Women’s Alpine Skiing – 2020/21 Season Betting Preview
The 2020/21 season of FIS Alpine Ski World Cup will launch this Sunday, October 18, with a Giant Slalom race at Sölden, which will mark the beginning of the 55th consecutive year of FIS World Cup. The new season, however, will start with many mysteries, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which not only put a question mark above the how the season will play out but also the fitness of skiers.
The main question everyone is asking, however, is whether Mikaela Shiffrin can compete for medals once more after her back injury and the family tragedy and how the new-look German squad will look without Viktoria Rebensburg. As we look ahead of the next season, there are definitely a lot of questions, at least one of which we will get an answer to this weekend in the opening race of the season.
As it was the case with every season since 2006, the 2019/20 Women’s FIS Alpine Ski World Cup began in Sölden, Austria and was planned to culminate with a four-day race in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic spoiled the organiser’s plans and ushered in an early end of the season on February 29 with a Super Grand Slalom race in La Thuile, Italy.
The premature end of the season allowed Federica Brignone to claim a title of World Champion by finishing 153 points ahead of Mikaela Shiffrin on the overall standings. Brignone also pocketed gold medals in Alpine Combined and Giant Slalom, as well a silver medal in Super G and bronze medals in both Parallel and Downhill.
Corinne Suter shone brightly in both Downhill and Super G, yet struggled to deliver in other disciplines, which eventually saw her finish fourth overall and well below the overall bronze-medallist Petra Vlhová. The Swiss skier locked in gold in Slalom and Parallel, as well as silver from Giant Slalom.
The main favourite to claim the World Cup title, Mihaela Shiffrin, however, did not win a single discipline and had to settle for fifth in Downhill, third in Giant Slalom, and second in Slalom. Much of her struggles came as a result of her inconsistent performances in more technical races for the first half of the season, where she won the first three slalom races, but struggled to deliver in the succeeding races and eventually placed runner-up to Vlhova.
This begs the question: Can Shiffrin improve upon her showings and prove once more why she is regarded as one of the best skiers in the world, or will history repeat itself and possibly usher in premature retirement of the three-time world champion?
Changes in 2020/21 season
Even though we can’t know for sure what awaits us this season, it’s more than fair to say it will be a lot different from the previous one. With huge moves in the German camp, the return of Shiffrin, the changed format and the uncertainty of the COVD-19 pandemic and its effect on the competition, the 2020/21 season of FIS Alpine Ski World Cup just might turn out to be the most turbulent to date.
COVID-19 pandemic already affected all elements of our everyday life and the upcoming FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season is no exception. The organisers are promising needed measures will be in place to make the competitions as safe as possible for both the competitors and team members, however, there is always a chance whole events might get cancelled.
As of today, the North American races, scheduled for November were already cancelled to prevent unnecessary travelling. While a very disheartening decision, it likely won’t be the only calendar change of the season.
Besides the cancellation of both USA and Canadian races, the 2020/21 season will also see some modifications to the calendar to separate women and men races, as well as technical and speed skiers as much as possible. This also means that the “all-round” skiers will have to carefully decide which races to attend, one of which being Shiffrin, who is expected to launch an attack on her fourth title.
Viktoria Rebensburg’s retirement
With Viktoria Rebensburg’s retirement, the German Ski Association (DSV) opted to field a small and fairly unexperienced squad to represent their nation. For the opening race in Sölden, Austria, Germany will field Lena Dürr, Andrea Filser, Jessica Hilzinger and the youngest of the four – Lisa Loipetssperger, who celebrated only her 20th birthday in April.
Rebensburg’s decision to retire came as quite a shock, however, she explained that her performances in training showed she could not reach her past top form when she won two bronze medals on overall standings in 2016 and 2018. Last season, Rebensburg finished in ninth place on overall standings with a 10th place finish in Giant Slalom, ninth in Super G and 10th in Downhill.
As a three-time World Cup winner in the Giant Slalom and a holder of 19 World Cup race victories, Rebensburg has been Germany’s most successful alpine skier since the retirement of three-time Olympic champion Maria Hoefl-Riesch in 2014. Now, she will get to follow the World Cup from the sidelines, watching the development of the younger generation.
The main three names that are brought up in talks about the next Women’s Alpine Skiing World Champion are Mikaela Shiffrin, Petra Vlhova and Federica Brignone, who are priced at 1.512, 5.03 and 9.97 on Pinnacle. Bet365 is as of October 16, offering better odds on both Shiffrin (1.53) and Vlhova (6.50), but has Brignone priced at only 7.00.
To see those three names with the shortest odds should not be a shock to anyone who was watching the competition last year, since they were by far the most successful women skiers in the field. Brignone won the overall rankings with 1378 points, followed by Shiffrin with 1225 and Vlhova in third with 1189. The closest to the top three was Suter with 837 points, which translates to a 352 point deficit behind Vlhova.
Even though she is not viewed as one of the main favourites to go the distance, we have to mention Marta Bassino. The 24-year-old Italian skier had a breakthrough season last year when she managed a fairly impressive fourth-place in Giant Slalom and sixth in combined discipline, which helped her lock in fifth-place on the overall standings.
The 2019/20 season marked Bassino’s by far the most successful year in her five-year-long career. Her previous best season in 2017 when she claimed 18th in the overall standings and sixth in Giant Slalom.
The field is undoubtedly very stacked for the upcoming season, and while there is definitely a chance either of the three favourites can win, all the spotlight will be on the American superstar.
Last season was quite a chaotic one for Shiffrin, whose dream of winning another title got spoiled by the death of her grandmother in November as well as her father in January, which took quite a toll on her and effectively her performances. Still, we cannot ignore that in her top form, Shiffrin is nearly unbeatable and even when she has an off-day, Shiffrin is arguably better than most of the skiers on the circuit.
Ahead of this season, Shiffrin had limited training time as USA struggles with COVID-19 and while she travelled to Europe ahead of time to compete in Sölden, she eventually decided to skip the race and move back to America after suffering a back injury. With all the question marks around Shiffrin, it may seem like this is a perfect time to oppose her and we see no reason why she should be priced the same as last year.
Market: Mikaela Shiffrin vs The Field
Prediction: The Field, 2.59 at Pinnacle
With that, we conclude our brief preview of the Women’s 2020/21 Alpine Skiing World Cup season. We will continue following the season as it unfolds and provide betting previews for women’s races with free betting tips. We will send out a preview for Sölden soon, so check back with us soon for free betting tips!