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Winter Olympics Betting Free Picks: Men’s Downhill Skiing – SportsUntapped.com
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Added February 15th, 2010 by David Glisan

Winter Olympics Betting Free Picks:  Men’s Downhill Skiing
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This is barbaric.  No NBA on Monday as they come back to work from their All Star break, and no NHL as they head into their extended Winter Olympic break.  This is where college hoops could have stepped up big and come up with a big schedule of games to fill the wagering needs of sportsbook patrons but once again the NCAA puts their own selfish interests above the greater good of the American sporting public with only a half dozen main board games.  Don’t look to Europe for help, as there’s only a couple of soccer games scheduled.

So like it or not, we’re going to have to look at Olympic betting today.  There’s nothing inherently wrong with the Winter Olympics, but it does mean that we’ll have to be dealing with some unfamiliar sports.  The upside of this is that our friends on the other side of the bookmaking counter are also dealing with unfamiliar sports giving us some decent line value.

One concept that has worked for me historically in betting on Winter Olympics is that there are few dominant favorites in individual sports.  I’m a grown ass man and don’t watch ice skating, but ask your mom or girlfriend about how that’s worked over the years.  In 2006, the gold medal was supposed to be won by either Sasha Cohen or Irina Slutskaya but eventually Japan’s Shizuka Arakawa took home top honors.  In 2002, it was supposed to be a battle between Slutskaya and Michelle Kwan, but Sarah Hughes won the gold.  In 1998, Kwan was the pre games presumptive choice but American teammate Tara Lipinksi won the medal.  And in the best example of all, in 1994 in the aftermath of the Tonya Harding scandal when Nancy Kerrigan was supposed to be crowned America’s sweetheart she didn’t get the job done and the gold medal was won by Oksana Baiul.

Off the top of my head I can only think of one big favorite that deserves big favorite status, but I’ll tell you who *that* is in a subsequent post.  For the most part, favorites in Olympic competition are vulnerable and much like the favorite at the Kentucky Derby a good ‘go against’ opportunity. And that’s what we’re fixin’ to do:

MEN’S ALPINE SKIING DOWNHILL OUTRIGHT:

This competition was supposed to have started on Saturday, but the Whistler, BC area has been plagued with bad weather.  And bad weather for a ski resort means its either too warm or its raining.  Freezing rain isn’t good either, as it makes the snow really ‘crusty’ as it the base powder gets glazed over with ice.  Whistler has had all three this week and while the weather is supposed to clear up for Monday the snow conditions won’t be optimum.

35 year old Didier Chche is the favorite and had the fastest training run on Wednesday though was disqualified on his Thursday run for missing a gate.  His age isn’t a huge surprise in this event as a number of the other top skiers are in their 30’s.  This is one event where experience matters both in the terms of high level competition and experience on a variety of downhill courses in a variety of conditions.

The downhill is an event that Americans have always performed reasonably well in–my theory is that its the most ‘aggro’ of the downhill skiing events like the slalom and GS which have typically favored the precision found in Eastern European skiers.  There have been several Olympics where a skier has just shown up out of nowhere, ‘gone big’ and won the medal like Bill Johnson in 1994.  For this wager, we’re going to pick a couple of higher priced competitors with a legit chance of winning including an American known for ‘feast or famine’ type performances.

Bode Miller was widely viewed as the biggest bust of the 2006 Olympic games.  He was the classic ‘false favorite’, becoming a household name before the games even began as he rode the media hype machine and then failed to pick up a single medal.  Despite being the closest thing the sport has to a crossover superstar in the US and considerable success at World Cup events this setback has defined his career since.  Miller lives like a rock star, and that’s often obscured the fact that he’s one hell of a skier.  He’s something of an anathema to the Olympic image that the media likes to portray of a hard working athlete who sacrifices for a moment of glory in an obscure sport.  Miller is rich, famous and successful with or without the Olympics.  Here’s a classic Bode-ism:

My actions are not always consistent. I’m super-mellow and laid back, but I’m always thinking and running 100,000 scenarios through my head. Sometimes I’m disciplined, but I like to be a total slacker, too. I party hard, but I train hard. People are going to try and figure me out and figure out my motivations, and it’s going to be a circus.

That’s the personality of someone who probably let the 2006 hype get to him, but also the personality of someone capable of a huge effort as much to extend a middle finger to all of his critics as anything else.  Miller clearly has the skills, and if he’s got the motivation he’s a handful.  He’s also got plenty of experience on ‘crusty’ icy snow from growing up in New England.

We’ll pair Bode with a talented Austrian skier in Michael Walchhofer and get a good personality mix at some good prices.  Bodog has Bode at 9/1 and Walchhofer at 7/1.  We’ll split our wager with a half unit on each, and have a nice profit should either win:

PLAY BODE MILLER TO WIN THE ALPINE SKIING DOWNHILL 9/1 (half unit)
PLAY MICHAEL WALCHHOFER TO WIN THE ALPINE SKIING DOWNHILL 7/1 (half unit)

 
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