Perhaps winning the gold medal isn’t a lock after all for Team USA in men’s basketball. The Americans are still heavy favorites for a gold in Rio, but they looked very mortal in their most recent game. And now Team USA plays one of the most talented clubs in these Olympics in France on Sunday. There are no opening lines on this game yet because Team USA still plays Serbia on Friday and that should be a blowout win in the olympic betting lines. The Americans should still be double-digit favorites on Olympic odds vs. France. That’s the last game of the group stage.
Here’s a Closer Look at the Rio 2016 USA vs France Men’s Basketball Betting Prediction
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) August 12, 2016
The USA beat Australia, which had a few recognizable NBA players, 98-88 on Wednesday. The Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony saved the day. He finished with a game-high 31 points on 11 of 21 shooting and hit three three-pointers in a little more than two minutes midway through the fourth quarter to put the Americans up 83-76 with 5:32 remaining. The Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving then took over, with no shot bigger than his three-pointer from the right wing with 1:35 left that put the Americans up 93-86. Irving, who is from Australia and considered playing for their national team in his earlier years, finished with 19 points and five assists. The Americans have won 71 consecutive games, 48 in FIBA and FIBA Americas competition.
The Aussies were led by NBA players Patty Mills, Matthew Dellavedova and Andrew Bogut. Australia took its final lead of the game at the start of the fourth, 72-70, and it was Anthony who gave the USA back the advantage for good with five points to put the red, white and blue ahead 75-72 with 7:37 on the clock.
Anthony’s 31 points tied for the second-highest single-game output in the U.S. men’s Olympic record book, and his 15 three-point attempts set the record. Anthony became the all-time leading scorer in United States men’s Olympic basketball history during the game. It was 273 by LeBron James. Anthony now has 293. David Robinson (270) and Michael Jordan (256) are third and fourth on the all-time U.S. list, respectively. Anthony is the first U.S. men’s basketball player to compete in four Olympics and has a chance to become the first men’s basketball player to win three Olympic gold medals. Brazil’s Oscar Schmidt holds the all-time record of 1,093 points, by the way. That's unbreakable as he played forever and in many more games.
This French team is quite accomplished, with five NBA players (Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Rudy Gobert, Boris Diaw and Joffrey Lauvergne) and two others with past experience in the league (Nando de Colo, Mickael Gelabale). The French won the 2013 Eurobasket Tournament and were third in the 2014 FIBA World Cup and 2015 Eurobasket.
But France was on the brink of falling to 1-2 in Group A before Parker’s game-turning bucket earlier Wednesday pulled out a one-point win over Serbia. Parker hit the go-ahead jumper with 31 seconds left, and the French beat Serbia 76-75. Sitting on the bench for most of the fourth quarter as Serbia built a lead, Parker came back on late to help France’s run of six straight points to end the game. For the winner, Parker dribbled to his right against Serbian defender Stefan Markovic, then crossed back to his left, stepped back, and splashed through a deep jumper to beat the buzzer.
France’s best player in Rio has been Utah’s Diaw with an all-around game that’s well suited to international basketball. In three games, Diaw is averaging 9.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists. Gobert, also of the Jazz, is averaging 6.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. Those are decent numbers in about 23 minutes per game, but they’re somewhat inflated by his good game against China.
It should be noted that Australia beat France easily 87-66 last Saturday. The French are ranked 5th in the world and Aussies No. 11 but those rankings looked backward that day.
France is likely to finish either third or fourth in Group A, assuming it beats Venezuela on Friday and loses to Team USA on Sunday. A third-place finish would move them into the knockout round, but would put them in a bracket that would likely feature a semifinal meeting with the U.S. A fourth-place finish in the group means a move into the other half of the bracket, a quarterfinal matchup against the top team from Group B. That would probably be Argentina or Lithuania.
The USA played France in Game 1 of group stage play in the 2012 Olympics in London and the Americans won 98-71. But that American team was better than this one. France played USA close for the first half, but the USA predictably pulled way ahead in the second.