President Obama bets Case of Beer over USA vs. Canada Hockey Game

president-obama-harper-beer-betTomorrow will feature one of the biggest events of the 2014 Winter Olympics as USA takes on Canada in the hockey semifinals. And you can be sure that there’ll be some heavy betting action on the game, with some punters likely to risk tens of thousands of dollars.

President Barack Obama will be among those placing a wager on the game, except he won’t be betting money. Instead, Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper are set to bet a case of beer on the outcome. The wager arose during a leaders’ meeting in Mexico, where Obama told Harper, “For a very brief period of time, I may not feel as warm towards Canadians as I normally do, at least until those matches are over.”

It’s difficult to say who’ll win the Sochi showdown between Canada and the US. We at have the US at -120 on the moneyline, and Canada at -110. There are marquee matchups all over the ice, with Canada boasting stars like Sidney Crosby, Ryan Getzlaf and Jonathan Toews. The Americans feature studs Ryan Callahan, Phil Kessel and David Backes.

usa-canada-womens-hockeyObama will really be pulling for Team USA in this one because he already owes Harper a case of beer for the Sochi Women’s Hockey Final. They also wagered a case on the women’s game, with Canada topping the Americans by a score of 3-2.

This was an incredible game that looked like it was going the United States’ way the entire time. With under four minutes left to go in regulation, the US maintained a 2-0 lead and were on their way to ending Canada’s run of 19 straight Olympic victories. However, Brianne Jenner scored with 3:26 left in the third period to end the shutout while Marie-Philip Poulin sent the game into overtime with just 54.6 seconds left.

Poulin wasn’t quite finished yet because she also scored in overtime to send the Canadians to their fourth straight Olympic gold medal. This was no doubt a heartbreaking loss for the American women because they were trying to avenge their Finals loss to Canada in the 2010 Vancouver Games. Additionally, they dropped a 3-2 contest to the Great White North in the Sochi preliminaries, as part of a new format that placed the world’s two best female hockey teams in the same qualifying group.

When the sting of this loss wears off, the USA ladies can’t be overly disappointed with yet another strong Olympic showing. This is their second silver medal in a row, and they had the defending champions on the ropes and were less than a minute away from victory.

Holcomb, Langton win First US Two-Man Bobsled Medal in 62 Years

steve-holcomb-us-bobsledFour years ago, at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, Steven Holcomb became the face of US bobsledding after leading the four-man team to a gold medal. Now, he’s helped the two-man team win its first medal in 52 years.

Holcomb, a former alpine skier and soldier in the National Guard, teamed up with Steven Langton to win the bronze medal in the two-man bobsled. Russia, which is piloted by Alexander Zubkoiv, took the gold while Sweden, piloted by Beat Hefti, grabbed silver.

The US may feel just as good as Russia or Sweden after reaching the two-man bobsled podium for the first time since 1952. They finished the course in a time of 3:46.27 in their attention-grabbing sled, which was made by BMW. With Americans collecting a bronze medal, BMW has already begun using their sleek sled as ammunition in ad campaigns.

Of course, the sled is just an interesting side story to a pilot that’s been generating tons of publicity leading up to the games. Holcomb has been the focus of several human interest stories due to his skiing background, degenerative eye disease, success in Vancouver and love of video games. As for the latter, Holcomb says that playing first-person shooters like Halo and Call of Duty help him focus on the task at hand when bobsledding, while turning all of the unnecessary things out.

steve-holcomb-us-bobsled-1Another interesting thing about the 30-year-old bobsledding star is that he dropped out of college to pursue the sport. His mother was skeptical at first, however, Steve made the national team and put her mind at ease. Holcomb started out as a pusher on the four-man team. But he was eventually able to work his way into the highly coveted driver position.

Tragedy struck, though, when Holcomb began to develop Keratoconus eye disease. He was initially able to maintain fairly good eyesight through the use of thicker contacts. Unfortunately, his eyesight began to deteriorate further to the point where he retired from bobsledding. Depressed over the end of his career and wanting to end his life, Holcomb took a bunch of prescription pills and fell asleep. His suicide attempt failed, though, and Holcomb woke up after a long sleep. It was then that he had an epiphany. “Why did I wake up,” he said. “I realized, maybe there was something bigger.”

