Wed, Jul 13, 1:07pm by Staff Writer
Less than a month out from the Olympics, and punters are growing increasingly confident that Australia will revisit its gold medal winning heydays in Rio.
The line for total Australian gold medals has shifted northwards over the past few months, with William Hill now offering just $1.70 that Australia will win over 11.5 gold medals, with the under line mark priced at $2.05.
Australia won more than ten gold medals in three consecutive Olympics at Sydney, Athens and Beijing, but slumped markedly at London 2012, winning a disappointing eight gold medals, well below expectations.
Key to the below average mark was our performance in the pool where we won just one gold medal, in the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay.
Australians are favourites in nine separate swimming events, with backstrokers Mitch Larkin and Emily Seebohm and sprint freestylers Cate Campbell and Cameron McEvoy expected to have dominant Olympics.
On Sportsbet, Larkin is $1.25 to win the 200m backstroke and $2.25 to win the 100m backstroke, while Campbell is $1.36 to win the 100m freestyle and $1.45 to win the 50m freestyle. When you then consider that Campbell will be part of both the 4 x 100m freestyle team, which is a $1.12 to defend its title from London, and the 4 x 100m medley team, which is $1.83, she is set to become Australia’s face of these Olympics.
Other Australian favourites in the pool are McEvoy at $1.83 in the 100m freestyle and Seebohm ($2.25 – 200m backstroke, $1.83 100m backstroke).
Adding to Australia’s strength is the fact that Cate Campbell’s sister Bronte is second favourite for both the 100m and the 50m freestyle.
The Australian Olympic Committee benchmark study released late last year had Australia headed for 13 gold medals overall, including seven in the pool.
There were three gold medals predicted in cycling, including flag bearer Anna Meares in the Keiren. Sportsbet currently has Meares second favourite at $4.50 in that event. While she is $7 to win the Women’s Sprint.
Annette Edmonson was nominated by the AOC to win the Women’s Omnium, but is out to $7, while the Women’s Team Pursuit was also tipped for gold, but is third favourite at $6.
The Kookaburras are $3.60 favourite to win Men’s hockey gold, while the other two the AOC tipped for gold were Kim Brennan (formerly Crow) in the Women’s single sculls ($1.40) and the Men’s 470 sailing pair of Matthew Belcher and Will Ryan, who are $1.62.
Other Australians who are favourite to win gold are Jessica Fox in the Women’s K1 slalom canoeing ($3.10) and the Women’s Rugby Sevens team, who are $1.72.
There are always a few surprises in an Olympics, and other Aussies who are worth watching for gold medal chances are the women’s water polo team, the women’s hockey team and Melissa Wu in the diving.
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