November is here and with Halloween behind us, the next big thing to wait for is Christmas and of course the winter season. Some of you wait all year round for the first snowflake to fall down from the sky, and you watch as it slowly covers the hills with snow and before you know it, the ski resorts open their ski slopes to the public. I, on the other hand, do not enjoy the winter and the snow, it’s cold, it’s wet and the worst part is shoveling the snow every day, just so you can get the car from the driveway. However, there is one thing I look forward, and it’s not the Christmas songs that play on repeat in every store you visit, neither is it all the shopping that “needs” to be done, it’s the start of winter sports season. And out of all the sports, my favorite; Ski Jumping.
Ski jumping as a winter sport constitutes the traditional group of Nordic skiing disciplines. it saw its beginnings in the 19th century in Norway, although there are pieces of evidence of ski jumping from the late 18th century. Either way, you look at it, the ski jumping sport is old and it has evolved throughout the centuries to reach the level we are at now. We won’t go into how it developed in rules and styles, as I don’t find it necessary for this article, however, we will skip 200 years and jump right into the season ahead of us, the 2018/19 season of Ski jumping.
The 2018/19 World Cup season will be the 22nd official season in ski jumping for men and 8th for women. The season will start on 17th October in Wisla for men and in Lillehammer for women. On the other hand, the season will end on 24th March in Planica for men and in Chaykovsky for women.
In between the World Cup season, we will also see FIS Nordic World Ski Championship, which will start on February 20th and last till March the 3rd. Because we will only cover Men’s events this season, I will only focus on their part of the journey for this season and last season. Looking back at last season, it has started in Wisla on 19th of November and ended in Planica on 25th March. In total, we saw 22 individual competitions and 8 team competitions for men. 2017/18 was the first season that saw a new competition being implemented; Planica7. It took place from 22-25 March 2018 in Planica. It lasted 4 days without breaks and it had 4 events; qualification round, 2 individual events, and 1 team event.
The final results were as follows:
Match / Season Preview
As mentioned before, men’s season will start in Wisla, Poland, more specifically on the Malinka ski jumping hill. This will be the 2nd season in a row when we will see the opening match of the season on Malinka ski jumping hill. This venue also serves as a regular “World Cup stop” since 2013, so it’s well known by the athletes.
The Malinka hill has opened back in 1933, with a total of 3 renovations up until now (1954, 1970, 2004-2008). As of now, the hill is 134m tall, with the K-point at 120m. Current record holder at this hill is Stefan Kraft with 139m, with Slovenian jumper Peter Prevc holding the unofficial record with 140.5m, which did not count as a result of him touching the ground as he landed.
There were some concerns prior to the season starting, due to very mild temperatures in Poland, but the organizers did a good job and got the HS 134 hill ready for the opening match of the season. With the hill ready, we can expect the official training and qualifications to take place on Friday at 4 pm CET and 6 pm CET.
As for the athletes, the 1st event of the season is always an interesting one to watch, because nobody knows how will athletes stack against each other. The not-knowing just makes the opening event that much more exciting; “will the usual suspects like Richard Freitag, Andreas Wellinger, Kamil Stoch, Daniel-Andre Tande come out on top, or will we see an underdog surprising us all and achieve greatness?”. Well, it’s something we will have to wait and find out.
Let’s take a look at bookmakers’ favorites at Wisla;
|Athlete||Pinnacle Odds||Bet365 Odds||Pinnacle Odds (vs the Field)||Bet365 Odds – Top 3|
As we can see Kamil Stoch is considered a favorite to win the opening race and he pretty much has a decent chance to do it but considering this is a first match of the season, I would rather look elsewhere. Johansson is priced around 5.00, to low for me to recommend a bet on, while Kraft at 7.15 has a decent chance to surprise. Looking at the others, Freitag, Tande and Forfang will all fancy their chances. Let’s look at some of the athletes we will see this season.
