The winter Olympics always attracts a large audience and placing bets on various events is a great way to enjoy the time you spend watching the events. When the winter Olympics is in progress, the best sportsbooks in the US are flooded with punters, all of whom love to place a wager on various sports. So what sports are the best bet on during the winter Olympics? These sporting events come in all categories, including individual and team events such as ice hockey and curling. Popularity depends on what interests you, so let’s have a look.
A winter pastime strongly associated with the Nordic people, that many believe dates back thousands of years. Cross-country skiing has been an event at the Winter Olympics since it’s inception. Two events were held at the debut Winter Olympic Games of 1924 in Chamonix, France – a 50km competition followed by an 18km competition. There are many more now. One of the most overlooked athletes in Olympic history competed in Cross-country skiing. Bjørn Dæhlie, the ‘Nannestad Express’, won more Olympic medals than Carl Lewis, Sonja Henie and Mark Spitz. The Norwegian was the king of the men’s events throughout the 90’s, taking home eight gold medals and four silver.
Seen as the joining of two sports, skiing, and shooting. Biathlon has its root in survival skills, practiced in the snow covered forests of Scandinavia, where people hunted on skis with rifles slung over their shoulders. Biathlon type events in Scandinavia are known to have been held as early as the 18th century. The first modern biathlon occurred in 1912, when the Norwegian Military organised an annual event to be held in Oslo. Biathlon wasn’t recognised as an event in the Winter Games until 1960. Not surprisingly, the ‘King of Biathlon’ was another Norwegian, Ole Einar Bjørndalen. Widely considered to be the best of all time, he is the only biathlete ever to win all biathlon events in a single Winter Olympics (2002 Salt Lake City Games).
The National game of Canada, ice hockey, has been a sport at every winter Olympic games since 1924. It is packed full of action and is even known to include the odd fight or two, which makes it perfect for the spectator. Unsurprisingly Canada thrives and often wins at this event, although their main rival tends to be the Soviet Union.
Figure skating is one of those sports that many people dream of being good at. The grace and elegance as the competitors fly across the ice are second to none. In 1984 the winter Olympics was dominated by the performance of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. Almost everyone is aware of their amazing routine performed to Bolero, which saw them receiving 12 perfect sixes and winning the event. In Britain alone, 24 million people tuned in to watch that on television. Figure skating is a great sport to bet on as well as providing a lot of entertainment in the technical elegance of dancing on ice.
What if Jamaica had a bobsleigh team? Well, they did! It led to the classic movie Cool Runnings, which was released in 1993. It was based on the true story of the National team who competed in their first-ever Olympics in 1988. Bobsleigh is fast and furious, and competitors can reach speeds of around 85 miles an hour. It is one of the potentially more dangerous sports at the Winter Olympics, and sadly, 17 people have died in bobsleigh history. However, from a betting point of view, bobsleigh is entertaining and fast-moving, making it a great choice.
Like athletics, speed skating features various distance events from 500 m to 10,000 m. The 100-meter sprint is also one of the most popular events for punters. As well as this similar to cycling, there are mass start and team pursuit races. It may surprise you that the Netherlands tends to thrive in this event, and they have racked up an impressive 121 medals. The USA is a not very close second with 68 medals.
Lawn bowling on ice, curling is a popular spectator event at the Winter Olympics. It has been a feature since 1924 but did disappear between 1932 and 1988. In 2018 a British team did get to the semi-final but was taken out by Sweden, who won 10-5. In terms of placing a bet, there is plenty going on when it comes to curling, making it a popular option.