The Olympic curling pool is here: Place your bets!

Rob Jefferies

Beginning Monday, the curling preliminaries begin, and we are creating a pool so that we can determine the greatest curling prognosticator in the known universe. (Curling does not exist on any other planet. Many of them do not even have trees.)

But what the hell is curling? It's actually really easy to pick up the basics of it. Do you need to know anything about the sport to participate in this pool? Heck no. I went ahead and seeded every team in the Olympics based on their world ranking, so you can get a sense for how they compare, NCAA-tourney style.

There are 10 men's teams competing this year, and by seed they rank as follows:

1. Canada
2. Great Britain
3. Sweden
4. Norway
5. Switzerland
6. Denmark
7. China
8. USA
9. Germany
10. Russia

The Olympic format works like this: they will go through a round-robin preliminary, and once those are finished the top four teams advance to the semifinals, which then set the gold- and bronze-medal matches. Straightforward, but way too many matches for our purposes. So I'm going to pick five per day, including every match the US plays on a given day, and you just gotta make a straight-up pick. We are going to start officially with the matches on Wednesday.

The scoring for the pool will work like this:

If you correctly pick the winner, and that team was the favorite (by seed), you get two points.

If you correctly pick the winner, and that team was the underdog ranked 1-4 spots lower than the favorite, you get three points.

If you correctly pick the winner, and that team was the underdog, ranked five spots or more lower than the favorite, you get five points.

Here's our first batch of games:

Day 3: Feb. 12

(6) Denmark vs. (8) USA

(1) Canada vs. (10) Russia

(3) Sweden vs. (6) Denmark

(5) Switzerland vs. (7) China

(2) Great Britain vs. (5) Switzerland

Say you pick any of the teams on the left and they win--that's two points for you in each case. Pick Russia over Canada and Russia wins--that's five for you. Pick any of the other four underdogs and they win--it's three points for you. We will continue this way until the semifinal round.

So please submit your picks for those five games in the comments. The deadline is 11:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.

To be clear, I'm going to limit this to the men's side. I wanted to include the ladies, but they operate by the exact same format, and it's just too much. Not too much curling in general, mind you, just an overwhelming amount for this pool.

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