Winter Olympics 2018 Preview and Betting Tips for UK Punters
Being brutally honest, the mainstream UK sports punter and the media in general are not the biggest consumers of winter sports. Apart from the occasional watching of Ski Sunday when I was a child, and that was mainly for the catchy theme-tune, it’s fair to say that my consumption of Winter Sports was pretty much zero for the majority of the time.
That changes once every four years though as the Winter Olympics rolls around and flushed with success after a strong performance in Sochi in 2014, where Team GB and Northern Ireland finished with 4 medals in total (1 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze), a record number of British athletes, 59 in total, will represent us at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Here’s our preview of the Winter Olympics including all you need to know about the games and the sports that athletes will be competing in for the three medals. Then following this we will bring you some of the best tips that will be of interest to British punters, including who out of our team could be the ones most likely to bring home a medal.
Before we start though, it is worth remembering that you need a quality bookmaker that offers excellent Winter Sports and Winter Olympics coverage as well as a great introductory offer and for that we recommend Coral. Sign up now with a great Coral no deposit bonus offer and you can be betting on a massive choice of Winter Olympic events over the next few weeks.
XXIII Olympic Winter Games
The games in Pyeongchang, South Korea are the 23rd Olympic Winter Games of the modern era, with the focus of many events being the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. The previous games were held in Sochi, Russia, with the 2022 Games scheduled to be held in Beijing, China.
- Start of Events – 8th February 2018
- Opening Ceremony – 9th February 2018
- Nations Participating – 92
- Athletes Participating – 2,952
- Total Number of Sports – 15
- Gold Medals available to win – 102 in total
- Sports to be contested – Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Cross-Country Skiiing, Curling, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Ice Hockey, Luge, Nordic Combined, Short Track Speed Skating, Skeleton, Ski Jumping, Snowboarding, Speed Skating.
- Number of debut nations – 6 (Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore)
- Biggest teams of athletes – United States (240), Canada (226), Switzerland (170)
- Smallest teams of athletes – Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Cyprus, Ecuador, Eritrea, Ghana, Hong Kong, Kenya, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malta, Puerto Rico, San Marino, Singapore, South Africa, Timor-Leste and Tonga all have just 1 athlete at the games.
- Closing Ceremony – 25th February 2018
Other items of note
- After the Russian doping controversy following the Sochi games, Russia has been banned, but clean athletes from the country are participating under the Olympic Athletes from Russia flag.
- A single unified Korean team will play representing North and South Korea in the Women’s Ice Hockey tournament. In all other events, athletes will represent their country of residence.
Winter Olympic Venues
The Winter Olympics will take place at several venues in and around Pyeongchang in South Korea. The venues for all the different sports as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies are as follows:
- Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium – Opening and Closing Ceremonies
- Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre – Ski Jumping, Nordic Combined, Snowboarding (big air)
- Alpensia Biathlon Centre – Biathlon
- Alpensia Cross-Country Centre – Cross-Country Skiing, Nordic Combined
- Alpensia Sliding Centre – Luge, Bobsleigh and Skeleton
- Yongpyong Alpine Centre – Alpine Skiing (Slalom & Giant Slalom)
- Bokwang Pheonix Park – Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding
- Jeongseon Alpine Centre – Alpine Skiing (downhill, Super G and Combined)
- Gangneung Hockey Centre – Ice Hockey (Men’s)
- Gangneung Curling Centre – Curling
- Gangneung Oval – Speed Skating
- Gangneung Ice Arena – Short Track Speed Skating and Figure Skating
- Kwandong Hockey Centre – Ice Hockey (Women’s)
Who are Team GB and Northern Ireland’s top medal prospects?
Elise Christie (500m, 1,000m and 1,500m Speed Skating)
You may recall Elise from the Sochi Olympics where she was somewhat unfortunately, disqualified twice in two of her Speed Skating events, both of which she was in dominant form in heading into the Olympics. This time around, Elise has enjoyed another excellent season and she is arguably one of our most talented winter sports personalities.
She will face tough competition from Korean Min Jeong Choi, who is the 2/1 favourite in the 500m Short Track event and who will enjoy fervent home support in what is the National Sport of South Korea. That said, Elise remains a 11/4 second favourite behind Choi in the 500m event and if she can find her best form, and with a healthy slice of luck that she is owed from the last Olympics, she is a good bet for at least one, and possibly even two or three medals.
Katie Ormerod (Snowboarding – Big Air and Slopestyle)
She may not be Britain’s best-known Olympian, but Katie Ormerod, like Elise Christie, is possibly our best chance at landing a multiple medal winner. She will be competing in two Snow sports events, Big Air and Slopestyle, with the latter contested on the 11th and 12th February and the Big Air qualifying event taking place on the 19th February followed by the final on the 23rd February.
Ormerod is no strange to success in either event having won the World Cup Big Air event in 2017 and also earning a spot on the podium when the sport was a test event in Sochi four years ago. In addition, she has a bronze medal in the Slopestyle event from the X-Games to her name.
Betting on both of the Big Air and Slopestyle events should be available on Coral sport around the time of each event.
Lizzy Yarnold and Laura Dees (Skeleton)
It’s generally rare for Britain to have a Winter Olympic medal contender in an event, so to have two potential medalists in one event is rarer still, but that is precisely the situation we have this year with the two girls representing Team GB and Northern Ireland in the Skeleton.
Lizzy Yarnold sprang to fame in Sochi 2014 when she claimed our only gold medal of the games. She hasn’t enjoyed the best of season’s since but she is still very much one of the best in the world and has a knack of raising her game for key events. And none are more key than defending the Olympic title she won four years ago.
She’ll face stiff competition though from several other girls including her team-mate Laura Dees. Currently ranked sixth in the world, Dees has earned a podium spot in several World Cup events over the past year and if she has a solid performance, she could well be pushing hard for a medal. Dees is a phenomenal starter and if she can capitalise on this, she stands a chance of a medal.
Men’s & Women’s Curling Teams
- Women’s Team – Eve Muirhead, Anna Sloane, Vicki Adams, Lauren Gray
The prodigiously talented Eve Muirhead skips the Women’s team who will be hoping to improve on their bronze medal finish in Sochi. Britain won gold in this event back in 2002 and there are real hopes that this talented team of ladies can emulate their illustrious predecessors.
Currently you can back the women’s team to win the gold medal at 3/1 with Coral, they are the 2nd favourites in the Curling with Canada a 5/2 shot.
- Men’s Team – Kyle Smith, Thomas Muirhead, Kyle Waddell, Cammy Smith
In Sochi, the British men’s team fell just shy of Gold last time out, taking a Silver medal home with them, but that team has now been replaced by this new team of talented young Scottish curlers. They have come through the Juniors together and are former World Junior Champions and were the first team from GB and Northern Ireland to reach a Grand Slam final earlier in the year.