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The world’s top male and female golfers will be in the spotlight over the next two weeks.

But, there’s a twist.

Many of the names are the same: Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Marc Leishman just to name a few of the men. On the women’s side there’s Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson, Danielle Kang, Inbee Park and Jin Young Ko and plenty more.

The only difference is we aren’t talking about PGA Tour or LPGA Tour events and big-money paydays.

We’re talking about the 2021 Olympic Games and the chase for Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medals.

This one is for pride.

Think it’s not a big deal? Think again. The men and women taking part couldn’t be more excited to get the chance to be part of history and have the weight of their country riding on their shoulders…and in their golf swings.

The men’s event will be played July 28-July 31 while the women will tee it up Aug. 3-6. Make sure to check out the early betting numbers as they are likely to change as the events get closer.

In the last Olympics, there were trepidations because of the Zika virus scare in Rio. The Games went off without a hitch and those who didn’t take advantage of the opportunity were left kicking themselves.

The only downside this year is there’s another pandemic keeping a few players at home. But those who do make the trip and go for the gold will have stories and memories to last a lifetime.

Let’s take a look at the men’s and women’s odds and see if we can strike a little gold as well.

Remember, these odds will change…and can change often. So make sure to shop around at sports betting apps for the best prices on your favorite picks.

Odds To Win Men’s Olympic Gold By FanDuel

  • Collin Morikawa +650
  • Xander Schauffele +800
  • Justin Thomas +1100
  • Viktor Hovland +1100
  • Rory McIlroy +1200
  • Paul Casey +1200
  • Hideki Matsuyama +1200
  • Shane Lowry +2000

The Men’s Field Is Packed With Potential

With world No. 1 Jon Rahm (again) and Bryson DeChambeau having had to withdraw because of COVID positive tests, it still has the look and feel of a regular PGA Tour event.

We’re not going to go with one of the chalk picks as our top choice simply because there are a lot of foreign players who have the potential to sneak in and steal the gold.

One thing to keep in mind is none of the first men’s Olympic medalists from 2016 are back. Justin Rose (gold), Henrik Stenson (silver), and Matt Kuchar (bronze) will be home watching new medalists being crowned.

One of those who could find himself with a gold medal around his neck is Hideki Matsuyama at +1200.

He was born, ironically enough, in Matsuyama, Japan. That’s about 500 miles from the site of the Olympic golf in Kasahata, Saitama, Japan. Talk about a homefield edge, if there is such a thing in this type of event. Add in his familiarity with the culture, the food and the fan-base and he’s going to be right at home.

The U.S. Contingent Is Strong

Team USA had four of the top six players in the world taking part in this truly worldwide event. Now, with Thomas (No. 3), Morikawa (No. 4), and Schauffele (No. 5) still in the fold, it’s easy to see they should definitely contend for a medal. DeChambeau was No 6 but was replaced by Patrick Reed who is No. 12.

We’re leaning toward Morikawa at +650 (down from +1000 before Rahm withdrew). He was born in the United States but has Chinese and Japanese roots through his parents. It’s probably not a big deal but there’s no doubt he will have fans in the area glued to the television rooting him on as there will not be fans in attendance.

Having just won the Open Championship can’t hurt his momentum either.

Even with world No. 2 Dustin Johnson deciding not to play, it’s certainly not going to dampen the U.S. chances at winning gold.

On The Women’s Side

Despite the fact United States golfer Nelly Korda is the favorite at +600 to win the gold (she joins Kang, Lexi Thompson, and sister Jessica Korda on the team), it’s the Asian contingent that may claim its share of medals.

Starting with InBee Park, +1000, there’s no doubt the hometown edge here is strong. These women travel the world over and spend a lot of time on the road, including spending a good portion of time on U.S. soil. Now, having the chance to shine in or near their hometowns, has to be an added edge.

It would be like the U.S. women having an edge if these rounds were played at a place like Pebble Beach or Augusta National.

Odds To Win Women’s Olympic Gold By FanDuel

  • Nelly Korda +650
  • Jin Young Ko +750
  • Inbee Park +1000
  • Sei Young Kim +1200
  • Ariya Jutanugarn +1200
  • Danielle Kang +1400
  • Hyo Joo Kim +1400

The Powerful South Koreans Are Strong

Park and the South Korean contingent are a four-pronged powerhouse for the women. Park has lived in the U.S. for many years but will be representing South Korea along with Jin Young Ko, Sei Young Kim and Hyo-Joo Kim. This is as powerful a lineup as you will find anywhere and the betting lines showcase that with those four all solid betting choices.

But we will focus on Park. She has won all around the world. With South Korea just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Olympic golf site, she’s going to feel right at home.

Oh, and did we forget to mention she is the defending gold medalist from the 2016 Olympic Games? So she’s looking to defend her title…something she’s done on more than one occasion on the LPGA Tour

One Longshot That Could Pay Off

Lydia Ko, who has been finding her way back to the top of leaderboards in recent months, is a solid pick at +1800. She’s used to being in the spotlight and making a name for herself. She was world No. 1 at the young age of 17 (actually 17 years, 9 months and 9 days…but who’s counting).

And the fact she was a silver medalist in 2016 has to give her a little extra motivation to move up one spot on the medal podium.

About the Author
Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman

Bill Bowman is a Las Vegas-based writer who has more than 45 years of experience in the sports-writing industry. He's spent the past 20-plus years covering the golf scene, including 10 years as a writer and editor with VegasGolfer Magazine. Bowman also contributes to the GolfNow Network of websites and Las Vegas Golf Insider.

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