Looking over the first four days of competition scheduled for the World Athletics Championship, it is hard not to wonder just how they manage to pack so much into such a short space of time. The first two days alone feature the men’s 100 meters and 10,000 meters, with two of the biggest names in world sport (not just athletics) in Usain Bolt and Mo Farah. The next couple of days are no less hectic, either, so much so that Wednesday, which aside from the men’s 50,000 meter walk, is a day of qualifying events comes as a blessed relief for some.
Without his injured countryman and rival, Yohan Blake, to test him, the markets make Bolt a shoe in for the 100m. The best price you will get is Sportingbet’s 1/8, with some sportsbooks going as short as 1/12. Sadly, another reason for the perceived lack of competition for Bolt is, of course, the drug bans incurred by Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay and it is another former drug cheat, Justin Gatlin of the USA, that the markets place as second favorite here, with BetVictor offering betting odds of 9/1 on him winning. Remember, though, that in the last World Championships two years ago Bolt was disqualified in the final after false-starting, so it is certainly worth a bet on Gatlin as the next fastest man there, even if only for a place.
Farah is a similarly hot favorite for the 10,000m crown on Saturday evening. Stan James have him at 4/11 and most others have him even shorter than that. This means that if you fancy an upset them someone like Dejen Gebremeskel at 7/1 with Ladbrokes is your man, and you should certainly back the Ethiopian for a place. The man to really get behind in that place market, though, is Farah’s training partner Galen Rupp of the USA. He sprinted along in Farah’s slipstream to win an Olympic medal and could easily do so again here.
The first women’s event to catch the eye is the heptathlon. With Olympic champion Jessica Ennis-Hill ruled out by injury the field seems to be a pretty open one. Betfair offer 19/1 on Olympic runner up Lilli Schwartzkopf going one step better, whilst they’ll give you 47/1 on the third placed - and sometime Olympic favorite - athlete, Tatiana Chernova.
That event will be decided on Tuesday evening (although, of course, multi-sport events such as this offer a great opportunity for in-play betting), as will both the men’s 400m and 800m. In the former event, reigning world champion Kirani James went on to win Grenada’s first Olympic gold medal and be the first non-American to run under 44 seconds. He’s a best price of 4/9 with Coral to keep his world crown next week. However, his nearest rival on the world stage, America’s LaShaun Merritt, was injured in the Olympic heats and now fully fit represents a real threat to James. At 11/4 with Ladbrokes he’s the best option for your sports picks here.The 800m is another event thrown open by the absence of the Olympic champion, world record holder David Rudisha. So much so, in fact, that Olympic runner up Nijel Amos of Botswana is as long as 50/1 with Ladbrokes. Mohammed Aman, who disappointed in London by finishing sixth, is odds on favorite at best price 5/6 through Sportingbet, but this might easily be the year we see a US winner of this event, with both Duane Solomon and Nick Symmonds in good form. They are priced at 9/1 (Paddy Power) and 10/1 (Ladbrokes) respectively and are both worthy of your money.