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Tokyo 2020 Day 6 Betting: Swimming History At Stake For Ledecky

Tokyo 2020 men's basketball is underway with Spain and the Gasol brothers

The Olympics is gaining steam as several events progress past the preliminary round and into the knockouts as action moves to day 6 in Tokyo. Katie Ledecky has already created history at the Olympics but there are more records to be broken when she appears for the 800-meter freestyle final as a massive favorite over Australian rival Ariarne Titmus.

Here is a preview of three key events from day 6 of the Olympics, including Ledecky’s marathon 800-meter race, Spain’s basketball clash against Argentina and the USA Women’s volleyball team aiming to keep their clean record intact this year.

Swimming: Women’s 800M Freestyle Winner (Outright)
  • Date/Time: July 29, 5 a.m. ET onwards
  • TV Coverage: NBC (USA) / CBC (Canada)
  • Favorite: Katie Ledecky -400

Odds Analysis

Women’s freestyle swimming at this Olympics has been a story of Katie Ledecky against rival Ariarne Titmus. Ledecky was unflappable in the early part of the 400-meter freestyle final on Monday. Titmus had just a little more in the final 50 meters of that race, which eventually cost Ledecky the gold. Still, Ledecky has already won the 1500-meter freestyle at this edition of the Olympics. In terms of long-distance swimming, Ledecky is the person to beat, as is evidenced from her extremely favorable odds of -400.

News & Notes

This has been a fantastic edition of swimming for Ledecky. Michael Phelps even touted her the “greatest swimmer of all time”. Younger rivals, like Titmus, have said they look up to her. And she wins medals. The Olympics is made for athletes like her to showcase all that hard work and power across the water.

"I wouldn't be here without her," Titmus said after her win on Tuesday in the 400-meter swim. "She's set this standard for middle-distance freestyle -- if I didn't have someone like her to chase I definitely wouldn't be swimming the way I am."

Ledecky did not have a good race on Wednesday in the 200-meter swimming final, also won by Titmus with a time of 1:53:50. Ledecky was close to two seconds behind, with a time of 1:55:21. However, Ledecky is not as good a short-distance swimmer as she is over longer distances. That is one of the most important reasons for these odds in favor of Ledecky.

How different is the 200-meter race from the 1500 meters? Here are Michael Phelps’ thoughts: "In the 200, you have to fast stretch your muscles, there is no relaxing. But, in the mile, you can swim a more relaxed race," Phelps said.

Betting Pick: Katie Ledecky (-400)

Ledecky is one of the sport’s best athletes over long distances. Case in point is her gold medal in the 1500-meter race on Wednesday. She achieved that with a time of 15:37:34, more than four seconds ahead of the silver medallist. In a sport of fine margins, even over 1500 meters of swimming, that is a fairly comfortable win. There will be a challenge from Titmus, as you would expect, but this seems set for Ledecky after a marathon effort in the last few days in Tokyo. "You get this opportunity once every four years -- and in this case five years," Ledecky told NBC. "It doesn't get old, competing in the Olympics."

Shark Bites
  • ► Katie Ledecky won just her first silver medal in her Olympics career on Sunday.
  • No swimmer, man or woman, had ever competed in the final of the 200 and 1500-meter freestyle events on the same day. Ledecky is the only swimmer to achieve this.
  • ► Ledecky had a time of 3:57:36 in the 400-meter final, second quickest in her career over that length.


Men’s Basketball: Spain vs Argentina
  • Date/Time: July 29, 8 a.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: NBC (USA) / CBC (Canada)
  • Favorite: Spain -500

Odds Analysis

Spain begins as massive favorites to beat Argentina in this men’s basketball fixture. In fact, its Olympics odds to beat Argentina in this Group C fixture is -500 in the game winner market. Spain welcomed Japan back to the Olympics basketball category for the first time in 45 years with a comfortable 88-77 win in the opening game. Argentina was no match for Luka Doncic and Slovenia as they were beaten 118-100 in its Olympics opener.

