Rio Olympics 2016 Betting Preview: Team Great Britain's Super Saturday
For Team GB, 13th August is more than just another day on the track: it's Super Saturday and a chance for our top medal hopes to bring home some more gold. Heading into the 2016 Olympics, hopes of track and field gold have rested firmly on the shoulders of three: Jessica Ennis-Hill, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah.
All reigning Olympic champions are each facing their own personal battles; these athletes will have the support of a nation behind them on Super Saturday, but are they solid betting options? Let's take a look at the situation and find out.
Women's Heptathlon | Ennis-Hill vs. Johnson-Thompson
As a nation it's always great to have one gold medal hopeful in an event, so to have two should be seen as a blessing. The women's heptathlon may not be a permanent fixture on event calendars around the world, but when the most diverse athletes in the world do come out to play they rarely disappoint.
This summer, Team GB looks set to claim two medals in the event thanks to reigning Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill and rising star Katarina Johnson-Thompson. A look at the betting markets on NetBet shows that both athletes are odds on for a podium finish, with the former set at 1/15 and the latter at 5/19.
However, when it comes to the Olympics, gold is the only thing that matters and if you're looking to back one of our two hopefuls, then NetBet's oddsmakers have set Ennis-Hill as the betting favourite. Pitched at 29/20, Ennis-Hill is far shorter a price than Johnson-Thompson and Canada's Brianne Theisen-Eaton who are both set at 11/5.
Of course, the odds only tell half the story and while Ennis-Hill has been one of the sport's toughest competitors for the best part of a decade, motherhood has certainly impacted on her training. Although she's bounced back since becoming a mother, she admitted during a recent interview with the BBC that it's been "tougher" than she expected.
For Johnson-Thompson there's been no such distraction and that could play into her hands. Not having the weight of expectation on her shoulders could allow the 23-year-old to sneak in and capitalise on a slip by Ennis-Hill.
Men's Long Jump | Rutherford Risking More than Gold
Greg Rutherford probably has more reasons than most to jump for gold in Rio. The reigning Olympic champion will enter the competition as the betting favourite with NetBet pitching his odds at 7/4. However, as is often the case with previous winners, Rutherford's gold medal will likely become a target on his back when the qualifying rounds kick off on 13th August.
As is often the case with event previews, the natural starting point is an athlete's recent performances. However, when it comes to Rutherford there are two issues that are more important: health and the Zika virus. Like all athletes in Rio, the Zika virus has been a major concern. In fact, it was so much of a concern for Rutherford that he froze his sperm prior to making the journey in order to eliminate the risk to his family.
Beyond this concern for his health in the future, Rutherford is also risking his hearing by jumping in Rio. A whiplash at the Birmingham Diamond League meeting in June has left him with a condition known as cochlear hydrops. The hearing in his left ear is now severely reduced and if he aggravates it again during his jumps he risks going permanently deaf.
Essentially, Rutherford stands to lose more than his status as Olympic champion this Saturday, so the chances Jeff Henderson (33/10), Jarrion Lawson (7/2) or Marquis Dendy (7/1) will out-jump him are slim.
Men's 10,000 Metres | A Race too far for Farah?
If there's one man Team GB is looking towards for a gold medal or two in Rio, it's Mo Farah. The distance sensation will step onto the track in the early hours of 14th August as the man to beat in the 10,000 metres. With models, times and performances that his competitors can only dream of, Farah will cut an imposing figure as he lines up against the likes of Galen Rupp, Bedan Karoki Muchiri and Geoffrey Kipsang.
According to the odds makers at NetBet, Farah is 2/9 for the title ahead of Kipsang at 4/1. However, as we know, almost anything can happen at the Olympics and with age catching up with Farah he may not have things all his own way. At 32 he's certainly not over the hill, but as his endurance coach Barry Fudge told the BBC, he has had an uphill battle to get in shape for Rio.
While his mindset and work ethic have never been in doubt, Fudge hinted that Farah's determination to win his made him push his body to the limit in training. In years gone by that wasn't an issue, but with recovery times increasing as he's gotten older, Farah has often been feeling the effects of training.
Of course, with a world-class team around him there's little chance Farah will be over trained. However, the reigning champion will be aware he has to contest the 5,000 metres just three days after the 10,000 metres. Having this on the back of his mind could cause him to slip which may then allow an outsider like Yigrem Demelash (12/1) or Tamirat Tola (18/1) to win steal a win.
For track and field fans, 13th August certainly holds much promise and if the odds at NetBet are any indication of what's to come then we can expect it to be a super Saturday for the nation. For a look at all the latest odds and how our other athletes stack up against the competition, follow the secure link to NetBet's Olympic odds hub today!
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