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The Olympic Games are hands down the elite competition in the global sporting calendar and a bonanza for sportsbooks and bettors. The event generates massive handle by U.S sportsbooks with operators going all out to gain a competitive edge, offering exclusive promotions and all kinds of specials.
Granted, the Winter Olympics don’t enjoy the same reverence as their Summer counterpart, but they’re still a huge attraction in the betting world.
With the COVID-related postponement of Tokyo 2020 to the following year, we have a unique situation of back-to-back Games. The Winter Olympics in Beijing are scheduled to take place February 4 to 20 in 2022, just six months after the summer version concluded.
Oddly enough, offshore betting brands have beaten legal U.S. sportsbooks to the punch and released odds and lines for the upcoming Olympics. Juggernauts like DraftKings and FanDuel have yet to unveil their Olympic betting menu, but we see it happening soon.
In the meantime, you can get your ducks in a row by reading our Olympics betting guide. We’ll provide helpful info on how to bet on the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the best sportsbooks for betting on the event, odds, and more.
Best Sites for Betting on the Olympics
As it stands, only offshore books offer Olympic odds and lines. Legal sportsbooks in the U.S haven’t yet gotten in on the action, but we fully expect them to release their Olympic betting programs in the weeks leading up to the event sometime in January.
We already did the legwork for you and sourced the top betting sites for Winter Olympic betting.
Here are our top picks for the best sportsbooks for Olympic betting, based on our in-depth editorial ratings:
A word of advice: we recommend avoiding offshore sportsbooks like Bovada, despite what self-proclaimed experts might say. These sites aren’t licensed in the U.S, making their legality a gray area. Offshore betting sites don’t have to adhere to strict gambling legislation like U.S-based books and are not as trustworthy and safe.
What’s more, the UIGEA act prohibits unlawful internet transactions, forbidding banks and financial institutions from facilitating deposits and cashouts towards offshore sportsbooks—potentially making it difficult to get your money out of them.
Having said all of this, you should stick to legal sportsbooks, where you’ll enjoy the maximum level of protection and be able to make payments hassle-free.
Sports You Can Bet on in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics
With 15 sports disciplines and various events within each, betting opportunities abound during the Winter Olympics. While not every sport will be covered by every sportsbook, the top-tier operators will provide a massive range of markets for you to bet on.
We expect sportsbooks to offer lines and odds for the following sports in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics:
- Alpine skiing betting: The discipline is divided into speed and technical events and features 11 competitions. The technical events are Slalom and Giant Slalom, while downhill and super G are speed events. From race winners to top 3 markets, you’ll find many exciting futures markets for alpine skiing at some sportsbooks.
- Ice hockey betting: You’ll be hard-pressed to find a sporting event that has a greater pull among U.S bettors than ice hockey. The 2022 edition will be played in the same format as the previous three Games—12 teams divided into three groups will play other teams in their groups to determine seeding; this is followed by a knockout phase of four elimination rounds. Other than a few minor rule changes, Olympic hockey is the same as NHL and enjoys similar betting coverage. Expect to find tons of wagers for each match, including moneylines, spreads, totals, and various props and futures.
- Biathlon betting: This discipline combines two sports, precision-rifle target shooting and cross-country skiing, into one race. It features 11 events in total across men’s and women’s circuits.
- Curling betting: This exciting sport has been picking up steam of late. The game is played on ice and involves players sliding a curling stone into a targeted area while their teammates sweep the lane with brooms. It’s a team sport with medal disciplines for Women’s, Men’s, and Mixed Doubles teams.
- Snowboarding betting: It’s like surfing on snow. Athletes are rated by accuracy, style, and difficulty of their runs.
- Figure skating betting: It has been part of the Olympic program since 1924 and is a sport where individuals perform graceful acrobatic moves. Participants are judged by the accuracy and difficulty of their performances. Common bets include outright medal winners, nation wagers, and more.
