We here at SwimSwam do not gamble on swimming. It would be all sorts of unethical, and we’d probably be pretty good at it.
But, that doesn’t mean that it’s not a little entertaining to check out who the favorites are in different races according to bookmakers: people who ultimately have a lot of money riding on the ability to correctly pick winners of sporting events.
Last year at the Summer Olympics, all of the major European sports books were taking bets on swimming; thus far, all we’ve found is odds from Sky Bet and Coral.Co.uk.
Below, check out some of the more interesting bets in the races. For simplicity’s sake, we’ve boiled down the wagers to what the payout will be on a $10 bet, in addition to getting your $10 back. We’ve combined the two books and listed the highest pay-out among the two at the top of the article.
Men’s 400 Free
Favorites: Sun Yang, $11, Coral
David McKeon, $100, Coral
Ous Mellouli, $110, Coral
Connor Jaeger, $230, Coral
Sun Yang’s coaches may not feel as though he’s in the best shape of his career, but with how little real competition there is in this 400 free, he is still one of the heaviest favorites.
Consider that he’s given about equal odds to win in the 800 ($11.10), but the field of contenders is much smaller, meaning Ryan Cochrane ($55) and Ous Mellouli ($100) are given solid chances at an upset. In the 1500, Yang goes back to being a heavy favorite, on Coral paying out only $10.80, with Cochrane ($70 on a $10 bet) and Mellouli ($80) still getting decent odds. It’s then a huge dropoff to American Connor Jaeger and Australian Jordan Harrison at a $340 payout on a $10 bet.
Men’s 200 Free
Favorites: Yannick Agnel, $15
Danila Izotov, $50
Ryan Lochte, $50
Jeremy Stravius $110
Thomas Fraser-Holmes $190
The defending Olympic Champion Yannick Agnel is a big favorite in this 200 free, despite only a week ago deciding he would swim this race at all. The smart bet here would be to take ‘the field,’ which isn’t an actual betting option, but put ten on Izotov, Lochte, Stravius, and Fraser-Holmes each, and it would probably be a bigger payout.
Men’s 100 Free
Favorites: James Magnussen $20
Nathan Adrian $32
Vlad Morozov $34
Cameron McEvoy $260
Hanser Garcia $290
This is one of the rare occasions upon which the defending Olympic champion is not the favorite, as the .01 difference between Magnussen and Adrian wasn’t enough to sway the oddsmaker’s of Adrian’s chance of winning again. Still, the expectation is that this is a three-man race between Magnussen, Adrian, and Morozov. Among those getting surprisingly little love is Brazilian Marcelo Chierighini, who won the Maria Lenk Trophy. He’s only pegged at a 41:1 long shot to win, tying him for 8th. That’s four spots lower than Olivier Porier-Leroy picked him. (Though, recall, that this is odds to win, not to odds to place 8th).
Florent Manaudou is the favorite in the 50 free, but a win by him would pay out a huge $32.50, with Adrian getting $43.40 and Morozov getting $45.00. These high payouts speaks to the unpredictable nature of the event.
Men’s 400 Medley Relay
Favorites: USA, $14
This might be the safest bet of the meet, even if the odds don’t state it. The American medleys aren’t as secure as they were in 2012 after so many retirements, but with a back-half of Cordes and Adrian, and some combination of Grevers/Plummer looking still like the best backstroker in the world, the question mark is Eugene Godsoe holding onto Phelps’ spot in the fly. The Australians and Japanese all have weaknesses too, though.
Men’s 200 Breaststroke
Favorites: Daniel Gyurta, $23.80
Michael Jamieson, $26.20
Akihiro Yamaguchi, $45.00
Kevin Cordes, $60.00
Vyacheslav Sinkevich, $210.00
This race could be unbelievable. It’s got two men who have broken World Records in the race in the last year, Gyurta (who wins at every big meet) and Yamaguchi. It’s got Kevin Cordes, who you might be surprised to learn has not broken the World Record yet, despite the hype. It’s got the world leader Michael Jamieson, and Vyacheslav Sinkevich who exploded at Russian Nationals. This is one I’d stay well clear of.
Men’s 200 IM
Favorites: Ryan Lochte, $12.90
Kosuke Hagino, $50
Laszlo Cseh, $110
Thiago Pereira, $150
The two books have vastly different opinions of Hagino’s chance at an upset. SkyBet pays out only $40, whereas Coral pays out $50.
This is one of two individual races in which Lochte is the favorite. The other is the 200 backstroke, where he takes that honor over Japan’s Ryosuke Irie and Olympic gold medalist Tyler Clary by payouts of $23.80-$26.20-Clary $43.30.
Women’s 100 Back
Favorites: Missy Franklin, $13.60
Emily Seebohm, $40
Aya Terakawa, $55
Elizabeth Pelton, $150
Interesting thing here: despite the fact that Seebohm actually posted the fastest overall time in 2012, she is listed at just 9/2 odds, while Franklin is 4/11. Franklin is probably seeing improved odds because (1) she doesn’t have to swim the 200 free semifinal right before like she did in London, and (2) Seebohm hasn’t yet looked up to her 2012 form. But anything can happen in a 100, and with that kind of payout, it couldn’t hurt to put take those odds.
Women’s 200 Free
Favorites: Camille Muffat, $17.30
Missy Franklin, $20
Bronte Barratt, $70
Sarah Sjostrom, $210
Kylie Palmer, $340
Although Barratt has been just a half second behind Franklin this year, the oddsmakers clearly consider this a two-person race between Muffat and Franklin. With Allison Schmitt out of the picture, picking the winner of the 200 free became a whole lot more difficult.
Women’s 100 Free
Favorites: Cate Campbell, $17.30
Ranomi Kromowidjojo, $35
Allaksandra Hermasimenia, $70
Missy Franklin, $70
The oddsmakers have Australia’s Cate Campbell is the favorite in the marquee women’s event, and why not? Kromowidjojo has yet to bring it in the 100 free this year, sitting at #7 in the world, a full second behind the leader. Campbell’s 52.83 is #1 in 2013 by six tenths of a second over Franklin.
Women’s 50 Free
Favorites: Ranomi Kromowidjojo, $23.70 (Coral)
Cate Campbell, $26.20 (SkyBET)
Allaksandra Hermasimenia, $45 (SkyBET)
Fran Halsall, $70 (Coral)
This one is viewed as a bit of a toss-up, with Kromowidjojo’s pure speed giving her the slight edge here. Coral views this race as being even closer, giving Campbell 3/2 odds, meaning a $10 bet would win you $15, returning a total of $25.
Women’s 200 Fly
Favorites: Jiao Liuyang, $13.60
Mireia Belmonte, $43.30
Natsumi Hoshi, $50
Liu Zige, $150
The odds here aren’t particularly interesting; Jiao Liuyang, the defending Olympic champion and #1 in the world in 2013, is the heavy favorite. The point that sticks out, though, is the “world record” bet, which comes in at 12/1 odds, easily the lowest of the women’s events. Liu Zige (who is in the field, and given 14/1 odds) set the record of 2:01.81 back in 2009, more than 2 full seconds better than Jiao’s textile best of 2:04.06.
Women’s 200 Back
Favorites: Missy Franklin, $11.10
Elizabeth Pelton: $65
Belinda Hocking: $110
Frederica Pellegrini: $130
Franklin’s 200 back is easily the lowest-paying bet on the women’s side, returning just $1.10 (plus the $10 you originally put down) if Missy comes out on top.
Note: this post is for entertainment purposes only. Only gamble if it is legal for you in your area, and if your conscience allows it.