Odds and Predictions for Which Country Wins the Most Gold Medals at the Tokyo Olympics

By Ben Morris in Olympics
| July 18, 2021 11:06 pm PDT

It’s fair to say that betting on the Olympic Games medal table has become pretty predictable over the past couple of decades.

The United States has won the most gold medals at five of the last six games, with China briefly halting Team USA’s dominance at Beijing 2008.

Once again, the US is the bookmakers’ heavy favorite to claim the most golds at this summer’s Olympics. But could a different nation upset the odds and finish atop the medal table at Tokyo 2020?

In this piece, I attempt to find value in the gold medal odds for the Tokyo Olympics and discuss the best chances for each of the leading nations to win gold.

After looking at the favorites across all the key events, I also share my gold medal predictions for the Tokyo Olympics.

Odds for Most Gold Medals at the Tokyo Olympics

Here are the latest Tokyo Olympics gold medal odds. All the gambling sites that offer Olympics betting have odds for this market, so make sure you shop around and find the best prices.

United States1.10
Russian Olympic Committee26.00
Great Britain41.00
South Korea301.00
New Zealand501.00

It is hardly surprising to find the United States (1.10) at the very top of the bookies’ Tokyo 2020 gold medal odds list. After all, Team USA has been THE dominant force throughout the history of the Games.

As you can see, the Olympics oddsmakers believe that China (5.50) is the only genuine threat to the US this summer.

As the host nation, Japan (21.00) is expected to pick up plenty of medals on home soil, while the Russian Olympic Committee (26.00) is also likely to secure multiple spots on the podium.

Could Great Britain (41.00) prove to be a shrewd Tokyo Olympics sleeper? Or will Australia (101.00) upset the Tokyo 2020 odds?

Let’s find out.

What Can We Learn from the History Books?

Before we analyze the gold medal favorites for the Tokyo Olympics, let’s take a quick look at the overall Olympic Games medal table.

Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
United States 1022 795 706 2523
Russia 590 486 480 1556
Germany 428 444 474 1346
Great Britain 263 295 293 851
China 224 167 155 546
France 212 241 263 716
Italy 206 178 193 577
Hungary 175 147 169 491
Australia 147 163 187 497
Sweden 145 170 179 494

Remarkably, the United States has almost twice as many gold medals as the nearest challenger – Russia. Germany is the only other nation with 400+ golds.

It is worth noting that seven of the ten most successful countries in the history of the Summer Olympics are European. The US (North America), China (Asia), and Australia (Oceania) are the only exceptions.

As the table below shows, Team USA’s Olympic domination has been even more evident in recent times.

Olympic Games Winning Nation
Rio 2016 United States
London 2012 United States
Beijing 2008 China
Athens 2004 United States
Sydney 2000 United States
Atlanta 1996 United States

The United States has finished atop the medal table in five of the previous six Summer Olympics, while China is the only nation to have stopped the US from winning in that time.

When you look at the bigger picture, Team USA has won the most gold medals at 17 of the 28 Games since records began (60.7%).

Anyway, it’s now time to assess the gold medal favorites for the Tokyo Olympics.

Can Anyone Stop Team USA at Tokyo 2020?

Considering the Tokyo 2020 US Olympic team is made up of 613 athletes, it is no real surprise that all the top Olympics betting apps expect the United States to win more gold medals than any other nation this summer.

Of course, individual superstars like Simone Biles (gymnastics) and Lilly King (swimming) will almost certainly win multiple golds in Japan. Biles scooped four golds at Rio 2016, while King hasn’t lost a 100m breaststroke race since 2015.

But it feels like there are countless gold medal favorites throughout Team USA this year.

When it comes to team sports, the United States is likely to clinch gold in both the men’s and women’s basketball. The women’s soccer team is pretty much unstoppable, too, so that’s another gold in the bag.

In terms of individual events, the list of favorites is seemingly endless. Carissa Moore (surfing), Katie Zaferes (triathlon), Caeleb Dressel (swimming), and Grant Holloway (100m hurdles) are all destined to find themselves at the top of the podium.

The men’s skateboarding events also look set to be dominated by Americans. Heimana Reynolds, Cory Juneau, Zion Wright are the three park frontrunners, while Nyjah Huston is the street favorite.

Team USA’s gold medal haul at Rio 2016 underlines the nation’s dominance. Yes, the last Games were five years ago. But nobody would be surprised if the Tokyo 2020 medal table looked similar to the one below.

Nation Gold Medals
United States 46
Great Britain 27
China 26
Russia 19
Germany 17

Does China Stand the Best Chance of Beating the US?

With 414 Chinese athletes competing across 33 different sports at Tokyo 2020, it feels as though China stands the greatest chance of finishing above the States in the medal table.

If the bookies’ odds are anything to go by, then China already has several events wrapped up.

