Their World Championship Record might point to the Dutch sprint team, writes Jack Houghton, but history says GB come good at the Olympics
"Mu's best chance is likely to come if running the women's 800m from the front, but that's hard for anyone to do and get right in an Olympic final, let alone a 19 year old..."
On the face of it, the Netherlands (1.351/3) are the rightful favourites to take gold in the Men's Team Sprint in the velodrome. They have won the title at the last three world championships, claiming the world record when last seen in February 2020 in Berlin.
However, we know two things that suggest those odds are ridiculously short.
First, these teams haven't been seen competitively for over 17 months, so we should be cautious about over-interpreting the from those world championships: at the time of writing, we have just seen the women's team pursuit world turned on its head in the qualification rounds and can expect that to be a theme across the week in the velodrome.
Second, Great Britain (8.007/1) have a habit of showing little in world championships, but then coming good for the Olympics. To underscore this point, it's worth noting that they haven't won the world title in this discipline since 2005, but have won gold at every Olympics from 2008 onwards.
There is a sense of jeopardy betting at these Olympics, with things seeming especially random, so perhaps the wise move is to simply lay the Netherlands. However, betting big on Great Britain at 8.007/1 seems the better option.
Prodigy she may be, but 19-year-old Athing Mu (1.402/5) surely must be opposed at such short odds in the Women's 800m. Mu may have marginally posted the world's best time this year, and she is certainly talented, but middle-distance events at major championships are notoriously tricky to navigate: without pacemakers to guide the field through sensible splits, the races often throw up surprising results. Mu's best chance is likely to come if running this from the front, but that's hard for anyone to do and get right in an Olympic final, let alone a 19 year old.
Many of Mu's biggest rivals haven't made it to the final, but the likes of Natoya Goule (7.4013/2) and Jemma Reekie (20.0019/1) have all run close to her fastest time and, if this is run at a slow pace, are better suited to take advantage. Expect this race to be more of a lottery than the market suggests.
There isn't a market on whether the world record will fall in the Men's 400m Hurdles, but there must be a decent chance that it will.
The Norwegian double world-champion, Karsten Warholm, went within a tenth-of-a-second of Kevin Young's world record in Stockholm in 2020, before claiming the record as his own in Oslo a month ago. In the heats he has looked scintillating, and at 1.9420/21 looks a solid bet to claim gold here.
What will drive him on to a fast time, though, is the quality of the opposition: world number two Rai Benjamin (2.707/4) can beat that world record himself, and Alison Dos Santos (12.0011/1) won't be far behind the pair.
The choice of Warholm is down to his race craft. He has raced Benjamin three times and won three times. It's likely he'll win this.
*Odds correct at the time of writing
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Jack Houghton’s Tokyo 2020 P&L:
Staked (settled bets): 78.00