Olympics Football Betting Guide, Expert Analysis & Tips
- Japan to win gold each-way – 11/1 with Paddy Power
- South Korea to win gold each-way – 16/1 with 888sport
- Netherlands to win women's gold medal - 5/1 with bet365
With the new Premier League season still more than three weeks away, those looking for their football fix could do far worse than the Olympics.
The Tokyo games might not represent the pinnacle of world football, as they do for many other sports. But Olympic football has a rich history, dating all the way back to the second edition in 1900, and Olympics football betting should excite punters.
It was Uruguay’s success in 1924 and 1928 that convinced FIFA to launch a World Cup open to professionals and amateurs alike. The Olympics therefore played an integral role in the development of the international game.
Needless to say it is no longer as important as it once was, and ranks behind continental competitions such as the European Championship, Copa America and Gold Cup that have also taken place this summer.
It is still an intriguing tournament, though, in large part because of a rule change in 1992 that required all participants to be under the age of 23. Three exceptions per squad have been permitted since 1996, while the age limit has been extended to 24 for Tokyo 2021 due to the pandemic-induced postponement.
Still, the Olympics is often the place to go to catch a glimpse of up-and-coming talent, as the recent examples of Samuel Eto’o (2000), Lionel Messi (2008), Neymar (2012) attest.
The men's Olympic football action begins on Thursday, when all 16 teams – four from Europe, four from the Americas, four from Asia, three from Africa and one from Oceania – will take to the field.
Olympics Football Betting - Men’s Tournament Odds
Spain’s Strong Squad Makes Them Olympics Football Betting Favourites
The 2020/21 domestic season was the most congested in living memory, and the European Championship followed hot on its heels. Spain reached the semi-finals under Luis Enrique, and were only narrowly beaten on penalties by eventual winners Italy. But in spite of an unprecedented workload over the last 15 months or so, six Spain players who appeared at Euro 2020 will also be present at the Tokyo games.
The availability to manager Luis de la Fuente of Pedri, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, Dani Olmo, Unai Simon and Mikel Oyarzabal makes it easy to see why Spain are listed as 9/4 favourites with Boylesports to win gold. Dani Ceballos, Marco Asensio and Mikel Merino provide further quality as overage players, while it is also worth keeping an eye on Tottenham Hotspur-bound Bryan Gil and Valencia’s Carlos Soler.
Spain should have little trouble negotiating Group C, which also contains Egypt, Argentina and Australia. There is a good chance of a quarter-final against Brazil or Germany, but the strength of Spain’s squad means they should not fear anyone.
Holders Brazil Taking Olympics Seriously Again
Brazil went all-out to win gold at the last edition of the summer games in 2016. That was in part because the Olympics were being held on home soil in Rio de Janeiro, but also due to the fact that Brazil had never won the men’s tournament before. Victory at the Olympics would in effect ‘complete the set’ for the Selecao.
A group containing Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Marquinhos did indeed triumph, albeit via a narrow penalty shoot-out victory over Germany in the final. To the surprise of some, Brazil are once again taking the Olympics seriously this time around, despite having already got this particular monkey off their backs.
The 38-year-old Dani Alves will captain a team featuring Ajax forward Antony, Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli, Everton frontman Richarlison and Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz, among others. At 5/2 Brazil look like an excellent bet.
France and Germany Weaker Than They Could Be
Olympic football is an official FIFA event, but unlike competitions such as the World Cup, the European Championship and the Copa America, clubs are not obliged to release players called up by their national teams. It is for that reason that both France and Germany are much weaker than they might otherwise have been.
France’s squad for Tokyo 2021 contains just one player from PSG, for example, and that has to be taken into account for your Olympics football betting strategy. Houssem Aouar, Jonathan Ikone, Eduardo Camavinga, Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate are all eligible and did not take part at Euro 2020, but none are in Japan. Enzo La Fee and Nathanael Mbuku are talented prospects, and Andre-Pierre Gignac and Florian Thauvin are useful overage call-ups. France (6/1) are also on the easier side of the draw, but it is hard to see them going all the way at the Tokyo games.
Ditto Germany, whose squad does not feature a single player from either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund. Available at 10/1 with bet365 to win gold, the Germans might even struggle to get out of a tough Group D.
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Japan Hope Home Advantage Has An Impact
If neither Spain nor Brazil wins gold, Japan at 11/1 looks like a decent value bet with Paddy Power. Home advantage should work in their favour, although with the Japan summer Olympics being held behind-closed-doors, perhaps it won't be as crucial as as it would have been if fans were allowed to attend matches.
Still, overage players Maya Yoshida, Wataru Endo and Hiroki Sakai are all regulars for the senior national team, while Bologna centre-back Takehiro Tomiyasu could be on his way to one of Europe’s biggest clubs this summer. Real Madrid winger Takefusa Kubo is another youngster to keep an eye on at these Tokyo games.
Argentina, available at 9/1, are unlikely to follow up Copa America glory with Olympic football gold. In comparison to the victorious squads they sent to the summer games in 2004 and 2008, this Argentina group is nowhere near as gifted. Individuals such as Fausto Vera, Alexis Mac Allister, Thiago Almada and Nehuen Perez could make an impression, but reaching the semi-finals would be a good achievement for this side.
It could be worth a small wager on South Korea at 16/1. Kim Hak-bum’s side have been drawn in a relatively straightforward group alongside Romania, New Zealand and Honduras; a quarter-final against arch-rivals Japan is a distinct possibility. Valencia schemer Lee Kang-in will be pivotal to South Korea’s chances of success.
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Tokyo 2021 Olympics Women’s Football Tips
The USA Women's side entered the Tokyo games on an incredible 44-game unbeaten streak and are always regarded as the team to beat in women's football. But their shock 3-0 defeat to Sweden in their group opener must be factored into our Olympics football betting strategy.
Sweden stunned the perennial favourites at the quarter-final stage in Rio de Janeiro five years ago and saw their odds slashed to 11/2 with bet365 after they repeated the trick this time around.
The Netherlands look to be the value play at 5/1, however. They hammered Zambia 10-3 in their opening game of Tokyo 2021 and the European champions have proven themselves as one of the top teams in the world in recent years.
The Dutch got the better of Sweden at the 2019 World Cup and have not been beaten by the Swedes in their last four meetings, so they would be fancied again against the Scandinavian outfit.
Team GB are also priced at 5/1 and beat Chile 2-0 in their opening game. But their preparations were hampered by a cancelled warm-up fixture against Zambia and the squad is mainly made up of players from the English national side, who haven't set the world alight in recent years.
Dutch Arsenal star Vivianne Miedema opened the tournament with four goals in the first game and Barcelona hotshot Lieke Martens netted a brace for the Netherlands. That pairing has the ability to terrorise any defence in the competition and with the US looking unlikely to provide any value at 11/10, the Dutch could be the team to back.
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