Betting round-up: Race for gold heats up

Brazil are eyeing their first men's Olympic gold medal, while both Great Britain sides are still alive. Who will top the dias in London?

Brazil will never get a better chance to finally end their Olympic jinx and win a long overdue-first men's soccer gold medal, with the record five-time World Cup winners now odds-on favourites to take out the men's football tournament at the 2012 London Games.

The knockout stages of the tournament get underway on Friday, with the women's quarter-finals, followed by the men's quarter-finals on Saturday.

And following the shock elimination of reigning World and European champions Spain from the Under-23 tournament in the group stages, Brazil seemingly have the men's tournament at their mercy.

The South American giants might have won the most World Cups in history with five but they are yet to win Olympic gold, having finished with the bronze medal in Beijing four years ago as well as bronze in 1996 and silver at both the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

But with main rivals in Spain already out, Brazil are now the unbackable $1.53 gold medal favourites at Luxbet, with host nation Great Britain surprisingly emerging as their main rivals at $7.50.

Japan and Mexico are at $11, Senegal at $13, South Korea at $17, Egypt at $23 and Honduras are the rank outsiders at $67.

Brazil are also odds-on at $1.16 at Luxbet to win their quarter-final against Honduras [$13.50] and should comfortably progress to the last four, but the other three quarter-finals are much more attractive betting propositions.

Great Britain, which has been roared on by huge home crowds throughout the Games - and whose three over-age players are English Premier League stars Ryan Giggs, Craig Bellamy and Micah Richards - should beat South Korea in their quarter-final showdown in Cardiff.

Team GB are at $2.12 in head-to-head betting at Luxbet, with the draw at $3.10 and South Korea at $3.40.

Japan should also win at $2.12 in their quarter-final against Egypt at $3.35, but in the other quarter-final we like the look of underdogs Senegal at $2.95 at Luxbet to beat Mexico at $2.35, with the draw at $3.10.

Team GB to win v South Korea in their men's semi-final at $2.12 at Luxbet
Senegal to win v Mexico in their men's semi-final at $2.95 at Luxbet

In the women's tournament, Great Britain have also emerged as genuine gold medal contenders in winning all three preliminary-round matches, with Arsenal Ladies star Steph Houghton becoming the toast of Britain by scoring in every match.

And after beating Brazil 1-0 in their final group game to top Group E ahead of Brazil, Great Britain are now the second favourites to win gold in the women's football tournament at Luxbet at $5, behind the all-conquering USA at $2.20.

Brazil are third favourites at $5.50 ahead of France at $7.50, Sweden at $13 and Canada at $21, with New Zealand the rank outsiders at $126.

The Football Ferns, who only scraped into the last eight as one of the two best-performed third-placed teams after beating Cameroon in their last match following losses to Brazil and Great Britain, now face Mission: Impossible in their quarter-final against the USA.

The reigning Olympic champions are $1.12 favourites at Luxbet to beat New Zealand at $17.

In the other quarter-final match-ups on Friday, Brazil are at $2.30 over Japan [$2.90], Great Britain are at 1.84 against Canada [$3.90] and France are at $1.95 against Sweden [$3.60].

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