The favorites have dominated the 2013 World Athletics Championships so far, but that is no reason to become disheartened. History shows that there are upsets and surprises in every major event - Usain Bolt’s false start in 2011 to lose the 100m final being a case in point - so there upsets and, importantly, there will be value in the outsiders.
The men’s high jump, the first final to start on Thursday, is a case in point. Bohdan Bonderenko has been in such good form this year that he’s a best price of 4/7 with BetVictor. That means there’s some good value to be had in backing someone who has been in almost as good form this year, such as Eric Kynard, who is 5/1 with Bet365. And don’t forget the bronze medallist from last year’s Olympics, Robbie Grabarz. A win is probably beyond him this year, but at 23/4 with 888.com for a place he’s keenly priced.
One way that you can tell that the field for an event is wide open is when the reigning champion is 7/4 betting odds and still only fifth favorite. That’s what’s happened to Dai Greene in the men’s 400m hurdles and you could pick any of those top five and have a chance of winning. Veteran Felix Sanchez looks the best bet outside of Greene at 6/4 with 888.com.
Another market where you can find some good value is in the relay races, and particularly the men’s 4x400m race. The USA are hot favorites here, best priced at 2/9 with BetFred, but then second favorites Trinidad and Tobago are 12/1 with Ladbrokes. Now would be a good time to back them, or another outsider, as those prices will come tumbling as athletes perform (or fail to) in the individual one lap race.
Of course, there will be events where that value is harder to find. Bolt is a hot favorite to win the 200m, but his Jamaican team-mate Warren Weir and the USA’s Wallace Spearman have medal chances. Farah, on the other hand, will look to add the 5000m title to the 10000m one that he won on the opening evening and is around 4/11 in most markets to do that. On this race, it is probably better to take the small rewards on offer than to look to some of the outsiders, most of whom are not in the sort of form that Farah is at present.
Turning to the women’s events, the 400m hurdles again looks to have plenty of value in it for our sports picks. Favorite Zuzana Hejnova is 1/2 with Ladbrokes and has the beating of anyone in this field, but one of the beauties of this event is that one slight error can open the field for anyone. One of those in the chasing pack who will be especially keen to make a mark is Britain’s Perri Shakes-Drayton, who was not able to perform in the London Olympics as she wanted to do. At 10/1 with Bet365 she’s very good value to cause an upset.