Thu, Apr 5, 9:46am by Staff Writer
The 21st Commonwealth Games begin on the Gold Coast on Thursday morning after a dazzling Opening Ceremony from Carrara Stadium on Wednesday night.
The first week of action is headlined by the swimming and track cycling schedule, with athletics begin the main drawcard during the second week, as well as gold medals in basketball, netball and rugby 7s.
Australia’s best hope for early medals come in the swimming events Cate Campbell an overwhelming favourite in the women’s 50m freestyle at $1.45 ahead of fellow Aussies Bronte Campbell ($4) and Shayna Jack ($10), with the trio tipped to all feature on the podium.
Emma McKeon is tipped to win gold in the women’s 100m butterfly on Thursday and is a solid $1.75 favourite ahead of fellow Aussie Brianne Throssell. McKeon could win Australia’s first gold medal at the Games with the final to be contested on Thursday night.
Mitch Larkin is a $1.30 favourite to win the men’s 100m backstroke on Thursday night but the 50m backstroke final on Saturday is a more open field.
Ben Treffer is favoured at $2.88 at Sportsbet, with Larkin at $3 and Zac Incerti at $4.20.
Larkin won six medals in Glasgow and is a good chance to repeat that feat on the Gold Coast. He should push Treffer for the gold in the 50m event.
In track cycling Australia are short priced favourites to win the team pursuit at $1.10 with New Zealand at $7 and England $10.
The men’s team sprint should be a much closer affair with the bookies unable to stretch Australia and New Zealand, both priced at $2.25.
The advantage has to go to Australia on home soil with the vocal crowd sure to be able to bring the team home to gold.
Australia is also favoured to win the women’s team pursuit at $1.36 ahead of Canada at $5.50.
The women’s team sprint is another event where Australia is heavily favoured at $1.25 ahead of England at $5 and New Zealand at $6.
The hockey events should see the men’s Kookaburra’s and women’s Hockeyroos progress unscathed in the preliminary rounds.
The same rings true for the men’s basketball team the Boomers and women’s Opals, who will play their preliminary matches in Cairns and Townsville.
The netball competition is featured on most days of the Games, with the Australian Diamonds heavily favoured to beat rivals England and New Zealand.
Australia’s are contenders in the men’s and women’s triathlon events, although not favourites.
Jacob Birtwhistle is the best priced Aussie male triathlete at $8 with Ashleigh Gentle the best priced female at $6.50 with both events taking place on the opening day of the Games.
The lawn bowls event promises to be one of the closest contested events at the Games across both sexes, with Australia favoured in the men’s triples ($2.80) ahead of England ($4) and the men’s pairs ($3) with New Zealand next best at $4.50.
In the women’s fours, Australia are seen as the favourite at $2.10 with England and Canada both next at $6.
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