News & Notes

Spain were not worked as much in its tournament opener with a discernible skill and depth mismatch. Spain eased to a lead of more than 20 early, which was more than enough to keep a determined Japan team at bay. "I think we did a pretty good job for the most part of the game. When we were up 20 we kind of relaxed and that can’t happen," Ricky Rubio said. "We have to be happy about things that we did, but we got to improve, we got to get better.”

Rubio is one of several Spanish players with plenty of high-profile tournament experience. The Gasol brothers, Pau and Marc, along with Liga ACB stars, including Alberto Abalde and Victor Claver form part of Spain’s starting five. Rubio led the scoring in the opening game with 20 points and 9 assists, while Claver and Marc Gasol chipped in with a combined 25 points as starters. Alex Abrines was 3 of 7 from three-point range to finish with 12 points off the bench.

Argentina just do not match well with this Spain team, across the board. While Slovenia found its offensive range quickly, led by Doncic, there are deeper defensive issues that are unlikely to be addressed as quickly as Thursday morning.

Betting Pick: Spain -5.5 (-223)

Backing Spain to win outright is simply not compelling enough. However, backing this Spanish team to win by more than two possessions seems like a good combination of risk and reward. I can’t see this Argentina team staying abreast with Spain’s offense. Even unlikelier is Argentina to come close to scoring 100 points again, which should result in a comfortable double-possession victory for Spain to confirm progress past Group C.  

Shark Bites
  • ► Argentina was the last team to win a gold at the Olympics other than USA in either the men’s or women’s sections.
  • ► Ricky Rubio became the youngest Olympic medalist in men’s basketball history when he participated in Spain’s run to a silver medal in the Beijing 2008 Olympics at 17 years and 308 days of age.
  • The last time Katie Ledecky was able to break 1:54 in the 200M freestyle was the 2016 Olympics.


Women’s Volleyball: USA vs Turkey
  • Date/Time: July 29, 8.45 a.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: NBC (USA) / CBC (Canada)
  • Favorite: USA Women -550

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Odds Analysis

The odds for this market have changed drastically after USA thrashed China in straight sets. That was expected to provide a preview to a potential medal clash later in the Olympics. As expected, USA have jumped up in the Olympics odds board to cruise past Turkey as well. While Turkey also beat China in Pool B in straight sets (25-21, 25-14, 25-14), the gulf in skill and confidence speaks to these immensely favorable odds for USA.

News & Notes

USA won bronze in 2016 and silver in the two previous Games. USA has made a rapid start with two straight-set victories, including one against Argentina on Sunday. Jordan Thompson has been in sparkling form for USA in the two matches so far. She had 34 points against China to set an American women's Olympic record.

"She's a baller," USA captain Jordan Larson said. "She's been caged a little bit. She's ready to come out and show what's up. I'm just really proud of her. But she consistently shows up in practice, and that's what you're seeing today. I think what sets true champions apart is people that can show up when the lights are on."

Turkey, despite a quick start against China, were beaten without much fuss by Italy in their second group game (25-22, 23-25, 25-20, 25-15). That might prove to be disastrous because a loss of confidence against this USA team might not leave too many other reliable influential factors, especially if the first set is lost.

Betting Pick: Turkey Women to win a set: No (+110)

For those of you that are new to the sport, these games are best of five. If the game is tied at 2-2, the fifth set is first to 15 (with a difference of two, if required). So, USA will have to win three straight sets in order to win this market. Considering the depth and quality of the program, not just this team, you would not expect USA to start quickly. Like tennis, these sets can get away from the underdog really quickly, as China found out against both these teams.

Shark Bites
  • ► Those 34 points by Thompson are also tied for the third most ever by a woman at the Olympics.
  • ► The USA women team have never won a gold medal at volleyball at the Olympics.
  • ► USA is still the No. 1 team in women’s volleyball. In 2021, the team has won 18 of 19 games.