Baseball is back at the Olympics after a 12-year hiatus and we look at the best gold, silver and bronze medal chances.
Japan are the current favourites to win gold, closely followed by the United States and South Korea.
It’s always a thrilling competition that throws in some surprising results, so there is value available with bookmakers.
Men’s Baseball Predictions
To Win Gold – Japan
Japan is long overdue a gold medal in baseball after winning the inaugural gold in 1984. The Japanese have a strong roster, including the likes of Kan Otake, Yudai Ono and Yasuaki Yamasaki.
They won the bronze medal in 1992 and 2004 and most recently finished fourth in 2008. However, despite not being able to win gold recently, Japan is one of the best teams in the world.
Japan won back-to-back World Baseball Classics in 2006 and 2009 before getting bronze in 2013 and 2017. Their main rival is the United States, but Japan has a slightly stronger roster this year and playing in Japan is only going to strengthen their chances.
We give the pitching edge to Japan and although you won’t see names like Shohei Ohtani taking the field, they are household names in Japan and they demand attention.
Bookmakers have Japan as $3 favourites to win gold. It should be a tight contest, but we’re happy to put the host nation on top.
Bet: Japan @ $3 – Bet @ Sportsbet
To Win Silver – United States
There are no superstar Major League Baseball players in the United States, but Olympic eligibility applies to free agents. Therefore, Todd Frazier and pitcher Edwin Jackson are heading to Tokyo.
Free agents are allowed to be selected for the Games, despite most of the players coming from the feeder organisations. Most of the United States team consists of Triple A and Double A teams, such as Jacksonville, Durham and Nashville.
However, having the experience of Frazier is important for this team and they must be respected. The United States are ranked fourth best in the world, but they won gold in 2000 in Sydney and the bronze in 2008.
They also won the 2017 World Baseball Classic with a 6-2 overall record, which is the first time USA has finished better than fourth in the Classic.
United States is on the second line of betting for the gold at $3.50, but we like their chances to win silver. Bookmakers pay $3.20 to win the silver, which is where our money is heading.
We see the United States losing in the final to Japan, but if for those that think United States could win the final, $1.58 is available for either a gold or silver.
Bet: United States @ $3.20 – Bet @ Sportsbet
To Win Bronze – South Korea
The bronze medal market is wide open, but we’re going with South Korea, who are the third best team in the world.
They are the defending gold medal champions after winning in 2008 in Beijing. Despite most of those players not taking the field in Tokyo, the experience should do this team plenty of good.
South Korea is looking to turn around some poor performances at the World Baseball Classic, which weren’t expected. They finished ninth in 2013 before finishing 10th at home in 2017, which no one saw coming.
However, they are proven on the Olympic stage and we think they can head home with some jewelry. They are $5 to win gold, but the bronze is more likely, which pays $3.75. Those are fair odds from bookmakers and we’re confident they’ll produce a better effort than recent Classic results.
Bet: South Korea @ $3.75 – Bet @ Sportsbet
After graduating from the University of Auckland (BA – English), Daryl was thrown into the world of sports and horse racing journalism.
Having worked as a racing journalist for two years, he decided to move into the online world of horse racing and sports writing. After years of honing his craft, Daryl became a professional punter in 2009 – with a focus on horse racing, NRL, AFL, NBA, Rugby, NFL, and US college sports. Daryl’s tips have been featured on various websites around the world before joining the GoBet team. When he’s not working, Daryl tries to avoid making bogeys on the golf course.