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Betting Preview for the Volleyball Tournaments at the Tokyo Olympics

| July 23, 2021 9:48 am PDT

The Olympic title is arguably the highest honor in volleyball and all top players in the world dream of a gold medal. The level shown at the Games is usually insane and as a fan of the sport, I simply can’t wait for the tournaments at Tokyo 2020.

If you want to bet on the potential winners of the men’s or women’s events, my Olympic volleyball betting preview can help. I’ve included the latest odds, my thoughts on the main contenders, and my predictions.

Before we get there, let’s look at some facts about the format and the draw for the group stages.

Tokyo 2020 Volleyball Format and Groups

Twelve teams participate in both the men’s and women’s Olympic volleyball tournaments. The first stage of each features two pools with six nations each. They all play against each other and the best four progresses to the quarterfinals.

Here’s what the draw determined for the men’s Tokyo 2020 volleyball tournament.

Pool A Pool B
Japan Brazil
Poland USA
Italy Russia
Canada Argentina
Iran France
Venezuela Tunisia

Pool B looks frightening, at least on paper, and anything could happen with so many strong teams in the same place. It’s a classic Group of Death scenario. The competitive first stage might lead to fatigue later in the tournament or help the teams for the tough knockout stages, you never know.

And here’s how the women’s pools look like.

Pool A Pool B
Japan China
Serbia USA
Brazil Russia
South Korea Italy
Dominican Republic Argentina
Kenya Turkey

Once again, Pool B is way stronger and includes some of the best squads in their entire tournament.

If you want to know more about the format and find some general tips on how to prepare for your wagers, our guide to Olympic volleyball betting can certainly help.

With the groups out of the way, let’s see how the sports betting sites evaluate the chances of the top contenders for the volleyball crown at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Olympics Volleyball Betting Odds for Tokyo

Both the men’s and the women’s tournaments at the Olympics are usually very competitive. There are at least several nations with realistic chances to win the gold medals.

Let’s see what the Tokyo volleyball odds tell us about the men’s tournament.


These six could very well win the competition, while the other six are unlikely to fight for the medals. And yet, the likes of Iran and Argentina could be dangerous.

And here are the latest odds for the women’s tournament in Tokyo.


All five teams above have the talent and traditions required to go all the way. And yet, let’s not forget that the competition is long and gruesome, so mentality and depth are equally important.

Let’s take a deeper look at the Olympic volleyball favorites for Tokyo 2020.

Men’s Volleyball Favorites and Prediction

Four different countries have won gold medals in the last five Olympic volleyball tournaments which is a testimony of how competitive the sport has been.

The reigning champion Brazil is the only nation with two titles in that period which goes to show how hard it is to win. In fact, qualifying for the Olympics alone is very tough, so there are no weak teams.

And yet, I believe that three nations stand above the rest this year.


The Polish national side has always been among the best volleyball teams in the world. The country finished fifth four times in a row at the Olympics which shows excellent consistency, even if the Poles didn’t win a medal in that period.

I’m sure that the team wants more this time around and won’t be happy with another quarterfinals exit.

The Poles won two World Championships in a row and have all the confidence in the world.

With players like Fabian Drzyzga, Wilfredo Leon, Bartosz Kurek, Michal Kubiak, and Mateusz Bieniek, the quality is obviously there too.

The other advantages include the experienced head coach, the squad depth, and the easy pool. Poland should finish first or second rather comfortably. That would result in an easier road in the knockouts which is one of the main reasons Poland is the number one favorite before the start of the Olympics.


You should never bet against Brazil when it comes to big volleyball tournaments. The South American powerhouse just edged Poland to win the Nations League title and a similar roster will arrive in Tokyo for the Olympics.

This is one of the most talented teams in the competition. You can find a good mix of youth and experience which is crucial for winning the Olympic volleyball tournament.

Let’s not forget that Brazil is also the most successful nation in history. The only reason why the odds for the team are higher than the price for Poland is the tough group. And yet, Brazil should be able to earn one of the top two spots.


