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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Walther can target gold in competitive four-man event

Home crew are the wildcard in a fascinating battle

Nico Walther celebrates after wining the BMW IBSF World Cup 4-man Bobsleigh in Koenigssee
1 of 1

BBC and Eurosport
Four-man bob starts 12.30am Saturday
Men's curling gold-medal game 6.35am Saturday
Women's curling semi-finals from 11.05am Friday

It's 10-1 bar the three German crews in the Winter Olympics four-man bob but choosing between them is not easy - and nor can the rest of the field be dismissed.

The training runs at the Olympic Sliding Centre posed more questions than they answered.

Germany's Nico Walther was fastest on the first two runs but just off the pace in the third and fourth. World Cup winner Johannes Lochner was not fastest on any of the first four runs, while the big improver was Francesco Friedrich, who went seventh, sixth, third and first in the first four training runs.

Friedrich's spirits will be even higher after he shared the gold medal with Canada's Justin Kripps in the two-man event, a ridiculously close competition in which Walther missed the medals in fourth despite being just 0.20 seconds behind and Lochner was fifth 0.28secs away from the golden duos.

The other driver on the two-man podium, Latvia's Oskars Melbardis cannot be ruled out either.

Walther's consistency could make his crew the value bet. They were coming on strong in the final World Cup races, winning two of the last three events and being disqualified from the other for an underweight sled.

The wildcard in what should be a great battle is home hope Yun-Jong Won, who competed in only two World Cup races but showed up well in training and looks a danger to all.

The United States upset Canada, who had won the last three men's curling golds, in the semi-finals but they can't be fancied to do the same to Sweden in the final.

The Swedes are hot favourites after winning the team's round-robin meeting 10-4 and dispatching Switzerland (conquerors of Team GB in a playoff) 9-3 in their semi-final. The Swedes topped the group-stage tables with seven wins and can stop the Americans' golden run.

In Friday's women's semi-finals Great Britain face a tough test against Sweden, who beat them 8-6 in the round-robin matches.

South Korea meet Japan in the other semi-final and are a short price after winning eight of their nine group games. Their sole defeat was against Japan, but the Japanese lost to four other teams and only scraped into the last four.

N Walther Four-man bob
1pt 5-2 bet365

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Walther's consistency could make his crew the value bet
E.W. Terms
Sky bet