Olym-Picks: Friday's Top Tips at London 2012


Men's volleyball: Brazil vs Italy - 7:30pm

The second of tonight's semi-final matches sees Brazil take on Italy, whose 3-0 thrashing of the USA earlier in the week shook the volleyball world. While that result will undoubtedly boost their confidence, Italy haven't been faultless over the last fortnight: losses to Poland and Bulgaria showed that they are beatable.

Brazil look ideally placed to exploit Italian weaknesses at Earls Court. Aside from one loss, they've been in imperious form, winning four out of their six matches by a 3-0 scoreline. With the colossal Dante, Sidão and Wallace patrolling the net, and setter Bruninho in fine form, they'll be confident of victory tonight. Back them to win even with a -1.5 set handicap at 1.72.

Men's basketball: USA vs Argentina - 9pm

Unsurprisingly, the USA have been dominant at London 2012. The so-called Dream Team have romped to six consecutive victories, breaking the 100-point barrier on four occasions. The form book suggests that tonight's semi-final should be a walkover: Michael Krzyzewski's side thrashed Argentina 126-97 when they met in the group stage just four days ago.

The odds on a US victory, however, won't be tempting anyone. A far better bet is for Argentina to stay in touch until half-time; in Monday's match, the USA only led by a single point after the second quarter. Back the South Americans to win the first half with a huge 14-point head-start at 1.95.

Boxing: Anthony Joshua vs Ivan Dychko - 10:45pm

This men's super heavyweight semi-final pits the home favourite against Ivan Dychko, the third seed from Kazakhstan. Joshua has won plaudits with his displays over the last week, with the likes of Lennox Lewis and Amir Khan speaking of his enormous potential. Certainly, the 22-year-old has the skillset to go far in the sport.

Tonight's fight, however, could be closer than the market suggests. Odds at 1.40 on Joshua seem to smack of Team GB hysteria, particularly in light of Dychko's stunning quarter-final triumph over the Canadian fighter Simon Kean. Dychko won that one 20-6 - the biggest winning margin in any of the super heavyweight fights that have gone to a judges' decision. Forget patriotism and back the Kazakhstani at a generous 2.75.