Olympics Betting Guide: Beijing 2022

It’s already time for the 2022 Winter Olympics. To answer your question, yes, the summer Olympics were just held in Tokyo last July. Those Olympics were scheduled to occur in July 2020, but because of COVID, they were moved to 2021. The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will kick off as scheduled on February 2, 2022. This means that the viewing public will be treated to two Olympics games in the span of just six months. 

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The Beijing Winter Olympics will be unprecedented because of many reasons, the biggest being the fact that Beijing is the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Olympic games. This is unusual because most cities that host the Summer Olympics aren’t close to the mountains. Well, Beijing isn’t close to the mountains either, but it does have existing Olympic-level facilities and infrastructure that have been converted from summer to winter sports venues.

The mountains are a couple of hours away from downtown Beijing, and all the venues are accessible by a new high-speed train built specifically for the games. The organizers have divided up the events into three zones: the Beijing Zone, Yanqing Zone, and Zhangjiakou Zone. Because of scheduling and COVID concerns, each zone has its own secure Olympic Village and will host several different events. 

This page is your official guide on how to navigate the myriad betting opportunities available during the two weeks of winter Olympic competition. Read on for more information on which states allow betting on the Olympics, which sportsbooks will be offering wagering on the Olympics, the best sports to bet on and why, insight on the top athletes competing in Beijing, and more. Let’s get started.

Can I legally wager on the 2022 Winter Olympics?

Yes! Sports betting is now legal in over 30 states, and betting on the Olympics is allowed in most of them. PASPA, the federal law that prevented new states from legalizing sports betting, was overturned by the Supreme Court in May 2018. Since then, states have been able to enact their own sports betting laws, and each new legislative session has brought more progress and more widespread access to legal, regulated betting. The Tokyo Games were the first Olympics in which fans in most states outside of Nevada could legally wager on the events. Betting interest was sizable and the handle was strong and steady, resulting in additional revenue for the sportsbooks during the normally slow summer months.

The last Winter Olympics took place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in February 2018, a few months before PASPA was overturned. As such, the Beijing games will be the first winter Olympics in which fans can legally bet on the events. 

Which states allow betting on the Olympics?

Thirty (30) states plus Washington, DC, currently offer some form of legal sports betting. Every state is different; some offer online and retail betting, some have retail betting only, and three (Virginia, Tennessee, and Wyoming) only allow online betting with no retail options available. Each state also decides which sports and sporting events are allowed to be wagered on. Some states, like Colorado, are open to all sorts of sports and approve almost every request for a new sport or event to wager on. Other states are more conservative and stick to the bigger sports like MLB, NHL, NCAA Football and Basketball, and the PGA Tour.

Wagering on the winter Olympics is no different. Most states have authorized betting on the winter Olympics, but some are sitting it out, mostly because the athletes are technically “amateurs” and a handful are 18 and younger. A few states explicitly prohibit wagering on sporting events involving competitors who are 18 and under. Here is a list of states that do, and do not allow betting on Olympic events.

States/Provinces that allow betting on the Winter Olympics

States that do not allow, or are not offering betting on the Olympics

  • Delaware
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington, DC

What Olympic sports can you bet on?

All of them! Seriously. Every sportsbook has a different approach to Olympics wagering, but several sportsbooks are offering markets on all fifteen Winter Olympic sports. Since this is the first winter Olympics with widespread wagering opportunities, every sportsbook will be eager to test the public’s appetite for winter sports wagering opportunities. Some have gone all-in while others are only offering wagers on a few sports. Be sure to check with your preferred sportsbook to see which Olympic events are offered.

So many sports!

There are 109 medal events spread out among 15 winter Olympic sports this year, so it makes sense that not every sportsbook will offer the same wagering opportunities due to their internal risk management structures. Plus demand for wagering on winter Olympic sports is unknown since we have never had a winter Olympics with legal betting available in states outside of Nevada. Some books may start out slow and add additional sports if demand picks up. That said, every major sportsbook has at least a few Olympic events available for wagering. Some have all 15 sports available while others have only a handful.

Be sure to check with your favorite sportsbook to see which Olympics options are available. That said, based on our research, BetMGM offers the most Olympics wagering opportunities among the big operators. If you are keen to bet on the Olympics, it would be a good idea to check out BetMGM first. 

