. Gold Medals

In addition to the total medal count, bettors can wager on the United States gold medal count. It’s no surprise that the Americans are listed at -700 to win the most gold medals. The U.S. has done so in five of the past six Summer Olympic Games. The only time the U.S. didn’t have the most golds was in 2008 at Beijing.  The U.S. did have the most medals at the 2008 games in Beijing.

In each of the past two Summer Olympics, the U.S. has recorded a total of 46 gold medals. The number of events had stayed pretty steady rising from 300 in 2000 to just 306 in 2016. In Tokyo, there will be an additional five sports and 33 more medal events. Several of those new events – including 3-on-3 basketball for both men and women – are either dominated by American athletes or American athletes stand a great chance of winning in Tokyo.

With that said, bettors can lock in the U.S. to win Over 42.5 golds at -145. With the new events, it’s almost a given the Americans can reach the mid-40s as they have at the last two Summer Olympic Games.