Ryan Lochte will swim for the U.S. this Wednesday in the 200-meter individual medley. He'll be a popular Olympics pick, but this is one gold medal Lochte has yet to win.
Apparently, this Ryan Lochte guy is pretty popular. He's no Michael Phelps, mind you, but Lochte is on the B-list. The “B” stands for Bro, of course. He had his own reality show! that lasted for eight episodes. He tried to trademark his “Jeah” catchphrase in 2012, but abandoned that effort last year. Memes make fun of him.
Jimmy crack corn, Lochte don't care – he's got Olympic gold. Five of them, to be exact. But he's yet to win gold in the 200-meter individual medley. Lochte took silver at the 2004 Athens Games, then bronze in Beijing and silver again in London. Who won those events? Phelps, of course. And the Olympic betting odds at press time have Phelps beating Lochte again in Rio, with the first heats taking place this Wednesday.
If you're part of the #Lochtourage, and you want to put him in your Olympic betting picks, at least you might get a decent payout. At press time, Lochte is priced at 11-4 over at William Hill, and an even tastier 7-2 over at Bet365. Phelps is the 8-11 favorite at both books. In between them is Japanese swimmer Kosuke Hagino (9-4 at WilliamHill, 31-20 at Bet365), a rising 21-year-old star who finished fifth in this event at the 2012 Games. Nobody else in the field is being given a realistic chance of winning the 200m IM.
Anything can happen over those 200 meters. Lochte out-swam Phelps during the semifinals of the U.S. Olympic trials, finishing nearly a second faster at 1:56.71. But those were the trials; Phelps won the gold in London with a time of 1:54.27, ahead of Lochte at 1:54.90. Both gentlemen can be expected to turn it up a notch in Rio, getting faster and faster as they approach the finals.
The Long and the Short
We know Phelps still has what it takes to win. He claimed his 19th gold medal last Sunday in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay, putting in a time of 47.12 seconds. That's a shade faster than the 47.15 seconds he posted in London, when the U.S. finished second to France. Lochte was part of that team four years ago, but not this year. The 100m races aren't his specialty.
Same goes for Hagino. He's already won gold at Rio, in the 400-meter IM, but neither Phelps (gold in Athens and Beijing) nor Lochte (gold in London) were in the field for that event. Hagino's time of 4:06.05 was almost a full second slower than his time at the 2012 Games. If you're looking for an underdog to take down Phelps, you might prefer Lochte at the bigger payout. That's going to be our contrarian bet here at the home office, too. Jeah, baby.
Free Olympics Pick: Lochte (7-2)
Best Line Offered: at Bet365