The women’s tennis event draws to a close on Saturday with both medal matches, including an even-money clash between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova for the gold. Both players have enjoyed sensational runs into the final, which has left the odds fairly equal for both players.
Here is a preview along with some predictions for that match along with the men’s basketball and soccer events, which include USA and Spain, both favorites for their respective events.
Both players have had a memorable lead-up into this gold medal final. Belinda Bencic, currently the world No. 12, has already beaten French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, in-form Elena Rybakina as well as Anastasia Pavyluchenkova. Marketa Vondrousova has had a similarly-stellar run into the final, including a straight-sets victory over Elina Svitolina in the previous match. Considering how close these two are, the odds have stayed around even right through, and will continue to do so until the first point on Saturday.
News & Notes
Bencic has a chance to become the fourth woman to collect the gold medal in both singles and doubles in the history of tennis. The three others to achieve this are all American: Helen Willis in 1924, and much more recently, Venus Williams in 2000, and Serena Williams in 2012. She has a chance to make history at an event that she will be immensely proud of as she is also guaranteed a medal in the doubles event.
“I didn’t expect this, I didn’t imagine,” Bencic said of her two medals. “I dreamed of this but we just said that we hope tomorrow we don’t wake up in our bed and it’s just a dream and we’re going to be pinching each other. It’s not possible to describe it now.”
Vondrousova has also been sensational at the Olympics after entering through the Protected Rankings rule. She has not dropped a set since losing one to Kiki Bertens in the opening round. She has also beaten favorite Naomi Osaka in straight sets. She also beat Svitolina in straight sets in the previous round, which marked just her fifth win against top-10 opponents in her career.
“I was thinking that two or three matches would have been great, and then I beat Naomi so then I thought that I was playing well and that maybe I could even do better,” Vondrousova said. “I’m now just happy to be in the final. Maybe it’ll sink in later. This is amazing, even if it’s silver or gold, it’s amazing and I’m just very proud.”
Betting Pick: Total Games: Over 20.5 (-138)
The heat and humidity of Tokyo will surely get to both these players. Based on pure form, Vondrousova is in better shape. Based on pure experience, Bencic is the player to back considering Vondrousova has a 1-3 record in finals. Usually, in such situations, it is never a bad idea to just back both players to have one good set. The beneficial aspect of this market is that this doesn’t need to go to the distance to win this market. Even one tiebreak should ensure that the total heads over 21 games.
The USA is easily the best team in this competition. Of that, there is not much doubt. You would probably back them to win even if you did not follow the NBA. Odds of -20000 for this game attest to that. Czech Republic is a solid team but not even close to the level of this USA team, with their depth and quality. This will be a one-sided game but that does not mean you cannot benefit from some of the prop bets on offer.
News & Notes
USA began the tournament with a shock loss to France 83-76. That was followed by a convincing win against Iran 120-66. That was more the dominance you would expect USA to exhibit through the rest of this tournament. Damian Lillard led the scoring with 23 points in as many minutes, going 7 of 15 from the field. Devin Booker put up 16 points while USA also received solid double-digit production from Jayson Tatum (14 points), Zach LaVine (13 points), Kevin Durant (10 points) and Khris Middleton (10 points).
“Today we came out with more freedom as individuals and took the shots that we normally like to take, and they went in tonight,” Durant said. “And we guarded up, so it was a good step.”
Czech Republic is a solid team, without being too flashy. It beat Iran 84-78 before losing to France 97-77. Jan Vesely led the scoring with 19 points in 32 minutes on the court. There is a fairly discernible skill gulf between these two as was evident from their previous meeting, which USA won 88-67 back in 2019.
Betting Pick: USA Total Points: Over 103.5 (-118)
USA has got the one bad day out of their system. It is highly implausible that this USA team will display even a semblance of complacency for the rest of the tournament. This is 40-minute basketball, not the 48 some of these stars are used to in the NBA. That means increased intensity on the defensive end, but USA showed that does not matter much when efficiency from the floor is high. USA piled on 120 against Iran, and could even come close to that tally on Saturday.
Spain have won just one match at Tokyo 2020 so far, a 1-0 victory over Australia. They have drawn the two other matches at the games so far: a 1-1 draw with Argentina and a goalless draw against Egypt. However, they start as favorites because they are one of the most skilled teams in the competition, even with some of the injuries in the camp. Like Spain, Ivory Coast have also won one and drawn two matches at the Olympics so far.
News & Notes
Spain progressed to the quarters after a 1-1 draw against Argentina, finishing at the top of Group C. They have not been at their best but it seems like a similar story to Euro 2020, where Spain started slowly but picked up momentum as that tournament progressed. In fact, several of Spain’s players from that semi final run are part of this squad as well.
Spain retained 62 percent of the ball against Argentina, which is also similar to their dominance in the middle third at Euro 2020. That is simply how Spain play their soccer. They had 17 attempts on goal to Argentina’s 10. These are all numbers that indicate that Ivory Coast will have trouble in keeping and retaining the ball against this Spanish defense, even without Dani Ceballos after his horrific ankle injury in the opener against Egypt.
"Sore. Yes. But with the hope and enthusiasm of trying to do everything to return and continue helping my team-mates in these Olympic Games,” Ceballos had earlier posted on social media.
Ivory Coast finished second in Group D, primarily because they collected at least one point in each match. They have had some issues in terms of ball possession, which is not a problem a team would want to have against a Spanish team capable of retaining the ball for long periods with short, crisp passing.
Betting Pick: Spain to win in regulation time (-211)
Spain have just too much class in this match for an Ivory Coast team that has often been lackadaisical at the Olympics with the ball in their possession. There are too many indicators that suggest that Spain will not need to go past regulation time to secure their progress into the semi finals of the tournament. It won’t be a goal fest, but Spain should win without conceding.