European Bookmakers Set Odds for Olympic Swimming

  27 Braden Keith | July 19th, 2012 | Featured, National, News

This year’s host of the Olympics, the United Kingdom, has a lengthy history with sports gambling. Not only is it legal, but in some cases (like horse racing) monopolized by the government.

So it’s no surprise that bookmakers across the country, and the world, are taking wagers on the Olympic outcome. It’s at least an interesting experiment, given that professional bookmakers are in the business of predicting the outcome of sporting events, and frankly are quite good at it.

There are options both to pick winners, and to pick a top-three, medal finish. The values below are simply “odds to win”.

Check out some of the odds below that we’ve picked to highlight, from, and see how they line up with your picks.

A quick primer on odds. In the “European style” way of displaying odds, popular in horse racing stateside, the second number is the amount of money one would have to wager to win the first number. So, 5/1 odds mean that if you bet $1, and win, then you will receive $5, plus your original dollar back. 2/5 odds means that if you bet $5, you will receive $2 plus your original 5 back). Odds below are listed in order from “favorite” to “least favorite”.

The number in parenthesis is how much would be won on a $10 bet, not including the return of the original wager.

Other notable picks include Missy Franklin as the favorite in both he 100 and 200 backstrokes (though the larger by a much greater margin at 4/9 odds). You can also take 1/5 odds (a $2 payout on a $10 bet) that Sarah Sjostrom wins at least 1 Olympic medal.

Men’s 200 IM

Phelps tends to be the favorite in this race, but some books have him and Lochte at close to even money. You could take “the field” in this race and make a pretty penny, if the monumental upset were to actually happen.

Michael Phelps – 5/6 ($8.33)
Ryan Lochte – 1/1 ($10)
Laszlo Cseh – 12/1 ($120)
Thiago Pereira – 20/1 ($200)
Markus Deibler – 40/1 ($400)
James Goddard – 50/1 ($500)
Markus Rogan – 66/1 ($660)

Men’s 100 Free

Magnussen is clearly the favorite here, with nobody seeming to get much of a chance of upsetting him (the bookmakers think it’s more likely that Phelps will be beat in the 100 fly), but there’s a big jump from the top three (Roberts, Cielo) to the next group. Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean Cielo is the favorite to take bronze, rather it just says that he’s got more potential to pull off the upset than those below him. I’d probably agree with that.

James Magnussen – 2/5 ($4)
James Roberts – 11/2 ($55)
Cesar Cielo – 13/2 ($75)
Nathan Adrian – 14/1 ($140)
Yannick Agnel – 14/1 ($140)
Brent Hayden – 14/1 ($140)
Fabien Gilot – 40/1 ($400)
Filippo Magnini – 50/1 ($500)

Men’s 100 Fly

This one is a bit surprising. It’s most likely an example of the oddsmakers trying to profit off of peoples’ memories of the Phelps-Cavic battle from 2008, but to say that he is more than twice-as-likely as a Tyler McGill to upset Phelps seems a stretch.

Michael Phelps – 9/20 ($4.50)
Milorad Cavic – 4/1 ($40)
Konrad Czerniak – 11/2 ($55)
Tyler McGill – 10/1 ($100)
Jason Dunford – 20/1 ($200)

Men’s 200 Fly

Per the bookmakers, this is the least likely of the upsets. For the third-candidate to have only 15:1 odds speaks volumes about how heavy of a favorite Phelps is in this race.

Michael Phelps – 1/5 ($2)
Takeshi Matsuda –  4/1 ($40)
Nick D’Arcy – 15/1 ($150)
Laszlo Cseh – 15/1 ($150)
Wu Peng – 20/1 ($200)
Yin Chen – 28/1 ($280)

Men’s 400 free relay

The Australians are favorites in this race, but with one eye toward the Americans and their knack for pulling off outstanding swims, the odds-makers have made it a relatively close margin.

Australia – 37/50 ($7.40)
USA – 2/1 ($20)
France – 7/2 ($35)
Russia – 20/1 ($200)
Italy – 25/1 ($250)
South Africa – 30/1 ($300)
Germany – 50/1 ($500)
Great Britain – 65/1 ($650)
Brazil – 65/1 ($650)

*Odds presented for entertainment purposes only.

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27 Comments on "European Bookmakers Set Odds for Olympic Swimming"

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4 years 3 months ago

Well I’m off to make my first £1 million, on Muffat to win the 200 free (4/1)… 😉

4 years 3 months ago

This is awesome.

4 years 3 months ago

Our Brazilian friends here will make tons of money if they indeed believe their own conviction and bet on Brazil to win medals in 4×100 medley and free.

4 years 3 months ago

do you know what means the word TROLL?

Giving a CHEAP take like that fits the bill.
There is a lot of brazilian supporters out there, and many of them are only fans(brazilian fans), not swimming fans running here for (very good) information.That is what means be a part of the crowd.

Personally, Brazil has a remote chance in 4×100 medley, and i dont think has a chance in 4×100 free(one leg short to do that).

4 years 3 months ago

I would easily bet on 4×100 medley for Brazil..

Even you have to admit that on medley Brazil is being underrated, with sites saying Canada, Britain have more chances..

