Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games: Yes, you can gamble on it

With obscure sports like lawn bowls on the program, the Commonwealth Games can be uneven in terms of fan interest. But you can still get some action down with the more adventurous online bookmakers in betting-mad Britain.

Betting lines available even on obscure sports

Lawn bowls is one of the more obscure sports on which wagers are being taken during the Commonwealth Games. (Manish Swarup/Associated Press)

As Rory McIlroy's dad showed us, you can gamble on pretty much anything these days. Especially in Great Britain. The Brits love to bet.

So even though the Commonwealth Games — opening Wednesday in Glasgow, Scotland — aren't on par with the British Open in terms of fan interest, you can still get some action down with the more adventurous online bookmakers.

SkyBet, an England-based bookie, is offering an array of wagers. You can't bet on every sport, but the variety is impressive: obscure sports like netball and lawn bowls are among the options alongside swimming and track and field.

Not a betting man/woman? The lines can still clue you in on who's most likely to win certain events. And these opinions are as good as any, considering the bookmaker backs them with his own money.

Here are some of the more interesting betting notes gleaned from SkyBet's website:


Ryan Cochrane is the only Canadian favoured to win a swimming event. He's a prohibitive favourite in the men's 1,500-metre freestyle, where SkyBet lists him at odds of 1/4 (a $4 bet would net you just $1 profit), implying Cochrane has an 80 per cent chance of successfully defending his gold medal.

Though Cochrane is also the defending champ in the 400 free, he's just the No. 3 favourite at 5/1 (a $1 bet nets you $5 profit), implying just a 17 per cent chance of a repeat gold.

A pair of Canadian women are the No. 2 favourites in their events: Hilary Caldwell in the 200 back (5/1) and Katerine Savard in the 100 butterfly (10/3).

A pair of Canadian women's relay teams are co-No. 2 favourites in their events: the 4x100 free (16/1) and the 4x200 free (14/1), with England going off at the same odds in both. Australia is going to win those races: they're 1/100 and 1/80 favourites, respectively.

Canada's Brittany MacLean looks to have a decent shot at multiple medals. She's the No. 4 favourite in the 400 free (10/1), No. 5 in the 200 free (14/1) and No. 3 in the 800 free (8/1).

Track and field

Only one bet is being offered: the men's 100 metres. No surprise — a Jamaican is favoured. But it's not Usain Bolt, who's only competing in the 4x100 relay. Bolt's teammate Nickel Ashmeade is the favourite at 8/15, followed by Trinidad and Tobago's Richard Thompson (7/2) and two more Jamaicans — Jason Livermore (13/2) and Kemar Bailey-Cole (10/1).

Lawn bowls

Canada should win at least a couple of medals in lawn bowls, according to SkyBet's lines. Ryan Bester is the co-favourite in men's singles at 9/4, and the Canadians men's pairs team is the No. 3 favourite at 6/1.

Total medals

Perennial Commonwealth Games powerhouse Australia should again finish atop the medal table. The "over/under" for their total gold medals is 79.5. England, which usually finishes second, is at 42.5. Canada normally ends up third, but SkyBet isn't offering a line on its total.


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