Following two lopsided wins, Team USA could encounter something resembling resistance when they play Australia for top spot in Group A in Olympic men’s basketball on Wednesday.
Team USA, led by the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant, has had no problem winning their first two games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by an average of 50.5 points. On the Olympic men’s basketball gold medal board at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, the Americans’ odds have come down to -2000 (wager $2000 to win $100).
Coming into the tournament, one concern from Team USA was a lack of three-point shooters. To wit, they shot only 38.8 percent on threes during their top lopsided wins. Durant, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Jimmy Butler have thrived at attacking the basket, and their depth should almost certainly win the day.
However, Team USA is facing a 2-0 Australian team that is limiting opponents to 40 percent shooting and includes post defenders from the NBA in recent Dallas Mavericks acquisition Andrew Bogut and Detroit Pistons C Aron Baynes.
Still, the Americans are heavy 29-point betting chalk on the Rio Olympics odds for the game.
One element the Americans are hoping to develop during the tournament is their contributions from the guards. The likes of DeMar DeRozan, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson have taken a back seat to the forwards.
Australia came into the Olympics under the radar, but have won decisively against opponents from the deep FIBA Europe region, dispatching France (87-66) and Serbia (95-80). Matthew Dellavedova, who was with the Cleveland Cavaliers during their NBA title run, is averaging 11.5 assists, while the San Antonio Spurs’ Patty Mills is first in scoring at 23.5 points.
Team USA, through pre-Olympic play and the first two games in Rio, has stuck to pushing up the pace in order to wear out opponents with shorter benches. That increases the possibility of the total going over at the sportsbooks.
The nature of the FIBA game, where referees tolerate more physical play, also makes it difficult for an underdog to control the tempo. If both teams get into a good run of perimeter shooting, it could be a high-scoring contest.
The Americans’ next action is against Serbia on Friday, and it will conclude group play against France on Sunday. The gold medal game is on August 21.