Country medal totals

CountryMost Medals Most Gold Medals
Norway-650-400
Germany+800+600
ROC (Russian Olympic Committee)+800+900
Canada +1200+1800
USA+1400+1400
Netherlands+5000+3300
China+15000+4000
Sweden+15000+8000
Austria+25000+25000

All Olympic sports markets

SportMenWomen
Alpine SkiingYesYes
BobsleighYesYes
BiathlonYesYes
Cross-country SkiingYesYes
CurlingYesYes
Freestyle SkiingYesYes
Figure SkatingYesYes
Ice HockeyYesYes
LugeYesYes
Nordic CombinedYesN/A
SnowboardingYesYes
Ski JumpingYesNo
SkeletonYesYes
Speed SkatingYesYes
Short Track Speed SkatingYesYes

Sportsbooks offering Olympics wagering

As mentioned above, some sportsbooks offer wagering on all 15 sports, while others have a more limited selection. Below are all the sportsbooks that offer some sort of wagering on the Olympics. 

Sportsbooks not offering Olympics wagering

Most popular Winter Olympic sports

The most popular Olympic sports don’t change much year to year. The following winter Olympic sports tend to draw the biggest television ratings and are also likely to garner the most interest among sports bettors. All current odds listed were taken from BetMGM. 

Figure Skating

Of course, figure skating, specifically women’s figure skating, is the most popular winter Olympic sport. One could argue it is the overall most popular Olympic sport. Millions of fans tune in to see the skaters flawlessly execute the most daring jumps and moves. It’s also the only time when one can use the term “triple salchow” in conversation without raising an eyebrow. And the storylines are just as good as the action on the ice. There is no doubt that figure skating will dominate the American headlines and television coverage during the 2022 Beijing games, as it has done during every winter Olympics. 

Current odds – Men

  • Nathan Chen (USA) -225
  • Yuzuru Hanyu (Japan) +400
  • All others not listed +600
  • Vincent Zhou (USA) +1100
  • Yuma Kagiyama (Japan) +1200
  • Shoma Uno (Japan) +1400
  • Mark Kondratiuk (ROC) +2000
  • Daniel Grassl (Italy) +3300
  • Jason Brown (USA) +3300
  • Deniss Vasiljevs (Latvia) +6600
  • Keegan Messing (Canada) +6600

Current odds – Women

  • Kamila Valieva (ROC) -1000
  • Anna Shcherbakova (ROC) +600
  • All others not listed +800
  • Alexandra Trusova (ROC) +1000
  • Kaori Sakamoto (Japan) +2500
  • Loena Hendrickx (Belgium) +6600
  • Mariah Bell (USA) +6600
  • Alysa Liu (USA) +6600
  • Kim Yelim (Korea) +6600

Hockey

Canadians love Olympic hockey even more than Americans love figure skating. This is the big one for our friends up north. The 2010 gold medal game between Canada and the U.S. was the highest-rated television program in the history of Canada. Over 80% of the country watched at least part of the game. Of course, Canada won that game and is one of the favorites to win gold in Beijing. 

Excitement for Olympic hockey has severely waned since the NHL announced that its players won’t be participating in the games. That said, each country will still have amateur players competing, some of whom are former NHL stars or may be on an NHL roster one day soon. It won’t be as exciting as if NHL players were playing, but the teams still have a lot to play for and the competition will be a popular choice for both viewing and wagering.  

Current odds to win the Gold medal – Men

  • ROC +150
  • Finland +450
  • Sweden +500
  • Canada +650
  • Czech Republic +900
  • USA +1500
  • Switzerland +1600
  • Germany +2500
  • Slovakia +5000
  • Latvia +8000
  • Denmark +10000
  • China +100000

Current odds to win the Gold medal – Women

  • Canada -110
  • USA +100
  • Finland +1500
  • ROC +3300
  • Switzerland +5000
  • Sweden +5000
  • Japan +8000
  • Czech Republic +8000
  • Denmark +15000
  • China +30000

Alpine (downhill) Skiing

Watching someone fly down a mountain going over 70 miles per hour on a pair of skis is compelling, to say the least, which is why downhill skiing is always a fan favorite. Add to that the scenic beauty of the surrounding mountains and it is must-see television. Beijing is not known as a mountain city, but the country of China has many mountain ranges and tremendous natural beauty. The five alpine skiing events, including Alpine Combined, Downhill, Giant Slalom, Super G, and Slalom, will generate a lot of interest and wagering handle.

