Cue the music, light the torch, and prepare to see the symbolic rings everywhere you go. That’s right, it’s July in the sporting world, and this year, that means we are treated to the once-every-four-year spectacle that is the Summer Olympic Games (July 23rd – August 8th).
Originally scheduled for 2020, the Tokyo Summer Olympics, officially titled the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, were pushed back a year due to the pandemic. This marks the first time in the history of the games that they have been postponed instead of cancelled for any reason, global or domestic. Due to the state of the world still being in flux from the impacts of COVID-19, no international spectators will be allowed to attend any of the events. So, while this year’s games may look different, they will happen, and that was not a certainty as recently as just a few months ago. There was talk of if the Olympics could or perhaps even should still take place as the world continues to recover from the virus that took hold in the winter of 2020.
Host city and nation, Tokyo, Japan, is still recovering from the pandemic as are many countries around the world. Vaccination availability has varied and participation in Olympic trials has been impacted. Qualification for the games has been altered to take all of this into account and safety measures have been put into place. Through all of this, the perseverance and spirit of the Olympics lives on as the Games will take place as scheduled: 205 nations are expected to participate with over 11,000 athletes, taking place in 339 distinct events across 33 sports and 50 disciplines.
The games will occur with some new additions and returning favorites among these 339 events. New competition debuting for the first time in the Olympics will be 3×3 basketball, freestyle BMX, and madison cycling. There will also be the debut of new sports including karate, sport climbing, surfing, and skateboarding. Returning for the first time since the 2008 Summer Olympics, will be baseball and softball.
The Olympics are truly a two-week love letter to sports, and for those who favor a wager, you will pretty much be able to bet on all of it with our top recommended sports betting sites for U.S. residents. From which country will win the most medals to winners of individual track-and-field events, Olympic betting is widely available at many USA-focused sportsbooks. For the U.S., Olympic qualifiers are still underway in some sports so expect more odds to become available closer to the start of the Games. For now, here is a look at some of the wagers currently available.
Most Medals Outright & Most Gold Medals Outright
Often a fun race to follow for patriotism purposes, there are also wagers available for who will win most medals. Not much money is there to be made on the favorites however, and that’s not really a surprise. The United States are –900 to win the most medals with China (+600) their closest competition (odds are courtesy of Bovada USA Sportsbook). After that, it is a huge gap to the Russian Olympic Committee (+2000) in third.
To put those numbers into perspective, consider all-time that the USA has won 2,828 medals (includes both summer and winter games). The second highest all-time total belongs to Russia, sitting nearly 1,000 medals behind at 1,910. If we were only to count the Summer Games, the U.S. lead grows, as America has been hands down, the best country at the Olympics.
Again, this makes sense as the U.S. has resources to pour into both men and women’s sports. They often dominate in events where many medals are available such as swimming and track-and-field as well. Plus, many team sports often favor the red, white, and blue.
It is also worth noting that this year, America likely holds another distinct advantage as the majority of its population has been vaccinated or at the very least, has the vaccine available to them. That can’t be said for the remaining 204 nations set to participate.
The U.S. dominance has been so well noted historically and is expected again this year, that Bovada is even offering USA (-900) vs the Field (+500) odds. If you back the field, if any other country beats the U.S. medals, you’ll win. As you can tell by the payouts being offered, the sportsbooks aren’t really expecting the field to win here either.
When it comes to most gold medals, the U.S. is again favored, though by a slighter smaller margin. America is –600 compared to China at +380. But again, one look at the medal table tells us a lot. While China did once top USA in total golds won (2008 when Beijing, China was the host), the recent table tells us a lot.
In fairness to China, they did not participate in the Olympics for the first time until the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles so they have a lot of ground to cover when it comes to catching the U.S. But in terms of gold medals, considering they have a much shorter Olympic history, it is impressive that China ranks fifth all-time on this list with 224 golds. In that span however, the U.S. has collected 401 medals. Again, there is reason why America is such a favorite when it comes to medal table betting odds.
Over/Under Total Gold Medals
Perhaps some more enticing bets come via the total golds nations including Canada, Australia, Great Britain and the U.S. among others will win. The U.S. line is set at 43.5. In each of the last two Olympic Games, America won 46 medals. Prior to that, you’d have to go back to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta to find the last time the stars and stripes topped 40 gold medals.
Recent success for the States however, is more an indicator of higher medal totals as the return of baseball and softball could net additional golds for America, as well as the 3×3 basketball event. Swimming, track-and-field, and also gymnastics should provide the U.S. with a bulk of their medal load, and there will always be surprises in other events as the U.S. tends to do. The United States is also favored to win team events in men’s basketball, women’s basketball (don’t waste your money/time on that wager as the U.S. is –1200 and hasn’t ever lost a gold in this event), and softball (much more appealing to bet an underdog here as U.S. is –150 to Japan at +140. Plus they are the host nation so could be worth the wager).
Odds aren’t great here, (-120 for the over, -110 for the under), but if you did want to make a U.S. – based wager, the total of gold medals would probably be your best bet.
Marilee Gallagher is an expert in NFL, MLB, NBA and tennis. She also loves a bit of pro wrestling. These are only Marilee’s news articles on USA Betting. Most of her posts are well-researched and authoritative previews of sports games and they are all here.