Hungary will attempt to collect its 10th gold medal in men’s water polo, but will face plenty of competition in the pool at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Hungary last won gold in 2008, the last of three consecutive Olympic victories for the country’s water polo team.
Varga leads Hungary into Tokyo
Hungary hasn’t reached the semifinals since that point, but the country hasn’t exactly fallen off the international water polo scene. The Hungarians finished fourth at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships and took gold in the 2020 European Championships.
Led by captain Denes Varga, Hungary comes into the Tokyo Olympics as the +220 favorite to win gold in men’s water polo, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. But several European rivals are right on its heels heading into the Summer Games.
Serbia (+380) won gold in Rio in 2016, and has every expectation of competing for the top spot again. The Serbs haven’t put up big results in recent competitions – they finished fifth at the 2020 European Championships – but they have enjoyed extensive Olympic success. They’ve medaled in each of the last three Games; that streak goes back further if you include the silver medal Serbia and Montenegro won in 2004, and Yugoslavia’s bronze medal from 2000.
Italy (+470) comes in as the third choice to win gold. Italy won the men’s water polo tournament at the 2019 World Aquatics Championships and took home medals in the past two Olympic competitions – bronze in 2016 and silver in 2012.
Meanwhile, 2012 gold medalists Croatia (+500) and 2019 World Aquatics Championships runner-up, Spain (+600), also hold realistic chances of going all the way. Bettors should also keep an eye on Montenegro (+850), which has finished fourth in each of the last three Summer Olympics.
USA men’s water polo takes youth over experience
Those six squads figure to be the primary medal contenders in men’s water polo. But those looking for an outsider to compete for the podium could consider either Greece (+2200) or the United States (+2900). Team USA is bringing a young, relatively inexperienced team to Tokyo as it looks to improve on a 10th-place finish in Rio. The Americans did show some promise in the 2020 World League Super Final, beating Italy in the semifinals before losing 9-8 to Montenegro in the final.
|Olympic Men’s Water Polo Odds – To Win Gold (via FanDuel Sportsbook)|
|Hungary: +220||Serbia: +380|
|Italy: +470||Croatia: +500|
|Spain: +600||Montenegro: +850|
|Greece: +2200||USA: +2900|
|Australia: +6500||South Africa: +10000|
|Japan: +10000||Kazakhstan: +10000|
Australia (+6500) comes in as a long shot, but could be capable of pulling off an upset or two along the way. South Africa (+10000), Japan (+10000), and Kazakhstan (+10000) round out the field.
The men’s water polo competition begins on July 25. The 12 teams will play in two, six-team round-robin pools, with the top four from each group advancing to the knockout rounds. The final two teams will compete for the gold medals on Aug. 8.