The United States endured a difficult start to this year’s Olympic men’s basketball tournament, but have steadily rounded into form as the tourney has progressed, solidifying their position as heavy favourites to once again take home the gold. However, with the field now reduced to just four teams, the Americans are far from a lock to extend their dominance at the Olympics. The USA faces a colossal task in their upcoming semi-final matchup with Australia. And this year’s other semi-final matchup features the only team to beat the Americans in Olympic action since 2004, France, taking on a surprising unbeaten squad from Slovenia for the right to play for gold.
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at all the odds and trends as the Olympic men’s basketball tournament enters the medal stage. Sports bettors looking to get in on Olympic basketball action for the first time can refer to our betting guides to learn all they need to know to get the best out of their basketball betting experience.
USA Rebound from Shaky Start
The United States’ supremacy in Olympic basketball looked to be in serious doubt in the wake of their stunning 83-76 loss to France in their group stage opener. While the squad is top-heavy on NBA talent, several players had little opportunity to recover from the long journey to Tokyo that ended just hours before game time. And it showed in what proved to be their first loss in 25 Olympic contests.
Self proclaimed world champions lost to France.
USA lose first men’s Olympic basketball… https://t.co/0QWXjynkMy
— Desi Dose🇮🇳 (@kirandayal) July 26, 2021
However, after catching their breath, the Americans quickly responded, following up with three straight crushing wins over Iran, Czech Republic, and Spain. Not surprisingly, the USA now look to their 19th straight trip to the semi-finals perched as heavy favourites to once again claim gold, with a $20 bet at Betsafe (1.25) producing a return of just $25. The United States are also perched as heavy 11.5-point chalk at Sports Interaction in their upcoming semi-final clash with Australia. But sports bettors dismissing the Boomers, do so at their own peril.
Patty Mills: 18 PTS, 3 3PM
Joe Ingles: 11 PTS, 7 AST
Matisse Thybulle: 12 PTS, 3 STL pic.twitter.com/FsdA2cvQBy
— NBA (@NBA) August 3, 2021
While listed as a longshot to win gold, with a $20 bet at Betway (13.00) paying out a handsome $260 return, the Aussies are far from a pushover. Gold medal winners at the 2018 Commonwealth games, the current edition of the Australian men’s national team features six NBA players. The squad is undefeated through their first five Olympic contests, capped by a crushing 97-59 win over Argentina in quarter-final action. They also proved they can keep pace with the Americans with a stunning 98-94 win in a friendly clash two years ago.
Doncic Sparking Slovenian Rise
Despite that breakthrough, it remains more likely that the biggest challenge to American dominance will come from the winner of Thursday’s semi-final date between France and Slovenia. A rising power in international basketball, Slovenia have proven that their march to gold at Eurobasket 2017 was no fluke. Led by Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic, the Slovenians laid waste to the competition in group stage action at this tournament, posting wins over Argentina, Spain, and Japan, and continued to roll with a 94-70 win over Germany in the semi-finals.
4 years ago, Luka Doncic made @kzs_si debut.
— Slovenia Olympics 🇪🇪 (@EuroopaKoss) August 3, 2021
Now listed as 1.5-point favourites on the Olympic basketball odds at Bet99, Slovenia is set to pick up where they left off at the most Eurobasket, where they romped to gold with nine straight wins. But can they beat the Americans? Slovenia currently sits as the favourite on the Olympic odds without the USA, with a $20 bet at Sports Interaction (1.75) returning $35. However, the better betting value can be found in wagering on the veteran French squad that has already drawn first blood from the United States.
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Veteran French Squad Brimming with Confidence
Denied a berth in the 2019 FIBA World Cup final by a stunning 80-66 loss to Argentina, the French have lots to prove in the Olympic tournament. Those hopes were raised with their victory over the USA in the group stage. But while most casual observers were shocked by that win, French success against the United States is nothing new. Les Bleus also knocked off a star-laden USA squad by an 89-79 score in the quarter-finals at the 2019 World Cup, with many of the players from that French squad currently competing in Tokyo.
This is a biggie. France defeats USA in basketball’s #FIBA World Cup QF, 89-79. It is clear that for USA to win major events, you need to have your best players. You can’t – like you could before – waltz in with your B-squad & expect to win. The rest of the world has progressed. https://t.co/Mi8wmQyvzs
— Szymon Szemberg (@Sz1909_Szemberg) September 11, 2019
Much will depend on the continued strong play of two French players. Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz has been a steady presence under the rim, averaging eight rebounds per game while Evan Fournier of the Boston Celtics has been one of the top scorers at this tournament, averaging 18.3 points per game, including a dominating 28-point performance in France’s win over the USA. Of course, France still remains a longshot to pull off the upset and win Olympic gold, with a $20 bet at Funbet (8.50) producing a return of $170. But given their ability to rise to the occasion when facing the Goliath of global basketball, Les Bleus are definitely worth a value bet to win it all.