While most of the sports betting world is wagering on Men’s Basketball tournament odds and events such as the 100 meter dash, there is a wave of interest unfolding over the latest addition to the Olympic Games – surfing. Those who follow the World Surf League (WSL) have a good idea about which national teams will stand on the podium once the games have concluded. The uninitiated however, are a bit baffled about who the favorites, sleepers, and long shots are. If you fall in the latter category you shouldn’t have to miss out on what is expected to be one of the more entertaining events of this year’s Olympic spectacle. The good news, is that TB News is a longtime follower of the WSL, and as such we have put together picks and predictions that you can take to the bank.
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Gold Medal Betting Preview for the 2021 Summer Olympics Men’s Surfing Tournament
Where: Tsurigasaki Beach, Chiba, Japan
When: July 25 – August 1, 2021
Lines: View currently available 2021 Summer Olympics odds
*Surfing odds below are currently not actionable. Check back on the sportsbook for updates as new events are added to the growing list of 2021 Summer Olympics betting lines.
TV Broadcast: NBC
Live Online Commentary: BeachGrit
FAVORITES TO WIN THE GOLD MEDAL
Team Brazil (5/1 Vegas Odds)
Competitors: Gabriel Medina (+120) and Italo Ferreira (+175)
Alternate: Filipe Toledo
It’s hard to envision any other national team taking the gold medal at the 2021 Summer Olympics. Going into the event, Gabriel Medina sits far atop the 2021 WSL standings with 46,720 points, followed by Ferreira at 33,555. Team Brazil’s alternate, Filipe Toledo, is ranked third with 32,065 points. So even if Medina or Ferreira sustains an injury in the first round, their backup stacks up better than their other competitors.
Further validating the prediction that Brazil will take the gold medal, are the anticipated wave conditions in Chiba. All three competitors, especially Ferreira and Toledo, are exceptional in slop.
Team USA (10/1 Vegas Odds)
Competitors: John John Florence (+450) and Kolohe Andino (+1250)
Alternate: Kelly Slater (Griffin Colapinto, if Slater bows out)
Team USA could have EVEN odds against Brazil to take the gold medal if it weren’t for injuries. John John Florence (JJF) is arguably the greatest surfer in the world, but he recently pulled out of the Australian leg of the WSL schedule with a knee injury for which he had surgery. This comes on the heels of a surgery for his other knee over a year ago. He has been rehabilitating over the past four weeks, and has not surfed a contest in over two-months leading into the Olympics. That said, JJF is the type of machine that can skip a year of competitive surfing and come back to win the Pipemasters and VANS Triple Crown, which he did at the end of 2020. Despite missing a slew of events, he remains ranked 10th in the world. He may indeed pull off the win here.
What about Andino and the most recognizable name in surfing, Kelly Slater (alternate)? Like JJF, both Andino and Slater missed the Australian leg of the WSL schedule due to injuries. Slater recently competed in the WSL’s World Championship Tournament (WCT) at the “Surf Ranch”, but fizzled at the end (5th place) in the very same wave pool that he created.
John John Florence, you’re our only hope.
SLEEPERS TO WIN THE GOLD MEDAL
Team Japan (20/1 Vegas Odds)
Competitors: Kanoa Igarashi (+1250) and Hiroto Ohara (+2500)
With Team USA struggling with injuries they could easily have switched spots with Team Japan as sleepers, catapulting Japanese-American Kanoa Igarashi and Japan’s Hiroto Ohara to gold medal pick status. Raised in Huntington Beach “Surf City USA”, Igarashi is ranked 6th in the world, with 23,545 points. Hiroto Ohara is not on the WSL WCT schedule, but is a Word Qualifying Series (WQS) warrior who recently qualified to represent Japan in the Olympics via the ISA Games. Both Igarashi and Ohara have won the U.S. Open of Surfing, where the summer waves are comparable to what we expect to see at Tsurigasaki Beach in Chiba. These sleeper picks are very close to being favorites to win the gold medal. We predict that one of Team Japan’s surfers will stand somewhere on the podium.
LONG SHOTS TO WIN THE GOLD MEDAL
Team Australia (50/1 Vegas Odds)
Competitors: Owen Wright (+3500) and Julian Wilson (+3000)
Wilson sits 17th on WSL rankings with 14,310 points, and Wright is 20th with 12,885 points. Both would have been legitimate contenders for the gold medal if surfing had made its Olympics debut back in 2016, and they may again be in 2024 when the event will be held in a far superior location in Tahiti, where big heaving barrels will be on tap. In crumbling summertime Chiba waves however, these two are long shots. If somehow Mother Nature flips a switch and sends swell to Tsurigasaki Beach we may be in for a surprise. This once dynamic duo is due for a comeback of sorts, and where better to make it happen than on the Olympic stage?
Gold Medal: Team Brazil
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