Oddsmakers skeptical of Latvia’s hockey hopes

No doubt fans of the Latvian team the world over will be cheering their favorite hockey players during the Winter Olympics in Italy. But are they willing to bet money on the chances the team will return home with a gold medal?

If the odds suggested by online sports betting outlets are any guide, Latvians might as well hold onto their cash. Of course, if they’re lucky, they could win hefty sums, according to a survey of a few sports bookmakers.

On the eve of the Feb. 10 opening ceremony, Costa Rica-based Bodog.com—which bills itself as “America’s largest sports betting destination”—put the chances of Latvia’s hockey team winning gold at 125-1. That means that for every dollar bet, the customer could earn USD 125 if Latvia won the gold. In other words, the oddsmakers at Bodog.com are fairly confident Latvia won’t win.

On the other hand, the United States was getting of odds of 3-1, the Czech Republic 5-2 and Canada 11-10. At least Latvia wasn’t at the bottom. That honor at Bodog.com went to Kazakhstan at 400-1 odds.

The oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com—which claims it’s “the largest sportsbook and casino on the planet”—put Latvia’s hopes of winning gold in hockey at 150-1. Only Italy and Kazakhstan had higher odds, 250-1, according to a Feb. 2 press release from the Costa Rica-based company.

Canbet.com, based in the United Kingdom, also figured Canada would win the gold in hockey. Latvia, however, shared 500-1 odds with Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Kazakhstan.

Sportingbet.com, also based in the United Kingdom, put Latvia’s chances for gold at 150/1. And, for once, Kazakhstan was not at the bottom. Sportingbet’s oddsmakers gave Italy that honor, with a 1000/1 chance to take gold.

Andris Straumanis is a special correspondent for and a co-founder of Latvians Online. From 2000–2012 he was editor of the website.

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