2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics: Men’s and Women’s Water Polo Odds

  • BetUS favors the dominant USA women’s team to win a third consecutive Olympic title
  • The competition will take place from 24 July – 8 August 2021 in Tokyo Bay’s spectacular Tatsumi Water Polo Centre.
  • Men’s water polo debuted at the Paris 1900 Games, making it one of the oldest team sports in the Olympic program

Japan and the reigning women champions from the United States are set to open the water polo tournament at this year’s postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, while the men’s event is set to begin with six group matches on July 25, including defending champions Serbia opening their Group B campaign against Spain.

Now less than three months away from the Summer Games, let’s see what countries are favored to win gold on both the men’s and women’s side of the competition.

Tokyo 2021 – Men’s Water Polo


Hotly contested men’s competition

Hungary (+200) is the most successful water polo nation in Olympic history with a grand total of nine gold medals, however, the men’s team last topped the podium in 2008. Recent history indicates that Italy (+350), Serbia (+350) and Croatia (+400) have all surpassed the Hungarians in water polo supremacy.

Italy won the most recent event at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships and captured bronze and silver medals at Rio 2016 and London 2012, respectively; Serbia are the defending Olympic gold medalists and took home the bronze in both 2012 and 2008; and Croatia won silver in Rio and gold in London. Finally, Spain (+350) can’t be counted out after making the final in the 2019 world championships.

The men’s competition has 12 teams in total. As is the case with the women’s side, the tournament will see the top four finishers per group going through to the quarter-finals, followed by semis and a final. Hungary and Italy are the class of group A while Serbia, Spain and Croatia will do battle in group B.

We like Francesco Di Fulvio and the Italians at +350, but could also envision Maro Jokovic leading Croatia (+400) to another Olympic triumph. 

ItalyMen's Gold in Water Polo
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CroatiaMen's Gold in Water Polo
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Tokyo 2021 – Women’s Water Polo


US women rule the pool

The United States (+165) has won gold in women’s water polo at the past two Olympic Games and the last three World Championships. With 27-year-old captain Maggie Steffens still at the height of her powers and the best goalkeeper in the world in Ashleigh Johnson, it’s difficult to see Team USA’s dynasty ending in Tokyo, but it’s far from a done deal.

Spain (+450) captured the silver at the past two world championships and Australia (+700) has been remarkably consistent, winning the bronze medal in two of the past three Olympics and World Championships. Led by talisman Hannah Buckling, who helped Olympiacos to the Euro League final in 2019, the Aussies could finally breakthrough in 2021.

However, betting on anyone but the Americans in women’s water polo might be a sunk cost.

USAGold in Women's Water Polo
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Steve Starr

Steve is one of the many Americans who spends Sunday watching football on the couch and gorging on heart-clogging eats. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.

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