With Russia being forced to drop their entire athletics department along with a number of competitors in other disciplines this does leave a number of medals on the table for other countries to pick up.
The 2016 Rio Olympics is already starting under a bit of a cloud with the problems from the Russian federation meaning over 100 athletes will be unable to compete this summer, also factor in the fears over the Zika virus which has seen some top competitors pull out (notably in the Golf) and this is hardly an unblemished start for the 2016 Summer Games.
The obvious and most likely country to gain a benefit from these developments is the USA team which picked up a total of 104 medals back in 2012. With the Over/Under line for a total number of medals won set at 104.5 medals, the betting odds on offer from Ladbrokes of 1.83 for “Over” look quite reasonable. In fact, I’d expect them to get closer to their total of 110 from the 2008 games in Beijing.
Talking about China, this is another country that could benefit from an absence of Russians. They won 100 medals in 2008 and 88 medals in 2012. This time round the line is set at 85.5 with odds of 1.73 available for the Over and evens for the Under. While I expect a number of countries to beat their record from 2012 I think there is very little value betting on the Over in this one. Not that I’d go against them despite the fact that evens are being offered. This is purely a value call.
Two teams that are expected to improve on previous showings are Brazil and Japan. Both have invested more in their sports infrastructure and have seen an improvement in performances as a result. Brazil has the added advantage of being the host nation and have almost twice as many athletes competing in this summer's games than ever before. The Over/Under line for Brazil is set at 25.5 and seeing as they only got 1 medals in total in 2012 and 15 in 2008, they are going to have to see a significant improvement if they’re to beat that line.
Japan amassed a total of 38 medals at the London Olympics and 25 medals in Beijing. Their Over/Under line is set at 35.5 for this summer's games with odds of 1.83 being available with Ladbrokes either way. Personally, I think they’re going to go over that total so I’ll be backing the Over on that one.
It may be an imperfect start for Rio 2016 but the Olympic games always seem to catch the attention of anyone remotely interested in sport and I suspect things will be no different this summer.