Gao Lei is the men’s trampoline favorite, while Dong Dong is also expected to challenge for a medal in the same event. In Liu Lingling and Zhu Xueying, China also boasts the two women’s trampoline frontrunners.

In rowing, the women’s quadruple sculls team is priced at 1.33 to clinch gold, with second-favorite Netherlands at 7.00. The men’s double sculls are the favorites to win their event, too.

With Gong Li (karate), Yin Xiaoyan (karate), Lu Yunxiu (sailing), and Zheng Shuyin (taekwondo) also favored to win their respective events, China is set for another successful Games.

It is worth remembering that China hasn’t finished outside the top three in each of their last five Olympics.

Olympic Games Medal Table Ranking
Rio 2016 3rd
London 2012 2nd
Beijing 2008 1st
Athens 2004 2nd
Sydney 2000 3rd

Could Japan Achieve Something Special on Home Soil?

I think Japan can take huge confidence from the fact that China managed to claim the most gold medals at Beijing 2008. With home advantage on their side, the Japanese will surely be confident of emulating China’s heroics this year.

Given that many host-nation athletes didn’t have to qualify for this summer’s Games, Japan has multiple representatives in almost every event – giving them a greater chance of winning medals.

However, among Japan’s 552 athletes are several genuine gold medal favorites.

Ryo Kiyuna is priced at a measly 1.07 to win to the men’s kata karate event, with his nearest challenger priced at 8.00. Ryutaro Araga and Kiyou Shimlzu are also likely to win karate medals.

Japan’s skateboarders could easily clean up in various events, too. Misugu Okamoto and Aori Nishamura are the gold medal favorites in women’s park and women’s street, respectively, while Yuto Horigome and Sora Shirai are among the frontrunners for men’s street gold.

There are also high hopes for individual athletes like Tomoa Narasaki (sport climbing) and Hikaru Mori (trampoline), along with the women’s softball and 470 sailing teams.

Ryo Kiyuna

Will the Russian Olympic Committee Challenge the US?

In December 2019, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned Russia from all international sport for four years. As a result, Russian athletes are not allowed to compete under the flag of their homeland at Tokyo 2020.

Instead, Russian-born Olympians will compete for the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) at the upcoming Games.

ROC looks set to dominate synchronized swimming in Japan, with the women’s duet priced at just 1.10 to win their event. Consequently, you can get odds of around 1.08 for the women’s synchronized swimming team to claim gold.

Elsewhere, 24-year-old gymnast Nikita Nagornyy is another heavy gold medal favorite, as is high jumper Mariya Lasitskene.

Given the controversy surrounding ROC, it is difficult to image the team winning the most gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics.

Nikita Nagornyy

Is Great Britain a Genuine Medal Table Contender?

It’s safe to say that Great Britain has exceeded all expectations at recent Olympic Games, finishing fourth at Beijing 2008, third at London 2012, and second at Rio 2016.

Could Team GB continue its rise up the medal table and claim the most golds at Tokyo 2020?

Sports such as cycling, rowing, and sailing seem to be Britain’s strong areas. Sailor Giles Scott is the out-and-out favorite to win the men’s Finn event, while GB’s mixed Nacra17 and women’s 470 teams are also likely to secure gold.

In rowing, Britain is the favorite to win both the men’s coxed eight and coxless four event, with Emily Craig and Imogen Grant expected to clinch the women’s lightweight double sculls title.

Joe Choong and Kate French are the favorites for the men’s and women’s pentathlon, respectively, while Bianca Walkden and Jade Jones are the bookies’ frontrunners to win their taekwondo events.

Oh, and let’s not forget at Sky Brown. The skateboarding prodigy only turns 13 just before the Games begin, but she is among the favorites to win the women’s park event.

Unsurprisingly, Brown is one of the youngest athletes at the Tokyo Olympics.

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My Predictions for the Tokyo Olympics Medal Table

At the end of the day, it is extremely difficult to look past the United States when it comes to predicting the medal table winner at Tokyo 2020.

Not only has Team USA sealed the most golds at five of the last six Games, but they have also clinched top spot in the medal table at 17 of the 28 Summer Olympics since 1896.

However, it goes without saying that backing the States to win the most golds at Tokyo 2020 doesn’t offer much value.

If you’re looking for a safe Tokyo Olympics bet, siding with the US is a good idea. But if you want to land a sizeable profit without risking a lot of money, it makes sense to opt for one of the outsiders.

Personally, I like the look of Japan at 21.00 and Great Britain at 41.00.

The United States aside, Japan has more athletes than any other country at Tokyo 2020. And with multiple gold medal favorites, the host nation could upset the Olympics odds this year.

As for the Brits, they also have more than enough gold medal favorites to challenge for top spot in the overall table. Having recorded finishes of fourth, third, and second at the past three games, they will be eager to go one better this time around.

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