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Olympic Baseball Odds, Picks and Schedule



olympic baseball odds, picks and schedule

Masahiro Tanaka at a press conference

Former New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka smiles during a press conference in Tokyo on Saturday, January 30, 2021. Tanaka returned to Japan to join the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Nippon Professional Baseball League. (AP Photo / Eugene Hoshiko)

  • The abbreviated six-team Olympic baseball tournament begins July 28 at Yokohama Stadium, Japan
  • Baseball is returning to the Olympics for the first time since 2008; it was planned to return in 2020 before the games were postponed
  • Check out the odds, analysis and betting predictions below

Baseball will be part of the Olympic program for the sixth time and for the first time since 2008, when South Korea beat Cuba in the gold medal game and the United States won the bronze medal after losing to Cuba in the semifinals. Previous winners South Korea and the USA (2000) are in the current field with six teams, but three-time champions Cuba failed to qualify.

The six-team Olympic baseball tournament will be played at Yokohama Stadium, with hosts (and betting favorites) Japan facing the Dominican Republic in the first game of the tournament on July 28th. The United States will play their first game on July 30th against upstart Israel. The gold medal game is scheduled for Saturday, August 7th.

Olympic Games Baseball Odds

teamOdds at FanDuel
South Korea+300
United States+350
Dominican Republic+550

FanDuel odds on July 21st.

The tournament begins with a round robin game in two teams of three. All six teams will advance to the knockout stage of the doubles elimination game, with seeding taking place after the group game. The group winners will receive a bye to the second game of the knockout round, which starts on August 1st. The gold and bronze games are scheduled for August 7th.

Japan is No. 1 in the current world rankings, South Korea No. 3 and the USA No. 4. Mexico (fifth), the Dominican Republic (seventh) and Israel (24th) round off the field. Japan excels in the international game and has won the World Baseball Classic twice.

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Japan is armed, dangerous

Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish won’t be there, but the Japanese will stay well stocked on the hill. Japan has the most successful pitcher at the Games at Masahiro Tanaka, the former New York Yankees right-handed who returned to his home country in 2021 after finishing 78-46 with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 184 appearances over seven seasons with the Yankees.

Tanaka, 32, was the Yankees’ # 1 starter for a long time in the US, winning at least 11 games in each season except for the virus-shortened 2020. He is 4-5 with an ERA of 2.86 in 13 games with Rakuten this season after signing a $ 8.6 million two-year deal to return to his original Pacific League team.

Right-hander Tomoyuki Sugano would have given Japan the best 1-2 hit of the tournament, but he made his decision after initially joining the 24-man roster. Still, Seibu right-handed Kaima Taira, who has 11 saves, set a new league record for consecutive games since the beginning of a season without allowing a run.

Tanaka was already on the international stage. As a 19-year-old, he had a 0.00 ERA in short relief bets at the 2008 Olympics and also helped Japan win the 2009 World Baseball Classic and advance to the 2013 WBC semi-finals.

The US brings old and new

Manager Mike Scioscia has a list of mostly minor league players with a pinch of major league free agents as the US does not allow players who are in the 40-man roster of a major league team to participate. Todd Frazier and Tim Federowicz are leaders. The Americans, in a pool with South Korea and Israel, are trying to cause a stir, as in Sydney in 2000.

Seasoned right-hander Edwin Jackson and left-hander Scott Kazmir have a long time in the major league; Jackson threw a 149-pitch, 8-walk-no-hitter with Arizona in 2010. He also won with relief in the USA’s 4-2 victory over Venezuela in the qualifying round title game.

Tyler Austin, who spent parts of four years in the majors before moving to Japan in 2020, might be the US’s not-so-secret weapon. He beats .348 / .447 / .662 with 17 homers and 44 RBIs for Yokohama this season, and he also brings up to date knowledge of the Japanese pitching team.

The first base in Boston, 21-year-old Triston Casas hit .400 with three RBIs to help the US hit a 4-0 qualifying round record. Casas, 6’4 and 250 pounds, was the Red Sox’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft.

South Korea forced to reissue the roster

The South Koreans will have to forego the 2008 Olympic ace, Toronto Blue Jays left-handed Hyun-Jin Ryu, who won two games and crowned South Korea’s 9-0 run with a 3-2 gold medal win over Cuba. But they have a holdover from this staff in 39-year-old closer Seung-hwan Oh.

Oh, a new addition after two players were removed due to COVID-19 issues has a record of 322 parades from the Korean Baseball Organization and 42 parades with St. Louis, Toronto and Colorado in the majors from 2016-19. Oh has 27 parades in the league this season, and he had one win and one parade in the 2008 Olympics.

First Baseman / DH Kang Baek-ho is one of the best offensive players in Korea. He finished the first half of the KBO season with a league-leading .395 batting average, .492 on-base percentage, 61 RBIs, and .579 slugging percentage.

The rest of the field

Mexico will send former Major Leagues Adrian Gonzalez, Fernando Salas and Oliver Perez to the Games, although pitchers Hector Velazquez and Sammy Solis tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week and were isolated, status pending.

Adrian Gonzalez, wow HAVENT have heard that name for ages @casteel_adam

– Cade Gantt (@ cgantt31) July 22, 2021

Experienced major league players Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Emilio Bonifacio and Seattle outfielder Julio Rodriguez, Baseball Americas No. 3 in the minor league as a whole, will compete in the Dominican Republic.

Up-and-coming Israel beat Netherlands number 8 in the Africa / Europe 2019 qualifier to reach their first Olympic Games after a successful run at the 2017 World Baseball Classics, in which they defeated South Korea.

Neither of these teams has the squad depth to compete with the big three, although many things are possible in a short streak – mistakes, bloops, bad hops, bad calls.

Pitching wins, and this is where the smart money should lie, especially when it pays out more than the same money for a team that is a) at home and b) thriving on the international stage.

The choice: Japan (+175)

Author's picture

Jack Magruder

Sports journalist

Sports journalist

Jack has covered college and professional sports for various Arizona media, including writing for AP, USA Today, and Baseball America. He occupied the 2015-17 World Series and has occupied four Super Bowls.


Jack has covered college and professional sports for various Arizona media, including writing for AP, USA Today, and Baseball America. He occupied the 2015-17 World Series and has occupied four Super Bowls.

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