COVID creates challenges in setting odds for 2022 Winter Olympics

“We risk being chosen by people who really follow these sports, so our bettors have to be on their toes all the time.”

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The proverbial betting windows are open, but the queues to place bets on the Beijing 2022 Games shouldn’t be very long.


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At least not in North America, especially now that NHL players won’t be participating.

“We already offer things like skiing and ice skating on site for regular events, so hopefully these will pick up some of the normal hockey grip,” said Adam Burns, sports betting manager. at

“The thing is, the Winter Olympics aren’t as popular as the Summer Olympics in terms of betting. The (different) time zone doesn’t help either.

Naturally, Canadians will bet on the sports that Canadians often dominate. Like curling. A look at shows Brad Gushue’s side have the second-shortest odds to win gold at +200, next to only Great Britain at +165, and many will come aboard of the Newfoundland bandwagon.


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Canada has been a dominant force in men’s curling since 1998, winning three gold medals and two silver.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Jones is listed as a co-favorite to win women’s gold, following in the footsteps of Canadian teams in 1998 and 2014. Also at +250 is the Swedish team, who won gold in three of the last four Olympic Games. , while Great Britain is next with +275.

Switzerland, who won their eighth world curling title last year in Calgary, is mentioned as an interesting +500 longshot.

Ottawa’s Rachel Homan and Winnipeg’s John Morris will have high expectations after Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes won the event in 2018, the first time it was held at the Winter Olympics.

The women’s hockey competition will also be popular in North America.


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Bovada sportsbook have defending champions USA as favorites at -105 while four-time winners Canada face the upturned coin at -115.

Finland is the best team on the long shot list at +1500.

Other sports are expected to attract far fewer bets on this side of the pond, and that’s largely because people don’t know the talent.

“Any athlete with a household name in North America will generate a small bump in the action and the pounds may slightly increase their odds,” said Jason Logan, senior industry analyst at “Names like Shaun White and Chloe Kim from the USA in snowboarding, or the American Mikaela Shiffrin in alpine skiing.

“Unless you’re a big fan of the sport or part of this community, most bettors won’t know 99% of the athletes at the Winter Games. And because of that, there is not much interest in betting. The odds vary from book to book. Some sportsbooks will offer odds on hockey and maybe a few bigger events, but that’s about it.


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“Some operators based in Europe have a wider menu and will book action on just about anything. A book like Bet365 usually offers more of those Olympic sports.

Bookmakers have had a harder time setting Olympic odds for these Games as COVID has prevented a number of athletes from competing in the 2020-21 season. China’s active roster, for example, only included figure skaters and freestyle skier Eileen Gu, who is based in the United States.

“Since most of our customers are North American, we expect to get bets on the US and Canadians more than others,” Burns said. “It’s a challenge to establish odds on all these Olympic events with little else except world rankings, world championship results, etc.


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“We risk being chosen by people who really follow these sports, so our bettors have to be on their toes all the time.”

Perhaps the easiest bet to make is the medal count. Here are the 2018 Pyeongchang leaders, including gold, silver, bronze and total count.

Norway: 14, 14, 11 — 39

Germany: 14, 10, 7 — 31

Canada: 11, 8, 10 — 29

United States: 9, 8, 6 — 23

Netherlands: 8, 6, 6 — 20

Sweden: 7, 6, 1 — 14

South Korea: 5, 8, 4 — 17

Switzerland: 5, 6, 4 — 15

France: 5, 4, 6 — 15

Austria: 5, 3, 6 — 14

The Nielsen Gracenote Virtual Medal Table has released projections for the 2022 Games 30 days before the Opening Ceremonies in order to have the most up-to-date results from major competitions since the 2018 Games.

Norway leads the standings for the second consecutive Winter Olympics with 45 medals slated to break the record of 39 in Pyeongchang.


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Russia – whose athletes compete as representatives of the Russian Olympic Committee under the acronym ‘ROC’ after the country broke rules on the use of performance-enhancing drugs – is expected to finish second with 32 medals, while Germany should enter it with 25.

Canada and the United States are expected to be in a close battle for fourth place with both expected to finish with 22 medals. Canada has never finished with more medals than the United States at consecutive Winter Olympics.

“There are markets for futures on the overall number of medals and also the over/under totals to each country on the number of medals,” Logan said. “At the moment, Norway are big favorites to top the medal table. That makes all the other nations a long shot.

  1. Members of Team Canada salute during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at the Beijing National Stadium on February 4, 2022 in Beijing.

    Opening Ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics Live from Beijing: The Games Officially Begin

  2. Morris is back at these Olympics, representing Canada in mixed doubles with Rachel Homan, and his passion for the game clearly runs deep.

    State of the game: how Olympic mixed doubles curling has evolved since its debut in 2018



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