European Bookmakers Set Odds for Olympic Swimming

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.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago

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

Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

Braden, here are AP’s medal predictions for London 2012 *SWIMMING* Men === 50 Freestyle ———— Gold: Cesar Cielo, Brazil Silver: James Magnussen, Australia Bronze: Frederick Bousquet, France 100 Freestyle ————- Gold: James Magnussen, Australia Silver: Yannick Angel, France Bronze: Nikita Lobintsev, Russia 200 Freestyle ————- Gold: Ryan Lochte, United States Silver: Yannick Angel, France Bronze: Park Tae-hwan, South Korea 400 Freestyle ————- Gold: Sun Yang, China Silver: Park Tae-hwan, South Korea Bronze: Yannick Angel, France 1,500 Freestyle ————— Gold: Sun Yang, China Silver: Park Tae-hwan, South Korea Bronze: Gregorio Paltrinieri, Italy 100 Backstroke ————– Gold: Matt Grevers, United States Silver: Ryosuke Irie, Japan Bronze: Camille Lacourt, France 200 Backstroke ————– Gold: Ryan Lochte, United States Silver: Ryosuke Irie, Japan… Read more »

Reply to  eurosports
8 years ago

AP better get their research staff fired. Fred isn’t in the 50 or any event this time!!! Agnel isn’t swimming the 400 free!!!

Reply to  joeb
8 years ago

Haha, good catch there JoeB!

Reply to  joeb
8 years ago

Ana Marcela Cunha also isn´t going to swim in London..

Reply to  Braden Keith
8 years ago

Odds from another source

8 years ago

This is awesome.

8 years 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.

Reply to  aswimfan
8 years 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).

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »