- Armand Duplantis is the overwhelming favorite to win the men’s pole vault competition at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
- Can a Chinese woman claim a medal in the javelin for the first time in the country’s history?
- Read below for odds, analysis and picks for pole vault, javelin and pentathlon events
They aren’t exactly the marquee events on the Athletics docket during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
But if you’re wagering on some of the lesser known events, there’s a certain attentiveness and understanding that begins to take shape — stakes will do that to you.
We’re focusing our attention on three sports on both the men’s and women’s side: the pole vault, javelin and pentathlon.
Check our quick breakdowns and best bets for each below, or jump to the section that suits you. All odds courtesy of DraftKings.
Men’s Pole Vault Odds
Odds as of July 21 at DraftKings
Analysis: How volatile is the outcome of this event? Consider that hands-down legend of the sport, Russian Sergey Bubka claimed just a single Olympic gold medal in pole vault over his illustrious career. Even the reigning Olympic champion, Brazilian Thiago Braz, has distant +3500 odds — probably because there’s only been one repeat winner in the sport’s history (American Bob Richards in 1952 & 1956).
Swedish pole vaulter Armand Duplantis broke the men’s world record 🤯
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 8, 2020
The overwhelming favorite is 21-year-old Swede Armand Duplantis, who was practically unbeatable this year on the circuit, while setting and then breaking his own outdoor world record, clearing 6.18 metres. But this field is stacked: American Sam Kendricks is a 2-time world champion who also snapped Duplantis’ 23-meet win streak in May. Also in the field is former record-holder Renaud Lavillenie of France.
American KC Lightfoot has the third best odds, but Christopher Nilsen actually topped both Lightwood and Kendricks by winning the USA Team Trials in June. You want to get a little loco? Filipino Ernest Obiena (+6500 ) is looking to land the country’s first medal in the sport in 85 years.
Duplantis is probably the winner, but there’s value dotting this board.
The pick: Kendricks (+1000)
Women’s Pole Vault Odds
|Morgann Romero Leleux||USA||+5000|
Analysis: Unlike the men’s side, there is no overwhelming favorite among the women, but there is a crop that should rise above the rest. Anzhelika Sidorova enters as the top-ranked in the field — a position she has held down for a whopping 93 weeks.
But there’s a reason American Katie Nageotte is a co-favorite to take home gold. At the US Olympic Trials at the end of June, she cleared a season-best 4.95m, and followed that up with a win in Monaco a week later, topping 4.9m. Sidorova has cracked 4.95 twice, but not since Feb 2020. Another American that could make some noise is Sandi Morris, who has cleared five metres as a personal best, while reaching a high of 4.84m this season.
The pick: Sidorova (+225)
Men’s Javelin Odds
|Rocco van Rooyen||RSA||+6500|
Analysis: No one comes into this competition throwing more bombs than Johannes Vetter, literally. He’s the only man to throw the javelin beyond 90m in the last two years — and he’s passed that threshold a whopping 18 times. That adds up to an 18-meet win streak heading into Tokyo, where he’ll try to better a third-place finish at the 2019 World Championships and a fourth-place finish in Rio in 2016.
Johannes Vetter 94.20m in round 1!!!😱 pic.twitter.com/2DfQiEHmrf
— Muge Yi (@Loong_Knight) May 19, 2021
That could mean an opening for Keshorn Walcott, who burst onto the scene at the London 2012 Olympic Games to claim gold for Trinidad and Tobago as a 19-year-old. He followed that up with a bronze at Rio 2016. Now 28, Walcott threw a season-best 89.12m and has finished top-3 in all three of his competitions this year.
Don’t be afraid to sprinkle some on India’s Neeraj Chopra (+2500). He beat his own national record with an 88.07m toss, and in his final meet before Tokyo, he claimed third with only Vetter and Walcott ahead of his throw of 86.7m.
The pick: Vetter (-650)
Women’s Javelin Odds
Analysis: After just missing out on a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Maria Andrejczyk is tabbed as a co-favorite to win gold in Tokyo. She enters this year with one of the best scores ever, launching the javelin 71.40m in Split, Croatia, in March. That’s third all time.
— PJ Vazel (@pjvazel) May 9, 2021
She shares the top odds with Christin Hussong of Germany, who has a toss of 69.19m at the European Team Championships in May, and has cleared better than 66 metres in three other competitions. US champion Maggie Malone is in the mix as well, after setting a national record with a throw of 67.40m this year. She also posted a 66.82m score in May.
Can a Chinese athlete break through and deliver a medal for the first time? Lyu Huihui has the fourth best throw this year at 66.55m. Liu Shiying won silver at the World Championships this year and has a personal best 67.29m.
The pick: Liu Shiying (+600)
Men’s Modern Pentathlon Odds
Analysis: Britain’s Joe Choong has the best odds in the field, and he’s coming off a silver at the 2019 World Championships. There’s plenty of worthy opponents here, including 2-time world champion Valentin Belaud, who claimed gold in 2016 and bested Choong in 2019. Fellow Frenchman Valentin Prades missed the podium in Rio and will be a factor here.
Introducing our Olympians ♂️
— UIPM – World Pentathlon (@WorldPentathlon) July 18, 2021
As will Adam Marosi of Hungary, who won a world title last month, the second in his career — 12 years after claiming his first. The soon-to-be 37-year-old also won bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games. The only certainty in this event is a new Olympic champion will be crowned, as Aleksander Lesun of Russia won’t be in the field in Tokyo.
The pick: Belaud (+800)
Women’s Modern Pentathlon Odds
Analysis: 2016 gold medalist Chloe Esposito of Australia won’t be around to defend her crown, as she had a son last July, leaving the field wide open. At age 37, Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania has been pegged the co-betting favorite, tied with Kate French of Great Britain. French is hoping to take her fifth-place experience from Rio to find the podium in Tokyo. She’s also coming off a win at the 2021 World Cup final.
“Modern pentathlon is a bit like a chess game.” ♟️
This #InternationalChessDay, we remember the words of Rio 2020 modern pentathlon silver medallist, Elodie Clouvel.🥈🇫🇷
— Olympic Channel (@olympicchannel) July 20, 2020
An interesting pick in the middle of the field is Anastasiya Prokopenko of Belarus. Her bronze from the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games was awarded a full decade after the competition, when Ukraine’s Viktoriya Tereshchuk was disqualified for doping. A value pick could also be France’s Élodie Clouvel, who won silver at Rio in 2016 and is one of four pentathletes with +1200 odds.
The pick: Clouvel (+1200)