Holcomb visited a specialist who miraculously stopped his loss of eyesight and corrected his vision with C3R surgery. This procedure involves putting eye drops into a patient’s eyes, then hitting the eyes with a specific length of UV light. This strengthens the collagen and stops one’s eyes from degenerating.

With a second Olympic medal to his credit, and now a savior of the US two-man bobsled team, Steve Holcomb has definitely made his country proud. He and his teammates will try to make America even prouder in the four-man bobsled from February 22-23, when they defend their Olympic title.

Andrew Weibrecht, Bode Miller medal for US in Sochi Super-G

bode-miller-sochi-olympic-gamesUp until yesterday, the US men’s Alpine skiing team wasn’t exactly doing too great at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. They finished both the Downhill and Super Combined events without a medal, which was extremely disappointing. However, the American skiing team did make up for their earlier disappointments by doing quite well in the Super-G.

Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud may have won the super-G with a flawless run, but the US duo of Andrew Weibrecht and Bode Miller grabbed second and third place, respectively. With his bronze medal, Miller (36) became the oldest Alpine skier to win an Olympic medal, and the first US skier to medal at three different Winter Games.

As for Weibrecht (a.k.a. “War Horse”), he was actually .20 seconds ahead of Jansrud after the first three splits. However, a sluggish bottom combined with Jansrud’s amazing final run knocked Weibrecht down to the silver medal position.

Going back to Miller, he was a favorite going into the Downhill event, but only mustered an eighth-place finish. And despite grabbing a silver in the Vancouver Games Super-G, he wasn’t even among the top 10 favorites this year. However, Miller atoned for his Downhill disappointment by collecting a bronze in the Sochi Super-G.

“I made mistakes and the snow is really difficult,” he said after taking third. “It just peels away from you. I tried to build pressure on the first couple turns but it’s really steep there. Coming off the first pitch I thought I was in good shape but the snow is so soft on the flat part of the last part.”

With his latest bronze medal, Bode Miller now has six career Olympic medals, as you can see below:

2002 Salt Lake City Games: silver in Giant Slalom, silver in Super Combined
2010 Vancouver Games: silver in Super-G, bronze in Downhill
2014 Sochi Games: bronze in Downhill

Americans disappoint in Sochi Halfpipe, but get Breakthroughs in Curling, Luge

sochi-halfpipe-no-american-medalsLeading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics halfpipe event, several snowboarders had complained about the halfpipe conditions, including American Danny Davis. And even though Shaun White was a heavy favorite to win gold on the betting lines, at 1-2 odds, the course conditions meant that anybody could rise up to take first.

Now, we shouldn’t say that “anybody” won. After all, Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov, who was given the second best odds at 5-1 by many sportsbooks, ended taking the gold. But both White and Davis, who were rated first and third going into the halfpipe, missed out on medals. White took fourth, Davis finished 10th and Greg Bretz, another highly respected snowboarder, took 12th place. This is the first time in Winter Olympic history that the US failed to earn a snowboarding medal.

Perhaps the US failing to grab a medal in either the halfpipe or slopestyle events was counteracted by some American firsts in the luge and curling. Erin Hamlin took bronze in erin-hamlin-bronzethe luge, which is the United States’ first ever medal in this event. Dating back to the luge’s initial run in 1964, Americans had never seen the luge podium.

The US didn’t have much of a chance of winning a medal in curling, on the men or women’s side. In fact, both teams were a combined 0-5 going into yesterday. However, the American men were finally able to notch a victory after beating Denmark 9-5. The Danes have a pretty strong curling team, however, they were ambushed as the US got five points off of steals.

With over a week to go, Norway leads the overall medal count with 12. Canada and The Netherlands aren’t far behind with 10 medals, while the United States and Russia are tied for fourth with 9 medals. Here’s an expanded look at the medal count as of now:

Top 10 Medal Count
1. Norway – 12 medals (4 golds, 3 silvers, 5 bronzes)
2. Canada – 10 medals (4, 4, 2)
3. The Netherlands – 10 medals (4, 2, 4)
4. United States – 9 medals (3, 1, 5)
5. Russia – 9 medals (2, 4, 3)
6. Germany – 8 medals (6, 1, 1)
7. Austria – 5 medals (1, 4, 0)
8. Switzerland – 4 medals (3, 0, 1)
9. Slovenia – 4 medals (1, 1, 2)
10. Sweden – 4 medals (0, 3, 1)

