One of the sexier sporting events at the 2012 Summer Olympics is the Women’s Beach Volleyball competition, which starts Saturday, July 28. The competition will be held right in the heart of London on Horse Guard’s Parade, within a short walk of Downing Street, the home of the British prime minister. Olympic oddsmakers have Brazilian’s Larissa Franca / Juliana Felisberta Silva listed as 5/2 odds favorite to win Beach Volleyball gold. Let’s take a look at the top contenders who could challenge the Brazilian’s. Be sure to make your Women’s Olympic Beach Volleyball predictions before the bikini’s come out.
The 24 teams will be made up of two each from Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, Russia and the USA plus one each from Argentina, Austria, Canada, China, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Mauritius, Spain and Switzerland. The favourites are Brazil’s Larissa Franca and Juliana Silva and second favourites Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings from the USA. Also fancied are China’s Xue Chen and Zhang Xi.
Larissa Franca / Juliana Felisberta Silva (5/2) – have lifted almost every trophy there is to win in their sport together but their Olympic hopes were dashed in Beijing in 2008 when Felisberta pulled out with a knee injury. At the time, Franca teamed up with Ana Paula Rodrigues and they reached the quarter-finals, where they lost to U.S. defending champions Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, who went on to win gold for a second time.
The U.S. pair, the only beach volleyball team to have won the Olympic title twice, are in contention again in London and the Brazilians, who defeated them in the final at last year’s world championships, are aching for a showdown. “Kerri and Misty are not just any team. This is the best team in beach volleyball history. My biggest dream is to be in the final against them,” said Felisberta.
Kerri Walsh-Jennings / Misty May-Treanor (7/2) – are going for their third straight gold medal at the Olympics in women’s beach volleyball. Walsh and May were dominant in Athens, then managed a mild upset by winning on Chinese soil against the number one Chinese squad in Beijing.
This will be their final Olympics together as May-Treanor (35 years old) expects to retire after this game. Walsh-Jennings is more ambiguous and might be open to returning in 2016 at Rio, although she is 33 years old. They’ll be entering this tournament ranked No. 3 behind teams from both Brazil (Larissa and Juliana) and China (Xue Chen and Zhang Xi).
Xi Zhang / Chen Xue (7/2) – have established themselves as the leading beach volleyball team in the women’s game since 2008. Ranked number one in the world, ahead of the two Brazilian duos of Larissa Franca and Juliana Felisberta, and Talita Antunes and Maria Antonelli, the Chinese pair are strong favourites for the gold medal.
The Bottom Line: American’s Misty May Treanor / Kerri Walsh are the favorites and should win, but the Brazilians will be their toughest competition. Want to dominate the books this season with some of the best Summer Olympic Picks experts in the business? Then sign up right now and get Summer Olympic Picks Free!
Beach Volleyball Odds – Women’s Outright Winner:
Larissa Franca / Juliana Felisberta Silva 5/2
Xi Zhang / Chen Xue 7/2
Misty May Treanor / Kerri Walsh 7/2
Talita Antunes / Maria Antonelli 10/1
April Ross / Jennifer Kessy 8/1
Greta Cicolari / Marta Menegatti 16/1
Marleen Van Iersel / Sanne Keizer 16/1
Sara Goller / Laura Ludwig 20/1
Angie Akers / Nicole Branagh 25/1
Katrin Holtwick / Ilka Semmler 33/1
Maria Clara Salgado / Carolina Salgado 40/1
Doris Schwaiger / Stefanie Schwaiger 40/1
Vivian Cunha / Taiana Lima 40/1
Angela Vieira / Liliane Maestrini 40/1
Sara Montagnolli / Barbara Hansel 40/1
Kristyna Kolocova / Marketa Slukova 40/1
Liliana Fernandez Steiner / Elsa Baquerizo 40/1
Tamsin Hinchley / Natalie Cook 50/1
Simone Kuhn / Nadine Zumkehr 50/1
2012 Summer Olympic Women’s Beach Volleyball
When: begins July 28 and ends August 5.
Pick: Misty May Treanor / Kerri Walsh 7/2
Point-Spreads recommends checking the 2012 Summer Olympic Women’s Beach Volleyball Odds before the first serve.