Current odds – Men’s Downhill

  • Aleksander A Kilde (Norway) +300
  • Beat Feuz (Switzerland) +300
  • Matthias Mayer (Austria) +600
  • March Odermatt (Switzerland) +600
  • Dominik Paris (Italy) +800
  • Vincent Kriechmayr (Austria) +800

Current Odds – Women’s Giant Slalom

  • Mikaela Shiffrin (USA) +250
  • Sara Hector (Sweden) +250
  • Tessa Worley (France) +500
  • Petra Vihova (Slovakia) +700
  • Marta Bassino (Italy) +1200
  • Federica Brignone (Italy) +1200
  • Lara Gut-Behrami (Switzerland) +1200

Additional popular winter Olympic sports

While those sports are the top three, there are several additional popular sports closely followed here in America:

Curling – On the other end of the chaos spectrum is curling, a popular Olympic sport that is about as calm as a sport can get. There is some yelling, but it is mostly from the captain instructing how hard the broomsmen should be pushing their brooms. Its flow and relative calmness belie the tremendous amount of skill needed to direct the curling stones to their intended target. Curling always sees a jump in popularity during the Olympics, and 2022 will be no different. 

Freestyle skiing – Another relatively new Olympic sport, freestyle skiing events are heart-pounding fun. Moguls, ski-cross, aerials, halfpipe, slopestyle, and big air make up the freestyle collection. These events are especially popular among younger sports fans and are a must-see part of the Olympics.

Short track speed skating – Short track speed skating is a thrilling, chaotic mess that takes a back seat to no event in terms of pure excitement. There are so many variables and the sport is so dangerous that it’s often anyone’s guess which team will end up winning, particularly in the team races, which makes it fun to watch and difficult to handicap. 

Snowboarding – A relative newcomer to the winter Olympics, snowboarding events have taken the Olympics by storm, just as snowboarding itself took the relatively staid skiing industry by storm back in the 1990s. Shaun White, the most famous Olympic snowboarder in history, is back again to try and add more medals to his impressive collection. Chloe Kim, the star female snowboarder, will also be at the Beijing games, along with the rest of the American team, most of whom will be favored to win their respective competitions. 

Speed skating – Regular speed skating is also highly entertaining, though not anywhere near as chaotic as its short track counterpart. Seeing the speed skaters glide along the ice and imagining the unreal cramping and burning in their legs as they push their bodies to the finish line is part of why the Olympics are so great. 

All other Olympic sports

Every Olympic sport is interesting and exciting. Lesser-known, but just as entertaining, winter sports include:

  • Biathlon
  • Bobsleigh 
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Luge
  • Nordic Combined
  • Skeleton
  • Ski Jumping

Winter Olympic athletes to watch

As is the case with every Olympics, there will be no shortage of stars emerging from the competition. Everyone can name Olympic stars in the biggest events, and Olympic champions always become heroes in their home countries. Here are the top athletes we expect to see and hear a lot from during the two weeks in Beijing.

  • Shaun White – Snowboarding
  • Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
  • Mikaela Shiffrin – Alpine skiing
  • Nathan Chen – Figure skating
  • Jessie Diggins – Cross-country skiing
  • Taylor Gold – Snowboarding
  • Elena Meyers Taylor – Bobsleigh
  • Alex Ferreira – Freestyle skiing
  • David Wise – Freestyle skiing
  • Chasey Josey – Snowboarding
  • Vicky Persinger/Chris Plys – Mixed doubles curling
  • Carlo Valdes – Bobsledding
  • Breezy Johnson – Alpine skiing
  • Kallie Humphries – Bobsledding
  • Jason Brown – Figure skating
  • Jamie Anderson – Snowboarding
  • Maame Biney – Short track speed skating

Will there be spectators at the 2022 Winter Olympics?

The 2022 Winter Olympics is, unfortunately, the second Olympics to be held during the COVID pandemic, which is still affecting people worldwide. COVID has affected several aspects of the games, including athletes not being able to compete after testing positive and the facilities not allowing foreign spectators. You may recall that the Tokyo games did not have any spectators at the events, which was a big bummer that affected fan interest and television ratings. 

The good news is that there will be some fans in the stands at the 2022 Winter Olympics. The bad news for those who wanted to make the trip is that only mainland Chinese citizens will be able to attend the Games. No foreign visitors will be allowed to attend any events. Of course, because China has the largest population of any country in the world, finding people to fill the seats won’t be a problem. This is a great opportunity for the country’s citizens to become more engaged with winter sports, which are not very popular in the country unless you count NBA basketball as a winter sport. 

