Skewed markets can be exploited on Friday, writes Jack Houghton, where Team GB has the chance to add to its medal tally
"Expect Ugandan compatriot Oscar Chelimo (300.00299/1) to be sacrificed early, setting a fast pace, and for Cheptegei and Kiplimo to strike for home early. Cheptegei should take this..."
Favourite for the men's 5,000m, Mohamed Katir (3.002/1) is the bright, shiny, new thing that everyone is getting excited about. He has rewritten the Spanish record books this season, in the 1,500m and 3,000m, dazzling everyone with his finishing speed. As this is a championship race - the reckoning goes - the pace will be slow, and he will ease to victory.
A slow pace is not guaranteed, though, and if I were the Ugandan coach, who have three runners in the final (or the Canadian or USA coach for that matter, who each take two runners into the final), I would be instructing them to take this out significantly sub-13-minute pace, and enjoy watching the trail of destruction it creates.
In this heat, few will be able to cope with that pace. Jacob Kiplimo (4.003/1) is one of the most versatile runners in the field and possesses the third-fastest personal on show. Mohammed Ahmed (15.0014/1) is second on that list, progressing impressively from his days on the US college scene, and with the tactical speed to challenge anyone in a fast finish.
The preference, though, is for world-record holder Joshua Cheptegei (5.004/1), who lost the 10,000m by not being aggressive enough. Expect compatriot Oscar Chelimo (300.00299/1) to be sacrificed early, setting a fast pace, and for Cheptegei and Kiplimo to strike for home early. Cheptegei should take this.
History may decide that Sifan Hassan (2.707/4) is the athlete that will define Tokyo 2020. Going for the unlikely treble of the 1,500m, 5,000m (gold already bagged), and 10,000m, success would catapult her into a pantheon of athletes including the likes of Emil Zatopek and Paavo Nurmi. However, the reason it's a pantheon - it should be remembered - is that only the illustrious and godlike are allowed entry. Hassan may well prove to be both, but the scale of her ambition should not be underestimated: fatigue will increasingly impact her ability to perform at her best.
It would be fine if the 1,500m was a gimme, but it isn't. A host of athletes will make this competitive, chief among them Faith Kipyegon (1.758/11) and Laura Muir (20.0019/1).
Britain's Laura Muir has a genuine chance of winning this. She is the third-fastest in this on her personal best and increasingly looks like a more complete athlete, no longer swallowed up by anyone with a fast finish. Her speed is still her weakness, though, as is evidenced when examining her recent head-to-head record against Hassan. If Muir is to win this, she will need to go hard from a long way out.
Which is why the preference is for Faith Kipyegon (1.768/11). She was second to Hassan at the last world championships, but it's worth remembering that Kipyegon had only recently given birth then. She beat Hassan in Monaco earlier in the season and can repeat the trick here.
The market for the Men's Sprint in the track cycling seems unequivocal: it will be won by a dutchman, most likely current and multiple world champion Harrie Lavreysen (1.9010/11); or perhaps by multiple world champion Jeffrey Hoogland (2.6213/8).
The market seems skewed, though. Although less experienced and less decorated, Britain's Jack Carlin (10.009/1) has looked composed during the multiple rounds to date and, buoyed by the result of Matthew Walls in the Omnium, can have confidence that Team GB is bringing some form to this meet after all.
A speculative, but value bet on Carlin is the call.
*Odds correct at the time of writing
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Jack Houghton’s Tokyo 2020 P&L:
Staked (settled bets): 123.00