Pearson heads the top five athletics best bets for the Olympics

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Some 47 gold medals are up for grabs just in athletics at the Olympic Games in London, with Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis expected to lead the British assault.

However, they do not look among the top five best bets for victory, with some better value found elsewhere.

Sally Pearson to win the women’s 100m hurdles @ 4/7

Pearson would be far shorter had she not been somewhat surprisingly beaten at a recent Diamond League meeting in London by American Kellie Wells.

This was her first defeat of the year, but can be excused as she was suffering from a back complaint after a stumble in the warm up.

Despite this, the Australian was only marginally beaten and she comfortably has the fastest time in the world this year from a run in Paris.

She still looks one of the biggest bankers of the Olympic athletics.

LaShawn Merritt to win the men’s 400m @ 1/1

World champion Kirani James looks short of his best this season and appears the only other runner capable of getting close to the 44.00secs barrier at present.

Merritt pulled up midway through the most recent Diamond League meeting in Monaco, but he insists that this was just a precaution.

He looked in fine form at the US Trials and a repeat of this run will make him tough to beat.

Yelena Isinbayeva to win the women’s pole vault @ 7/4

There are rumours that Isinbayeva is contemplating retirement after London and if this is true, this will only enhance her determination for a third Olympic gold.

She did register three failures at her opening height in Monaco, but she was entering the competition in the latter stages and may opt to begin earlier for a better warm up in London.

If she does find her rhythm, she will win comfortably.

Fantu Magiso to win women’s 800m @ 5/2

Magiso has made great strides this year to set a new Ethiopian national record and will be especially dangerous if the race is tactical and slow for the opening lap.

Kenya’s Pamela Jelimo seems capable of going quicker, but may be reluctant to go hard early on in case she overcooks it.

If Jelimo paces it right and goes hard from the gun, this will make it tougher for Magiso, but the consensus is that they will go slightly slower to set it up for her better finish.

Mitchell Watt to win the men’s long jump @ 11/4

With the long jump being such a technical event, more than most other events it will come down to who gets things right on the day.

Watt has been the most consistent in this season’s Diamond League and is one of few capable of jumping further than the world lead this year of 8.35m from Britain’s Greg Rutherford.

He is also almost guaranteed to jump a minimum of 8.20m, which is something that does not apply to many other competitors.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.