It will be epic showdown Friday morning at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when Chinese legend Ma Long faces young countryman Fan Zhendong in the men's table tennis gold-medal match. Ma, 32, is the reigning Olympics table tennis men's singles champion and is widely considered to be the best men's player of all-time, Fan, 24, is the top-ranked player in the International Table Tennis Federation rankings and has won thee straight World Cup titles, beating Ma in the 2020 final.
First serve is set for 8 a.m. ET. Fan is listed as the -225 favorite at William Hill Sportsbook, while Ma is the +163 underdog. Before you make any 2020 Olympics bets, be sure to see what SportsLine Olympics expert Mike Tierney has to say.
A national sportswriter whose work appears in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, Tierney has covered nine Olympic Games in person. For Rio in 2016, Tierney profited big-time. He told readers to bet Over on Team USA's gold-medal count (41.5) and Over on Team USA's overall medal count (102.5). The result? 46 golds, 121 medals and two easy cashes.
And for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Tierney hit two of his three predictions: Germany (+200) to win the most gold medals and the United States winning Under 10.5 gold medals (+110).
Now, with the Tokyo Summer Olympics under way, Tierney has analyzed every angle of Friday's men's table tennis gold-medal matchup to help bettors cash in.
He has identified an X-factor that has him jumping all over one player on the money line. You ABSOLUTELY need to see what he has to say before locking in your picks.
Who wins gold in Friday's 2020 Tokyo Olympics men's table tennis final? And what X-factor makes one player a MUST-BACK on the money line? Join SportsLine right now to find out which player you should back in the men's table tennis final, all from the expert who has crushed his Olympic picks!
Men's table tennis finals
Fan Zhendong (China) vs. Ma Long (China)
Ma Long (+163)
If this is a swan song for Ma, a three-time Olympic gold medalist at age 32, he can go out on the highest of notes. His countryman Fan, 24, has been ranked No. 1 globally since 2018. Yet Ma has won 16 of 22 matches face-to-face, and they most recently split last year. Both were pushed to the full seven games in the semifinals. In Fan's case, nerves might have played a factor, and this match marks his initial Olympic finals. Tension is foreign to Ma, who is regarded as the premier player ever, and his arsenal of shots is complete with an improved backhand to complement a crushing forehand. Prior to the semis, Ma cruised through three five-game victories. Though it might be Fan's time, the young'un should not be saddled with short odds of -225.
Looking for the best picks against the spread, sharp action on the total and props you can take to the window? Join Jonathan Coachman on the Early Edge as he speaks with SportsLine's top handicappers to preview every day's biggest games. We promise to keep it short, sweet and to put some green in your pocket. Early Edge is under 10 minutes and in your feed every single day by 11 AM ET. Download right here or wherever you get your podcasts.