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2018 Winter Olympics – Vegas Odds and Betting Guide

Team USA(3-19) @ Team Norway(6-16)

  • Where: Various. PyeongChang, South Korea
  • When: February 9, 2018 3:00 am EST
  • Moneyline: Germany (+225), United States (+225), Norway (+275), Canada (+550), Netherlands (+1600), France (+1600)

One of the biggest myths in sports is that Americans see the Olympics on TV. For the most part, we don’t.

Instead, viewers gaze at a collage of docudramas, short clips of pre-recorded footage and a whole lot of pretending. Oh look, what a thrilling gold medal run by Lindsey Vonn! POOF – here she is for an interview in her street clothes. Only 15 minutes later! Wow, this girl really is fast!

Worse, between the cliche piano music and soppy narration, there are actually spoilers right in the broadcast. If a pair of Americans are favored in speed skating, the guy who wins will have his docudrama aired while the other guy’s movie is scuttled. It’s kind of like pro wrestling…except more predictable.

The good news? The miracle of technology now allows more people than ever to take-in the Olympics any way they want to. Online streams are available for every sport, and you can catch curling or the biathlon on affiliate cable stations at 3 AM…thanks to the venue being a hemisphere away.

And there’s always the opportunity to pick a winner and collect some cash. No odds-maker can possibly keep track of the variables affecting thousands of athletes from hundreds of countries. That means there’s value on the betting board – if you can find it.

Let’s take a serious bettor’s look at some of the higher-profile events in PyeongChang.

PyeongChang 2018 Betting Guide: Medal Table

The medal table is the best and also the worst betting market at the Olympics. On one hand, a solid wager placed on the overall medal count makes the entire Games more fun. Binge-watching on the final day can be as intense as the last 15:00 of a Super Bowl…assuming the country you picked is still in the race. But it’s almost impossible to find real value in medal-count odds, due to the nature of statistics.

You might get a hot tip that a bobsled team runs the 40-yard dash much faster than their listed times. But include that team in an entire country’s worth of athletes, and measurables will be deceptively good as often as they are deceptively bad. Involve 100+ competitions in a single bet and the breaks will even-out.

For a medal table wager, our best advice is to pick your favorite country, spin the wheel and have fun cheering no matter what happens. Oh – and don’t bet on an underdog. Team Germany, Team USA and Team Norway are odds-on favorites to win the most medals. Few other nations will have a chance.

PyeongChang 2018 Betting Guide: Ice Hockey

Gary Bettman’s foolish ban on NHL and American minor-league players competing in South Korea will continue to be a huge story. But it’s the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League which could create a glowing opportunity for bettors. Team Russia will compete as “Olympic Athletes from Russia” due to the IOC’s ban of the former superpower over doping concerns.

UPDATE 2/7/18: No last-minute surprises. The KHL has committed to the Olympics and will be icing a team of Russian pros who could each compete, even flourish in the NHL. State-side legend Ilya Kovalchuk will anchor the top line.

Canada and Sweden have done an excellent job “hiding” a few world-class players from otherwise-likely National Hockey League contracts just to skate in PyeongChang, while the odds on OAR (Team Russia in drag) winning gold have grown as short as (+100).

But OAR is still a solid bet at plus-odds to win the ice hockey tournament. They have the firepower, an easy round-robin draw, and a badly-reduced Team Canada to deal with in the medal round.

Click to wager on “Olympic Athletes of Russia” to win the 2018 Men’s Ice Hockey gold medal in South Korea and collect a sign-up bonus from Bovada Sportsbook.

PyeongChang 2018 Betting Guide: Alpine Skiing

The downhill course at PyeongChang has taken criticism for not being fast enough.

“There are lots of mountains (in South Korea),” Norwegian skier Christof Innerhofer snarkily told reporters after a test-run in 2016. “Surely they could find one that is a little bit more steep.”

In other words, winning in 2018 won’t be as much about maintaining control on a dangerously swift course as much as generating speed while others slow down on the gentle terrain. No death-defying Franz Klammer plunge this time…just a methodical race against the clock.

Vonn is favored at 3/1 odds to take home the women’s gold in the downhill. As exciting as a wager on a popular American superstar might be, there is a danger of hype overwhelming common sense. The 33-year old has been injured at the last 2 Winter Olympic Games. Enormous pressure could affect her chances, and odds on the American should only get shorter thanks to heavy betting action in the United States. Young and cocky Lara Gut is at 6/1, but will her small frame produce enough speed on a slow course? Austrian Cornelia Hutter is a better downhill wager, while Gut is an excellent 20/1 bet in the Giant Slalom where cutting an efficient path is more important.

On the men’s side, it’s somewhat surprising to see Team USA’s Ted Ligeti 4th on the Giant Slalom board at 10/1 gold medal odds. If anything goes wrong for favored Marcel Hirshner, Ligeti could walk (ski) through the door.

In the men’s downhill look for Swiss racer Beat Feuz, currently sitting at (+600). Feuz struggled with injury problems earlier in the decade but is healthy and in his prime at age 30, and won the 2017 World Championships as well as the downhill at Lake Louise in January ’18.

UPDATES 2/6/18

Hutter is now at (+1600) in the women’s downhill, an absolute steal of a wager.

Lara Gut’s odds in the Giant Slalom have shot out as long as (+10000). But her injuries have healed, and she’s winning world-class races. Gut won a World Cup Super-G only a couple of weeks ago, and is 7/1 for that event in South Korea.

Ligeti is still a terrific bet at (+1000).

PyeongChang 2018 Betting Guide: Ski Jumping

Bovada has released odds for the men’s large-hill ski jump team event, which can provide a more-enjoyable wager than betting on one athlete and hoping he flies like a missile. The Norwegians and Poles are favored at less than 2/1 odds. But we’re liking Team Germany at (+350).

The Germans won a pair of ski jumping golds (including the men’s team event) at Sochi in 2014, and will attack the ramp in Korea with a group of healthy athletes in their 20s.

Browse Part 2 of MSB’s Olympic preview here.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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