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Guide to wagering on the 2018 Winter Olympics

Guide to wagering on the 2018 Winter Olympics 6 months 1 week ago #471668

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Betting news, trends, odds and predictions for Wednesday, February 7, 2018 from various handicappers and websites
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Guide to wagering on the 2018 Winter Olympics 6 months 1 week ago #471669

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Feb 6, 2018 |
By: Monty Andrews

Did you know the 2018 Winter Olympics start this week?

No?! Well, don’t feel bad if you didn’t have a clue or if you don’t even know where the hell PyeongChang is on a map (it’s in South Korea).

In the letdown after Super Bowl, it’s easy to forget that the Opening Ceremonies kick off the Winter Games Friday and leave you very little time to handicap the 92 countries and nearly 3,000 athletes competing this month.

If you want to bet on the Olympics (WARNING: Live events are on really, really late) but don’t know where to start, Covers is your coach to wagering on the most popular 2018 Olympic Winter Games betting odds.

Now, bundle up. We’re going for gold in PyeongChang.

Men's Ice Hockey

Where: Gangneung Hockey Centre, Kwandong Hockey Centre.
When: February 10-25

Favorites: Olympic Athletes from Russia (+100), Canada (+450), Sweden (+450)

The men's Olympic hockey tournament takes on an entirely different complexion this year, with NHL players ineligible to compete. So, you'd better brush up on your Continental Hockey League (KHL) knowledge, because that's where the majority of players taking part in this tournament are playing their competitive hockey.

It'll come as no surprise to bettors that the Olympic Athletes from Russia - do we really have to call them that, by the way? - are the favorites, boasting the deepest and most talented roster in the competition. A whopping 15 players come from SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL, including legendary forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Kovalchuk and up-and-comer Vadim Shipachyov.

Canada is a co-runner-up in the odds department at +450. The two-time defending Olympic champions were the country most negatively impacted by the lack of NHL representation, but still have a talented roster relative to the rest of the field. Stars include former NHL 20-goal scorer Wojtek Wolski, longtime Buffalo Sabre Derek Roy, and one-time No. 3 pick Gilbert Brule.

Sweden is the other co-runner-up at +450, and should give Canada a serious run for its money in the battle for silver. The Swedes aren't as deep or as talented up front as the Russians or Canadians, but boast an impressive defense corps led by consensus No. 1 draft prospect Rasmus Dahlin and a talented goaltending trio that includes ex-NHLer Jhonas Enroth.

Women's Ice Hockey

Where: Kwandong Hockey Centre
When: February 10-21

Favorites: United States (-118), Canada (+110), Finland (+2,000)

Since its inception as an Olympic sport in Nagano 20 years ago, the women's hockey tournament has been a two-team competition, with Canada and the United States combining for nine of the 10 gold and silver medals over that span. Canada is the four-time defending champion, but making it five straight gold medals could prove to be a tall task.

The Americans are sizable favorites considering they've had to settle for three silvers and a bronze since winning the inaugural Olympic tournament in 1998. But the United States has dominated virtually every other competition, winning four consecutive world championships and claiming each of the previous three Four Nations Cups. They're clearly the team to beat.

Canada has plenty of experience on its side, with 14 players who were on the roster when Canada captured gold in Sochi four years ago. But youth is served in a big way on this year's Canadian entry, with only two players - blueliner Meaghan Mikkelson and forward Meghan Agosta - over the age of 30. Expect to see yet another Canada-U.S. gold-medal final.

The Finns are the top team in the second tier but man, is there a lot of space between them and the two North American entries. They've won a pair of bronze medals at the Olympics but will be looking to bounce back after finishing a disappointing fifth in Sochi. The Finns have asserted themselves well since, with two bronzes and a fourth in three world championships.

Figure Skating (Individual)

Where: Gangneung Ice Arena
When: February 9-23

Favorites: Men - Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan (+175); Nathan Chen, U.S. (+200); Shoma Uno, Japan (+200); Women - Evgenia Medvedeva, Russia (+100); Alina Zagitova, Russia (+175); Kaetlyn Osmond, Canada (+600).

