Here we go, the real action begins! I'm an Aussie, swimming is our national sport and I love betting on it. But that doesn't mean I need to be patriotic, or religiously back favourites. Value is everything and be wary of bookies' limits on swimming - it won't be very high with most books.
Women's 400 IM
The first decent betting race comes in the big women's event of the night. Elizabeth Beisel set a textile suit world best in the heats, beating her time at US trials by 0.06 seconds. Therein lies a dilemma. It's the third occasion where she has swum a high 4.31 - Worlds 2011, US Trials 2012 and the heats here. Is that her ultimate level or does she have more left in the tank? Beisel had seen Phelps almost shoot himself in the foot and then the Chinese swimmer, Ye Shiwen, beat her world-leading mark by 0.01 in the opening heat. The 400IM is the toughest race in swimming, having to race it twice in one day is hard so spending everything in the morning is not a wise move. So with only 0.05 over her nearest rival (today and on PBs) and a strong batch of rivals in Hosszu, Miley and Rice behind her, is it worth taking 1.5 or so? Not for me. Beisel also said afterwards "a medal would be nice but I'm more focused on my time". Not words inspiring a lump at odds-on.
Ye Shiwen took almost two seconds off her PB this morning and she's only 16. That suggests a strong upward profile. She's also the fastest ever in a textile suit in the 200IM, so the speed has been there for a while, now she's gotten stronger to cover the longer distance. Never underestimate Chinese swimmers in the big meets.
Not bothered about Miley and Rice being slower, there's not much depth in this event, they were never going to miss the final. I'd prefer to nibble Rice at 26 than take the home team price on Miley. But a little concerned Rice isn't quite capable of reaching her pre-shoulder surgery best.
2pts Ye Shiwen 4.33 Hills (bet down to 3.25)
0.5pts Steph Rice 26 Stan James (bet down to 19)
As mentioned in the early preview, I like Lochte in this and saw nothing to change that opinion in the heats. Phelps was a bit lazy and barely reached the final, but there will be plenty left in the tank. He had the fastest halfway split of all the heats and probably thought he could coast home from there. Bookies know this too, I'd need 4 on Phelps before getting involved, and there's no sign of that (yet).
Men's 400m Freestyle
This race has been ruined as a contest with the DQ of Park. Nobody noticed a break apart from the timing system. If he gets back in via appeal, it's a real race, but otherwise Sun Yang should win by two seconds, and is priced accordingly.
NEWSFLASH Tae Hwan Park re-instated on appeal. Will have to wait until markets re-form before making a decision on a bet. Check back later...
As stated in the early preview, Park has the record in the big events while Yang usually swims his best times at lower pressure events. The Korean had the weaker heat so was never going to be pushed right out this morning.
1.5pts Park 2.62 BetVictor (bet down to 2.4)
Women's 4 x 100 Freestyle Relay
Very tough to split the US, Australia and the Netherlands here. Each has a couple of substitutions to make for the final and the prices are all close. Might be one for betting in running once I have the official start list.
FOOTNOTE - someone asked about staking plans on another post. Mine ranges from 0-5pts, but anything above 3pts is quite rare.