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Winter Olympic Betting Free Picks: Women’s Figure Skating – SportsUntapped.com
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Added February 23rd, 2010 by David Glisan

Winter Olympic Betting Free Picks:  Women’s Figure Skating
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While I won’t profess to being a figure skating expert, I am an expert on finding wagering value and there’s a good one at Sports Interaction.  Chicks dig figure skating, and if you’re unfortunate enough to be forced to watch it by a wife or significant other you can make the experience less miserable by being incoherently drunk by having a little wagering interest on the outcome.

The figure skating competition works like this–tonight will feature what is known as the ‘short program’ and on Thursday they’ll have the ‘free skate’.  In addition to being ‘shorter’ the short program also includes a bunch of ‘required elements’ that all skaters must do lest they hurt their score.  The ‘free skate’ doesn’t have these required elements.  The skater with the best combined score at the end of the two programs wins, and that’s where our handicap will begin:


This bet will be taken down tonight at 7:00 PM Eastern so get while the getting is good.  This Winter Olympics is somewhat unusual in that there’s not a dominant US skater in the mix for the gold medal.  The favorite to win the Gold is South Korea’s Kim Yu-na, the reigning World Champion and one of her country’s biggest sports stars.  Not surprisingly, she’s favored at Sports Interaction to put up the best score in Thursday night’s free skate, priced at -167.  Now, in theory there’s nothing wrong with making her the favorite in the free skate being as she’s favored to win the gold.  The problem with betting that way, however, is revealed in this blurb from an article about Kim in today’s Wall Street Journal (emphasis added):

In South Korea, skating revolves almost solely around Ms. Kim. Recognizing that, her coaches kept her in Canada to train for the past four years rather than in South Korea, where she has been besieged with requests for appearances and needs bodyguards to walk around.

On the ice, her style is to build up such a big lead in the short program with crisp, consistent, difficult jumps that she can’t be bested even if she falters in the longer free program.

In other words, her strategy is to hit tonight’s short program so hard that Thursday’s free skate will be an afterthought.  Conversely, her opponents know that *their* best chance to win a medal is to do just the opposite–make it through tonight’s short program and nail the free skate.

While no one expects Kim to go out and flail in the free skate, there’s every reason to expect that if she is able to implement her strategy by dominating tonight’s program that she’ll be skating ‘not to lose’ on Thursday night.  This opens the door for a couple of other skaters to put up better performances in the second event which could get them a medal even if the gold is out of reach.

Canada’s Joannie Rochette will be skating despite a horrible tragedy, as her mother died suddenly of a massive heart attack on Monday morning.  She’s decided to stay in the competition and being as the games are being held in Canada and all a solid free skate could get her a medal.  Obviously, other athletes have been inspired to great performances by personal tragedy (Oscar De La Hoya at the Barcelona Olympics comes immediately to mind) and some preferential judging was already a possibility given the venue.  Skating after such a tragic loss can only increase that possiblity.

The American’s best hope for a medal is 17 year old Rachael Flatt, who has already said that she’s not going to amp up the difficulty of her short program choosing instead to pin her medal hopes on the free skate.  With the solid track record of US Women ‘underdogs’ in Olympic competition she’s worth a shot at huge odds.

There are other skaters that could benefit from Kim’s focus on the short program, but these are a couple of the most compelling and the prices we’re getting can’t be beat.


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