The United States has never won a gold medal in Olympic women’s volleyball, but oddsmakers are giving the Americans a fighting chance of unseating defending champion China at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Olympic women’s volleyball odds
The United States is aiming for gold in women’s volleyball, but China is favored heading into the Tokyo Olympics. (Image: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty)

Those two teams lead a group of five teams that are likely to fight for the medals in the women’s volleyball tournament.

Americans look to make up for Rio disappointment

China defeated Serbia in the final of the 2016 Olympic Games, while the United States took the bronze medals that year. FanDuel Sportsbook rates China as the +200 pick to repeat that performance again in Tokyo.

The Americans believe that they could have won gold in 2016. After a disappointing loss to Serbia in the semifinals, they rebounded to beat the Netherlands and ensure they at least ended up on the podium. But Team USA wants more this year, and sees gold as a realistic prospect.

“A gold medal is a goal and something that we’ve never done before as the United States indoor women’s volleyball team,” three-time Team USA Olympian Jordan Larson told the Associated Press. “So we talk about it but at the end of the day, the conversations that we’re having as a team is how can we make each other better and have those small things lead to good volleyball.”

With several players returning from the 2016 squad, the United States comes in as the +240 second choice to win gold. With China and the USA starting in the same round-robin pool, their group stage game could prove to be a preview of the women’s volleyball gold medal match. The Americans have proven that they can play with everyone, having won three straight Volleyball Nations League titles.

Plenty of depth in women’s volleyball tournament

China and the United States have other teams to worry about as well. Italy (+430) enters as the third favorite, having reached the final of the 2018 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship. Then there’s the defending world champion Serbia (+500), who also won silver in the 2016 Olympics. And it would be foolish to count out traditional powerhouse Brazil (+750), who won gold in both the 2012 and 2016 Summer Games, and who finished second to the United States in the last two Nations League competitions.

There’s a severe drop off in the odds after that group of five, as those teams figure to be the medal contenders in Tokyo. But other teams have been making noise in women’s volleyball in recent years, and could potentially make a run for the podium over the next two weeks.

Olympic Women’s Volleyball Odds – To Win Gold (via FanDuel Sportsbook)
China: +200 USA: +240
Italy: +430 Serbia: +500
Brazil: +750 Japan: +2500
Turkey: +2900 Russian Olympic Committee: +3400
Argentina: +10000 Kenya: +10000
South Korea: +10000 Dominican Republic: +10000

Oddsmakers are showing some respect to the host nation, as Japan (+2500) won bronze in 2012 and reached the final four of the 2021 Nations League. Bettors looking to back a dark horse might be more interesting in Turkey (+2900), however.

Turkey took silver in the 2018 Nations League and bronze in 2021, and finished fourth in 2019. That makes the Turks one of the most successful squads in international women’s volleyball in recent years.

The women’s volleyball tournament begins on July 24, and wraps up on Aug. 7 with the gold and bronze medal games.