When the U.S. women’s basketball team tips-off against Japan for gold, they will be putting two very impressive streaks on the line.
Currently Team USA have won 54 consecutive Olympic basketball games, a win over Japan will make it 55 straight wins.
The U.S.are also the six time defending Olympic gold medallists, and a seventh would tie the Olympic record for consecutive basketball gold medal wins.
As +18.5 favorites against Japan, oddsmakers expect Team USA to make history on the hardwood tonight.
The line for this game opened with the American women as +18.5 point favorites and it has held right there. When Team USA and Japan played each other in the round-robin portion of the tournament, the U.S. won by 17 points, 86-69.
During their streak of six consecutive top of the podium finishes, only one time has an opponent stayed within 20 points of the Americans during a gold-medal game. In 2004, Australia managed to lose by only 11 points, 74-63. In the other five gold-medal contests, the Americans won by at least 22 points and in 2012 they beat France by 36.
The total for this game is currently +160.5. In their five games played in the tournament so far, only one of the American’s games finished over +160.5 points. In the quarterfinal and semifinal matches, the U.S. held their opponents under 60 points both times.
News and Notes
In four previous Olympic tournaments, Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi are a perfect 32-0 with four gold-medals. If Bird, Taurasi and Team USA can beat Japan, the American-Duo will become the first Olympic basketball athletes to ever win five gold-medals.
At the 2016 Olympic tournament, Team USA beat Japan 110-64 in a quarterfinal game. The American’s eventually beat Spain 101-72 in the gold-medal contest.
The Japanese are currently ranked 10th in the FIBA world-rankings and were not expected to be a medal contender heading into the tournament. In their quarterfinal match against Belgium, the Japanese hit the game-winning three-pointer with 15 seconds left, and then held on for an 86-85 win.
Japan beat France twice in this tournament, including an impressive 87-71 semifinal win. The French were ranked fifth in the world heading into Tokyo.
Betting Pick: UNDER +160.5
I fully expect the U.S. women to dominate this game at both ends of the court. Once the elimination games started it appears the American’s have found another gear. Against Australia and Serbia, Team USA allowed 55 and 59 points, while advancing to the finals. I expect Japan to finish with a similar amount of points in this game, making it difficult to reach +160.5 total points. Take the Under in this one.
Not since the 1976 and 1980 Olympics have we seen an athlete repeat as a gold medal Sportsbook in the marathon event.
Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya is looking to break that streak at the closing event of the Tokyo Olympics. The 2016 men’s marathon gold-medallist is once again the race favorite, but he will have plenty of challengers in a race that is expected to be very warm and difficult.
Kipchoge opened as a -165 favorite, but early money has pushed that line to -200 currently.
News and Notes
The defending gold-medallist from Kenya is 36 years-old and of the 115 competitors who qualified for this event, only 11 are older than Kipchoge. In the 2020 London Marathon, Kipchoge turned heads for all the wrong reasons. The Kenyan finished in eighth place, running the slowest marathon of his career. However, he did bounce back to win his next race.
Kipchoge’s teammate, Lawrence Cherono is ranked second by oddsmakers and is currently +400 to win gold. Cherono finished second in his only race during 2020, the Valencia marathon held last December.
Amos Kipruto at +1200 to win gold is the third ranked runner by the oddsmakers and Kipruto is also the third ranked runner from Kenya in this race. Kenya finished first and second in the women’s marathon event yesterday and could easily win a couple more medals in the men’s race.
If Kenya doesn’t win gold, then the odds suggest it will be someone from Ethiopia. Three Ethiopian runners (Lelisa Desisa , Shura Kitata and Sisay Lemma) are all listed at +1400 to win and it would not be a surprise to see any of the three end up on the podium.
American Galen Rupp is +3300. Rupp won bronze in the marathon at the 2016 Olympics. Another podium performance this year would be considered a great result. Rupp’s teammate Molly Seidel surprised a lot of race fans by winning the bronze medal in the women’s marathon race yesterday.
Betting Pick: Cherono +400 and Kitata +1400
Repeating in the men’s marathon is hard. It’s only happened twice in history and hasn’t happened since 1980. If the weather stays warm and conditions remain difficult as expected, there won’t be any records set on this course. Instead, what is a grueling race already becomes even more difficult. I will lay a unit down on Cherono and Kitata to win this race and cheer for one of them to pull off a mild upset.