Gone are the days when Canada was an afterthought when it came to the Olympic medal count, at least when it comes to the winter sports.
Over the past two Winter Games, Canada has won a combined total of 51 medals, including 24 gold. Our country has also finished in the top five in the medal standings in each of the last five Winter Games.
Considering that Canada didn’t crack the top 5 of the winter medal standings from 1932-1994, things are obviously going the right direction when it comes to our winter Olympians. And there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic once again this year as the Winter Games take place in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Here’s a look at the top Canada Olympic gold medal hopes for 2018, based on the betting odds available at Canadian online betting site Bodog. We’ll add to this list as odds for more events become available.
(All odds referenced are as of January 15, 2018.)
1. Men’s Hockey
— theScore NHL (@theScoreNHL) January 11, 2018
Don’t forget, the professionals won’t be there. At least not the ones from the National Hockey League, leaving the rosters for the men’s hockey tournament bereft of recognizeable talent.
Since Canada accounts for nearly half of the players in the NHL, Canada might be hurt the most by the absence of NHLers in this tournament. Before the Olympics allowed NHL players to participate in 1998, Canada had not won men’s hockey gold since 1952. With NHL participation, Canada has claimed gold in three of the last five Winter Games.
But if there’s anything we pride ourselves in when it comes to hockey, it’s our depth. Oddsmakers make Canada the second-favourite to bring home gold, trailing only the Russians.
Men’s Olympic hockey betting odds
- Russia +225
- Canada +275
- Sweden +400
- Finland +800
- Czech Republic +900
- United States +900
2. Women’s Hockey
— CP24 (@CP24) December 22, 2017
Without the NHLers participating, this is the ladies’ chance to steal the hockey spotlight in PyeongChang. Unfortunately, this is still essentially a two-team tournament, with both the United States and Canada paying even money or less to win gold.
On the bright side, it’s still a great chance to hear ‘O Canada’ played on the ice once again. The women have delivered that to us in each of the last four Olympics, beating the USA in the final each time. The 2014 final was the most memorable, when Canada scored twice in the final four minutes of regulation to force overtime, then win the gold on Marie-Philip Poulin’s power play marker at the 8:10 mark.
14 Canadian players are back from the 2014 team, and Canada went 5-1 against the U.S. in a six-game pre-Olympic series recently. However, the Americans beat Canada twice at the Four Nations Cup a couple of months ago in Florida. That may explain why oddsmakers have made the USA a slight favourite to take the gold in PyeongChang.
Women’s Olympic hockey betting odds
- United States -120
- Canada +100
- Finland +1600
- Russia +1800
- Sweden +2500
- Switzerland +5000
- Japan +10000
- Korea +25000
— CTV News (@CTVNews) December 11, 2017
Canadian hockey players weren’t the only Canucks to earn gold on the ice four years ago in Sochi. Both Canada’s men’s and women’s curling teams also prevailed, giving us a sweep in hockey and curling.
According to the oddsmakers, our curlers stand an even better chance at defending their golds than our hockey players do. Both Kevin Koe’s men’s rink and Rachel Hofman’s women’s squad are -110 favourites to claim the gold in February, with Sweden their toughest challenge in both tournaments.
Canada’s also favoured to win gold in mixed curling, an event that is making its Olympic debut this year. With three cracks at gold, you’ve got to like Canada to continue its streak of winning at least one curling medal at every Games since the sport returned to the Olympics 20 years ago.
Men’s Olympic curling betting odds
- Canada -110
- Sweden +250
- Switzerland +1400
- Great Britain +1400
- Norway +1400
- United States +1400
- Japan +2200
- Korea +2200
- Denmark +2800
- Italy +2800
Women’s Olympic curling betting odds
- Canada -110
- Sweden +500
- Russia +650
- Great Britain +750
- Switzerland +850
- United States +1400
- Japan +2500
- China +3300
- Korea +3300
- Denmark +5000
Mixed Olympic curling betting odds
- Canada +110
- Switzerland +350
- China +350
- United States +800
- Norway +1000
- Korea +2000
- Finland +2500
4. Ivanie Blondin (Speed Skating)
— CBC Ottawa (@CBCOttawa) November 11, 2017
The 27-year-old Ottawa native is a serious medal threat in both the 3,000-meter and 5,000m distances. Blondin gained Olympic experience four years ago in Sochi, struggling a bit in her individual events (14th in 5,000m, 24th in 3,000m) but helping Canada finish fifth in the team pursuit.
The reason for optimism surrounding Blondin’s chances in PyeongChang is her performance at the 2017 ISU world single distance championships, where she claimed bronze in the 5,000m and finished fourth in the 3,000m. She also won gold in the mass start event at the 2016 worlds.