Kamil Stoch was crowned the champion at the end of the season with 1443 points, a total of 373 ahead of 2nd placed Richard Freitag. This marked the 2nd time in his career that he has won the World Cup, after his 1st win in 2013/14 season. In addition to winning the Overall standing, he was also 1st in Four Hills Tournament, Raw Air, Willingen Five and Planica 7. Looking at his Olympic Games performances, Stoch won his 3rd individual gold medal in Pyeongchang alongside a bronze medal in team competition. Due to his spectacular performances in 2017/18 season, it’s no surprise he was also awarded the title of “Nordic Ski King” by The Forum Nordicum. With a total of 31 World Cup wins (9 last season), he is currently at the 6th spot looking at all-time world cup wins. If he manages to repeat his success from last season, he would rise up to 3rd spot with 40 wins, however, he would still be a long way from the record holder Gregor Schlierenzauer, who has a total of 53 wins under his belt.
Richard Freitag has ended his last season (2017/18) in the 2nd place, 373 points behind Stoch. This year, he will hope to win the Overall title, which just slipped from him last season. If he manages to do so, he will be the 4th German who win the Overall title. Up until now only Jens Weissflog, Martin Schmitt and Severin Freund managed to do so. Will he do it? Hard to say.. he was in a close race with Stoch last winter, but in the end, the Polish ski jumper was the one celebrating, with plenty of points to spare. Freitag is without the doubt an excellent ski jumper and is once again expected to be a strong competitor for the top spots.
After a great season in 2016/17, when Stefan Kraft finished 1st in Overall standings, he only managed to finished 4th last year. He simply couldn’t win as he did not claim a single victory last winter, he did, however, end on the podium 8 times, but that was not nearly enough for an overall title. The 4th place is still a decent result, however, he is capable of winning the title once more. Just like for Freitag, another Overall title would be historic, as it would mean he would join 4 other Austrian jumpers who won the title more than once. Those names include; Andreas Goldberger (3 titles), Thomas Morgenstern (2 titles), Armin Kogler (2 titles) and Gregor Schlierenzauer (2 titles).
Looking at the upcoming season, we are happy to announce we will be able to watch one of the best Norwegian Ski Jumpers, the 24-year-old Daniel-Andre Tande. After major health problems and illness, during this spring, he is back in training and is looking ready to step into the season with high goals in mind. He stated: “We are hoping that these breaks will not be affecting the winter season. I will not worry about it too much and I’m looking forward to the season opener in Wisla. I don’t expect too much of myself but I’m happy that I can compete again. My last competition was the World Cup final in Planica in March” From his training, he is doing well, if we take into consideration, he missed a lot of practice due to illness. However, he does not seem worried about it. Not only that, but he has already set his goals for this season. His goal is to win the 4-Hills Tournament as well as of course the Overall title. As much as I respect his confidence, and although he has been training well, I would not recommend betting on him to win, that is at least in the opening event. The lack of training compared to other athletes, and the illness is expected to have some effect on him and his performances. Still, I do see him finishing at a respectable position, but I would not be comfortable saying it will be the 1st place.
Robert Johansson, also known as “The Flying Mustache” is another great Norwegian ski jumper, who is much like Tande considered one of the best from his country. With a 5th Overall finish last season and 3 Olympic gold medals around his neck it’s hard to say he is not a strong contender for a good finish this season. Now how do we think he will perform in Wisla? Despite the fact he is an excellent athlete, there are other excellent athletes, who are arguably better. So we must look at the odds offered by bookmakers. Pinnacle is offering 5.00 on Robert Johansson to win, which in our opinion is not enough for us to consider betting on him. This might offend some Norwegian readers, but he does seem a bit overhyped, as he is valued much higher than what he has shown. Of course, he just might win in Wisla and prove me wrong, but as mentioned, the offered odds are not interesting enough for us to bet on him to win.
Kilian Pier, a new name in Ski jumping, who has shown a lot of potential this summer. This Swiss ski jumper has achieved the 3rd place in the Grand Prix in Hinterzarten, 2nd in Hinzerbach and 6th Overall place in FIS Grand Prix 2018. From what we have seen from him, he just might be a contender for top results this season if he can keep his excellent form. This 23-year-old Swiss has already achieved a 17th place in World Cup, but there is no denying he has drastically improved during summer. His self- confidence grew and with it, his performances. He is surely one to watch. If he can continue with his great performances he showed during summer I would be surprised if he will not finish this season in the top 10.
