To no surprise, the American men, led by Kevin Durant, are the heavy Olympic betting favorites to win another Olympic gold medal in basketball and they are also huge 49.5-point favorites for Monday evening’s game against Venezuela. The total is 166.5 points.
Taking a Closer Look at the Rio 2016 Men’s Basketball Betting Pick
Monday | 8/8 | 6 p.m. EDT
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) August 8, 2016
The Americans opened the Olympics against China and cruised 119-62. Durant, USA’s leading scorer at the London Olympics, was the pace-setter again with 25 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal on 10-for-14 shooting from the floor. Carmelo Anthony, who had 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, one steal and one block, tied LeBron James and David Robinson for most Olympic games played for the United States with 24. The score was tied at 4-4 early on when the USA began to heat up. Ignited by a dunk from DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), the USA reeled off nine unanswered points to lead 13-4 at 5:10 when China called a timeout. The game was basically over after that. The USA previously topped China 106-57 on July 24 in Los Angeles and 107-57 on July 26 in Oakland in friendlies.
The 57-point victory this time was the United States’ biggest in a win in an opening game of the Olympics since the Dream Team beat Angola by 68 in 1992. The USA is now 17-0 in Olympic play all time under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. This will be his final Olympics as the head coach.
Venezuela lost its opening game in Group A play against Serbia on Saturday. Gregory Echenique and Jose Vargas led Venezuela with 12 points each in the 86-62 defeat. Venezuela, likely the weakest team in the field, shot just 37 percent from the field against Serbia and made just 4-of- 22 from 3-point range.
The Americans beat Venezuela 80-45 a few weeks ago in Indianapolis in exhibition play. Klay Thompson and Kyrie Irving led the U.S. scoring with 13 points each. Overall, the team hit just 4-of- 25 3-pointers and shot just 42 percent from the field. Paul George sat out with a strained calf but is healthy now. Getting to Rio is an achievement in itself for the Venezuelans, who are now ranked 22 in the world and qualified by making the final of the 2015 FIBA Americas Championship.
The second-best team in this tournament was thought to be Spain but it was upset by Croatia over the weekend 72-70. Bojan Bogdanovic (Brooklyn Nets) was a constant scoring threat and finished with a game-high 23 points. Dario Saric preserved the win when he came from the weak side and blocked a game-tying attempt from Pau Gasol at the end. Gasol of course is an multiple-time NBA All-Star who signed with the San Antonio Spurs this offseason. Saric will play for the Philadelphia 76ers as a rookie in 2016-17. Memphis Grizzlies star Marc Gasol’s absence this summer was something to worry about heading into Rio for Spain, and it was felt greatly against Croatia. Spain was outrebounded 41-30 and gave up 10 offensive rebounds.
Spain finds itself in unchartered territory as they didn’t lose their opener during their 2008 and 2012 Olympic silver medal runs. They will look to bounce back against Brazil on Tuesday. Spain’s roster has seven current NBA players, three former NBA players, and a draft pick (Sergio Llull) who could have come over and had an NBA career if he had wanted to.
My Free Pick
The Americans not only will win gold, they will win every game by double digits.