In the past week, I have watched and bet on basketball, soccer, handball, volleyball, water polo, baseball, field hockey, weightlifting and golf at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
I have laid odds between -750 and + 1800 on various events, and I find the Olympics a fun break from the mid-summer monotony of betting baseball all day every day. Pool play for Olympic team sports has wrapped up and we are into the knockout/elimination rounds.
Here’s what I will be watching and betting on Monday night.
Baseball: Israel vs. Dominican Republic (3 a.m. PT)
Israel beat Mexico 12-5 this weekend to move on to the double-elimination knockout round of the Olympic baseball tournament. On Sunday night, Israel lost 11-1 to South Korea -- which wasn’t surprising, considering they were playing back-to-back days and Israel barely has the pitching to get them through one game let alone back to backs. Fortunately, I think Team Israel knew they could essentially punt the game last night against South Korea and save what little pitching they have for the elimination game against the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic brought the best team possible, highlighted by Mariners prospect and future No. 1 prospect in baseball, Julio Rodriguez. Besides him, though, the roster is pretty thin on talent -- Emilio Bonifacio, Melky Cabrera, Juan Francisco and Jose Bautista don’t have MLB jobs for a reason. And when the entirety of the Dominican lineup is matched up head to head with Israel, I’m not sure that Juan Francisco and Jose Bautista is much better than Ian Kinsler, Danny Valencia, Ty Kelly and minor league legend -- and one of my all-time favorite players -- Blake Gailen. Ryan Lavarnway, Team Israel’s starting catcher, has stuck around MLB organizations for almost 15 years now (with occasional stints in the majors) because of his ability to call games and catch.
Israel’s pitching isn’t great, especially after their best starting pitcher, Jon Moscat, was forced out of the first inning of Israel’s first game against South Korea after throwing only four pitches. Israel is going to rely on Jake Fishman, a minor league Rule 5 draft pick currently pitching at Triple-A for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Marlins organization. Other pitchers on Team Israel include Josh Zeid (currently a rehab coordinator with the Cubs), Jeremy Bleich (advance scout for the Pirates) and Alon Leichman, (pitching coach for the Double-A Arkansas Travelers in the Mariners organization). Those aren’t very exciting names, but they really aren’t that much worse than seeing someone like Jumbo Diaz coming out of the Dominican bullpen.
I think Israel should be the underdog, but closer to + 175 not + 220, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this game close under + 200.
Bet: Israel ML + 220 at DraftKings
Olympic baseball futures bet
South Korea to win Gold (13-1 at PointsBet)
This number is available as high as 18-1 offshore and as low as + 430 at FanDuel; I think anything over 10-1 is a good bet.
South Korea is already through the semifinals, so you are essentially betting on them winning two games -- most likely against Team USA and Japan. South Korea shut down the KBO for a month so their players could participate in the Olympics, and they’ve brought a decent roster that could beat Japan and/or Team USA. Anything over 10-1 is too high, and surprisingly only FanDuel has it priced reasonably correct. As an added incentive, if the South Korean players win the Gold Medal they are exempt from service in the Korean Army.
That’s it for tonight. Just baseball. I have been up all night for the past week, so I’m looking forward to an easy night with only one game. Tomorrow we will jump back into the exciting stuff: women’s field hockey and water polo.