The individual figure skating competition is expected to see multiple Japanese and Russian podium finishes. But as we've seen in the past, all it takes is one misstep to completely change the medal table. None of the men's contenders have sufficiently separated themselves from the pack, while a pair of female Russian skaters come in well ahead of the rest of the field.

Hanyu is an ever-so-slight favorite on the men's side as the defending Olympic and world champion, but has settled for a pair of second-place finishes at events in Moscow and Montreal this season. Chen defeated Hanyu in Russia and has won every major event in which he has competed this season. Uno captured Skate Canada and has two firsts and three seconds in 2017-18.

On the women's side, Medvedeva is the one to beat despite suffering a leg injury earlier in the season. She has three victories and a runner-up finish in the European Championships on her resume. Training partner Zagitova has won all five events in which she has competed this season, including the Euros. Osmond is a long shot but prevailed at Skate Canada in Regina last October.

Half-Pipe Snowboarding

Where: Phoenix Park
When: February 19-22

Favorites: Men - Shaun White, U.S. (+200); Ayumu Hirano, Japan (+300); Yuto Totsuka, Japan (+350); Women - Chloe Kim, U.S. (+170); Kelly Clark, U.S. (+450); Queralt Castellet, Spain (+450)

Phoenix Park will be the site of one of the most wildly popular events at the Olympics. Snowboard half-pipe has come a long way since being exclusively an X-Games fixture and this year's edition features the ultimate redemption story, with Shaun White looking to rebound from a stunning fourth-place finish at the 2014 Olympic competition in Russia.

White is a modest favorite despite having to overcome a number of obstacles, including his disappointing showing in Sochi and a training accident in New Zealand back in October that left him with more than 60 stitches in his face. Hirano is expected to be his main competitor. The 19 year old won silver in Sochi. Totsuka, 16, has four podium finishes in four competitions this season.

Kim is America's next snowboarding superstar. The 17 year old is a four-time X-Games SuperPipe champion and has no equal on the half-pipe. Clark is tabbed as Kim's biggest hurdle to gold. The 34 year old is a three-time Olympic medalist and placed third in Sochi. Castellet has first and third-place finishes this season, but is considered a long shot to challenge Kim.

Super-Giant Slalom

Where: Jeongseon Alpine Centre
When: February 15 (men), Feburary 17 (women)

Favorites: Men - Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway (+275), Kjetil Jansrud, Norway (+500); three others tied at +800; Women - Lindsey Vonn, U.S. (+300); Lara Gut, Switzerland (+400), Sofia Goggia, Italy (+500)

Jeongseon Alpine Centre will host some of the fastest humans on Earth later this month, with the men's and women's super-giant slalom events taking place two days apart in the middle of the Games. A pair of familiar names find themselves atop the Bet365 odds chart heading into the competition, with a host of challengers hot on their heels.

Svindal, 35, is competing in his fourth Winter Games and has already completed his medal set (one gold, one silver, one bronze) but would love nothing more than to repeat his gold-medal performance from the Vancouver 2010. Countryman Jansrud won gold in Sochi and silver at last year's world championships. Three other skiers are all tied for third in the pre-competition odds.

Vonn has been installed as the favorite in Pyeongchang despite missing the 2014 Games with a knee injury and not completing the Super-G at the 2017 world championships. Gut won bronze in Sochi and is coming off an identical third-place finish at last year's world championships. Goggia finished third in the overall World Cup standings last year but was 10th at the worlds.

