The Winter Olympics always attract a large audience and placing bets on various events is a great way to enjoy the time you spend following the events. With the Winter Olympics underway, the best sportsbooks in the US are inundated with gamblers who all love to bet on different sports. So what are the best sports to 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 take a look.
cross country skiing
A winter pastime strongly associated with the Norse peoples, which many believe dates back thousands of years. Cross-country skiing has been an event at the Winter Olympics since its inception. The first Winter Olympics, held in Chamonix, France in 1924, featured two events – a 50km event followed by an 18km event. There is now much more. 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 men’s events in the ’90s, taking home eight gold medals and four silver medals.
Considered a marriage of two sports, skiing and shooting. Biathlon has its roots in survival skills practiced in the snowy forests of Scandinavia, where people hunted on skis with rifles slung over their shoulders. It is known that biathlon-like events were held in Scandinavia as early as the 18th century. The first modern biathlon took place in 1912 when the Norwegian military organized an annual event in Oslo. Biathlon was not recognized as an event at the Winter Games until 1960. Not surprisingly, the ‘King of Biathlon’ was another Norwegian, Ole Einar Bjørndalen. Widely considered the greatest of all time, he is the only biathlete to ever win all biathlon events at the 2002 Winter Olympics (Salt Lake City).
Canada’s national game, ice hockey has been a sport at all Winter Olympics since 1924. It’s packed with action and has even been known to have a fight or two, making it perfect for viewers. Not surprisingly, Canada is successful at this event and often wins, even though their main competitor is the Soviet Union.
Figure skating is one of those sports that many people dream of being good at. The grace and elegance as participants fly across the ice is second to none. The 1984 Winter Olympics were dominated by the performances of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. Almost everyone is aware of his amazing routine that Bolero pulled off where they got 12 perfect sixes and won the event. In the UK alone, 24 million people tuned in to see it on TV. Figure skating is a great sport to bet on and offers plenty of entertainment in the technical elegance of dancing on ice.
What if Jamaica had a bobsled team? Well they did! This resulted in the classic film Cool Runnings, which was released in 1993. It’s based on the true story of the national team that competed in their very first Olympics in 1988 at 85 miles per hour. It is one of the potentially more dangerous sports at the Winter Olympics and sadly 17 people have died in the history of bobsleigh. However, from a betting perspective, Bob is fun and fast-paced, making it a great choice.
Like athletics, speed skating has different distance disciplines from 500 m to 10,000 m. The 100-meter dash is also one of the most popular competitions among sports competitors. In addition, similar to cycling, there are mass start and team pursuit races. It may surprise you that the Netherlands tends to be successful at this event, amassing an impressive 121 medals. The USA are a not so close second with 68 medals.
Lawn bowling on ice, curling is a popular spectator event at the Winter Olympics. It’s been a feature since 1924 but disappeared between 1932 and 1988. In 2018, a British team reached the semi-finals but were eliminated by Sweden, who won 10-5. There is a lot going on in curling in terms of placing a bet, making it a popular option.