Blondin pays +700 odds to win Olympic gold in the 5,000m, the fourth-shortest odds in the race. She’s also got an outside shot at gold in the 3,000m, where she ranks fifth at +700 odds.
Oddsmakers like Blondin’s prospects better in the 5,000m, ranking her fourth on the odds at +500 return (Canadian teammate Isabelle Weidemann is sixth in that race at +1800). In the 3,000m, Blondin is ranked fifth at a +700 price.
5. Laurent Dubreuil (Speed Skating)
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) November 11, 2017
Dubreuil comes into these Games with plenty of motivation after falling short of qualifying for Sochi by 0.05 seconds four years ago.
His ninth-place finish in the 500 meters at last year’s ISU world single distance championships may not make you too optimistic about his chances in PyeongChang, but he won bronze in that distance at the worlds three years ago. He also has a World Cup 500m gold medal on his resume, winning at the 2017-18 season opener in Heerenveen.
The Olympic men’s 500m appears to be a three-horse race between Netherlands teammates Ronald Mulder and Kai Verbij, along with Norway’s Havard Holmefjord Lorentzen, each of whom pays +550 or less. But if one or more of them should slip, it could open the door for Dubreuil, ranked fifth on the odds at +1200.
6. Vincent De Haitre (Speed Skating)
— CBC Olympics (@CBCOlympics) January 10, 2018
Speed skating always accounts for a lot of the Canada Olympic gold medal hopes, so it’s no surprise to see another Canuck ranked pretty highly in the odds of the men’s 1,000m and 1,5000m events.
DeHaitre, 23, nearly made the podium in both distances at the 2017 world single distance championships, claiming silver in the 1,000m and taking fourth in the 1,500m. With that experience under his belt, he’ll look to improve on the 20th and 33rd place finishes, respectively, that he posted in Sochi in 2014.
DeHaitre’s best chance in PyeongChang appears to be in the 1,000m, where he’s sixth at +1600. He’s also seventh on the odds for the 1,500m, though at a much more distant +2800 return.
7. Alex Harvey (Cross Country Skiing)
.@alex_harvey made history this morning! 🥉
1️⃣st non-European to make overall podium at the #TourDeSki! 🇨🇦🎉
— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) January 7, 2018
We certainly know Harvey has the pedigree to compete for Olympic cross-country gold. That’s because his father is Pierre Harvey, the legendary Canadian skier who competed in two Winter Games in addition to racing in cycling at a pair of Summer Games.
The younger Harvey enjoyed a strong Olympic debut in 2010, when he helped Canada finish fourth in the team sprint and seventh in the 4x10km relay in Vancouver. However, his highest finish at Sochi four years ago was a 12th-place effort in the team sprint.
At age 29, this is likely Harvey’s last Olympics, so he’ll want to go out with his strongest performance yet. Look for him as a potential darkhorse in the 15km + 15km skiathlon, individual sprint classic and the 15km freestyle, as oddsmakers have him in the top 9 for each of those races – including fifth in the skiathlon at a tempting +1150. And don’t forget about the team sprint, where Harvey and Canada are sixth on the odds at +1400.
Other Darkhorse Canada Olympic Gold Medal Hopes
Canada has several other Olympic gold medal contenders going into PyeongChang.
Three different skiers (Brittany Phelan, Kelsey Serwa and India Sherret) are ranked in the top 10 on the odds for the freestyle women’s ski cross. Phelan and Serwa are both tied for sixth with France’s Alizee Baron at +2000 odds, while Sherret is ninth at +2500.
Downhill skier Erik Guay also goes into his race ranked in the top 10 by oddsmakers, paying +2000.
Again, we’ll add to this list as more odds become available.
Which Country Will Win The Most Olympic Gold Medals?
Canada enjoyed one of its best Winter Games ever four years ago, finishing fourth in the medal count (25) and third in golds (10).
According to international data analytics company Gracenote, Canada will improve on that haul at this year’s Olympics, predicting 33 medals for Canadian athletes.
However, Gracenote predicts that just 7 of those medals will be gold. Bodog has a more optimistic outlook for Canadian athletes, posting the Over/Under for Canadian gold medals at 8.5.
Here’s a look at the odds for which country will win the most Olympic gold medals in PyeongChang.
- Norway +150
- Germany +160
- United States +500
- Canada +700
- Netherlands +1600
- Korea +2800
- France +3300
- Austria +5500
- Switzerland +5000
- China +6600
- Sweden +6600
- Italy +15000
- Japan +15000
- Poland +20000
- Finland +20000
Who Will Win More Gold, Canada Or USA?
If you want to just turn things into a Canada/United States competition for the most gold medals, Bodog has odds for that too.
Canada is a +180 underdog to earn more golds than its neighbours to the south, while the United States (whose gold medal Over/Under is 10.5) is a -240 favourite.
As if you needed even more reason to watch the women’s hockey final.