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Betting on the Olympics medals table is perhaps the most popular bet type at the Games alongside the men’s 100m final and team sports such as football and basketball. It’s the medals table that is updated every evening on TV as fans get excited watching their nation climb the ladder.
Some countries are lucky to win just a couple of medals at the Olympics, while others like the USA and China dominate this global sporting festival. In fact, it’s got to the stage where the ‘big boys’ of global politics – USA, Great Britain, China, Russia and Germany – accounted for 36.5% of all medals won at the 2016 Games.
That’s not exactly great for even competition but there are reasons other than political muscle as to why these nations do so well every four (or five!) years. If you’re looking to bet on medals at the Olympics you may therefore be wondering where the best place is to put your money.
Well, Paddy Power is here to help with our Olympics guide to the medals…
Why are USA so good at the Olympics?
The USA dominate the Olympics medals table. They have claimed the most in the world since the inaugural modern Olympics in 1896, with a total of 2,523 to date. That crushes the Soviet Union’s historic 1,010 total, as well as those of Great Britain, China and France.
Why are the USA so good at the Olympics? It’s fair to say the country has plenty of natural talent. But it’s the USA’s economic wealth and demographic richness that truly helps them against other nations. America pumps billions of dollars into sport each year and this economy drives athletic achievement. A wide demographic of peoples from across the world have migrated to America and with that comes cultures, customs and past-times that make for a deep pool of talent to come through.
What’s more, the USA and other western countries benefit from a largely westernised Olympic schedule. Track and swimming events favour these countries, while professional sports that are included in the Olympic schedule – such as basketball, baseball, golf and tennis – naturally lend themselves to where these sports are played most.
You have to ask yourself why kabaddi and sumo aren’t included.
Individual country betting
USA are such heavy favourites to win the Olympics medal table that they’re not worth betting on. However, sports betting can potentially find gains in the markets for individual nations. For example, the current Paddy Power over/under market for Great Britain gold medals stands at 14.5. Will the country get more than that, or less? That’s the decision punters will make on that market.
Ireland, meanwhile, has a +/- 2.5 gold medals market, while Australia’s sits at +/- 12.5.
These markets are far more favourable than wagering on the likes of China or Japan rivalling USA in the overall medals table – and it’s no wonder they’re growing increasingly popular.
Olympics betting guides
- Olympics tips: Paddy’s complete guide to betting on the Games
- Olympics tips: Paddy Power’s guide to the 5 new sports in 2021
- Olympics tips: Great Britain and Northern Ireland’s 5 best gold medal hopes
- Olympics tips: Ireland’s 2 best medal hopes at the 2021 Games
- Olympics tips: Best bets for 2021 football tournament at Tokyo Games
- Olympics tips: 5 rowing best bets for Tokyo 2020 Games
- Olympics tips: 3 athletics best bets for track and field action at Tokyo 2020