2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Odds
Major sportsbooks in the U.S. haven’t yet released odds and lines for the 2022 Beijing Olympics, but we snooped around a bit and found a few betting portals that released their Winter Olympic offerings. Here’s how they look as of January 17, 2022:
Most Gold Medals in 2022 Olympics
1. Norway: -500
2. Germany: +650
3. Russia: +1000
5. USA: +1400
6. Netherlands: +4000
7. China: +10000
8. Sweden: +15000
9. Switzerland: +15000
10. Austria: +20000
11. Japan: +25000
12. France: +50000
13. Italy: +50000
14. South Korea: +50000
15. Finland: +75000
16. Poland: +100000
17. Australia: +200000
18. Czech Republic: +200000
Gold Medal Winner in Hockey in 2022 Olympics
1. Russia: +150
2. Finland: +400
3. Sweden: +450
4. Canada: +600
5. Czech Republic: +800
6. USA: +1000
7. Germany: +1600
8. Switzerland: +2500
9. Slovakia: +5000
10. Latvia: +6600
11. Denmark: +8000
12. China: +100000
How to Bet on the Olympics
Getting started with Olympic betting is a cakewalk, even for novice bettors. Just follow our lead, and you’ll be lining up your picks in no time. We’ll navigate you through the process, step by step:
- Choose a sportsbook. Pick a sportsbook that’s legal in your state and suits your betting preferences the most. Start off by checking the list above or our picks for the best online sportsbooks.
- Sign up for an account. Once you visit your chosen sportsbook’s website or download the mobile app, start the registration process. You’ll have to provide login credentials and some personal details, including the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Enter bonus code (optional). You may be asked to provide the welcome bonus promo code at some books during the registration process. We’ll provide these in our reviews, so just copy+paste them in the corresponding field, if applicable.
- Deposit. With your account up and running, you need to top it up before you start betting. The virtual cashier is easily accessible via your account menu; look for the Deposit tab. From there, just follow the on-screen prompts and confirm the transaction. Make sure that the deposited sum qualifies for the sportsbook’s intro offer.
- Claim the bonus. In most cases, the welcome bonus will kick in as soon as you make the qualifying deposit. On some sites, though, you have to opt-in for the offer manually.
- Explore the Olympic betting portfolio. Poke around a bit and see what the sportsbook has in store for the Winter Games. Make sure to properly research your picks before pulling the trigger.
- Place the bet. When you select the market you want to bet on, the betting slip will appear in the bottom right corner. Enter the amount you wish to stake and double-check your picks before submitting the wager. Good luck!
States Where You Can Legally Bet on the Olympics
District of Columbia
Olympics Types of Bets & How to Read Odds
Like other high-profile sporting events, the Olympics provide many betting opportunities. Each discipline will offer unique wagers, but a few types of bets are common for individual events.
Let’s check them out in more detail:
Moneyline Olympics Bets
The moneyline bet is the most basic wager you can make on the Olympic Games. It’s a wager on which athlete or team will win an individual contest.
Negative moneyline odds denote a favorite and the number shows how much needs to be staked to win $100 (example: -200 means you would have to bet $200 to win $100, or 1/2 odds).
Underdogs, or in the case of the Olympics, athletes that are less likely to win the event are labeled with a plus (+) sign. Positive moneyline odds show how much profit you’ll make on a $100 winning wager (example: +200 odds means you would win $200 if you bet $100, or 2/1 odds).
Unlike the NBA, MLB, NFL, and other sports where two teams go toe-to-toe against one another, most disciplines in the Winter Olympics feature dozens of participants. Therefore, moneyline bets you’ll find in the Olympic program are usually not expressed as two or three-way markets. The sportsbook will most commonly release the list of participating players or teams accompanied by odds in the moneyline format.
Let’s take an Alpine Skiing men’s downhill event as an example. Usually, the favorites will be followed by underdogs and longshots on the list, as follows:
- A. Aamodt Kilde -140
- B. Feuz +900
- M. Mayer +1400
- D. Paris +2500
- R. Baumann +2900
- M.Franz +3100
- B.Bennett +5200
- A. Sander +6000
- J. Ferstle +10000
>> Read More: How to Read Betting Odds
There are several variations of this bet, but the principle remains the same across the board— it’s a wager where the sportsbook pits two athletes from a specific event in a head-to-head (H2H) matchup. The side you pick has to outperform their H2H rival and doesn’t have to win the contest outright.