Elite Snowboarder Danny Davis angry over Sochi Halfpipe Conditions

danny-davis-sochi-olympicsWe’ve already heard plenty about the bizarre and sometimes third-world-country conditions at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Hotel rooms with no hot water, double toilets in stalls and endless stray dogs are just the beginning of the conditions that media members and athletes alike have been baffled over. But what American snowboarder Danny Davis recently complained about has nothing to do with hotel rooms or wandering dogs…

No, Davis is upset over what he perceives to be appalling conditions on the Sochi halfpipe course. His beef is with the halfpipe’s flat bottom, or rather the ground area in between the 22-foot walls on each side. He says that the flat bottom is bumpy and full of powdery snow, which makes it both difficult and dangerous for the athletes to perform their best. “It’s the Olympics. It should be flawless,” he said. “What a lame showcase of snowboarding, and what a lame way to treat the athletes.”

danny-davis-sochi-olympics-1The IOC has since postponed Monday morning’s halfpipe in an effort to work on salvaging the course. The big problem is that temperatures in Sochi have reached the 50s, which means that it’s tough to reshape the snow and keep it flattened out. Earlier, snowboarders voiced complaints about the pipe’s vertical edges and these were reshaped to fit Olympic standards. However, many riders think that this may have impacted the flat bottom.

From a betting standpoint, these problems and warm temperatures (by Winter Olympics standards) definitely throw a wrench in things. This is especially the case when you consider that many online sportsbooks have given Shaun White astronomically large odds of winning the gold at 1-2. Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov is the next closest favorite at 5-1 odds of winning, while Davis closely follows him at 6-1 odds.

But with as down as Davis is about the pipe, you may want to hold off before taking him at 6-1 odds. “The IOC probably didn’t want to pay the right guys to do it,” he said. “I’m pretty sure what they’re focused on is keeping as much money in their hands as possible. That’s the shame of it all. All these kids, myself included, worked very hard to get here. And then the pipe is just no fun and boring and (expletive). Halfpipe is super fun, but riding a crappy pipe and having to perform in it is the worst.”

Hopefully everything gets ironed out with the flat bottom before the competition officially begins on Tuesday.

Shaun White is Huge Betting Favorite in 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

shaun-white-sochi-big-favoriteWe at GTBets have seen our fair share of big favorites across the sports world. But saying that Shaun White is a big favorite in the 2014 Winter Olympics halfpipe event is almost an understatement.

Some online sportsbooks are listing the winter sports legend as a 1-2 favorite to win the gold medal. You rarely see an individual given these kind of odds on a betting line. And the whole situation is even crazier when you consider that his next closest competition, Switzerland’s Iouri Podladtchikov, carries distant 5-1 odds.

There’s good reason why White is such an overwhelming favorite in the halfpipe at Sochi: he was only beaten once in this event during the entire season. Furthermore, he’s captured the last two halfpipe Olympic gold medals, taking first in the 2006 Turin Games and another first in the 2010 Vancouver Games.

As for the guy who beat White this season, Greg Bretz, he only did so because White hurt his ankle and finished second. Even still, Bretz is worth some consideration because his odds are listed at 33-1. So if you’re looking for a decent low-risk, high-payoff bet, this isn’t a bad proposition.

shaun-white-sochi-big-favorite-1Going back to White, the San Diego, California native spent most of his early years skateboarding, skiing and snowboarding. He befriended skateboarding legend Tony Hawk at a local skatepark and got some good coaching from his older friend. Hawk is a big reason why White was able to become a professional skateboarder by age 17. He’s since won five medals at the X Games, taking golds in the 2007 and ’11 “Vert” event.

White is much better known for his snowboarding skills these days. He’s earned 13 gold medals in the Winter X Games along with three silvers and two bronzes. From 2003-2006, he managed to win four straight Slopestyle events, before finally losing to Andreas Wiig and Teddy Flandreau in 2007.

As for his latest Olympic appearance, in Vancouver in 2010, White captured an easy victory in the halfpipe. During his second run, he tallied a score of 48.4, which isn’t far off the perfect score of 50.0. His next closest competitor scored a 45.0, which was 3.4 points behind White.