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Olympics swimming is at the forefront early this week at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as Katie Ledecky and Team USA try to bulk up the Americans' Tokyo 2020 medal count. Ledecky is heavily favored to cruise to victory in the first-ever women's 1,500-meter freestyle race Tuesday at 10:54 p.m. ET. The 1,500 had been exclusive to men's athletes until the Olympics 2020. Ledecky also seeks to avenge her close loss in Sunday's women's 400 freestyle to Australia's Ariarne Titmus. They are the two favorites heading into Tuesday night's 200-meter freestyle final (9:41 p.m. ET).

The 100-meter freestyle semifinals (9:30 p.m ET) and finals in the men's 200-meter butterfly (9:49 p.m. ET) and women's 200 individual medley (10:45 p.m. ET) also are on tap. Heats will run early Wednesday, including the women's 100 freestyle (6 a.m. ET), men's 200 backstroke (6:21 a.m. ET) and women's 200 breaststroke (6:36 a.m. ET).

The U.S. Men's National Basketball Team is back in action early Wednesday (12:40 a.m. ET) as it tries to erase the sting of its loss to France. USA teams also will play preliminary matches Tuesday night in men's beach volleyball (8 p.m. ET) and men's volleyball (10:05 p.m ET). Before locking in any Tokyo Olympics 2020 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. 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. The Olympics expert saw good value in the Norwegian, who had won twice this year and was the 2019 Grand Final champion.

"When an event is as wide open as the guys' three-in-one sport, look for a price and go with the hot hand." Tierney told SportsLine.

The 27-year-old Blummenfelt was in disbelief as he pulled away from the younger runners in the final stages to win by 11 seconds over Britain's Alex Yee. It is his nation's first medal in the sport, but picking a winner was nothing new for Tierney.

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 2020 Olympics event schedule and is looking for the best betting values. You can see his top 2020 Olympics picks only at SportsLine.

Top 2020 Tokyo Olympics predictions

Shockingly, Tierney is fading Tatjana Schoenmaker in her top event, the women's 200-meter breaststroke. The favored South African won gold in both the 100 and 200 in her last two major meets and just broke American Lilly King's 100 Olympic record in the preliminaries. But carrying the weight of the nation's swimming community could bog her down. Schoenmaker failed to qualify for Rio 2016 and nearly quit the sport, and now she is trying to live up to a legend.

No South African swimmer has won a long-course medal since Penny Heyns at Sydney in 2000. Heyns also swept the 100- and 200-meter races at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and she remains the only female swimmer to win both at the Olympics. And since Heyns retired, the South Africa swim program has had little to cheer about. The 2013 World Championships was the last global event that included its athletes, so Schoenmaker is trying to make up for a lot.  

How to make 2020 Tokyo Olympics picks

Tierney is calling for an upset in the women's 200 breaststroke and is picking a huge long shot to take gold. He's also found an underdog in another swimming event who could pull off a surprise. Head to SportsLine now to see Tierney's 2020 Olympics picks

Who will win the 2020 Olympics women's 200-meter breaststroke? And what other best bets can you make on upcoming Tokyo 2020 events? Visit SportsLine now to get Mike Tierney's best bets for the Tokyo Summer Olympics, all from the renowned sportswriter who's covered nine Olympics in person and cashed big in both 2016 and '18.