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The 2020 Tokyo Olympics head into their first full weekend of the global event as sports fans and bettors are dealing with an overload of international competition. The 13-hour time difference is tough to get used to it, but for those that have tuned in, they haven’t been disappointed.
Today, we have a pair of Over plays that will hopefully kick off the weekend on the right note. We’re looking for some runs in the USA men’s baseball opener on Friday morning and also expecting goals in the pool as the Americans take on Hungary in men’s water polo action early Saturday morning/Friday night.
The USA men’s baseball team will begin its quest for gold on Friday morning versus Israel. Israel dropped its opener, 5-4, to South Korea yesterday in an extra-inning walk-off victory for the heavily favored Koreans. The Americans are led by two-time MLB All-Star Todd Frazier as well as a collection of Double-A, Triple-A and NPB players. They are coached by former Angel's skipper Mike Scioscia.
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Israel proved it can hit as the South Koreans are sporting a team full of professional players from the country’s best league, the KBO. The Israelis blasted three bombs and nearly walked away with the big upset. However, they used six pitchers in the 10-inning contest and their best reliever and former Astro, Josh Zeid, tossed two-plus innings and will likely be unavailable for the quick turnaround. The USA could see Israel's second-tie relievers Friday at 6 AM ET.
Israel proved it can handle the stick but also showed its weakness in pitching as South Korea finished with six runs on 11 hits and six walks. The USA scored 29 runs in its four qualifying games and comes into the match as -370 favorites on PointsBet. With a team total of 5.5 paying -135, the books are expecting the Americans to score in this one.
The USA will start right-hander Joe Ryan in the opener while Israel will counter with Joey Wagman. Ryan owns a 3.63 ERA in Triple-A this season over 11 starts and has pitched more than five innings just once this year as his high K/9 rate runs his pitch count up. Wagman played in the Czech Baseball Extraliga this year and is currently a free agent.
The Americans should get on the board early and often while Israel has a chance to get to the American bullpen as the US is still trying to figure out its best options.
We’d love this total at 9, but at even-money for the 9.5, we aren’t complaining either. The runs may come later in the game and with Israel being the home team, we should see at least 54 outs.
Prediction: USA vs. Israel Over 9.5 (+100 on PointsBet)
MEN’S WATER POLO
The Olympics are a time to invest some of our attention into new sports. And what better way to introduce yourself to a new competition than a projected high-scoring match with the tournament’s betting favorite.
Hungary came into the Olympics at +275 to capture the gold in men’s water polo. Through three preliminary games, the betting favorites are 2-1 SU but have totaled a tourney-leading 48 goals. They are coming off a 23-1 shellacking of South Africa and face a USA team that has also done its share of scoring.
The American’s came into Tokyo at +8000 to win gold and are also 2-1 SU after beating up on Group A’s weakest teams in South Africa and Japan. Hungary will be a bigger test but the USA is the second-highest scoring nation in the 12-team draw with 46 goals for. With a battle of the two highest-scoring countries in the tournament, one would think that that 22.5 total would be the highest total on the board, but there are two other 23.5 totals set for Friday/Saturday’s slate in the pool.
We aren’t betting the farm on this Friday night/Saturday morning matchup (1 AM ET Saturday) but feel the Over 22.5 (-120 on PointsBet) is a great play for some casual betting and a possible introduction to a new sport. Combined, both teams are 5-1 O/U to start the tourney and we’re hoping for some more of that high-scoring action and think each team can hit the 10-goal mark.
Prediction: USA vs. Hungary Over 22.5 (-120 on PointsBet)
- Men’s baseball — USA vs Israel Over 9.5 (+100 on PointsBet)
- Men’s water polo — USA vs. Hungary Over 22.5 (-120 on PointsBet)
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