Any team that managed to reach six consecutive semifinals at the Olympics should be followed carefully. Italy always performs at the biggest stage and while the team is not as talented as the other favorites, it features enough quality players.

On top of that, Italy is in the much easier group. Winning the second place, at the very least, should be relatively easy. That could open the door to the last four once again and when you reach that stage, anything is possible.

Dark Horses

I don’t think that you can find any meaningful volleyball sleepers for the men’s tournaments, but there are a few dark horses that could go all the way.

Teams like France, Russia, and the USA are good enough to beat anyone on a good day. The problem is that they are all part of Pool B, alongside Brazil. They should be able to reach the knockouts and the question is if they will have enough left in the tank to compete.

My Prediction

I believe that Poland, Brazil, and Italy will all reach the semifinals. What happens next is tough to predict, but it feels like the South Americans have the strongest squad and the price of +200 is more than solid.

Backing them is the smart choice here and if you want to follow me, you should probably do that before the first match. Brazil faces Tunisia at the start of the Olympics and a win there will likely drop the price.

  • Pick: Brazil (+200)

Women’s Volleyball Favorites and Prediction

The women’s volleyball event at the Tokyo Olympics should be slightly less competitive. However, there are multiple title contenders once again and at least a few teams that could surprise the favorites too.

Let’s take a look at them.


China is the number one favorite for the Olympic gold, and this is the team that won the competition in 2016. The experience, depth, and quality of the squad are almost unmatched.

You can add the leadership of the phenomenal Zhu Ting to the equation. She is by far the best player in the world right now and the fact the Ting will carry the Chinese flag at the opening ceremony speaks volumes about her reputation.

The only potential issue is that China is in a tough group with teams like the USA, Italy, and Russia. Any slip-ups could lead to a tricky quarterfinal, so that’s something to consider.


I believe that Team US is slightly worse than China but close enough to challenge the main favorite. The return of Foluke Akinradewo Gunderson is certainly a boost and the reason why the odds for the USA have dropped recently.

The central blocker is an experienced player that can help with quality and leadership. The team doesn’t have a weak spot, so a strong run is on the cards.

Similarly, to China, the tough group is the biggest problem for Team USA. The nation could face a strong opponent in the quarterfinals which is a downside.


Most people view Italy as the third strongest contender for the women’s volleyball title. That might be true in a vacuum, but the country is in a group with China and the USA.

At the same time, Serbia is on a similar level and in the much easier pool. The Eastern European country won the World Championship in 2018 and the European Championship in 2019, as well as a silver medal in Ryo 2016.

The backbone of the squad remains similar and Serbia always relies mostly on teamwork. That’s crucial in such competitions which is why I like the country’s chances.

Sleepers and Dark Horses

I don’t expect major surprises in the women’s tournament, but you should certainly watch out for Italy and Brazil. Both sides are talented enough to go all the way, so a strong start in the group stages could indicate a title challenge.

The host nation shouldn’t be underestimated either. The home support and the top seed in the much weaker pool are in favor of Japan and the price of +2000 might be worth a shot.

My Prediction

China remains my number one favorite for the Olympic volleyball gold, closely followed by Team USA. Serbia is not far behind, though, and the odds for the European side are simply too good to be true.

This team has the mentality and experience to win, so my Olympic volleyball betting pick for the women’s tournament is to back Serbia.

  • Pick: Serbia (+500)

More Tokyo Olympics Betting

Our team’s plan is to follow all the latest Olympic odds and deliver a constant stream of predictions and previews. Make sure to follow our Olympics blog and Olympic picks sections for relevant content.

We also have an Olympics betting guide that delivers valuable gambling tips that are applicable to pretty much every sport at the Games. You can use them when you are looking for good wagers instead of following our best bets.

Jerry Summer
Jerry Summer

Jerry Summer has a wide-ranging interest in gambling and the gambling industry. He's made a living out of both playing poker and betting on sports.

The English Premier League and the NBA are among Jerry's primary areas of expertise. He's knowledgeable about many other sports, too, along with poker and several casino games.

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