Olympic political conflict

We tend to avoid politics here at SportsHandle, but we would be remiss not to mention the diplomatic controversy surrounding the Beijing winter games. Many human rights organizations and some countries are concerned with China’s treatment of some of its citizens, specifically the Muslim Uyghur population in the country’s northwestern corner. The United States has publicly stated that China’s treatment of the Uyghurs amounts to genocide, and many human rights agencies are more than a little alarmed about China’s treatment of many of its people, not least the Uyghurs.

This has resulted in the United States declaring a diplomatic boycott for the Beijing games, which means that the US will not be sending any diplomats or high-ranking government officials to the country during the Olympics. This is a significant escalation even if it doesn’t sound like that big of a big deal, and China is very upset about the move. Most countries tend to avoid political conflict, particularly related to global events like the Olympics. A few countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom, have followed the lead of the US and also announced a diplomatic boycott, but most countries are avoiding the issue altogether.

A diplomatic boycott is different than a full-on Olympics boycott. All American athletes that qualify for the games are expected and encouraged to compete in Beijing, and there has been no real pressure for them to boycott. American government officials won’t be there to watch them compete in person, but the games will be live on television and the diplomatic issues will be covered by NBC but likely won’t be the focal point of the games.

When do the Olympics start and how can I watch?

The Beijing Winter Olympics begin on Wednesday, February 2, because curling, hockey, and freestyle skiing need some extra time to finish their competitions. The official opening ceremonies are on Friday, February 4. Closing ceremonies are 16 days later on Sunday, February 20.

Time zone confusion

Beijing is 13 hours ahead of those in the Eastern time zone. That makes the city 16 hours ahead of those of us in the Pacific time zone. The time zone issue results in most events taking place in the middle of the night here in America. All dates on this page are in local time rather than US time to eliminate any confusion. For example, the Opening Ceremonies is scheduled for the evening of February 4 in Beijing, which is February 3 here in the States. The time zone issue affects those who want to watch the games as well as those who are interested in wagering. Bettors either have to stay up all night to see if their wagers won or bet before they go to bed and hope nothing bad happens that would affect the odds before the event begins. This is not ideal, but is a reality all bettors face when big sporting events take place in Asia. 

Streaming the Olympics

Once again, the Olympics can be seen in the USA on the NBC Universal family of networks, which includes NBC, CNBC, USA, and the aptly named Olympic Channel. Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, will be the official streaming home of the games, showing every event live and on-demand along with with additional exclusive content like athlete interviews and event previews. All channels are carried by most cable providers and streaming services (YouTube TV, Sling, Fubo, etc.). If you have cut the cord and want to stream the Olympics, your best bet is to sign up for Peacock and pay $5/month, as it will offer you the most coverage you can find without cable (or a cable alternative).

Tape Delayed Television Coverage

One thing to consider when deciding on which events to wager on is the time the event is taking place. Beijing is 13 hours ahead of New York, so 8 p.m. in New York is 9 a.m. there. Most events will take place in the daytime and evening Beijing time, which is the middle of the night in America. All events will be streamed live on Peacock, but NBC primetime television coverage here in America will consist of a mix of live and tape-delayed events, which may not be ideal for wagering purposes. Those on the west coast and Hawaii will be able to see many live Olympics events in prime time, but east coasters will have to stay up late or wait until the next morning to watch their favorite Olympic events.

Super Bowl and the Olympics, together at last

One interesting part of the 2022 Olympics is that it starts earlier in February than normal (February 2), while the NFL season wraps up a week later in February than normal (February 13). This will result in a first-time Super Bowl-Olympics overlap. And wouldn’t you know it, NBC has the rights to both major events. As such, NBC has decided to add Olympics coverage to the coveted post-Super Bowl time slot, which is usually reserved for a high-profile television show. This will help television ratings and may even be a boon to wagering on the games since the Super Bowl is the most bet-on event of the year. More than a few people, many of whom will have had a few pops at their Super Bowl party, will likely want to throw a few bucks down on the Olympics after the game is over. 

Ted Dahlstrom

Ted Dahlstrom

Ted Dahlstrom works in the Seattle area as an Evergreen & Commercial Content Manager for Better Collective. Ted’s background is in government and communication, but his passion is writing about sports and sports betting, which led him to BC in an unexpected alignment. He avidly supports all the Seattle sports teams and Gonzaga basketball.

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