The 2021 Tokyo Olympics have been thoroughly entertaining to date, but if you’re as big a fan of the track and field as we are, then the most exciting times at Tokyo are certainly yet to come! Here, we take a look at some of the major events in the athletics and bring you our best betting tips. Good luck to everyone following!
2021 Tokyo Olympics: Athletics Preview & Betting Tips
Men’s 100m Sprint
Kicking things off with the Blue Riband event where there’s certainly a far more open field than in previous Olympics where Usain Bolt dominated, winning the Gold Medal in the 100m sprint at Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016). Bolt retired from professional sprinting a couple of years ago, which has left the door open for someone else to be crowned the fastest man alive at the Tokyo Olympics. The favourite to take the crown is USA’s Trayvon Bromell ($2 Sportsbet) at around even money at most agencies, while compatriot Ronnie Baker ($6 Bet365) and South African Akani Simbine ($8 Bet365) are the others at single-figure odds. For us, we believe Bromell is the deserving favourite and should prove very hard to beat. He’s recorded the fastest time in the world (9.77) this year, 0.07s quicker than the next best in Simbine (9.84), which is a decent gap in such an explosive track event.
Women’s 100m Sprint
It looms as a battle of the hyphens in the women’s draw of the 100m sprint, with Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce ($1.72 Sportsbet) and Elaine Thompson-Herah ($3.40 Bet365) the two favourites to win the Gold Medal, while Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith ($5.50) is the other hot fancy. With that said, it’s hard to see Asher-Smith knocking off both Jamaicans at this Olympics considering her best result this year of 10.91 is 0.2s slower than Thompson-Herah’s best (10.71) and 0.28 slower than Fraser-Pryce’s (10.63). That means it’s a battle of the two Jamaicans who have actually won the last three Gold Medals between them in this event dating from Beijing (2008) to Rio de Janeiro (2016). All things considered, it’s extremely hard to split the pair, but taking the bigger price of the 2016 champion in Thompson-Herah to retain her title looks to be the way to play this one.
One of the most exciting races to watch at any track meet is the 400m where athletes are pushed to their absolute limits anaerobically. In the men’s draw at Tokyo we have a short-priced favourite in USA’s Michael Norman ($1.57 Sportsbet) who ran a slick 44.07 at the Olympic trials recently. Despite the 23-year-old being the odds-on favourite to win his first ever Gold Medal at the Olympics, we’re keen to have a flutter at one of his compatriots in 20-year-old Randolph Ross ($11 Sportsbet). Ross, who came third in USA’s Olympic trials with a time of 44.74, was clearly fatigued in that race as it was his ninth race in 11 days. He showed just how quick he can go if fully fit when he clocking a 43.85 just over a week before the trials, which is the fastest time of anyone on the planet in the 400m this year. At double-figure odds you can certainly do worse than having something on the youngster to cause an upset.
Another track event we’re really looking forward to seeing in the women’s 200m. Jamaica’s Elaine Thompson-Herah will be looking to defend her title from 2016 in Rio de Janeiro where she defeated Netherlands’ Dafne Schippers in the final to take home the Gold Medal. The defending champion has been running quick times in the lead up to Tokyo, but remains on the second line of betting ($7.50 Bet365) in this event due to the emergence of USA’s Gabbrielle Thomas ($2.60 Bet365). Thomas has been the most consistent and overall best performing woman in the 200m this year, thrice clocking times under 22 seconds. She recorded the fastest time of the year with a 22.61 effort in June, making her 0.18s quicker than her nearest challenger in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce (21.79). Thomas’ performances this year speak volumes and make her the very deserving favourite in our opinion.
No Australian man has won a Gold Medal at the track during the Olympics since 1968 when Ralph Doubell saluted in the 800m in Mexico. Hoping to change that in Tokyo this year is Stewart McSweyn who’s clearly our best chance for a gold at the track. McSweyn specialises in the 1500m and became the fastest ever Australian at the event when breaking the national record in Oslo earlier this year. He’s ranked fifth in the world at the moment and is certainly a chance for a medal on his best efforts. At the time of writing there are no markets available for the men’s 1500m.
Women’s High Jump
Australia’s best chance in the field events at Tokyo come in the women’s high jump where Nicola McDermott is a big sniff to win a medal of any colour. She became the first ever Australian woman to break the two-metre mark and clocked a season best 2.01m in Stockholm, which is just two centimetres behind the best jump of any woman in the world this year. The best jump of the year of 2.03m was recorded by Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh at the same event where McDermott jumped 2.01m. As a result of those efforts, Mahuchikh is the $2 favourite to take out this event at Tokyo, but with little between them at their most recent tournament, getting nearly double-figures for Australia’s McDermott to take home gold looks like a really solid bet if you’re keen to follow the Aussies.