The men's 100m on the track has thrown up some surprises, writes Jack Houghton, and the 4x100m Medley in the pool might not follow the script either
"Assessing relatively fatigue and confidence by this point in the Games is not straightforward, but the value call is to back Team GB to win another gold..."
Andre de Grasse (3.8014/5) wasn't favourite to win the men's 100m coming into these Olympics. Trayvon Bromell (5.409/2) held that honour; however, after a disastrous heat, which saw Bromell fourth and only just qualifying as a fastest loser, it's now hard to assess exactly how the event will unfold. Quite what has happened to Bromell is unclear: his form has been excellent this season and he seemed rid of the injuries woes which have dogged his career to date.
It may well be that Bromell will bounce back, but on the evidence of his form so far, we must look elsewhere. De Grasse is the obvious choice, but Ronnie Baker (4.003/1) has gone quicker this season and is the value call, albeit to small stakes.
Gong Lijiao (1.402/5) is a prohibitive favourite to add a shot-put gold to the silver and bronze she has won at previous Olympics, and the double-world champion certainly seems in the form to deliver. She has been hard to beat in the last few seasons, and has twice thrown over the magical 20m line in 2021.
It's worth noting, though, that whilst Lijiao possesses the two best throws of the year, several other throwers have shown themselves capable of running her close. Jessica Ramsey (13.0012/1) won the US trials with a personal best 20.12m, ahead of teammate Raven Saunders (10.009/1). And for those feeling nostalgic, Valerie Adams (18.50), the double-Olympic champion who first went to the Athens Games in 2004, seems to have recaptured some of her best form, throwing 19.75m just prior to coming to Tokyo.
All the main protagonists have qualified well for the final, and at the odds, I would want to be against Lijiao. She may win, but there are likely to be no more than centimetres in it.
Given their historic dominance in the event, and the strength-in-depth of their team, it's no surprise to see Team USA (1.618/13) as the short-odds favourites to win gold in the Men's 4x100m Medley. It's worth noting, though, that Caeleb Dressel - who won gold in the individual 100m in freestyle and butterfly - can only swim one leg, and other teams would seem to have the upper hand in the other strokes.
The Russians (17.50) are likely to take the lead into the second leg as the strongest back-strokers at the Games, but expect Team GB (3.8014/5) to be in the lead going into leg 3, after Adam Peaty has shown his breaststroke dominance. The race will likely then be close, and whilst Team USA would look to have the advantage on the closing legs, it will be no certainty. Assessing relatively fatigue and confidence by this point in the Games is not straightforward, but the value call is to back Team GB to win another gold.
*Odds correct at the time of writing
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Jack Houghton’s Tokyo 2020 P&L:
Staked (settled bets): 57.00