A betting guide to the Biathlon World Championships
With the 2017 Biathlon World Championships starting in Hochfilzen, Austria this week, Sports Gazette previews the event and offers their tips for each discipline.
The World Championships are being held between 9-19 February and will consist of four individual events; the sprint, pursuit, individual and the mass start as well as a team relay.
Sprint (10km) - Defending champion: Martin Fourcade
Martin Fourcade has been incredibly dominant in the sprint event so far this season - winning four out of the five events in this year’s World Cup.
He is deservedly the strong favourite for the event, with bookmakers making him either odds-on or evens for the win.
The only other man to win a World Cup sprint event this year, Austria’s Julian Eberhard currently has odds of 15/1 with 32Red and 888Sport and will be buoyed by home support.
Having stood on the podium twice out of the five sprint races this year, Emil Hegle Svendsen has odds of 2/1 with NetBet to finish in the top three.
Sports Gazette tip - Even with the best odds seeing Fourcade at only evens, it’s hard not to plump for the Frenchman with 32Red or 888Sport.
Pursuit (12.5km) - Defending champion: Martin Fourcade
With the biathletes start positions based on their result in the sprint, performance in the first world championship event has a huge bearing on their chances of placing well in the pursuit.
Once again, Fourcade’s dominant form this season has seen him emerge victorious in all but one pursuit event in the World Cup, winning the last four in a row.
As such, the best odds that can be found for the Frenchman in win gold are 3/5, with Winner.
Fourcade’s Russian rival Anton Shipulin - who is second in the overall World Cup standings - has won a silver and bronze medal in this year’s events.
Arnd Peiffer has medalled in both the sprint and the pursuit this season and could be tempting for a flutter at a lofty 50/1 with Winner.
Sports Gazette tip - At 8/1 with Winner, Shipulin is good value and well placed to spring a surprise win in Austria.
Individual (20km) - Defending champion: Martin Fourcade
There have only been two individual races in the World Cup this year and it won’t surprise you to hear that Fourcade took a gold and silver medal in them.
Shipulin took gold in the most recent outing in Anterselva on 20 January so has the momentum to mount a challenge against the Frenchman.
As to be expected, Fourcade is odds-on to win gold and it may therefore be better value to place your money on the Russian Shipulin at 10/1 with Winner and NetBet.
Sports Gazette tip - Johannes Thingnes Bo claimed a silver medal in Ostersund at the opening World Cup meet of the year and is good value at 14/1 with Winner.
Mass Start (15km) - Defending champion: Johannes Thingnes Bo
With every biathlete starting the race at the same time and the gold medal going to the first men over the finish line, the mass start is perhaps the event most likely to produce an unexpected result.
The three mass start events this season having all been won by different biathletes; Fourcade, Simon Schempp and Bo.
Fourcade remains firm favourite, however it’s the only event that you can find him odds-against with NetBet offering 21/20.
Sports Gazette tip - Schempp has been excellent in the mass starts this season, winning gold in Oberhof and silver in Nove Mesto na Morave and is 13/2 with 32Red and 888Sport.
Men’s Relay (4x7.5km) - Defending champions: Norway
The relay is shaping up to be a spectacular showdown between nations, with Norway the favourites for the gold medal at 5/4 with Winner.
The Norwegian team has won one of the four World Cup relays this season, with Germany winning one and France the other two.
Russia have been on the podium for the last three World Cup relays and so it’s tempting to bet on them to finish in the top three at 4/5 with NetBet.
Sports Gazette tip - Allowing the heart to overcome the head for this one, it would be great to see host nation Austria finish on the podium, and you can get odds of 33/10 with NetBet on this.
Sprint (7.5km) - Defending champion: Tiril Eckhoff
There isn’t much to choose between the three main players who have dominated the World Cup sprints; Kaisa Makarainen, Laura Dahlmeier and Gabriela Koukalova.
Each of these biathletes have won a sprint event this year and only once, in Nove Mesto na Morave, have none of the three finished on the podium.
France's Marie Dorin Habert could also be a threat in the sprint event and is priced at 11/2 with 32Red and 888Sport.
Sports Gazette tip - Makarainen was unstoppable in the most recent World Cup event in Ruhpolding and is temptingly priced at 7/2 with most bookmakers.
Pursuit (10km) - Defending champion: Laura Dahlmeier
Again, Makarainen, Dahlmeier and Koukalova have all won pursuit golds this season and are expected to battle it out of the world championship crown.
Germany's Dahlmeier is the defending pursuit world champion and is favourite with the bookmakers at around 6/4.
Sports Gazette tip - Koukalova has claimed the silver medal in the last two World Cup events and, at 2/1 with Winner Sports and NetBet, has a good chance to go one better in Austria.
Individual (15km) - Defending champion: Marie Dorin Habert
Dahlmeier has won both of the individual World Cup events so far this season and is therefore rightly priced as the favourite.
Although it would be foolish to write off Koukalova and Makarainen, both have struggled in the two individual races with neither of the biathletes managing a top 10 finish.
Anais Chevalier won the silver medal in the individual event in Anterselva and at long odds of 66/1, could be tempting to use up any loose change.
Sports Gazette tip - Despite not especially appealing odds on the German, it’s hard to look past the Dahlmeier for the individual crown and can be found at 6/4 on Winner.
Mass Start (12.5km) - Defending champion: Marie Dorin Habert
Koukalova has an excellent chance of becoming world champion after winning two of the three mass start events this season.
Dahlmeier has claimed the silver medal in all three races and will be determined to go one better next week in Hochfilzen.
Defending champion Dorin Habert has been consistent in the mass starts, with three top 15 finishes.
As yet, no bookmakers are displaying odds of the women’s mass start at the world championship but hopefully that will change in the days leading up to the event.
Relay (4x6km) - Defending champions: Norway
Germany have been simply unbeatable in the three team relays in Pokljuka, Ruhpolding and Anterselva this season.
They have won all three and come into the race heavy favourites, with best odds on them of 1/2 with Winner.
In each of the relays, France have collected the silver medal and so the crowd will be purring at the possibility of a final leg showdown between Dahlmeier and Dorin Habert.
Assuming that Germany and France take up the first two steps of the podium, the battle for the bronze should up be an exciting one.
Sports Gazette tip - NetBet have Italy to podium at 3/1 which could be a good price considering they are at a very similar level to Ukraine and the Czech Republic.