Feb 8, 2018
Feb 8, 2018

Winter Olympics biathlon preview

Winter Olympics biathlon preview

With six events across both genders, biathlon is a great source of medals for countries hoping to top the medal table. What is biathlon? Who are the main biathlon contenders? Read on to learn how to bet on biathlon at the 2018 Olympics

What is biathlon?

Biathlon is a Nordic skiing event that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting into one test of skill and endurance. There are a range of race types that biathletes will compete across at the games. The strongest biathletes are able to medal across a number of events and the biathlon events are important for medal table contending countries.

How to bet on biathlon

There are two main ways to bet on Biathlon at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics.

Athlete vs field: This market allows you to bet on an athlete to win the race or to be defeated by one or more of the other athletes. This is similar to an outright bet but with the opportunity to bet against an athlete.

Athlete vs athlete money line: This market pits two athletes from the field against each other in a head-to-head race. For the outcome of this market it does not matter where the athletes finish in the race only where they finish in relation to each other.

Is ski speed or shooting accuracy more important in biathlon?

Research by realbiathlon.com found that, on average, skiing was the more important factor for World Cup ranking than shooting for both genders. However, shooting becomes an increasingly important factor in the higher ranks as skiers become more evenly skilled.

The fact that skiing ability is equally important across both genders is interesting considering the penalty for missing a target is relatively greater in the men’s event.

Bettors will need to consider shooting accuracy strongly when selected medal winners, but for head-to-heads between lower ranked biathletes skiing speed is a more important consideration.

Biathlon betting: 2018 Olympic biathlon events

There are six biathlon events in which both genders will compete at the 2018 Olympics.

Individual (20km men, 15km female)

The individual biathlon begins with a staggered start with competitors departing at 30-second intervals. Biathletes shoot four times at each shooting lane, alternating between prone and standing shots. There are 20 targets in total and missing a target results in a one minute time penalty.

Martin Fourcade (2.389*) is the strongest male athlete coming into the event. The Frenchman was the victor in Sochi and will be looking to add to his two golds from that games in PyeongChang.

The rest of the field (1.613*) is led by Norwegian Johannes Boe (3.320*) who is tied for first in the 2017/18 Biathlon World Cup standings with Fourcade. An outsider to watch out for could be Lowell Bailey who is aiming to become The USA’s first Olympic biathlon medallist.

The women’s event is more open with favourite Laura Dahlmeier of Germany at 2.929* to win the gold. The field (1.434*) is a strong one and there are some great individual matchups with all the medal positions on the line.

Sprint (10km men, 7.5km women)

The sprint is undertaken at a reduced distance. Biathletes shoot one shot standing and one shot prone at each shooting lane. There are a total of 10 targets and for each miss the athlete must ski an additional 150m. Starts are once again staggered.

The men’s sprint is once again dominated by Fourcade (2.490*) and Boe (2.340*). An attractive market for bettors may be the Boe vs Fourcade money line. The two may face off for gold with Boe 1.847* favourite to beat his French rival regardless of where they finish in the race.

The Women’s sprint is wide open with favourite Laura Dahlmeier out at 4.680*. Dahlmeier will benefit from the withdrawal of Czech rival Gabriela Koukalova. With such an unpredictable race in store bettors may it may be smart to bet on individual matchups rather than the outright winner to limit variance.


In the pursuit event the biathletes race in a preliminary sprint. Their starts are then separated by the time differences from the previous race with the athlete crossing the finishing line in first place taking the win. Only the top 60 performers from the initial race are able to compete in the final pursuit to avoid overcrowding.

Boe (2.690*) and Fourcade (2.450*) again lead the way in the men’s pursuit. In the women’s section, the odds suggest this is Dahlmeier’s best chance of an individual gold. She is 2.750* favourite to win the race.


Relay teams are formed of four biathletes who each ski the same distance (7.5km men, 6km women). There are two shooting rounds for each athlete, one prone and one standing, with five targets. In the relay athletes get eight bullets for each round of five targets but must manually reload the three spares should they miss.

If the biathlete misses a target after eight bullets an extra 150m of skiing is added for each remaining target. To perform a changeover each athlete must touch the leg of the next biathlete to race.

In the men’s event, Boe can count on a strong Norwegian team. They are 1.763* favourites to win the gold. Fourcade is not so fortunate and will need exceptional performances from the rest of the French team to do any better than silver.

Should Germany’s Dahlmeier fail to win gold in the individual events she may still be able to convert her relay team’s status as strong favourites (1.465*) into a victory.

Mixed Relay

The mixed relay was introduced at the Sochi 2014 games. It follows the same format as the standard relay race except men and women compete together. The women race over 6km whilst the men cover 7.5km.

Boe and Fourcade are set to bring their rivalry into the team relay event as Norway (3.080*) and France (3.730*) lead the medal contenders. The French team also contains the talent of Marie Dorin Habert a double Olympic medal winner. The race is quite open though, Dahlmeier and the rest of the German team (4.050*) offer a credible threat to the favourites as she aims to win a record six medals at a single games.

Mass Start

Mass start races begin with all the athletes starting at the same time. It is then a straight race to the line with four rounds of shooting. As in the sprint athletes must ski an additional 150m for every target missed. The field is smaller than in the other biathlon events with only the top 30 athletes making the start line.

The mass start once again offers medals to the usual contenders. Fourcade (2.530*) and Boe (2.610*) lead the way in the men’s standings whilst Dahlmeier (2.969*) is again the favourite in the women’s event.

Olympic Biathlon schedule

Olympic Biathlon Shcedule


Time (GMT)


10 February


Women's 7.5 km sprint

11 February


Men's 10 km sprint

12 February


Women's 10 km pursuit


Men's 12.5 km pursuit

14 February


Women's 15 km individual

15 February


Men's 20 km individual

17 February


Women's 12.5 km mass start

18 February


Men's 15 km mass start

20 February


Mixed 2 x 6 km / 2 x 7.5 km relay

22 February


Women's 4 x 6 km relay

23 February


Men's 4 x 7.5 km relay


Where can I bet on Biathlon?

Pinnacle are offering markets on all the Olympic biathlon events including athlete vs athlete matchups and outright medal betting.

Get the best 2018 Olympic biathlon odds from Pinnacle. For more information about betting on PyeongChang 2018 read Pinnacle’s Winter Olympic betting articles.

Odds subject to change

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