As the biggest sporting event in the world, the Olympics features over 200 nations, thousands of athletes, and countless betting opportunities for both sports enthusiasts and bettors. The Olympics alternate between the Summer and Winter Games every two years in a four-year period. Nations compete in sports from basketball to Greco-roman wrestling to ice dancing all for glory and personal pride. We created this Olympics betting guide to walk you through this sports extravaganza.
The odds for the various Olympic events aren't yet available, but as soon as they are we'll be sure to update this page. The odds were last updated on September 15, 2020:
The Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Summer Games 2020 to take place in Tokyo on 23.07.2021
Who will win the most medals at the 2021 Summer Olympics?
Can you bet on the Olympics?
Yes, you can bet on the Olympics. In fact, the Olympics is such a huge event it practically takes over online sportsbooks. Olympic bets from Olympic prop bets to special Olympics betting are available everywhere. The two main Olympics to bet on are the Summer and Winter Olympics.
The Summer Olympics takes place in August and lasts 16 days. As of the 2020 Summer Olympics, there are over 339 events from 33 different sports, with a total of 50 disciplines.
The Winter Olympics happens in February and also lasts 16 days. As of the 2018 Winter Olympics, there are 102 events from 7 sports, with a total of 15 disciplines.
No matter the type of Olympics or the sport, they are all lined with the same format: the moneyline.
How to bet on the Olympics: the moneyline
Get familiar with the moneyline, the most basic bet you can make in the Olympics. This is when you bet on a team or athlete to win outright. No extra conditions.
Moneyline is popularly displayed as American odds: either as minus odds like -200 or plus odds like +185. These odds denote many things including the implied probability of the team or athlete.
Minus odds indicate a favorite in betting. This means the team or athlete has a greater than 51% chance of winning their competition. The lower the minus odds, the better their chance of success.
- If Usain Bolt is lined at -500 to win the 200m dash gold medal, it means he has an 83.3% chance of winning.
Minus odds also show how much you have to wager to win $100. In this case, you will need to bet $500 to win $100. The higher a team or athlete's chance of success, the more you will have to risk.
On the flipside, plus odds indicate an underdog. This means the team or athlete has a lower than 50% chance of winning. The higher their plus odds, the lower their chance of winning.
- If Team Sweden is lined at +350 to win the women's ice hockey gold medal, it means they only have a 22.2% chance of winning.
Plus odds show how much you win if you wager $100. For this example, you will win $350 if you bet $100 should Team China pull off the upset.
These moneyline odds are used for all types of betting markets including Olympic prop bets, futures, and totals (over/unders).
Olympic prop bets and futures
Prop bets, short for "propositions" are side bets you can make. These bets come in a wide variety though they are usually "Yes" and "No" type of bets. You bet on whether an event or outcome will happen or not happen.
Here are some popular prop bets from past Olympic games:
- Will the USA win the gold medal in men's basketball?
- Will Usain Bolt break the speed record for the 100-meter dash?
- Will Michael Phelps break the medal record?
- Will Russia win a medal in ice dancing?
Olympic prop bets add some variety to the traditional moneyline bets. They also differ from Olympics to Olympics and are usually determined by the corresponding events. Certain teams or athletes may become so popular they open many props.
In some cases, you can open your own prop bets. Contact your oddsmaker if your sportsbook offers this option.
Futures bets are like outright bets but for events that have yet to happen or may happen. This can include the next Olympics that could be years away or a prospective Olympics that hasn't even officially been announced yet.
Both props and futures bets usually have lower betting limits. In the case of futures bets, oddsmakers can take them off the board at any time. Likewise, you can cancel your bet if you get tired of waiting.
Olympic Totals (Over/Under)
Totals are bets you make on whether the total number of an outcome will go over or under the oddsmaker's prediction. These can be a variety of things like the total score of a game, the total time, or the total medals a country or athlete will collect. But it will always be a number.
