Team USA Basketball Odds for Tokyo Gold Tumble After 2nd Upset
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The United States men’s basketball team has seen its odds to win gold in Tokyo tumble after losing its second-straight exhibition game, this time a 91-83 defeat to Australia on Monday. It follows its puzzling loss on Saturday, when the Americans went down 90-87 to Nigeria in Las Vegas despite being 28.5-point favorites.
Last week, Team USA was the overwhelming -750 frontrunner to win gold at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, but following the Australia defeat it has now settled at -370 with FanDuel. Team USA was 54-2 in exhibition games prior to the Nigeria loss, but it has dropped back-to-back games for only the third time since 1992. Dating back to the 2019 FIBA World Cup, where it finished seventh, Team USA has now lost four of its last five games.
The Nigeria loss was an ugly start and Monday's tilt against Australia was an opportunity to get back on track in the second of five scheduled pre-Olympic exhibitions. The American team, packed full of NBA superstars and coached by five-time NBA champion Gregg Popovich, put in an improved performance but ultimately came up short.
It did not take long for top sportsbooks to react, with Australia - a team expected to contend for gold in Japan - cut from +1400 to +850 at FanDuel. Meanwhile, Nigeria backed up their upset of Team USA with another impressive result, taking down Argentina in a 94-71 rout of the world's No. 4 team on Monday. Oddsmakers reacted by cutting its odds from +5000 to win gold in Tokyo to +2900, in the process leapfrogging Argentina (+3400).
Exhibition games are useful in assessing chemistry and performance before a competition, however it's important to remember they are just that - exhibitions. The Americans, going for their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal, still possess the most talented roster led by an experienced coaching team and should be seen by bettors as a more appealing option now at improved odds.
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Limited Practice For Team USA
Team USA entered Saturday’s exhibition having practiced just four times together since arriving in Las Vegas. The Nigerian national team had been practicing together since June 27, and it’s worth noting that their squad featured six NBA players – including Gabe Vincent and Precious Achiuwa of the Miami Heat.
They also hit 20 of 42 3-pointers, a necessary best-case scenario in knocking off the favorites. Against Australia, Team USA started well and held an 11-point first-half lead, holding its opponents to just 13 second-quarter points.
But the Americans tired badly in the second half and were beat up inside, as Australia racked up 44 points in the paint to USA's 22. In the end, Team USA was held without a field goal for the final 4:34.
Team USA is missing three players – Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday are still competing in the NBA Finals – so it is far from a finished product. This is also a relatively new roster, as Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Kevin Love are the only players with Olympic Games experience. Jayson Tatum and Middleton were on the 2019 FIBA World Cup team, meaning seven of the 12 players are experiencing international basketball. By and large Team USA is playing together as a group for the first time.
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Americans Loaded With Talent
With additional practice time, reinforcements from the Finals, and perhaps an added sense of motivation after humbling defeats, the Americans and their embarrassment of riches will be ready to roll when pool play begins. Here are the accolades of the 12-man U.S. roster: Six NBA championships, 37 All-Star games and 21 All-NBA selections. That doesn’t include head coach Gregg Popovich, who has five NBA titles to his name.
Slovenia’s superstar Luka Doncic and France’s Rudy Gobert are the only other NBA players on the same level as the U.S. squad, meaning the Americans will enter Tokyo with 12 of the best 14 players in the tournament. What’s more, the Americans have a ridiculously good track record in the Games. If you are considering a wager or regularly visit NBA betting sites, you should feel confident: Team USA has 25 straight Olympic Games wins, they’re 138-5 all-time in the Olympics, and they have won gold in 15 of the 18 Games they’ve participated in.
Australia, Spain Main Competitors
The NBA continues to expand globally, making the competition the Americans will face as steep as it has ever been. The 12-team pool could feature as many as 50 NBA players, which would top the 46 that played at the Rio Games in 2016. Team USA leads the way, of course, with all 12 members of their team playing in the Association, but they’ll have some competition on their way to the gold-medal game.
Australia’s +850 odds at betting sites are second behind Team USA, and for good reason as we saw on Monday. They feature six NBA players, including Patty Mills and Joe Ingles, who combined for 39 points against Popovich's team. It was also the Australians who beat the Americans in a 2019 World Cup exhibition. They’ll be a tough out despite Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons choosing to skip the Games.
Spain has two silver medals and a bronze medal during Team USA’s three-peat. They also won the 2019 FIBA World Cup and feature NBAers Pau and Marc Gasol, in addition to a handful of talented Spanish League players. Their odds sit at +1200 on the cusp of the Games.
France (available at +2600 on betting apps) knocked the United States out of the FIBA World Cup in 2019, and any team with Doncic on it will be a tough out, giving Slovenia +2400 odds to round out the top four teams behind Team USA.