The Rio Olympics are under way and though you’d probably be wise to put money on Mo Farah winning the 10,000m or Jessica Ennis-Hill taking home the gold in the Heptathlon, sometimes those outside bets are the more interesting ones. With a plethora of sports to bet on and a tonne of wagering on other things related to the event, there’s a lot of money to be won (and lost) on stupid Olympic betting. Here’s our pick of some of the craziest bets to make at this year’s games.
One Australian book makers has given odds of 51 to 1 that Germany would end at the top of the medals table this year. This might not sound that weird to you, but it does when you learn that that same bookies gave exactly the same odds on the Rio Olympics Rugby Sevens tournament having to be cancelled because of the entire competition running out of balls to play with!
Sorry Germany, it seems you going home with the highest number of gold medals has the same chance of happening than the governing body of global rugby forgetting to order enough balls for the Olympics. To be honest though, it would definitely be more fun to put a wager on there being no balls left.
The Olympics is a hugely expensive event. Not only does the host country have to build all the necessary sports venues for the events themselves, they then need to host thousands of athletes, coaches, officials and fans from all over the world. Needless to say, the infrastructure and organisation does not come cheap.
In an attempt to poke fun at the Olympics while still having the chance of winning some cash, players at some mobile casinos and betting sites have been betting on whether the Olympics will run over budget, with different odds offered for different amounts over the forecast cost.
The Olympic torch is the most iconic symbol of the games, and has a proud history of hiccups in the run up to the main event. From runners falling while carrying the flame to protesters trying to extinguish it, there’s always ups and downs when it comes to the torch relay, so it’s no real surprise that some gamblers have wanted to try and cash in on there being some kind of flame fail.
This year, odds of 60 to one were offered on whether the torch would run out of gas on its way to the Olympics. Obviously whoever took this bet hasn’t heard about the whole team of professionals whose job it is to make sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen.
The Rio Olympics has been beset with controversy over things like the infrastructure not being ready, athletes being at risk of kidnap and people protesting over how much they’re costing the country. It’s little surprise, then, that confidence in Brazil’s ability to put on a successful games is somewhat doubted.
One fun way to take advantage of the expected failures is to take up the bet of which item the Olympic village (where the athletes live during the games) will report having run out of first. While sunscreen and Olympic volunteers are popular bets, with odds of seven to one and four to one respectively, topping the list with odds of three to one are condoms. Yup… I’m just going to leave you to think about that one.
With all the worries about civil unrest and financial crisis surrounding the Rio Games, it wouldn’t have come as a total surprise to many if the Brazilian authorities had simply decided to call the games off entirely. Sure, they may have lost some face over it, but at least they could have held their country together.
Obviously, keen gamblers weren’t going to miss a trick and many wagered before the games started that we’d see them get called off before the opening ceremony. Obviously, this never happened, which is good news for us as we get to see if any of these other bets are going to get paid out.
One bet that we haven’t seen any bookies giving odds on is how many of the athletes competing in water outside will fall ill because of exposure to harmful viruses and bacteria. It’s been widely reported that the water in many of the rivers and lakes planned to be used for the games were contaminated with detritus, trash and even with human faeces.
Needless to say, it wouldn’t be a great surprise if someone picked up a tummy bug while butterfly stoking through raw sewerage – and needless to say it would be a funny gamble.