Bookmaker's Corner: Olympic Hockey Betting Recap
by Richard Gardner | Bodog Sportsbook Manager - 3/2/2010
Canada’s 3-2 overtime victory over the United States in Sunday’s Olympic gold-medal contest in Vancouver was watched by millions in both countries. Over at Bodog’s online sportsbook, that resulted in a huge increase in hockey betting for the month of February.
Sunday’s handle at least matched and probably surpassed what we’d see for Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, even if it was between two American teams in big cities. In fact, we’ve never seen this type of interest for a hockey game before – not for a February game.
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A lot of our bettors jumped on Team Canada (-1) in the gold-medal game, despite a rather tempting betting line. A victory by two goals was hardly a stretch, even though Team USA had won the first contest between the two sides.
At the end of the day, perhaps people were betting with their heads and willing to “pay” for a Team USA victory. Maybe they were betting on Canada as some sort of emotional insurance policy. Maybe there were a lot of Canadians betting on the game. Either way, we were rooting for the Americans and were quite happy when they fought back after falling behind 2-0.
The game ended up as a push, but it’s worth noting that the total was a big win for the book. Most of the players were on the over (5.5) after the 5-3 decision (with plenty of scoring opportunities) that the two teams played a week earlier.
Olympics betting was up by 700 percent over the 2006 Turin Olympics. I’m thinking that the North-American time zone for the Vancouver Olympics was a determining factor, and the fact that many televised events were broadcast live across both the U.S. and Canada.
It will be interesting to see what the betting interest will be in four years when the Winter Olympics are in Sochi, Russia, halfway around the world. With Team USA topping all countries for number of medals won, betting interest increased as well. It seemed the more they won, the more our bettors were willing to vote with their dollars.
The London 2012 Summer Olympics are worth bookmarking, but the NHL has resumed play and there’s always lots of NBA and NCAA basketball betting to sink your teeth into.
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