A lot of the focus has been on superstars like Usain Bolt, Justin Gatlin and Mo Farah in the build up to the Olympic Games, but the women’s athletics draw is also packed full of star names and offers plenty of intriguing betting options. There has been a lot of controversy during the countdown to the Rio Games as Russia have faced doping bans and stars have vowed to stay away in fear of the Zika virus. But that has hit other sports more than athletics, and the lineup for key events is looking extremely strong.
The biggest draw is always going to be the 100m final and while Bolt and Gatlin battle it out in the men’s race, the women’s event looks far more open and certainly offers more value to the player. Dutchwoman Dafne Schippers heads the betting at +325 with Sportingbet after she moved top of the women’s 100m standings with a dominant victory in the Diamond League meet in Monaco a few weeks ago. But you would be better off backing a woman who didn’t feature in the Diamond League race, second favourite Elaine Thompson, or her Jamaican compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. They are the two fastest runners in the race, having both posted personal best times of 10.70 seconds, leaving them joint fourth in the list of fastest women in history, with only retired women ahead of them. That is considerably quicker than Schippers’ best ever time of 10.81. Fraser-Pryce is the female equivalent of Bolt, a two-time defending Olympic champion who also won the World Championships in 2015 – an identical history to Bolt’s. But while she posted her 10.70 back in 2012, Thompson’s came this year. While Schippers was winning in Monaco in 10.91, Thompson posted the 10.70 in July this year, and she would most likely have beaten Schippers had she competed. So that makes the +350 Ladbrokes is offering on Thompson to win it extremely compelling. That has to be the top tip in women’s athletics as it is a great price on an athlete at the top of her game. Her most likely competitor is likely to be Fraser-Pryce, not Schippers, and you can get +600 on her, so you could back both of them and still cash in if either claims it.
Where Schippers should come into her own is the 200m. At 1.79m she is considerably taller than Thompson (1.68m) and Fraser-Pryce (1.52m) and those longer legs will tell along the great distance. The other two are more explosive and powerful, whereas Schippers is gazelle-like and should win the 200m comfortably. She is the third fastest female 200m runner in history, again with just retired Flo-Jo and Marion Jones ahead of her, and should dominate this race. She is -162.5 with Paddy Power and you could hedge your bets with a small stake on Thompson (+450 with Sportingbet).
World champion 400m runner Allyson Felix should win that event and is a very attractive price at +120 with Sportingbet. The US women should also win the 400m relay, with Felix driving them in that event, and that is best priced at -187.5 with Paddy Power. Jamaica are in a great position to win the 4x100m relay, however, with Fraser-Pryce and Thompson in the team, and they are -150 with Paddy Power.
Look no further than Caster Semenya for the 800m, although she is a very low price and it may not be worth backing her. Faith Kipyegon is favourite for the 1,500m, but a better bet looks to be Genzebe Dibaba at +125 with Sky Bet. Ethiopian runner Almaz Ayana is the female equivalent of Mo Farah and should win the 5,000m and 10,000m gold medals comfortably, with the 10,000m offering a better price of -200 with Sportingbet. America’s Brianna Rollins is in a league of her own in the 100m hurdles and should win that with relative ease, although her -250 odds aren’t that attractive. You can get a better price on compatriot Dalilah Muhammad winning 400m hurdles (162.5 with Boylesports) and that looks a fantastic bet. Another good tip is Brittney Reese to win the long jump at 162.5 with Bet365.
In the heptathlon it is a battle of the double-barrelled surnames as favourite and defending champion Jessica Ennis-Hill (+162.5 with Bet Victor) leads the betting ahead of Canadian Brianne Theison-Eaton, Katarina Johnson-Thompson (both +325 with Bet365) and Laura Ikauniece-Admidina (16/1 with Sportingbet). Many are tipping Theison-Eaton after a strong season, but Ennis-Hill won the World Championships in 2015 after giving birth the previous year, showing what a supreme and dedicated athlete she is, so she has to be the pick for the heptathlon, although hedging your bets with a small stake on Theison-Eaton wouldn’t hurt.