FIS Ski Jumping World Cup – Ruka 2018 – Men

FIS Ski Jumping World Cup – Ruka 2018 – Event 1

With the first event of the season behind us, the athletes are traveling north to Finland, where they will measure against each other in Ruka, at Rukatunturi jumping hill. The first match of the season took place in Wisla, on Malinka hill where Klimov Evgeniy celebrated his first win of the season and the first World Cup win of his career. This Russian athlete was considered an underdog but proved his worth with an excellent performance. In the first run, Evgeniy finished his 1st jump with a127.5m and jumped 131.5m in the second jump which cemented his position in the 1st spot with 263.4 points. Stephan Leyhe, who ended 2nd was only 6th after the first jump with a 124.5m jump. However, he improved his jump in the second run, with 130.5m which brought him the 2nd spot, which is his career-best result up until now. Ryoyu Kobayashi ended the match with the furthest jump of 137.5m however his 2nd jump was only 127m. Still, he managed to finish at the 3rd spot only 0.3 points ahead of the favorite Kamil Stoch, which was a career-best result for him as well. The favorite to win the opening match in Wisla was no other than Kamil Stoch, but he severely underperformed in the 2nd run. After the first jump, he was in the 2nd spot (126.5m), but only managed to land at 127m in the second jump which saw him finishing at the bitter 4th spot.

As for the team event in Wisla, which took place on 17th of November, a day before individual jumps, we saw Poland winning their 1st event of the season in a nail-biting end. After the first 6 jumps, Poland was in a lead, which saw many people certain they are going to win. But that soon turned south after Dawid Kubacki jumped only 114.5m in his second jump, which saw Germany taking the lead after Leyhe 126m jump, which resulted in him getting over 20 points more than Kubacki. The event saved the best for last, with the deciding jump being between Richard Freitag and Kamil Stoch. Stoch landed at 129m, which put a lot of pressure on Freitag to snatch the lead back, but he failed to do so with a 123.5m jump. This meant Poland took back the lead they held for most of the event. Despite the loss, the German team performed very well. Sadly for them, the Polish team was better in the end and won their 1st event of the season.  Of course, we can’t forget to mention the 3rd placed Austria and their jumpers; Huber, Aigner, Kraft and Mayboeck. They performed well and were awarded the 3rd spot. The biggest disappointment of the event was Norway, who did not qualify for the finals. The disappointment was not the performance of their athletes, but rather the disqualification of Johansson Robert who wore the wrong suit.

Looking at the next event of Ski Jumping calendar, the athletes will compete in Ruka, more specifically at Rukatunturi ski jumping hill in Kuusamo on 24th of November and 25th of November. This jumping hill is the largest in Finland, with an official record of 148.5m by Eric Frenzel in 2010. Last year, we saw Jernej Damjan winning the event in Ruka, with Johann Andre Forfang in the 2nd place and Andreas Wellinger at 3rd.

Let’s take a look at bookmakers’ favorites in Ruka;

Athlete Pinnacle Odds Bet365 Odds Pinnacle Odds (vs the Field) Bet365 Odds – Top 3 
Kamil Stoch 4.17 5.00 1.204 2.75
Evgeniy Klimov 5.54 5.00 1.124 2.62
Stephan Leyhe 8.00 7.00 1.058 3.00
Ryoyu Kobayashi 8.00 7.00 1.058 3.00

Of course, we must start with Evgeniy Klimov, after a surprising win in Wisla all eyes are on him to see if he can repeat his success in Finland. He became the first Russian athlete to get a win in World Cup, which is a huge success for him and his country. As of now, there are 3 Russian athletes who finished on the podium more times than Evgeniy; Pavel Karelin (3), Denis Komilov (3) and Dimitry Vasiliev (12). Now, will he manage to win the second event of the season? To be fair the first events are almost always full of surprises, with underdogs performing well, whereas the favorites underperform. But this soon normalizes when we get further into the season. His morale is surely high after the win in Wisla, but only that is not enough for him to repeat his success. The competition is tough and after a disappointing performance from Kamil Stoch and others in Wisla, we expect them to fix the mistake and give their all to fix their impressions.

