The Rio Games, which formally commence with Friday’s Opening Ceremony, are the first Olympics available for wagering in Las Vegas since 2001, when betting on the Olympics was made illegal in Nevada. In February 2015, Nevada Gaming Control approved an amendment to allow sports books to take action IOC-sanctioned events, and gamblers rejoiced.Michael_Phelps_odds

Well, “rejoice” may be an overstatement – we don’t know many gamblers rushing to the window to bet on, say, gymnastics or equestrian.

Nevertheless, betting on the Olympics can put some excitement in our lives as we eagerly await the start of football season.

So here are odds and quick takes on some Rio Olympics wagering options offered in Las Vegas that have our interest.

 Gold-medal props

COUNTRY TO WIN MOST GOLDS ODDS
UNITED STATES -500
CHINA 5/2
GREAT BRITIAN 20/1
RUSSIA 50/1
GERMANY 60/1
AUSTRALIA 60/1
FRANCE 75/1
JAPAN 75/1
SOUTH KOREA 100/1
FIELD 50/1

Quick take: The USA comes in as the massive favorite here, but the price is too prohibitive to consider a bet. Of the seven analyses posted on Top End Sports, only one predicts China will win more gold medals than the U.S. As Americans, let’s just sit back and enjoy our country’s triumphs without worrying about the risks associated with -500 odds.

USA TOTAL GOLDS ODDS
OVER 41.5 -110
UNDER 41.5 -110

We’re not going to pretend to have analyzed the hundreds of events about to take place in Rio, so we’ll fall back on the predictions aggregated by Top End Sports. Three of the seven have the USA winning at least 42 golds, making the ‘over’ in this prop dicey.

Men’s basketball

MEN’S BASKETBALL OPEN ODDS CURRENT ODDS
UNITED STATES 1/10 1/20
SPAIN 10/1 12/1
FRANCE 10/1 15/1
BRAZIL 25/1 30/1
LITHUANIA 35/1 30/1
SERBIA 50/1 30/1
ARGENTINA 35/1 60/1
CROATIA 80/1 60/1
AUSTRALIA 250/1 250/1
CHINA 1000/1 500/1
NIGERIA 1000/1 500/1
VENEZUELA 1000/1 500/1

Quick take: Yes, Team USA should roll to the top spot on the medal stand.  But at this price – $20 to win $1  – no thanks. Once we get past the group stage, it’s one loss and you’re done – not best-of-seven series that would virtually guarantee a U.S. gold.  So while we don’t see anyone challenging this nasty group of NBA studs, a wager on the U.S. is just not worth the minuscule payoff.

Oh, the U.S. opens their Olympic play on Saturday as 50-point favorites against China. Fifty points.

Track and field

MEN’S 100-meter Odds
Usain BOLT 4/7
Justin GATLIN 7/4
Yohan BLAKE 15/1
Trayvon BROMELL 15/1
Andre De GRASSE 20/1
Jimmy VICAUT 40/1
FIELD (all others) 15/1
MEN’s 200-meter Odds
Usain BOLT 2/5
Justin GATLIN 7/2
LaShawn MERRITT 8/1
Yohan BLAKE 15/1
Andre De GRASSE 30/1
Alonso EDWARD 50/1
Ameer WEBB 50/1
FIELD 12/1
MEN’S 4×100 RELAY ODDS
JAMAICA 5/8
USA 3/2
GREAT BRITAIN 25/1
CANADA 40/1
FRANCE 40/1
CHINA 60/1
ANTIGUA 60/1
FIELD 7/1

Quick take: It takes some gumption to bet against Usain Bolt, but if you’re feeling lucky, how about taking a shot with an American in the 200 meter? Not Justin Gatlin, but the longer-priced LaShawn Merritt.

Swimming

MEN’S 100M BUTTERFLY
Michael PHELPS 6/5
Chad Le CLOS 7/5
Laszlo CSEH 5/1
Joseph SCHOOLING 8/1
Tom SHIELDS 25/1
Zhuhao LI 30/1
Mehdy METELLA 50/1
FIELD (all others) 40/1
MEN’S 200M BUTTERFLY
Laszlo CSEH 6/5
Michael PHELPS 7/5
Chad Le CLOS 3/1
Daiya SETO 20/1
Joseph SCHOOLING 30/1
Jan SWITKOWSKI 50/1
Masato SAKAI 50/1
FIELD (all others) 40/1
MEN’S 200M MEDLEY ODDS
MICHAEL PHELPS -130
RYAN LOCHTE 11/5
KOSUKE HAGINO 3/1
THIAGO PEREIRA 15/1
FIELD 14/1

Quick take: With 18 golds and 22 total medals, Michael Phelps is the most decorated athlete in the history of the Olympics. The odds on him, particularly in the butterfly events, are attractive enough for a wager.

Golf

MEN’S GOLF ODDS
HENRIK STENSON 9/2
SERGIO GARCIA 13/2
JUSTIN ROSE 12/1
BUBBA WATSON 14/1
RICKIE FOWLER 14/1
PATRICK REED 15/1
MATT KUCHAR 15/1
MARTIN KAYMER 15/1
DANNY WILLETT 20/1
EMILIANO GRILLO 25/1
RAFAEL CABRERA-BELLO 25/1
BYEONG-HUN AN 40/1
THONGCHAI JAIDEE 40/1
SOREN KJELDSEN 40/1
DANNY LEE 50/1
THOMAS PIETERS 50/1
PADRAIG HARRINGTON 50/1
DAVID LINGMERTH 50/1
JHONATHAN VEGAS 50/1
FIELD 13/10

Quick take: This is the first time golf has been part of the Olympics since 1904, and while this isn’t a major-like oddsboard (no Rory, Spieth or Day), there are some heavy hitters here and it should be fun to watch.