Usain Bolt has already taken the gold for Jamaica in the 100-meter dash. He's such a heavy favorite to win the 200m, the Olympic odds can barely contain all that chalk.
Another Olympics, another gold medal for Usain Bolt and Jamaica. Ho-hum. Bolt won the men's 100-meter dash on Sunday, although it was in a relatively slow 9.81 seconds. That was still enough to beat American Justin Gatlin (9.89 seconds) and Canada's rising star, Andre De Grasse (9.91 seconds). Bolt is simply on a different level than anyone else, maybe in the history of track and field.
He's also a ridiculously huge favorite to win the 200-meters. The Olympic odds at press time have Bolt priced at 1-12 over at Bet365, and 1-14 at William Hill. That's around a 93-percent likelihood Bolt will prevail once the final rolls around on Thursday – first heats start bright and early Tuesday morning. Is there any reason we should bet against him?
Don't Fence Me In
Well, there's that whole “chalk distorting the marketplace” angle. But it didn't work out for us in the pool when we faded Michael Phelps (8-11) in the men's 200-meter individual medley. Speaking of freak Olympic athletes. And we've already got Bolt and his teammates in our Olympic picks as 4-7 favorites to win the 4x100-meter relay. They've moved to 1-4 since we made our pick, by the way.
Did we mention the first heats of that relay are also this Thursday? Bolt has been very unhappy about the scheduling in Rio; he had just over an hour between the semifinal and the final of the 100m dash, which explains why his time was so slow – not just his, but everyone's. At least he won't have to put in more than one heat for the 200m on Thursday. But there's still that relay, and the fine folks at NBC seem intent on getting the organizers to squish everyone's schedule to fit their prime-time window. Surprise, surprise.
De Grasse: The Next Generation
Will all this be enough of a distraction to keep Bolt from winning this event 93 percent of the time? We don't know, of course. What we do know is that Bolt handily won gold at the 2004 Athens Games and the 2012 London Games. He also owns the world record in the 200m at 19.19 seconds, set in Berlin back in 2009. Bolt says he feels good enough to break that record in Rio. “That's something I really want,” he told reporters on Monday.
He'll probably do it, too. But unless you're betting for entertainment purposes only, there's not much point in risking all that chalk. Might as well go with a small flyer on De Grasse at 18-1. He might be the Next Big Thing in track at age 21. Bolt has said as much: “He's going to be good, he runs just like me,” Bolt beamed after the 100m dash. No better time than now to cash in on that promise.
Free Olympics Pick: De Grasse (18-1)
Best Line Offered: at Bet365