After a long wait including a year-long delay, the 2020 Olympic Games will finally take place from July 23 to August 8 in Tokyo, Japan.
Since it’s been five years since the Rio games, these are the first Olympics that coincide with the widespread legalization of sports betting around the United States. This means that people in many states, particularly those with online sportsbooks, will be able to legally bet on the Olympics with ease for the first time.
Several sites have posted odds for the Olympics including some of the biggest brands in the industry such as DraftKings and FanDuel. We’ve combed through the available markets and using odds from both, we’ll make some 2020 Olympics betting picks to keep your interest during the festivities in Tokyo.
Five 2020 Olympics Betting Predictions To Make Before The Opening Ceremony
There are a huge range of betting options to choose from for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Events such as basketball, baseball, and soccer are already well-known sports to fans. But there are also odds available for events that fans get into a bit more during the Olympics such as track and field, swimming, handball, and many others.
We’ve dug through the Olympic betting odds and come up with five futures picks to consider making before each of the competitons begins in Tokyo. All odds are subject to change after this article is published.
Olympic Basketball Betting Picks | Who To Bet On Besides Team USA
As always, Team USA is a massive favorite in the basketball competitions, even more so on the men’s side than the women’s side. The Americans send a roster full of NBA players and frankly, are expected to win. The betting odds reflect this, with there being virtually no value in placing a futures wager on the United States, so we are looking for other outlets in which to make some money on the men’s basketball competition.
While looking for other nations to put your money behind, you also may want to consider opting for a betting market in addition to the outright winner. Even after the early missteps during exhibition play, Team USA is a dominant force. Any wagers placed on other teams to win gold should be nothing more than a dart throw that doesn’t take much out of your bankroll.
For us, we are circling the Australian team, which was one of the clubs to defeat the United States in exhibition play. The result of that game really doesn’t matter, of course, but that type of performance should provide some confidence for Australia heading into Tokyo.
The Aussies are a well-rounded team with several NBA players who have experience on this stage as well, so it’s no surprise that this is the group with the second-lowest odds to win at DraftKings Sportsbook (+800). We love their chances to not only win Group B (-190), but also to win a medal (+115) and to be the top finisher without Team USA (+260).
A motivating factor could be that Australia is looking for a bit of payback after a rough finish in Rio. After losing by 30 points to Slovenia in the semifinals, the Aussies missed out on a bronze medal by a single point against Spain.
Slovenia is missing many of its top players, and that gives Australia the inside track at a medal. We think they find a bit of redemption and even have a great chance to make it to the gold medal game.
The Picks: Australia Winner Without USA (+260 at DraftKings), Australia To Win A Medal (+110), Australia To Win Group B (-190), Australia To Win Gold Medal (+800)
Olympic 3×3 Basketball Betting Predictions | USA Seeks Gold In Women’s Competition
If you are looking for a way to back Team USA in basketball at a reasonable price, look no further than the women’s 3×3 event. The rules and gameplay vary from the traditional basketball competitions, but it’s the same sport and viewers will have an easy time following along.
The rosters are made up of four players, with three on the court plus one substitute. Each game is 10 minutes long. The winner is the first team to reach 21 points, or the team with the highest score after 10 minutes. There’s a 12-second shot clock, and there’s only one basket on the floor.
The United States team features four star WNBA players (Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum, and Jackie Young) and is the favorite for the event with a +125 line at FanDuel Sportsbook. The group went 6-0 in qualifying and appears to only have serious competition from Fance, a team that USA already beat 21-17 in the preliminary round.
You won’t become rich at this number, but you’re getting plus-odds for the most talented team in the field by a long shot. Take Team USA for your women’s 3×3 basketball pick, and enjoy this unique event that takes place right at the beginning of the Olympic games.
The Pick: USA Wins Gold Medal +125 at FanDuel (bet down to +100)
Olympic 100m Betting Picks | Jamaica’s Star Power To Take Over On The Track
Track and field events are always some of the biggest highlights of the Olympics, and that will be no different in Tokyo. On the women’s side, the 100-meter dash is always an event that garners a ton of attention, and it’s one where we see some betting value.
Sadly, Sha’Carri Richardson’s absence does impact the overall quality of the race from a talent perspective, but this is still a star-studded field including Jamaica’s tandem of Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, the two favorites for the event.
While many talented athletes including Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith have attractive longshot odds, we think this is between the two Jamaican stars.
Fraser-Pryce is a legend of this event, having won gold in 2008 and 2012 before Thompson-Herah took the torch in 2016 as the former settled for bronze. With the 34-year old Fraser-Pryce’s retirement set for 2022, this is her final Olympic games.
Thompson-Herah is five years younger at age 29 and is coming off her old gold medal in Rio, plus the odds are an attractive +160 on DraftKings compared to Fraser-Pryce being listed at -110.
All that said, age is just a number and we like the veteran Fraser-Pryce to close out her Olympic career with a bang at her signature event. She set a personal best in the 100m earlier this year, and it was the second quickest time ever at 10.63 seconds.
The Pick: Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce To Win Gold Medal -110 at DraftKings (down to -120)
Olympic Baseball Predictions | Back Japan As Home Favorites?
Baseball debuted at the Summer Olympics in 1992 and remained until 2008 before not being included in 2012 and 2016. It’s back in 2020 but that return could be short-lived because it will once again be out in 2024, and its future as an Olympic sport is murky at best.
Japan has the lowest odds to win gold at +175 while the United States and South Korea are the next two on the odds board, alternating between second and third depending on the site. At DraftKings, Team USA is +350 while South Korea is +300. In what could be the last baseball competition at the Olympics (at least for now), we see some value in siding with the hometown favorite.
There are only six teams, and we don’t have the confidence in the rosters being sent by some of the other contenders. The United States team has a mix of veteran and prospects, and we’d shy away from a potentially overvalued American team devoid of stars. Many of Japan’s players are stars in NBP, the best league in the country. They also don’t have to deal with the rigors of travel or any of the outside noise that the rest of the field is dealing with.
While it’s always fun to watch Team USA win, watching a baseball-crazed nation like Japan watch its national team capture gold on their home soil would be a pretty cool way for baseball to exit the Olympic stage.
The Pick: Japan Wins Gold Medal +175 at DraftKings
Olympic Handball Betting Picks | Consider France As Your Longshot
Handball is one of the Olympic sports that Americans tend to gravitate toward. We don’t see too much of it in the United States, so handball naturally becomes a novelty that many of us enjoy. It also helps that the game is pretty self-explanatory and easy to understand, even if you haven’t seen it played too often.
Even though there is no Team USA to root for in Tokyo, the men’s handball competition presents plenty of betting opportunities on a game-by-game basis, and also with futures odds to win the gold medal. We’re going to focus on the latter and give you a country to look out for despite their long odds.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the three largest favorites are Denmark (+240), Norway (+300), and Spain (+300), but we’re looking at France (+600) at these long odds. France won gold in 2008 and again in 2012 before getting silver in 2016 while Russia took home the big prize. This time around, Russia is out of the event and France has attractive odds to regain the top spot.
We think this is worth a play considering France did defeat Norway 28-24 at the 2021 World Championships in January, so they have seen success against the top teams. France also finished first in its group to qualify for the Olympic games.