Olympics betting: U.S. men's hoops a big favorite over Spain, but past matchups have been close

·3 min read

The United States men’s basketball team returns to Olympic action on Tuesday in the quarterfinal round against Spain.

The U.S. dropped its Olympic opener to France, but rebounded by defeating both Iran and Czech Republic in blowout fashion. Spain also went 2-1 in group play, knocking off Japan and Argentina before falling to Luka Doncic and Slovenia to set up the quarterfinal matchup with the Americans.

The U.S. opened up at 11.5-point favorites over Spain at BetMGM, but that point spread has since been set to -12.5. Team USA is a popular bet at BetMGM, attracting 82% of the wagers and 88% of the money. The fact is much more split on the over-under. With the total currently set at 178.5, 54% of the bets are on the over, but 58% of the money is on the under.

Team USA has won the gold in men’s basketball in six of the last seven Summer Games, but their recent matchups with Spain have been very competitive. In the 2016 Olympic semifinals in Rio, the U.S. won 82-76. In the gold-medal game in 2012 in London, Team USA won 107-100. In 2008 in Beijing, the U.S. won gold with a 118-107 victory.

The winner of USA-Spain, which tips off at 12:40 a.m. ET, will move on to the semifinals face-off with the winner of the Australia vs. Argentina quarterfinal matchup. The loser is eliminated.

United States's Kevin Durant (7) drives up court during a men's basketball preliminary round game against the Czech Republic at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
United States's Kevin Durant (7) drives up court during a men's basketball preliminary round game against the Czech Republic at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

USA favorite to win gold, Slovenia more popular bet

Team USA is still the favorite to win the gold medal at -200, but it’s a far cry from the opening odds of -1000. Those odds started to fall rapidly following exhibition losses to both Nigeria and Australia. And when the U.S. dropped the Olympic opener to France 83-76, the odds fell to -250.

Behind the U.S., Slovenia is next at +500 with France (+700) and Australia (+900) also in the top half of the odds list. Spain is listed at +2000.

Slovenia, with Doncic leading the way, has actually been the most-popular bet at BetMGM. The Slovenians have received 25.2% of the bets, just ahead of Team USA at 23.6% and Australia at 21.1%. The U.S., however, has received more than half of the money at 54.4%. Slovenia has received 18% of the money and Australia is third at 12.9% of the money.

Full gold medal odds:

  • USA: -200

  • Slovenia: +500

  • France: +700

  • Australia: +900

  • Spain: +2000

  • Italy: +3300

  • Argentina: +5000

  • Germany: +6600

Other quarterfinal odds

Other than USA vs. Spain, there are three other quarterfinal matchups on the schedule.

The first is Slovenia vs. Germany at 9 p.m. ET Monday night. Slovenia, the first-place finisher in Group C at 3-0, is a 14.5-point favorite over Germany, which went 1-2 in Group B play. The total is set at 184.5.

Later Tuesday is Italy (2-1) vs. France (3-0). France is favored by 8.5 points and the total is set at 167.5. That game is slated for 4:20 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

The final matchup is Australia (3-0) vs. Argentina (1-2) at 8 a.m. ET Tuesday. Australia is favored by 8.5 points. The total is 170.5.

Slovenia's Luka Doncic drives up court during a men's basketball preliminary round game against Spain at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Slovenia's Luka Doncic drives up court during a men's basketball preliminary round game against Spain at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 1, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

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