Men's Short-Track Speed Skating

Where: Gangneung Ice Arena
When: February 10-22

Favorites: Individual - Dee Heon Hwang, South Korea (+350 in 1,000m, +175 in 1,500m); Sjinkie Knegt, Netherlands (+500 in 1,000m, +450 in 1,500m); Hyo Jun Lim, South Korea (+800 in 1,000m, +350 in 1,500m); Relay (5,000m) - South Korea (+175), Canada (+200), United States (+500)

The fastest male skaters in the world converge on Gangneung Ice Arena next week as part of the always-entertaining short-track speed skating competition. The host side is expected to be well-represented on the podium, with a pair of gold-medal contenders in the individual events and overwhelming odds for a Top-2 result in the 5,000-metre relay race.

Hwang and Lim are their country's best shot at men's speed skating gold and they both have big shoes to fill, as South Korea has won five of the previous seven Olympic titles in the 1,000-metre event and two of four gold medals in the 1,500-metre competition. Knegt gave the Netherlands its only 1,000-metre medal in Olympic history with a third-place showing in Sochi four years ago.

It should come as no surprise that the South Korean relay team is the gold-medal favorite. It hasn't struck gold since the 2006 Games in Turin and didn't even reach the podium in Russia. The Canadian team is also looking to return to the podium after settling for a win in the B final four years ago. The U.S. is coming off a second-place result in Sochi but is a longshot here.

Women's Short-Track Speed Skating

Where: Gangneung Ice Arena
When: February 10-22

Favorites: Individual (500m) - Min Jeong Choi, South Korea (+175); Elise Christie, Britain (+300); Marianne St-Gelais, Canada (+350); Relay (3,000m) - South Korea (-154), China (+250), Netherlands (+450)

As dominant as South Korean men have been in the individual short-track speed-skating events, a South Korean woman has never won gold or silver in the 500-metre event. But oddsmakers believe that drought ends this year, with Choi a comfortable favorite over Christie. Choi won the world title in 2015 and showed incredible form at an event in Budapest back in September.

Christie battled a quad injury at that event and failed to reach the 500-metre final, but insists she has had sufficient rest to challenge Choi for gold in Pyeongchang after winning three titles at the previous world championships. St-Gelais might be the most interesting name on this list, after winning four silver medals at the 2017 worlds in Rotterdam.

No other team on this list is a heavier gold-medal favorite than the South Korean women's relay team, which has won five of the seven gold medals awarded in the competition and is well-positioned to add to that total. China captured gold eight years ago in Vancouver and is expected to make the podium. The Netherlands has never won an Olympic women's short-track relay medal.
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Guide to wagering on the 2018 Winter Olympics 6 months 1 week ago #471670

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Ten underdogs you can't ignore when betting on the 2018 Winter Olympics odds
By: Monty Andrews

Everyone loves an underdog story and nowhere is this more true than at the Olympics, where unheralded athletes frequently come out of nowhere to assume their place atop the podium.

Here are 10 underdog plays you should consider when placing your bets ahead of the 2018 Winter Games, which get underway this weekend in PyeongChang, South Korea (odds courtesy Bet365):

Hockey - Men's Tournament

Team USA (+1,300)

The American team isn't expected to reach the podium, but it certainly has enough expertise to put a scare into teams. Led by 39-year-old forward Brian Gionta, the U.S. has plenty of NHL experience in the fold, including defensemen James Wisniewski, Matt Gilroy and Jonathan Blum, and forwards Chris Bourque, Jim Slater and Mark Arcobello. The goaltending is a major unknown, and Russia, Canada and Sweden will put up a solid fight - but if the Americans can gather some momentum, they're a dark horse.

Downhill - Women's Slalom

Wendy Holdener, Switzerland (+1,000)

If anyone is going to challenge American superstar Mikaela Shiffrin, who is installed as an overwhelming -334 favorite in this event, it's Holdener. The Swiss star hasn't reached the top of the podium yet this season, but has placed in the Top 3 five times and sits fourth in the World Cup points standings after placing third in each of the previous two seasons. Shiffrin has five titles to her credit already this season, but the Olympics are a different beast - one slip-up will open the door for Holdener.