The odds for H2H bets are offered in the moneyline format. Here are a few examples from a fictitious Giant Slalom Alpine Skiing race:
- Giovanni Borsotti -163
- Riccardo Tonetti +121
- Erik Read -152
- Adam Zampa +114
- Justin Murister -155
- Gino Caviezel +120
Point Spread on the Olympics
Spread betting is less prevalent in the Olympics than other sports.
Generally, point spread wagers are offered in team competitions and are akin to the margin of victory. The sportsbook “handicaps” the favorite via the spread by subtracting a few points from its totals tally while adding those points to the underdog’s total.
You may find an example of a spread bet (puck line) in ice hockey games during the Winter Olympics. Here’s how the hypothetical odds chart would look:
- USA (-1.5) +155
- Canada (+1.5) -175
In this scenario, the USA is the favorite and has to win by two or more goals to cover the spread. A bet on Canada will win if the Canucks stay within the spread (puck line) range—lose by less than two goals or win the game outright.
Olympics Totals Betting (Over/Under)
In the context of the Winter Olympics, totals bets usually refer to the number of gold medals won by a specific country. The sportsbook will set a threshold, and you have to choose whether the actual number will be over or under that estimate. For example:
- Over 30.5 (-110)
- Under 30.5 (-110)
Olympics Props Bets
The number of props bets offered for the Olympics is virtually endless.
You can place a wager on pretty much every aspect of the competition, including bets on an individual athlete’s performance, method of victory props, standard team props (which team will win the most medals), and more.
You’ll even find props on whether a particular team will face the flag during their country’s national anthem.
Parlays combine multiple wagers into a group. The potential payout will increase the more selections (legs) you add to your slip. The critical thing to note here is that all your picks must hit for the parlay to be successful.
Most U.S. sportsbooks now offer same-game parlays, allowing you to combine multiple bets from one matchup or event.
Live Betting the Olympics
Most disciplines at the Winter Olympics are fast paced, making them ideal for live betting. This form of wagering involves placing bets on an event while it’s underway.
An example of a live Winter Olympics bet would be putting a few bucks down on a team during the first period of a hockey game to lead after two periods.
The odds and lines will constantly fluctuate in response to how the event plays out, so timing is essential.
Tips for Betting on the Olympics
It’s difficult to spot value in Olympics betting as events can be highly volatile and unpredictable. Still, if you do your homework and research your picks properly, you just might stand a chance.
Here are some tips for betting on the Olympics:
- Research past Olympics performances: Although there is a substantial time span between two Olympic Games (as they’re held every four years), looking at how the previous edition played out could give you some insight into the upcoming event. Who knows, you may be able to spot some trends or patterns that keep happening over and over, from one Olympics to another.
- See which athletes are still performing this year compared to previous years: You should always check to see which athletes are competing in the Olympics as compared to previous years. Maybe a star athlete who won a lot of Gold Medals in the past retired which may change how successful his or her country may do as a whole or in team events.
- Check other international competitions (such as World Championships): This is closely related to the previous tip and refers to checking out the athletes’ past results at major events. If a skier smoked the field in the World Cup, why wouldn’t they achieve similar success at the Olympics?
- Shop around for the best odds and lines: Shopping the lines and odds entails comparing prices at multiple sportsbooks to find the best possible line. Doing that extra legwork is one of the keys to making money sports betting.
- Bet on the sports you know the most about: It’s best that you stick to sports that you know well and not bet randomly on obscure events.
- Don’t just bet on your country in every event: It’s easy to be overcome by patriotism when betting on the Olympics. We know that placing a bet on your country makes watching the game even more exciting, but that is not always the best way to go. Try betting with your head, not your heart.