4 years 3 months ago

Have to agree that I’d bet on Brazil over Canada and UK anyday for medley, what with Silva losing 20Kg

4 years 3 months ago

i have my doubts about Brazil medley relay.Thiago Pereira is a great swimmer, but he is too much emotional(in a bad sense) for our own good.It will be tough for coach Alberto put him straight if he dont medal in 200IM(there is a big chance with Cseh already 1.56.6).

Felipe França da Silva lost ALMOST 20 kilograms from 2011 to London.He is being pretty vocal about his goal to swim a sub 59 in London.I have my doubts, but we will see if he can do that.

4 years 3 months ago

I agree with you that Brazil has better chance than Canada or UK in the men 4×100 medley

4 years 3 months ago

Brett Hawke just said now.. that Chiereguinni is probably going to be the guy to be beat at Rio..

You can use google translator for that.

For the record, he never trained before 17 years old (2008), now he is 21 and just one year under Hawke coaching on Auburn..

4 years 3 months ago

He also said Cielo is the one to beat this year…

That’s not to say anything about Hawke, Cielo or the young Brazillian, but I personally believe that Hawke’s opinions are sometimes biased towards what he has experienced, and has a record for being more closed minded than other coaches in his public opinions.

Again, Chieriguini is 21 and we don’t know what could happen in the next few years. For all we know he could be amazing, but we will have to wait and see.

A year ago, a famous Russian coach said this:

“”He has an amazing second 50m — that is his pass to the future,” Touretski said.

“I think he has great reserves and he’s coming up. You know an athlete is good when they can naturally swim 48.3 and the second 50m under 25sec.

“He has the potential to go one second faster. He is an athlete of the new generation and his physique is only at 80 per cent of full adult maturity.”

…of Magnussen. I’m sure no one paid attention to these quotes because no one expected Magnussen to go 47.2 a year ago. But here we stand. Gennadi was the first one who publically prognosticated Magnussen’s rise to prominence, but four years is a stretch IMO.

4 years 3 months ago

i agree with you.Four years is a *century* in swimming.And we can not expect the droping times Chieriguini made this year to happen every year.(He improved 0.8 in 50 free and around 0.5 in 100 free).

Talking about Touretski, he is keeping one eye in a 16 year-old brazilian swimmer called Matheus Santana who beat Cielo s age bests this year(he made 51.30 and 23.23 in 100 and 50 free).He will be in a training camp with Greg in January.

4 years 3 months ago the link

He started swimming because of respiratory health problems and has diabetis (it is spelled like this in English?)

4 years 3 months ago


It is true that Brett Hawke has record for being such close-minded.

Anybody here still remember how, during the floswimming days, Brett Hawke had public fight/spat with Craig Lord because Brett Hawke REALLY BELIEVED that the rubber suits did not help his swimmers at all?

You have to take what Brett said with a grain of salt. He is too passionate for his own swimmers.

4 years 3 months ago

Oh yeah, and Brett also said late last year (after Shanghai) that Cielo is still the man to beat in London.

4 years 3 months ago

Brazil has an outside bet for the Medley relay, probably only if one of USA, Australia and Japan get DQ’ed though, In my opinion. Certainly better than GB and Canada (On 2012 times Brazil is .6 ahead of Great Britain, with Sliwinski substituted from Breast leg).

4 years 3 months ago

Brazil is 0.3 summing up times 2011 and 2012 behind JPN… Brazil if França and Cielo gets their textile bests (and it has a high possibility) they do not need a DQ.. they are not far behing JPN. 0.3 is almost nothing.. and Cielo surely has a shot of going at least as fast as 2011… he is a guy who steps up on big meets

4 years 3 months ago

If 0.3 is almost nothing what is 0.6?

Also why people count times set a year earlier baffles me, unless a individual has not had a tepered meet in 2012…as far as I know all 4 Brazillian possible relay swimmers do. So on how I look at it a front 3 swimmers for Japan (Irie-Kitajima-Fujii) will more than likely build a large enough lead over the Brazillians (Pereira?-Franca da silva-Almeida) to hold on for a medal. Even if they do not have a swimmer sub 49 this season I’d expect the top Japanese freestyle to be able to split a 48 mid come London.

4 years 3 months ago


Cielo did not need to taper for Maria Lenk.. We do not have trials… we take all times from a series of meetings.. so he was already qualified from his 47.84.. França did taper but he lost 3 to 4kg after Maria Lenk, Pereira was rested but not tapered, Kaio was tapered

4 years 3 months ago

Surely if Cielo was at “99%” for Maria Lenk he is very near to being as fast as he will be? Losing 3kg does not mean Felipe will get any faster, it is by no means a certainty. Pereira has never tended to improve greatly come his ‘big meet’ of the year hence us always saying he could/should medal and him never delivering. I can’t comment Kaio but I personally doubt he has much more to give, over 100m at very least.

But you never know, that is why we all love sport and particularly the Olympics. Good luck to Brazil, I just don’t see it at this point, things may change once the meet starts and we see what swimmers are doing 🙂

4 years 3 months ago

Didn’t april fools already pass? Sorry Mel you have LOST YOUR MIND if you think Lochte will top Phelps as the Greatest Swimmer in History. No chance, he doesn’t have the hardware, the records or the same longevity Phelps has had. Completely lost respect for Mel for speaking like 12 year old fan girl.

4 years 3 months ago

One variable to factor in is wealth: Swimming is among the top 3 sports where being rich matters the most:


About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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