Here are some common totals you might see:
- The total number of gold medals from an athlete
- The total number of medals from a country
- The total combined score of two hockey teams
- The total time from the winner at the triathlon
- The total score of the winner at the gymnastics
Totals are usually lined with a decimal number to avoid draws or a "push". This is when the actual result is the same as the oddsmaker's prediction thus negating all bets (as it neither went over nor under).
Olympic betting odds: the different sports to bet on
There are over 300 different types of sporting events to bet on during the Olympics. The Summer Olympics is significantly bigger, but the Winter Olympics is also popular, especially in North America, Asia, and Europe. Special Olympics betting is also available as is the Paralympics.
Let's take a look at some of the most popular Olympic sports to bet on whether it's summer or winter:
Gymnastics is one of the star attractions of the Olympics thanks to how beautiful of a spectacle it is. The 2016 Olympics had one of its highest TV ratings during gymnastics events. Gymnasts like Simone Biles become international sensations and there are usually plenty of Olympic betting lines on gymnastics.
Soccer (Football) (Summer)
Soccer, especially women's soccer, is one of the best sports to watch and bet on during the Olympics. These games are usually competitive and filled with drama with the occasional upset. Even if you're not into Olympics betting or soccer, you may find yourself glued to the screen when the final rounds come on.
Only soccer is a bigger sport than basketball internationally but you can even argue that basketball is a bigger sport in the Olympics. It's not just because of men's basketball, which features the best NBA players, but even the women's side has grown.
The track is the simplest sport to follow and understand and it's why it is also one of the most popular Olympic betting sports. Even without superstars like Usain Bolt, there is nothing quite as exhilarating as watching several top sprinters and runners try to chase each other and Olympic records.
The aquatic version of track, swimming is also easy to understand and is also very popular among viewers and bettors. Michael Phelps became the biggest American superstar during his heyday and his impact remains as evidenced by the Olympic bets laid on swimming every time.
Ice hockey (Winter)
This is the most popular team sport in the Winter Olympics and tends to hog the ratings, especially if the NHL players are involved. Olympic hockey betting odds are plentiful and make up a good chunk of online betting action.
Figure skating (Winter)
This is akin to the gymnastics of the Winter Olympics. Figure skating is filled with awe and wonder as its athletes perform unbelievable feats. Even if it is determined by judging, like gymnastics, it remains a legitimate Olympic sport and a staple in Winter Olympics betting.
There are hundreds of other sports we couldn't list here and most of them, if not all of them, have their own betting lines:
- Team Volleyball (Summer)
- Ice dancing (Winter)
- Snowboarding (Winter)
- Weightlifting (Summer)
- Wrestling (Summer)
- Water Polo (Summer)
- Skiing (Winter)
- Tennis (Summer)
Olympics betting: which sportsbooks to choose
Once you've figured out how to bet on the Olympics, you can now look for where to bet on the Olympics. The answer is within the online sportsbooks online. There are hundreds of them that offer Olympic betting lines and even feature it on the landing page so you don't need to look hard.
Olympics Betting Sites
Below you'll find the top online sportsbooks with Olympic bets. These books will offer extensive Olympic betting markets. The key is to find which ones offer the most and which ones offer the best odds. Many books have a "competitive" odds policy where they will match betting odds.
It is best to look through these sites by opening them in different tabs and windows. Alternatively, you can read our comprehensive reviews to save you time. Remember that you can avail of as many deposit bonuses and promotions as you can find so it's only logical to sign up for more than one book.
Olympic Betting Picks
Even if you're a hardcore Olympic fanatic, you'll still need some help when it comes to Olympic betting. This is why several betting pick sites will give you their betting picks or at least a background on the different sports.
When choosing betting picks, be aware of both the site and the writer's credentials. Likewise, there are many touts out there who will sell you their picks but may also have a write-up or a podcast.
Before making your picks though, remember the basic betting fundamentals of setting a budget and having fun while you're at it.