Team USA Baseball faces a critical test on Saturday morning in its second group-stage game when it takes on South Korea in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The winner will get a playoff bye, after both won their openers against Israel. The Americans got off to a roaring start at Olympics 2020 on Friday morning with an 8-1 victory, while South Korea needed 10 innings and two hit batsmen to win 6-5 on Thursday. The South Koreans won the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Games, and the Americans took bronze. That was the last time baseball was played at the Olympics, and it won't be back in 2024.
First pitch is set for 6 a.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists Team USA as the -190 favorite (risk $190 to win $100) on the money line in the Team USA vs. South Korea odds. The over-under for total runs expected is set at eight. Before finalizing any South Korea vs. USA picks or Olympic baseball predictions, you need to see what SportsLine Olympics expert Mike Tierney has to say.
A national sportswriter whose work appears in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Tierney has covered nine Olympic Games in person. In the past two Olympic Games, his advice helped those who followed him cash in big, and he already has nailed a winner at Tokyo 2020.
Before Sunday's men's triathlon, Tierney tabbed Norway's Kristian Blummenfelt as his choice to win gold, and that bet paid off big at +600.
At the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018, he nailed Suzanne Schulting (+2500) of the Netherlands and Norway's Havard Lorentzen (+800) to triumph in speed skating and the USA's Mikaela Shiffrin (+185) to win the giant slalom. Tierney also took the Under (10.5) on the Americans' gold-medal count, and that also cashed as the USA came in with nine.
And at the Rio 2016 Summer Games, Tierney told readers to bet Over on Team USA's gold medal count (41.5) and Over on Team USA's overall medal count (102.5). The result? 46 golds, 121 medals and two easy cashes. Anyone who followed Tierney's advice cashed in huge.
Now, Tierney has studied the Team USA vs. South Korea baseball matchup and revealed his expert picks and predictions. You can see his top 2020 Olympics picks only at SportsLine. Here are the latest Olympics baseball odds and betting trends for South Korea vs. USA:
- USA vs. South Korea money line: USA -190, South Korea +160
- USA vs. South Korea run line: USA -1.5
- USA vs. Southe Korea over-under: 8 runs
- USA: Tyler Austin has 39 homers over two seasons with the Yokohama DeNa Baystars.
- South Korea: Eui-Ji Yang has 71 RBIs in 73 games with NC Dinos in the KBO this season.
Why you should back Team USA
The Americans might be missing the sport's biggest stars as MLB refused to release any players to compete in Japan, but they have plenty of experience. Tyler Austin was the star in Friday's game, driving in three runs with a home run and a double. The 30-year-old, who had 17 home runs in 69 games with the Yankees and Twins in 2018, has played in this stadium with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars the past two seasons. Outfielder Bubba Starling, a Royals minor-league who was the fifth overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, drove in two runs against Israel.
The team has plenty of leadership, with infielders Todd Frazier and Eddy Alvarez experienced hands who can do damage on offense. Alvarez, 31, is in the Marlins' minor-league system and won a relay silver medal in speed skating at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games. He went 2-for-4 with two RBIs on Friday. Frazier, who has played 11 seasons in the majors, hit .400 with two home runs in qualifying and scored a run Friday. Starters Scott Kazmir and Edwin Jackson relievers David Robertson and Brandon Dickson provide a strong backbone for the pitching staff.
Why you should back South Korea
The South Koreans come in as the third-ranked team in the world, a spot ahead of the Americans. They are one of the tournament favorites, along with Japan and the USA, and will be eager to put in a stronger performance Saturday after needing consecutive hit batsmen to beat Israel in extra innings. The team opted for youth in this tournament, and the young players will be hungry to shine on this stage. Outfielder Hyun-Soo Kim the key veteran. The 33-year-old was on the 2008 gold medal-winning team and had a home run in Thursday's opener.
The lineup is dominated by up-and-coming Korean League players, with 21-year-old outfielder and DH Baek-Ho Kang one of the stars. He is hitting .395 with 10 home runs in the KBO this year. The team is stacked at catcher with 18-year-old Min-Ho Kang, who started Thursday's game, and veteran Eui-Ji Yang. The 34-year-old Yang is hitting .348 with 20 home runs with NC Dinos. Yang, Kang and Jung-Hoo Lee are the top three in batting average in the KBO. Closer Seung-Hwan Oh also was a member of the 2008 champions and will provide critical leadership.
How to make 2020 Tokyo Olympics baseball picks for USA vs. South Korea
Tierney has broken down this matchup and has isolated a critical x-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the money line. Head to SportsLine now to see Tierney's 2020 Olympic baseball picks.
So who wins Team USA vs. South Korea in this group-stage game? And what critical x-factor do you need to know about? Visit SportsLine now to get Mike Tierney's best bet for Team USA vs. South Korea, all from the renowned sportswriter who's covered nine Olympics in person and cashed big in both 2016 and '18, and find out.