Jake Pearson takes a look through Thursday's Olympic football action and picks out his best bets from across the fixtures.
Kick-off time: 09:00 BST, Thursday
South Korea are currently sixth in the betting to claim the gold medal but will surely arrive in Japan full of confidence after their good recent results.
The 2020 AFC U-23 Champions, South Korea’s 2-1 defeat to France in preparation for this tournament was just their first loss of 2021, having previously twice beaten Ghana as well as drawing with Argentina.
The New Zealand team come into the competition on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Australia, and if the betting is to be believed, they really have little chance of getting out of the group, let alone winning a medal.
This should be a straightforward task for South Korea, and though odds-on shots aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, a price of 7/10 for a SOUTH KOREA WIN looks far too big and is the recommended bet in this fixture.
Kick-off time: 09:30 BST, Thursday
Ivory Coast have a few household names among their ranks, Manchester United’s Eric Bailly and Amad Diallo, as well as AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, are the ones that immediately jump out, and they are rightly favourites to beat Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia have won just twice in eight matches this calendar year, against Uganda and Liberia, but this is unlikely to be a walkover for the African side, the Saudi’s drawing a further five of those eight matches, and even when they are beaten, it is not by much.
In fact, these two played out a 0-0 draw back in October 2020, and while it is difficult to see Saudi Arabia holding the Ivory Coast to another tie, they will be desperate to keep the game tight, and for that reason, backing IVORY COAST TO WIN & UNDER 2.5 GOALS is the recommended selection.
Kick-off time: 12:00 BST, Thursday
Neither Japan nor South Africa made it past the group stage at the 2016 Olympics, and while matches involving the former were a little bereft of goal-mouth action, Japan were certainly one of the more exciting teams to watch, their three games seeing 14 goals scored (seven for and seven against).
Obviously, it is a different Japan team this time around, but if their warm-up matches are anything to go by, the philosophy remains the same. Japan are unbeaten in their last four, including a 3-0 win over Argentina, a 4-0 victory over Jamaica, a 3-1 success over Honduras and most recently a 1-1 draw with tournament favourites Spain.
South Africa are rank outsiders to return home with the gold medal, and frankly Japan are expected to give them a bit of a thumping, making the 4/5 about OVER 2.5 GOALS worth backing.
Odds correct 1500 BST (20/07/21)
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