After the first race of the season in Sölden being canceled due to bad weather, men alpine skiers will start off their season in Levi, Finland on 18th November 2018 with a Slalom race.
We have talked about the venue in Levi in our previous preview (Women’s Slalom – Levi 2018), so we will keep this one short and focus on the athletes who will compete and our thoughts on how well they perform. You can also check out our season preview.
Let’s take a look at bookmakers’ favorites at Men’s Slalom race in Levi.
|Athlete||Pinnacle Odds||Bet365 Odds||Pinnacle Odds (vs the Field)|
Last year’s Overall, Giant Slalom and Slalom champion Marcel Hirscher is coming back into this season hoping to extend his spectacular run with 7 consecutive Overall crystal globes. This is already an all-time record for both men and women and I wouldn’t’ be surprised if he extended it to 8. Looking at the total number of crystal globes, he has 17, which is 3 less than Lindsey Vonn who is currently holding a record with 20 crystal globes. Last season, Marcel Hirscher won 7/9 slalom races in the World Cup, with only 2 exceptions being the 2nd place in Kitzbüehl and the 17th spot in Levi. Despite his poor performance here last year, he is eyeing a record 3rd win in Levi, if he manages to do so on 18th November. This could make him the first man to win 3 World Cup races in Levi after 2013 and 2016. In addition to that, Hirscher is holding a record of 4 podium finishes in Levi (4).
Finishing 2nd in Overall standings last year, 2nd in Giant Slalom and 2nd in Slalom (all behind only Marcel Hirscher), Henrik Kristoffersen is the only men in last season to finish on the podium in all 9 slalom races. Out of those 9, he only won once, in Kitzbüehl, finished 2nd 5 times and 3rd 3 times. With 9 consecutive podium finishes, another one in Levi would make him the 6th man in history to achieve 10 consecutive podium finishes. As of now, Kristoffersen has a total of 15 World Cup slalom wins, if he manages to add another one in Levi, it would tie him with Marc Giradelli on 4th place all-time among men.
Andre Myhrer finished 3rd in Slalom last year and a gold medal at the Olympic games in slalom. Out of his 8, World Cup wins, 7 of them came from Slalom discipline, with his last win achieved on 19th of March 2017. With his age of 35 years and 311 days on the day of the race, Myhrer could become the oldest racer to step on World Cup slalom podium, however, the competition is fierce and it will be a tough job to do so. As for his performances in Levi, Myhrer won here once in 2012 but failed to achieve podium ever since.
Felix Neureuther won the last year’s race in Levi but missed all other races due to a knee injury. The win in Levi could make him the 1st man to win 2 consecutive races in Levi, in addition, to be one of the 3 men with multiple wins at this venue; Marcel Hirscher (2) and Jean-Baptiste Grange (2). In total, Felix has won 11 slalom races, which is only 2 shy of 9th position in all-time among men. In addition, he has a total of 37 podium finishes in his career which is 7th most among men. In his career he has won 3 teams Olympic gold medals, has 13 World Cup wins. As for his best result in the World Cup, Neureuther has finished 4th overall on 2 occasions and 2nd in Slalom in 2013-2015, with 3rd place in 2016. After an injury that he suffered last year, which saw him missing the whole season, he got ready for this season, only to break and dislocate his thumb, which means he won’t be participating in Slalom race in Levi.
|Market||Prediction||Odds||Stake||Won / Lost|
|Outright||Marcel Hirscher||1.869 Pinnacle||3 Units||Won|
With all the exceptional athletes, there is one that stands out, Marcel Hirscher. He has won Overall standings, Giant Slalom, and Slalom globes last year, all with a big lead in front of lower placed racers. We rarely bet on favorites to win the first race of the season, but in this case, he is on another level compared to other athletes.