Biathlon - Women's 10km Pursuit

Dorothea Wierer, Italy (+900)

Wierer finds herself as a considerable underdog in this event, well back of favorite Laura Dahlmeier of Germany (+160). Wierer finished second in the overall World Cup pursuit race, but slipped to fifth last season. While she has second-place finishes at pursuit events in Oberhof, Germany and Antholz, Italy so far this season, she has never won a pursuit competition since graduating from the junior ranks. But with consistent results for four straight seasons, she has a live shot at breaking that goose egg in Korea.

Bobsled - 2-Man Event

Nico Walther, Germany (+500)

The two-man bobsled competition is expected to be a two-team battle for first place, with Germany's Francesco Friedrich (+200) and Canada's Justin Cripps (+250) the sled to beat. But don't sleep on Walther, who has had an all-or-nothing season so far with World Cup victories in Lake Placid and St. Moritz - and no other two-man podiums to his credit. Walther and sled-mate Christian Poser have the form to challenge for gold, and should mount a legitimate challenge in PyeongChang.

Cross-Country Skiing - Men's 30km Skiathlon

Alex Harvey, Canada (+900)

The skiathlon - an event that sees skiers combine classical and free techniques, with an equipment change at the midway point - requires an incredible amount of focus and stamina. Harvey has been one of the best in the world in long-distance events, posting third and fifth-place showings in the 30-kilometre event and fifth and first-place results in the 50-km competition at the previous two world championships. Norway's Johannes Klaebo (-125) is a heavy favorite, but Harvey should be in the mix.

Freestyle Skiing - Women's Moguls

Justin Dufour-Lapointe, Canada (+550)

While Jaelin Kauf of the United States carries the lowest odds (+250) into this event, bettors would be foolish to rule out Dufour-Lapointe, the defending Olympic champion. The 23 year old finished second in the World Cup standings in every year from 2012-2016, before slipping to third last season, mirroring that result with a bronze medal at the worlds. But she won an Olympic tuneup event in Tremblant, Quebec, last month, and is showing the kind of form that makes her a real threat to defend her gold medal.

Figure Skating - Men's Singles

Javier Fernandez, Spain (+400)

The men's figure skating competition is expected to be one of the most tightly-contested competitions in the Olympics, with Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu (+175) and Shoma Uno (+200) and American Nathan Chen (+200) in a virtual dead heat in oddsmakers' eyes. But Fernandez is an incredibly solid underdog option. He's the six-time defending European champion, won the world championship in 2015 and 2016 and has improved dramatically from his fourth-place finish at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Skeleton - Women's Event

Tina Hermann, Germany (+550)

The women's skeleton competition is German superstar Jacqueline Loelling's to lose. She's the two-time defending World Cup champion and carries whopping -125 odds into the Olympic event. But countrywoman Hermann is a live underdog option after finishing second to Loelling in each of the previous two World Cups and winning the world championship in 2016. Hermann has won just one World Cup race over the past two seasons, but she has the skill set to pull off the upset in Korea.

Ski Jumping - Men's HS109

Daniel Andre Tande, Norway (+500)

It isn't often that you can get such juicy odds on the defending world champion. That's the situation bettors are in with Tande, who trounced the field in qualifying before edging out Olympic favorite Kamil Stoch of Poland (+175) to claim the world title in Oberstdorf, Germany last month. Recent form is often a good indicator of future success, particularly at the Winter Games and from that standpoint, Tande has to be considered a major threat to Stoch and the rest of the contenders.

Snowboard - Men's Half-Pipe

Scotty James, Australia (+600)

Oddsmakers are fully expecting an American half-pipe sweep, with snowboard legend Shaun White (+200) favored on the men's side and Chloe Kim (+150) expected to run away with the women's title. But James shouldn't be ignored. The Aussie sensation is the defending world champion and finished second at this year's Aspen SuperPipe with a score of 98.00 after claiming gold in that same event last season. A similar performance in PyeongChang could put James on top of the podium.
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