Israel and South Korea face off on Thursday morning in an Olympic baseball showdown at Azuma Stadium in Fukushima. This is the first game for both of these teams in the Olympics.
Most didn’t even expect Israel to make it to the Olympics, but now they hope to surprise even more people with their play here. Israel pulled off a big upset getting past the Netherlands to reach this point. The star of this Israel team is Ian Kinsler who last played in the MLB in 2019, but was a standout. Another one of the key players is Danny Valencia who also had a strong MLB career, and during qualifying he was a difference maker hitting three home runs. Outside of those two players though, this is a roster with not a lot of experience, and the pitching could be a big issue for them in this game and tournament.
On the other side of this matchup is South Korea who is the third ranked team in the world, and in 2008 they took home gold. South Korea decided to go with a young roster for this tournament, which is a bit surprising to some. The best player for this team is Hyun-Soo Kim, who is going to be a key player for this team, and leaned on heavily to have success. One of the other young stars for this team is Baek Ho-Kang who has been a standout in the KBO, hitting ten home runs already this season. They also have some young arms like Eui-lee Lee who is a flame thrower.
South Korea has the advantage on the mound and with their bats, and this game is going to get out of hand early. South Korea is going to win this game on the run line but there isn’t a whole lot of value sitting at -180, although it is a safe bet. If you can get South Korea -2.5 with your book, that is the play.