Team USA Baseball vs. South Korea Olympics Odds, Picks, Prediction: Who Will Advance to Gold Medal Game in Tokyo? (Thursday, August 5)
Koji Watanabe/Getty Images. Pictured: Team USA’s Tyler Austin, left, and Triston Casas.
- USA and South Korea meet early Thursday morning in the Olympic baseball tournament.
- Team USA needs a win to advance to the gold medal game against Japan.
- Collin Whitchurch breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
USA vs. South Korea Odds
|South Korea Odds
|8 (-105 / -115)
|Thursday, 6 a.m. ET
Team USA beat the Dominican Republic 3-1 early Wednesday morning to keep their hopes of medaling alive. They now face a South Korea team they've already beaten earlier in the tournament.
A win would advance them to the gold medal game against Japan, while a loss would put them up for bronze against the DR.
How Team USA Stacks Up
The Americans have been led offensively by Red Sox prospect Triston Casas and former major leaguer Tyler Austin.
The former, a corner infielder who is a consensus Top 100 prospect at MLB Pipeline, Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, put Team USA up early in the win against the Dominicans with a two-run homer in the first inning. It was his third homer of the tournament in just 16 at-bats, and the left-handed slugger also has two walks and just three strikeouts.
Austin spent parts of four seasons in the majors with the Yankees, Twins, Giants and Brewers, and has been plying his trade in Japan for the last two seasons with the Yokohama BayStars in the NPB. His solo shot on Wednesday morning came in his home park and put the Americans up 3-0. Austin is hitting an impressive .412/.444/.941 across 17 at-bats with a pair of home runs.
The starting pitcher for Team USA is unknown as of this writing but manager Mike Scioscia could go a number of ways. Scioscia has used four different starting pitchers in the team's four games thus far in Joe Ryan, Nick Martinez, Shane Baz and Scott Kazmir.
Baz and Kazmir started most recently so they're out, leaving the decision to likely come down to Ryan or Martinez. Ryan started the opener against Israel and went six innings, allowing one run on five hits with five strikeouts and zero walks. Martinez would be pitching on regular rest after mowing down these very same South Koreans just four days ago. The former Texas Ranger struck out nine in five innings, allowing one run on four hits with no walks.
It would be tempting to go with Martinez given his recent success against South Korean, but Scioscia may want to give the hitters a more unfamiliar look, which would mean Baz, the Tampa Bay Rays' top prospect.
South Korean Offense Is Dangerous
Whoever Scioscia chooses will have to navigate through a South Korean lineup with a few heavy hitters at its disposal. The South Koreans actually have really impressive offensive stats for the entire tournament, as the team is hitting a collective .306/.382/.468.
Their offensive star is Hyun Soo Kim, who stateside fans may remember from stints with the Orioles and Phillies in 2016 and 2017. In 22 at-bats, Kim has 10 hits, including two home runs, and a collective .455/.478/.864 line.
Ji-hwan Oh, a 31-year-old, 13-year veteran of the KBO, is another one to watch for the South Koreans. He's an on-base machine with a lifetime .349 on-base percentage to go along with 118 home runs and 213 stolen bases in his career. He has two home runs and is hitting .250/.429/.688 for the tournament thus far.
USA-South Korea Pick
Like with Team USA, who South Korea puts on the mound for this do-or-die game is unknown as of this writing. The Americans' offense has been underwhelming, but Scioscia has pulled all the right strings with the pitching staff thus far and the arms have held up outside of the late-game blowup in the team's one loss to Japan.
Looking strictly at the stats in this small sample size, the edge should probably go to South Korea, particularly as the offense has put up blistering stats overall.
But those stats are a bit misleading. South Korea has scored 25 runs in the tournament, but a whopping 17 have come in two games against Israel, which was by far the weakest team in the tournament. The other three games have seen totals of 4, 2 and 2.
That said, Team USA is too big of favorites to find any value there, so I'll instead turn to the total. The Americans' offense has been underwhelming, but I see this game playing out similarly to their first meeting, with Team USA scratching across a few runs and mostly holding the South Korean offense in check. I like the under 8 at -115 and would bet it to -120.
Pick: Under 8 (-115); bet to -120