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.
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.
|COUNTRY TO WIN MOST GOLDS||ODDS|
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|
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||OPEN ODDS||CURRENT ODDS|
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
|Andre De GRASSE||20/1|
|FIELD (all others)||15/1|
|Andre De GRASSE||30/1|
|MEN’S 4×100 RELAY||ODDS|
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.
|MEN’S 100M BUTTERFLY|
|Chad Le CLOS||7/5|
|FIELD (all others)||40/1|
|MEN’S 200M BUTTERFLY|
|Chad Le CLOS||3/1|
|FIELD (all others)||40/1|
|MEN’S 200M MEDLEY||ODDS|
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.
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.