Peter Prevc, an exceptional talent from Slovenia and an unofficial record holder in Wisla, who has had a perfect season in 2015/16, winning everything. And by everything I mean Overall standings, Four Hills Tournament and Ski Flying standings. Sadly his country, Slovenia ended 2nd in Nations Cup, but nonetheless, he was a class above all other athletes, winning overall standings with 813 points above 2nd placed Severin Freud. Despite his exceptional performance in 2015/16, the next seasons were not nearly as good. In 2016/17 he finished 9th in Overall standings and only 15th in 2017/18. He is currently recovering from a surgery of his ankle which he sprained several times. The surgery was needed to return his mobility, which just might be a reason for his bad performance last year. I say “might” because he refused to blame his ankle for the results after asked if his ankle affected his performance he stated; “I can’t really answer that. I don’t think that it can serve as an excuse for my bad results last year”. When will we see him compete is still a mystery, as he does not want to rush it and risk another injury, but one thing is for sure, he won’t be seen competing in Wisla.
Severin Freund, an exceptional ski jumper, with 1 overall title in 2014/15, 2nd place in 2015/16 and 3rd overall place in 2013/14 as well as 22 individual wins and an Olympic gold medal is back to compete after his long absence from jumping hills. However, just like Peter Prevc, we won’t be able to see Severin Freund competing in the opening event in Wisla, as he is also recovering from the injury he suffered in 2017. During training in Oberstdorf in 2017, Freund suffered his second cruciate ligament rupture, and because the nature of the injury, he missed the entire Olympic season. But now it’s time for this German athlete to come back. Although he won’t compete in Wisla, he is expected to do so on 24th November, and we eagerly await for him to show us what is he capable of.
It is the first match of the season, so betting on favorites is not recommended. That is why we will not predict Kamil Stoch to win (odds: 3.00). He just might win in Wisla, and I wouldn’t be surprised, but the odds offered are not enough for us to take. Numerous times an underdog won the first event, and we won’t like risking it here, so steer clear of betting on favorites in the first match of the season. We will, however, focus on Top 3 finish and H2H bets for the opening event in Wisla.
|Market||Prediction||Odds||Stake||Won / Lost|
|Podium Finish||Richard Freitag||4.00 Bet365||1 Unit||Lost|
|Podium Finish||Daniel Andre Tande||4.00 Bet365||1 Unit||Lost|
|Podium Finish – No||Robert Johansson||1.90 Bet365||1 Unit||Won|
|H2H (Robert Johansson v Richard Freitag)||Richard Freitag||2.81 Pinnacle||2 Units||Lost|
|H2H (Daniel Andre Tande vb Johan Andre Forfang)||Daniel Andre Tande||1.83 Pinnacle||2 Units||Lost|
|H2H (Evgeniy Klimov v Daniel Huber)||Daniel Huber||1.83 Bet365||2 Units||Lost|
It would be fair to say the upcoming Ski Jumping season will be an exceptional one with a lot to offer. We will see the best athletes competing for the title, and with such a fierce competition we, the spectators surely won’t be left indifferent. The return of Severin Freund, surgery of Peter Prevc, which could bring him back to former glory from 2015/16 and of course the anticipation of how will Kilian Peter perform after his great summer results are only a few things to look forward to this year.
Prediction for the upcoming Team event will be added on 16.11. and will be available to premium members only. You can expect more detailed previews when the season progress.
Team Event Predictions
|Market||Prediction||Odds||Stake||Won / Lost|
|Outright||Norway||3.50 Pinnacle||1 Unit||Lost|
|Outright||Poland||4.00 Bet365||1 Unit||Won|
|H2H (Germany vs The Field)||The Field||1.80 Bet365||2 Units||Won|
|H2H (Austria vs Japan)||Austria||1.746 Pinnacle||2 Units||Won|