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Olympic Field Hockey – Men’s Odds, Picks, and Schedule

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in News

Jul 22, 2021 · 5:55 AM PDT

Germany's Timm Herzbruch stickhandling
Germany's Timm Herzbruch faces Netherlands' goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
  • The men’s field hockey tournament at the Tokyo Olympics runs from Saturday, July 24, to Thursday, August 5
  • Twelve teams have been split into two groups of six for the group stage
  • See the odds and (moderately informed) betting advice on the tournament

Men’s field hockey at the Tokyo Olympics gets underway on Saturday, July 24th. The 12-team tournament starts with a round-robin-format group stage. Teams are split into two groups of six and play each of the other teams in their group once (five total). The top four teams from each group will advance to the quarterfinals on Sunday, August 1.

The first table below lists the odds to win gold for each of the twelve teams.

Men’s Olympic Field Hockey Odds

Team Odds at DraftKings
Belgium +250
Australia +300
Germany +450
Netherlands +500
India +700
Argentina +900
Great Britain +1400
Spain +1600
New Zealand +2000
Japan +2500
Canada +6500
South Africa +8000

Odds as of July 20th. 

Belgium is the betting favorite at +250 followed by Australia (+300), Germany (+450), Netherlands (+500), and India (+700).

Here is how the teams are grouped for the round-robin portion, along with their gold-medal odds and world rankings.

Strictly based on adding up the rankings, Group B is the tougher draw. But since the top-four finishers in each group advance, that’s not a death sentence for the three powerhouses in Group B (Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany).

Men’s Field Hockey Groups and World Rankings

Group A FIH World Ranking Group B FIH World Ranking
Australia (+300) 1st Belgium (+250) 2nd
India (+700) 4th Netherlands (+500) 3rd
Argentina (+900) 7th Germany (+450) 5th
New Zealand (+2000) 8th Great Britain (+1400) N/A
Spain (+1600) 9th Canada (+6500) 10th
Japan (+2500) 15th South Africa (+8000) 14th

England, Ireland (including Northern Ireland), Scotland, and Wales compete separately in other international competitions and are ranked individually by the FIH. England sits 6th in the FIH rankings. Ireland is 13th; Wales is 17th; Scotland is 19th.

Follow this link to see the full schedule for the group stage.

History Favors Germany

Germany won gold in both 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London) and have medaled in each of the last four Olympics and eight of the last nine (excepting Sydney 2000).

Germany enters the tournament in good form. They won a pair of friendlies over Spain three weeks ago and their only loss in their past seven games came in penalties against third-ranked Netherlands.

They were beaten decisively by Great Britain twice in May (3-1 and 5-3), snapping a five-game win streak that included victories over the Netherlands (twice) and second-ranked Belgium.

Is Top-Ranked Australia a Fraud?

Australia comes into Tokyo on a four-game win streak. But the three most-recent wins all came against eighth-ranked New Zealand, a matchup they tend to dominate.

In their seven most-recent games against teams other than the Kiwis, they are only 4-3.

But that record itself is a little deceiving. Two of the three losses (and one of the wins) came on penalties. It would be more accurate to say they are 3-1-3 in that span. They picked up impressive victories over Great Britain (5-4 and 5-1) and India (4-3).

The only team to beat them in regulation time in their last 19 matches is none other than tournament-favorite Belgium, who handed the Aussies a 4-2 defeat in January 2020.

The Aussies are not a fraudulent world #1, but there isn’t a lot to choose between the top handful of teams.

Their history at the Olympics is mixed. They finished a massively disappointing sixth in 2016 and only have one gold medal to their name (Athens 2004). But from 1992 to 2012 – a span of six Olympiad – they medaled each time out (one gold, one silver, four bronze).

Should Bettors Buy Belgium?

Belgium has been given the best odds by sportsbooks, and that is a little puzzling.

They are a comparatively new field-hockey power. From 1980 to 2004, they didn’t even qualify for the games. They finished ninth in 2008, fifth in 2012, and then picked up the silver medal in 2016, falling to Argentina in the gold-medal game (4-2).

They are currently ranked second behind Australia by the FIH. They have lost two of their last six in regulation (1-0 vs England and 4-0 vs the Netherlands), plus another loss to the Dutch in penalties.

Based on recent results, they are clearly in the top tier, but not above it. These odds appear to be a bit of a holdover from Belgium winning the 2018 World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India. They defeated the Netherlands 3-2 on penalties after playing to a scoreless draw in regulation.

The Best Bet

It’s hard to see why the Netherlands is lagging behind Belgium, Australia, and Germany at +500. As mentioned, they finished runner-up at the World Cup three years ago. They are also undefeated in their past eight matches, which includes two victories over Belgium (one on penalties), another penalty victory over Germany, and

They have only lost twice in regulation in their past 19 games, both to Germany. On top of that, they have been deadly in penalties recently, going 4-1 in their past five matches decided after regulation.

Pick: Netherlands (+500)

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