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How To Bet On The Olympics: An Olympic Betting Guide

Learn how to bet on the Olympics with Odds Shark's Olympic betting guide and tips!

Every four years, the world’s greatest and most gifted athletes gather to compete for supremacy in an assortment of sporting events, several of which may be considered somewhat unpopular by many sports fans. From Olympic men’s basketball, to handball and Olympic women’s soccer, to synchronized swimming, Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics offer athletic events that are appealing to each and every sort of sports betting fanatic on planet Earth.

If you’re looking for a change of pace from betting on major sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB or NHL, you may be left wondering – can I bet on the Olympics? Sports bettors such as yourself can find plenty of familiar online betting opportunities to select from among the Tokyo Olympics wagering odds. And thanks to our Olympic betting guide, not only will you learn how to bet on the Olympics, but you’ll get a better sense of what to expect at your online sportsbook, so your betting flame stays lit.

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How to Read Olympic Betting Lines and Odds

If you are learning how to bet on the Olympics, the first and most important step before wagering on gymnastics or track and field is understanding each betting type, and how to read the associated Olympic odds.

Moneyline: Olympics Straight Betting

The moneyline, otherwise known as a straight-up bet, is the most common type of Olympics wager. With moneyline bets, you simply pick the winner of an individual sport or team event. An Olympic moneyline wager on a match between Sweden’s women’s soccer team and Germany’s women’s soccer team might look like:

  • Sweden -140
  • Germany +145

The favorite to win (Sweden) is always shown with a negative sign (-), which indicates how much money you have to wager in order to win $100. The underdog (Germany) is almost always indicated by a positive sign (+), which is how much money you would win if you were to wager $100. Don’t worry. You don’t have to bet $100. Moneylines are not minimums. They are simply ratios. The majority of Olympics betting sites will accept straight-up wagers as low as $0.50 to $1.00.

Point Spreads: Olympics Spread Betting

Point spread betting is a little less common in the Olympics compared to most of the other major sporting events. Having said that, you’ll still be able to find plenty of Olympic spreads over the course of the Summer Games. Spreads are mostly used in team sports in order to handicap the favorite and encourage more betting on both sides. An example of a spread bet in an Olympic rugby match might look like:

  • France -7.5 (-110)
  • Australia +7.5 (-110)

In this case, France is the 7.5-point favorite over Australia, which makes the Aussies the 7.5-point underdog. A wager on France is only a winner if the French beat Australia by eight (8) or more points. A wager on Australia would be a winner if they win outright or lose by seven (7) points or less. The half-point (.5) is used to avoid a “push.”

When a push occurs, the sportsbook has to refund all action on the wager, which is unprofitable for the service. Regardless of which team you bet on in the example directly above, the moneyline (-110) indicates a “cost” ratio of risk $110 to win $100.

OVER/UNDER: Olympics Totals Betting

Olympics totals focus on the number of gold medals each country will win, and head-to-head bets that let you pit two countries against each other. For example:

Total USA Gold Medals
OutcomeOdds
OVER 45.5+110
UNDER 45.5+120

With Olympics totals, you can wager on whether a particular nation will win OVER or UNDER the total number of gold medals set by the sportsbook. In this case, the total number of gold medals to be won by the United States is set at 45.5, using American-style betting odds, which determine the amount of the payout on a winning bet.

Most Gold Medals: Japan vs Great Britain
CountryOdds
Japan-120
Great Britain+110

The head-to-head winner is determined by which nation wins more gold medals, with the winnings determined by the wagering odds on the betting line.

What are Other Popular Olympics Betting Types?

Olympics Futures Betting

Before the Olympic Games begin, online sports betting sites publish a big bundle of futures betting options that cover practically everything associated with the 16-day super event, the most notable being medal count. Odds on which country will win the most gold medals are usually available well in advance of the start of the Olympics.

Odds on Which Country Will Win the Most Gold Medals at Olympic Games

Odds to win the most gold medals at the olympics
CountryOdds
USA-750
China+550
Great Britain+1600
Japan+2000
Germany+4000
South Korea+5000
Australia+10000
France+10000
Netherlands+10000

You can also find Olympics futures odds on which country will win the Olympic tournament in each sport, how group stage standings will end up, or which individual athlete will take home gold.

Olympic Props

With Olympic prop bets, or proposition bets, you can wager on the performances of individual athletes, like the top goal scorer in soccer, if a golfer will hit a hole-in-one, or how many individual events a swimmer will win. Prop odds are available for what occurs on the playing surface as well as away from the competition.

You might see prop bet odds on whether a medal-winning athlete will make some sort of gesture in protest while standing on the podium, if the Olympic flame gets put out prematurely over the course of the Olympics, or who will be their country’s flag-bearer during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games.

Parlays

With parlay bets, you can combine multiple wagers together on a single ticket, which ultimately pays out much better than hitting on each wager individually. If an Olympic bet is live at your sportsbook of choice, odds are you can add it to a parlay slip.

Live Betting on the Olympics

Live betting the Olympics adds another level of excitement to the Olympic Games wagering experience. For the most popular team sports such as basketball and soccer, in-play betting options are similar to those of the NBA and European domestic leagues with moneylines, point spreads, totals and goal-scoring props being updated as the action unfolds in real time.

Olympics Betting Tips

As difficult as it may be, you will probably have to set your pride aside and look past the national flag. Do as much research and preparation as possible on the Olympic sports as well as the individual athletes participating in the Games prior to placing your first wager. You’ll enjoy the Olympic experience far more, and hopefully some pretty profitable payouts at betting sites online.

Olympic Betting Strategy

As far as other Olympics betting strategies go:

  • • Utilize line shopping and bankroll management
  • • Look at the last Olympics
  • • Bet more on the sports you know
  • • Remember the basic betting fundamentals of setting a budget
  • • Bet with your head, not your heart
  • • Have fun while you’re wagering

Ready to Make your Olympics Picks?

If you’re all set to make your Olym-picks, but you haven’t signed up to a sportsbook yet, we recommend registering an account sooner rather than later so you can get sweet bonus offers and free bets.

How to Sign Up at a Sportsbook to Bet on the Olympics

Signing up at a sportsbook to bet on the Olympics is simple, and doesn’t require you to register in person. This seamless process is as easy as setting up an account on Tinder or TikTok.

Step 1: Pick a Site

Visit the online betting site of your choice.

Step 2: Sign Up

Click on the site’s registration or “join” tab. Enter your name, phone number, email address, etc.

Step 3: Make a Deposit

Deposit into a legal Olympics sportsbook. Fund your account via Visa, MasterCard credit and debit cards, American Express, PayPal, Neteller, Skrill, eChecks or PayPal. Most U.S.-based sportsbooks do not accept cash, but will take international prepaid or credit-branded gift cards, cashier’s checks, bank wires, money orders and person-to-person payments facilitated by companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram. Online sportsbooks also accept Bitcoin, altcoins and other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Dash, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, Stellar, Ripple and Litecoin.

Step 4: Place Your Bets

Now that you know how to bet on the Olympics, lock in your best bets in the “Tokyo 2020 Olympics” section of the sportsbook. Find the sporting events you wish to wager on, and make your bets.