Welcome To Betting The Olympics
Every couple of years, the eyes of the world turn to a group of amateur and professional athletes representing their countries in a worldwide contest of skill. The Olympic Games bring together competitors from nearly every country in the world, with competitions set in a central location, usually a large metropolitan city like Atlanta, Beijing, or as is the case with the 2012 Summer Games, London.
The Olympics occur every two years, alternating between Summer and Winter games. That means each group of events takes place once every four years. Since most athletes concentrate on just one event, or a group of similar events such as track & field, the average career of an Olympic athlete is 5 Olympiads or fewer; only 16 Olympians have ever competed in more than 8 Olympic Games, all of those in sailing, equestrian, and shooting events. Certain Olympic events, such as gymnastics and figure skating, are extremely tough on the body and require a level of fitness and athletic perfection that limits Olympians to just a few Games. The average Olympic gymnast competes in just two Games, for example, while equestrian Olympians tend to compete over a series of decades.
As with any sports competition, wagering on the outcome of Olympic events is a big pastime, especially in cultures with a long cultural tradition of legal and socially acceptable betting. With the 2012 Summer Games taking place in London, betting the Olympics will be especially popular. That’s because sports betting is huge in the UK, with betting shops dotting the streets of London, nearly as common as chip shops or historic churches. Betting the Olympics is always big business, especially after the advent of Internet sports wagering in the 1990s. These days, placing a wager on an Olympic event is as easy as buying a book from Amazon or sending an email.
London 2012 Summer Olympic Games
The 2012 cycle of Olympic Games will start on July 26th, the date of the official opening ceremony. Followers of the Olympics know that the opening ceremony isn’t the true start of the Games; by the time the athletes are entering the Olympic Stadium, 10 events will have already taken place. Because of the lengthy schedule required for the soccer and archery competitions, those events begin a few days early, otherwise the Games would have to extend an extra few days past this Olympiad’s closing ceremony date, August 12th. Do the math in your head—all 26 Olympic sports, played across 38 different disciplines, will occur in just seventeen days’ time. For the Olympics bettor, that means tons of wagering opportunities in a very compact amount of time.
In fact, it is because of the condensed span of time during which Olympic events take place that the Games are ideal for people who like to bet on sports. Traditional sports betting (on football clubs, American NFL teams, or university sports) takes place over entire seasons, which can take months to pan out. During the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games, medal ceremonies will be occurring regularly, resulting in wagers paying off in a few hours, rather than the weeks or even months it can take to get a result from professional sports wagering.
How to Bet the Olympics
Betting the Olympics allows for a wide variety of wagers. The standard bet is simple: choosing the winner of any of more than two dozen different sporting events. Naturally, there are also proposition bets, such as wagers placed on which country will take home the most medals, which country will be first to win a gold medal, etc. What makes Olympics wagering unique is that, unlike traditional sports gambling, you aren’t focusing on one event or game over an entire season, but rather spreading your wagers around. Betting on the Olympics allows you to drop a few bucks on the outcome of an archery event, a proposition bet on the overall medals winner, bets on soccer matches, and any other combination of wagers on any of the Olympic sports taking place.
Before betting the London 2012 Games, familiarize yourself with the Olympics sports taking place during this Olympiad. The 2012 London Games will include:
- Athletics (track and field and combined events)
- Beach Volleyball
- Canoe Slalom
- Canoe Sprint
- Cycling – BMX
- Cycling – Mountain Bike
- Cycling – Road
- Cycling – Track
- Equestrian – Dressage
- Equestrian – Eventing
- Equestrian – Jumping
- Field Hockey
- Football (soccer)
- Gymnastics – Artistic
- Gymnastics – Rhythmic
- Gymnastics – Trampoline
- Modern Pentathlon
- Synchronized Swimming
- Table Tennis
- Water Polo
No sports fan, regardless of his or her dedication to athletics, can possibly be familiar enough with that wide range of competitions, 28 different sporting events in all. Gamblers interested in betting the Olympics should take care to learn a little about each event they intend to wager on. Since the Olympics includes some very obscure contests, such as handball, canoe slalom, and modern pentathlon, prepping to bet on the 2012 Games means learning an entirely new set of rules, athletes, and odds. Though betting shops anticipate the majority of Olympics bets will be placed on soccer and basketball, you don’t have to teach yourself the ins and outs of Water Polo, sticking instead to more familiar sports. But how often do you get the chance to lay down a wager on Taekwondo or Fencing? The Olympics give sports bettors the rare opportunity to lay wagers on unfamiliar contests of skill.
The London Summer Games in 2012 is handing out the largest total number of gold medals in the history of the games: 302 events will result in a medal ceremony, the most of any modern Olympiad. With so many opportunities for gambling, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. That’s why it’s best to concentrate on sports you know and love, lay down a few proposition bets, and stick to world-class athletes with familiar names. You can expect plenty of wagers on athletes like Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, or Jessica Ennis, British heptathlon athlete who is a household name across the UK. Take note, though, that bookmakers aren’t any more familiar with sports like rhythmic gymnastics or Judo than you are, so you could find yourself in a good position to out-gun the online or brick and mortar betting shop where you lay your bets.
The 2012 Summer Games in London begin Wednesday, July 25th, and the entire contest will have ended by the evening of August 12th. Prepare for betting the Olympics by studying sports you plan to place bets on, and be sure to find an online wagering site or traditional sportsbook that allows you to place legal Olympics wagers.