The 2022 Winter Olympics kick off from the mountains around Beijing on Friday, giving Michigan betting apps customers something else to look forward to as the year moves into its second month.
A total of 18 athletes from the state will compete in the games, ranging from figure skaters Jean-Luc Baker and Evan Bates to snowboarder Nick Baumgartner and numerous men’s and women’s hockey players.
The games are the first winter edition since Michigan sports betting began in 2021, opening the door for bettors in the state to have a new way to enjoy the Games.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board added a host of Winter Olympics activities to the state’s catalog of approved wagers earlier this year — including ice hockey, figure skating, freestyle/cross-country skiing, bobsled, Nordic combined, ski jumping and snowboarding.
What Olympics Betting Means to Michigan
For BetMGM Michigan, the opportunity to allow bettors in the state to wager on a host of Winter Olympic sports is a no-brainer, filling a hole NFL wagering leaves after the Super Bowl on Feb. 13.
“With the football season coming to an end, the Winter Olympics will draw interest from bettors. With BetMGM expanding into new states more bettors have the option to wager on the Olympics than ever before.” Darren Darby, BetMGM Sports Trader, said in an email to GreatLakesStakes.com.
This time around, fans will have a reason beyond patriotism to get into the Games — even with the 15-hour time difference.
“DraftKings has 39 events up as of now. Regardless of the time difference, people are going to tune in, take pleasure in and wager on the Winter Olympics,” Johnny Avello, Director of Sportsbook Operations at DraftKings Sportsbook Michigan, told GreatLakesStakes.com via email.
Who Are Michigan’s Winter Olympians
The largest subset of Michigan’s Winter Olympians that were either born in the state or live/train here are men’s and women’s hockey players.
Eleven players on the men’s and women’s side of the hockey tournament are from Michigan, including UM’s Matty Beniers, Brendan Brisson, and Strauss Mann, and Jackson, Mich. Native, Steve Kampfer, who graduated from UM in 2010. Thirty-four-year-old Ferris State alum Pat Nagle and 33-year-old Grosse Pointe Woods native Andy Miele will also be on the U.S. men’s team.
Western Michigan University alumnus Frederik Tiffels will be in the 2022 Games, playing on the German men’s hockey team.
On the women’s side, Megan Keller of Detroit and Abby Roque of Sault Ste. Marie will be competing for the Americans.
There’s also women’s aerial freestyle skier, Winter Vinecki of Gaylord. Men’s speedskater Ryan Pivirotto of Ann Arbor will compete in the 500-meter, 1000-meter, 1500-meter, and the mixed relay races during the games.
Boyne City native Kaila Kuhn will make her Olympic debut in the freestyle skiing aerials, as the 18-year-old transitions from being a competitive gymnast. Beverly Hills’ native Zoe Kalapos (women’s snowboard halfpipe), ice dancers Kaitlin Hawayek, Madison Chock, Baker, and Bates, and 40-year-old snowboarder Baumgartner will also be at the games.
How to Wager on Winter Olympic Events
Several of the Games’ events are already live on different sites. BetMGM Michigan’s mobile app currently includes lines for alpine skiing, bobsledding, cross-country skiing, figure skating, freestyle skiing, hockey, luge, Nordic combined, skeleton, ski jumping and snowboarding.
To use alpine skiing as an example, fans can place bets on the men’s downhill, the women’s giant slalom, the Super-G, or the giant slalom.
Each of the competitors in those races is listed with their odds next to their names. Norway’s Aleksander A. Kilde and Switzerland’s Beat Feuz are the odds-on men’s downhill favorites at +300, for instance. There are also odds on the nationality of the winner, the race’s winning margin and which competitors will medal.
BetMGM Arizona users can also place wagers on the number of gold medals each country wins and the total number of medals they bring home. The operator has Norway (-400), Germany (+600), Russia (+900), and the U.S. (+1400) atop its gold medal board, and Norway (-650), Russia (+800), Germany (+800), and the U.S. (+1400) atop its medal count list.
For those looking to get in on the hockey tournaments, bettors can wager on any of the men’s’ and women’s group stage games — which kick off Feb. 9 — in addition to betting on who will win the tournament.
BetMGM Michigan has Russia as the odds-on men’s favorite at +150, followed by Finland (+450), Sweden (+500), Canada (+650), Czech Republic (+900), and the U.S. (+1500).
The Las Vegas-based operator has Canada as its favorite on the women’s side at -110, followed by the U.S. (+100), Finland (+1500), Russia (+3300), Switzerland and Sweden (+5000).
One thing that appears certain is the Great Lakes State will be well represented at the 24th Winter Olympics over the coming weeks.