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The Tokyo Olympics 2021 begin this week -- one year after they were originally scheduled because of the coronavirus pandemic -- and the members of Team USA will look to strike gold in Tokyo. Five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, the United States won 46 gold medals, the most of any country and 19 more than second place Great Britain. That's the same number of golds Team USA won in 2012 in London. But for the first time since the 1996 Olympics, the United States will chase gold without swimming great Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all-time who won 23 gold medals across five Olympic Games. 

For the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, William Hill Sportsbook has set the over-under for total gold medals won by Team USA at 44.5. Before locking in any Olympics 2021 picks or predictions, you need to see what SportsLine's 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. For Rio in 2016, Tierney profited big-time. He 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.

And for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Tierney hit two of his three predictions: Germany (+200) to win the most gold medals and the United States winning Under 10.5 gold medals (+110). Anyone who has followed him is way up.

Now, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics starting, Tierney has analyzed every sport and come up with a confident pick on the U.S. gold medal count. He has identified several factors why this wager will cash. You can visit SportsLine now to see Tierney's Tokyo Olympics pick.

Tokyo Olympics 2021 preview

If 2016 is any indication, the women on Team USA will come home with a huge gold haul. Five years ago in Rio, the American women won 27 of the United States' 46 gold medals. Had they been their own country, they would've finished fourth among all nations in the overall medal count (61) and tied for second in the gold medal count.

This year, gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky are positioned to become the two of the signature stars of the Tokyo Olympics 2021. Widely regarded as the greatest gymnast of all-time, Biles is looking to build on her Rio performance, when she won gold in the all-around, vault and floor exercise and led the Americans to gold in the team competition. Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Ledecky already is competing in her third Olympics and can add to her collection of five gold medals.

On the men's side, swimmer Caeleb Dressel has been billed as the heir to Michael Phelps. Dressel was just 19 when he won two Olympic gold medals on relay teams in Rio. But in the 2019 World Championships in South Korea, Dressel firmly established himself as the next great U.S. men's swimmer, winning six golds and two silvers.

Once track and field begins in Week 2, sprinter Noah Lyles will be one to watch. The 24-year-old from Florida will be making his Olympic debut and is the favorite to win gold in the 200 meters. He's the reigning world champion in the event and has recorded the fastest time in the world this year (19.74 seconds).

How to make 2021 Tokyo Olympics picks

Tierney has analyzed every sport and come up with his projected gold medal count for Team USA. He has identified several factors why this wager will cash. He's sharing his Olympics 2021 picks and predictions only at SportsLine

Will Team USA go over or under 44.5 gold medals? Visit SportsLine now to get Mike Tierney's predictions for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, all from the renowned sportswriter who's covered nine Olympics in person and cashed big in both 2016 and '18, and find out.