Editor’s note: The following is an Opinion piece. The views reflect those of the author and not necessarily the position of PlayNJ.
When it comes to the Winter Olympics betting, I can’t seem to stop myself from doing a daily check of the men’s curling odds. Honestly, I think I’ve watched more curling matches in the last week than all of the previous Winter Games combined.
I am not really sure. Possibly because some of the Team USA matches are going down to the wire. Their pool play match versus the ROC required an extra end to break a 5-5 tie.
Maybe it’s that I just love a good underdog story.
So looking at this from an NJ sports betting perspective, the idea of backing the Red, White and Blue to bring home the men’s curling gold is just too tempting to pass up. Call it a low-risk, high-reward scenario. I’ll get into the why below.
But let’s make one thing clear, by no means am I an expert when it comes to the sport of curling. So if you’re looking for betting advice, try somebody else. I am still learning about what burned or hogged stones are. The way I see it, the Winter Olympics is my Curling 101 course.
However, even knowing very little about the sport, I am going to have some fun.
What types of curling odds are available at NJ sportsbooks
The curling betting menus available at FanDuel Sportsbook and BetMGM are so limited you might actually miss them. And the reality is how many NJ gamblers are actually going to bother wasting time looking at curling odds? When it comes to the Winter Olympics, curling matches never seem to make the NBC prime-time coverage.
If you want to watch, go to CNBC or Peacock.
Right now, NJ online sportsbooks are simply offering odds on which country will win the gold medal (more on this below). No live betting, moneylines or total points. This tells me operators don’t expect much curling money coming in so it’s not worth the time. Plus, there is this thing called the Super Bowl taking place on Sunday. Have you heard of it?
Loving Team USA as an underdog
Being a diehard Philadelphia Eagles fan, there is nothing better than an underdog story. All I have to say is Super Bowl LII.
When it comes to men’s curling, Team USA is another great example. There is a four-part documentary on Peacock called American Rock Stars that paints a great picture of how far the team has come against international competition. Believe it or not, the Americans were once known as “Team Reject.” If you want to find how they earned that billing watch the first episode.
Before I get to my pick, it is worth looking back at the previous Winter Games.
John Shuster, who is the “skip” or captain, competed on the 2010 team that finished last. Four years later, the Americans finished second to last. Guess what happened in PyeongChang four years ago?
Gold medal baby!
Some referred to it as a “mira-curl on ice.” Get it?
Three members of that team make up the current squad. Shuster, Matt Hamilton and John Landsteiner are all back. Chris Plys is the newcomer.
Can they do it again? Not if Sweeden or Canada have something to say about it. Since I see this as just having a little fun combined with FanDuel Sportsbook odds of +1500 to win a gold medal, it’s worth the gamble. A $5 bet would produce a $75 win.
I missed the boat on Team USA to win a curling medal
OK, so you are probably saying with future odds of +1500, the Americans’ chances of winning gold are slim. And as of Thursday morning, FanDuel had four teams ahead of Team USA:
- Great Britain +300
- Canada +300
- Sweden +410
- Switzerland +1300
They will be facing all these teams in pool play, and that should provide us with a better idea of exactly how good this year’s team is. However, since only one team will be leaving China with the gold, the safer play is betting on the Americans to medal in curling. This means if they take home a gold, silver or bronze, the ticket is a winner. Plus there is a huge difference with the odds.
DraftKings Sportsbook had Team USA at +150 to win a men’s curling medal. While the bang on the payout might not be as big, one of three scenarios will result in a win. Again, far from a guarantee, but the bet is tempting.
Unfortunately, as of Thursday morning, all curling odds were no longer on the DraftKings board so I’ll just sit back and see if it would’ve been a winner.
If not America, maybe I’ll go with Canada
Again, I really have no idea which men’s team is going home with the curling gold. I doubt I’ll even watch the gold medal match. I am learning there are some really strong curling teams in other parts of the world, especially north of the border.
BetMGM has Canada as one of the favorites to win the gold at +200. Great Britain is the other. Maybe Sweden at +300 wins it all?
If I could parlay Canada and Sweden to both win medals, that would be my bet. Since I can’t decide which of these countries are going to win (if America doesn’t pull off another mira-curl), I’ll just make my men’s curling predictions here and check back after the Winter Olympics are over to see how wrong I was.
More unlikely scenario:
- Gold: Team USA
- Silver: Canada
- Bronze: Sweden
- Gold: Canada
- Silver: Sweden
- Bronze: Great Britain
AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty