2021 Tokyo Olympics: Why There’s Not Much Betting Interest in Summer Games

2021 Tokyo Olympics: Why There’s Not Much Betting Interest in Summer Games article feature image
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DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Claudinho (left) and Richarlison.

If you haven’t heard much about betting on the 2021 Summer Olympics, there are plenty of reasons.

The main reason is because of the time difference, with the early events going live in Tokyo at a time that is between 3 and 7 a.m. ET in the United States.

PointsBet spokesman Patrick Eichner said that because of the time-zone issue, “we expect the vast majority of Olympic betting to occur pre-match,” knocking out the increasingly large portion of the live betting market.

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Then there’s the complicated betting markets. Each state’s governing body has approved what specifically can be bet on.

New Jersey allows almost everything but said that it doesn’t want prop betting on any Olympic athlete under 18, if that athlete is not a pro athlete. Several states followed that guideline and DraftKings applied that standard across the board, said spokesman Stephen Miraglia.

Iowa is the most restrictive state, saying that bets can’t be placed on any individuals to win a medal, only teams.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that Americans will like to bet on Americans, who just happen to be huge favorites in many events.

For that reason, betting on individual events will be less profitable than the prop bets.

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On Thursday, PointsBet was offering a boost on swimmer Katie Ledecky’s gold-medal total at 2.5 (+230 on the over) and the Team USA gold medal count to surpass 43.5 (+105).

As far as sports that will see the most action, DraftKings’ Johnny Avello says it will be basketball followed by soccer, tennis and golf.

At BetRivers, Americans are -1250 to win the most overall medals and the most golds (-1000). The USA women’s basketball are -1000 to take home gold and the men, who have struggled in their recent exhibition games, are -315.

PointsBet’s Eichner said betting on niche sports like wrestling and table tennis, which have seen a surprising amount of action over the past year, will also come alive.

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