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Olympic hurdlers can break the record at Tokyo 2020

Sydney McLaughlin qualified for her first Olympics when she was just 16. In those 2016 Games, McLaughlin did not qualify for the 400-meter hurdle finals but rather watched teammate Dalilah Muhammad win gold. On Tuesday night in Tokyo, Muhammad will try to defend her gold medal, but this time a more experienced McLaughlin will be at the start line with her. 

We also dive into women’s quarterfinal action on the hardwood as Team USA looks to make it 53 straight Olympic wins.

Track and Field - Women’s 400M Hurdles Final
  • Date/Time: August 3, 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: NBC (USA) / CBC (Canada)
  • Favorite: Sydney McLaughlin (USA) -275

Odds Analysis

At -275 odds to win gold, the women’s 400M hurdles have a clear front-runner and her name is Sydney McLaughlin. McLaughlin qualified for the 2016 Rio Games and although she didn’t make the final race five years ago, she did impress in her Olympic debut.

If anyone is going to catch McLaughlin in this race, the odds suggest it will be either teammate Dalilah Muhammad or Femke Bol of the Netherlands. Both Muhammad and Bol are +400 to win and along with McLaughlin are the clear medal favorites.

News and Notes

McLaughlin cemented herself as the Olympic favorite with her world-record time of 51.90 set in June in the U.S. Olympic trials. McLaughlin is ranked No. 1 in the world for this event and will be running out of lane 4 in the final. Beside her in lane 5 will be Bol.

Bol is the best female 400M hurdler to ever come out of the Netherlands. In early July, she ran a personal-best time of 52.37 at a Diamond League event in Sweden. That time is easily faster than the current Olympic record of 52.64.

Dalilah Muhammad is the reigning Olympic champion and former world record holder in this event. She set the previous world record of 52.16 in 2019 and her fastest time so far this year is 52.42. Muhammad did battle COVID-19 during the season and some expect that with the time she has had to recover and train since her illness, she could go faster than the 52.42 she posted earlier this year.

Betting Pick: Bol and Muhammad +400 Each

If you can find a bet on whether the Olympic record will be broken in this race, take it. All three of these women have run faster than 52.64 and one – if not all three – should break that time in this race. At -275 there isn’t a lot of value on McLaughlin, who is rightly the heavy favorite. Instead, I will throw a half unit down at +400 on both Bol and Muhammad to win and hope that one of them can upset the world record holder.

Shark Bites
  • McLaughlin, Muhammad and Bol have all posted times this year faster than the Olympic record of 52.64.
  • Muhammad won the 2019 female World Athlete of the Year award.
  • Anna Ryzhykova (UKR) is the only other runner in the final with a time under 53 seconds this year.

Women’s Basketball Quarterfinal - Australia vs USA
  • Date/Time: August 4, 12:40 a.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: NBC (USA) / CBC (Canada)
  • Favorite: USA -14.5 (-125)

Odds Analysis

So far in their three Olympic games, Team USA has done what they do so well in this tournament, and that is win and win easily. As 14.5-point favorites, oddsmakers expect the Americans to continue their winning ways against Australia.

At 0-2, the Aussies didn’t look like they were even going to advance out of the group stage. A 27-point win over Puerto Rico in their final round-robin game helped them advance with a 1-2 record based on point differential.

News and Notes

Most basketball fans know that in a pre-Olympic exhibition game on July 16, Australia shocked Team USA 70-67. The Aussies erased a 13-point halftime deficit and beat the No. 1-ranked team in the world for the first time since 2010. Many assumed that win would give Australia a lot of confidence heading into Tokyo.

However, the Australians lost to Belgium by 15 points to open their tournament. In their second game, a foul with under a second to play allowed China to hit a pair of free throws and escape with a 76-74 win. Only a blowout victory vs Puerto Rico saved the Aussies from an early exit in this tournament.

Team Australia is competing without one of their biggest stars, Liz Cambage. Cambage withdrew from the competition in mid-July, citing mental health concerns about competing in a bubble atmosphere. 

Team USA has beaten Nigeria, Japan and France, with the average margin of victory being just over 12 points. Currently the Americans are on a 52-game Olympic winning streak and are looking to win their seventh consecutive gold medal.

Betting Pick: USA -14.5

At this point of the tournament, Australia is tough to figure out.  After their huge pre-Olympic upset over the U.S., I expected great things from the Aussies. The 15-point loss to Belgium to start the tournament was a surprise. They played a much better game against an underrated team from China, losing with under a second left. However, I suspect Team USA will want to make a bit of a statement in this game. I will lay the -14.5 points and take a hungry Team USA to win and cover in this one.

Shark Bites
  • Team USA has won the last six Olympic gold medals and the last three world championships.
  • Team USA is on a 52-game winning streak in the Olympics.
  • Australia and USA met in the Olympic gold-medal game in 2000, 2004 and 2008.  Team USA won all three games.

Women’s Basketball Quarterfinal - France vs Spain
  • Date/Time: August 4, 8 a.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: NBC (USA) / CBC (Canada)
  • Favorite: Spain -1

Odds Analysis

When the odds were posted for the women’s Olympic basketball tournament, the teams from Spain and France were ranked third and fourth respectively, behind only the U.S. and Australia. 

During tournament play, Spain lived up to the billing by winning all three round-robin games. Meanwhile, France finished 1-2 in its three games. A loss against the Americans was to be expected, but losing to Japan to start the tournament was not.

Despite the fact that France struggled in the round robin, oddsmakers expect a close game. It is the Spanish squad that is the 1-point favorite in this match.

News and Notes

Against Japan to start the tournament, France couldn’t get their outside shots to fall.  The French were 4-for-19 from beyond the arc (21 percent) while the Japanese made 11 three-pointers, shooting 41 percent from three-point land. That was the difference as Japan held on for a 74-70 win.

Against Nigeria in their second game, France connected on 11 of 26 long-distance attempts and cruised to a 25-point victory. Even in their loss against Team USA, the French put up 82 points, the most the Americans have given up in a game so far in this tournament.

While many people pre-tournament were looking at Serbia to emerge from Group A, it was Spain that finished atop the standings at 3-0. The Spaniards had a scare in their first game against Korea but escaped with a four-point win. Spain then took care of business in their next two games, beating Serbia by 15 points and ending Canada’s Olympic tournament with an 86-76 win.

Betting Pick: France +1

Yes, Spain has looked very good in this tournament and has two impressive wins against Serbia and Canada. But don’t sleep on the French. A tough loss against Japan was disappointing for France, but in their two games since, the French have looked very good. Sure, one of those games was an 11-point loss to Team USA, but everyone loses to the Americans in this tournament. There were a lot of positives for France in the 93-82 loss to the U.S., and I am going to take them to beat Spain outright in this one.

Shark Bites
  • At the European championships in June, France won silver, losing to Serbia in the final.
  • Spain was eliminated by Serbia in the quarterfinals of the European championships.
  • Spain won silver in the 2016 Olympics, losing to Team USA 101-72 in the gold-medal game.