As mentioned, Kamil Stoch did not perform as he wanted in Wisla, with only a 4th spot finish due to bad jump in the 2nd run. With 31 individual World Cup wins in his career and with a win in overall standings last season, we expect more of him than 4th spot and he is well aware of that. With his 31 World Cup wins, he needs 2 more to join Weißflog at 5th spot of the most world cup wins of all time, and he will have a chance to do so in Ruka. Although Stock won 4 individual World Cup events in Finland, he has not yet won in Ruka, where his best result is the 4th place back in 2011. With a win here, he would become the first Polish ski jumper to win an individual World Cup event at a large hill in Ruka. He needs to fix his performance from Wisla so expect a good result from him in Ruka.

The 3rd spot in Wisla was a great start of the season for Ryoyu Kobayashi. This was his 1st podium finish in an individual World Cup event, which is a great accomplishment, however, he can make it even better with a podium finish in Ruka. If he finished in the top 3 in Finland, that would make him the first Japanese jumper to finish on the podium in the first 2 events of the season. What we expect of him is another great performance, which might not result in the podium finish, but not all good results mean getting a medal.

Richard Freitag, a German ski jumper with a total of 8 individual wins in his career and a 9th spot finish in the Olympic games (both normal and large hill). He has finished 2nd in the overall standings last year, 373 points behind Kamil Stoch, who dominated the season with his performances. Freitag, despite his admirable performance last year finished only 22nd in Wisla with 233.1 points, which was a disappointing result for him, nonetheless, he performed well in the team event, which saw Germany finishing 2nd. Looking at the next event in Ruka, I feel like the odds offered are too high on Freitag. Yes, he did severely underperform in Wisla, but odds of 7.00 for a podium finish are just too high for us to pass on. If Freitag can perform on the level he is capable of a top 3 finish is highly likely and that’s why we see good value in this bet.

Stefan Kraft, an Overall winner in 2016/17, 4th place in last season and a total of 12 individual wins in his career are some of his accomplishments, which put him among the best ski jumpers in this decade. Much like Freitag, Stefan Kraft did not perform on the level we expected of him in Wisla. He finished 21st with 237.8 points, far behind the top 3 athletes. However, much like in the case of Freitag, the odds for Kraft to finish in the top 3 are too high. From the odds offered by bookmakers, it seems they expect the 2nd event going just like the 1st went, which in most cases is not true. Kraft is more than capable of finishing in the top 3 and at odds of 7.00 we will take our chances.

In the upcoming event, we can see Stoch performing on the level he is capable of. In fact, he needs to do so after 4th place in Wisla. I would be surprised if he does not finish in the top 3, despite the fact he has yet won on this hill. As for the previous winner, Klimov, he did perform exceptionally well, but we don’t feel like he will be capable of doing so again. The competition is fierce and with some of the best ski jumpers underperforming in Wisla, they will “step up their game” and fix their poor impression from the first event. In addition, odds offered on Klimov are just too low for us to consider betting on him.

Market – Event 1 Prediction Pinnacle Odds Bet 365 Odds Stake Won / Lost
Outright Kamil Stoch 4.17 5.00  1 Unit Lost
Podium Finish Kamil Stoch / 2.75  2 Units Won
Podium Finish Richard Freitag / 7.00  1 Unit Lost
Podium Finish Stefan Kraft / 7.00  1 Unit Lost
H2H (Kamil Stoch v Robert Johansson) Kamil Stoch 1.591 1.57  2 Units Won
H2H (Evgeniy Klimov v Ryoyu Kobayashi) Ryoyu Kobayashi 2.270 2.25  2 Units Won

Nonetheless, it should be an interesting event to watch. We will see Stoch and Kobayashi on the verge of achieving a historic result and of course, we all wait to see if Klimov can repeat his success.

We will post predictions for the second event shortly after the first one.