European Bookmakers Set Odds for Olympic Swimming

  27 Braden Keith | July 19th, 2012 | 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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One variable to factor in is wealth: Swimming is among the top 3 sports where being rich matters the most:

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.

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).

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

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.


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

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… Read more »

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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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