How to Set Odds on the Olympics

U.K. brokers are offering thousands of bets on the Games. Brits prefer the ponies
The Velodrome at the Olympic Park, London Photograph by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Before the opening ceremony for the 2012 Games, William Hill, the largest betting house in the U.K., was offering bets on whether London Mayor Boris Johnson would set his hair on fire with the Olympic flame. Betting closed at odds of 33 to 1. “It was 25 to 1, but then he had a haircut a couple of days before the ceremony,” says Joe Crilly, who helps set prices for special bets at William Hill. How did Crilly, a 25-year-old who’s been with the company for three years, come to those odds? “Well, you don’t need to do any research when you see the man,” he says at the company’s offices in North London.

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