Tokyo Olympic Men’s Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions: 4 Bets for Team USA vs. Iran, France vs. Czech Republic & More
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Fournier.
- After one round of games, there is clearly a lot of high-quality men's basketball teams in Tokyo.
- In Round 2 of group games, Nigeria looks to go to 2-0 against Germany, while Team USA takes on Iran.
- There's plenty more action, and our team of basketball analysts break down where they see betting value throughout the night -- and morning -- below.
Through one round of games, and it’s clear that a gold medal is not going to be a walk in the park for Team USA, or anyone.
Team USA actually finds itself in last place in Group A, having lost by seven to France in the opening game while Iran only lost to Czech Republic by six. In Group B, Australia routed Nigeria by 17 points and Italy took down Germany.
Groups A and B will play their second rounds of round-robin games on Monday night and throughout Tuesday morning. A Group B matchup kicks things off at 9 p.m. ET when Nigeria takes on Germany. Both teams are coming off a loss in their opener. After that is Team USA vs. Iran at 12:40 a.m. ET on Wednesday, followed by Australia vs. Italy at 4 a.m. ET and then France vs. Czech Republic when the sun is up on the East Coast at 8 a.m. ET.
Our team of NBA betting analysts break down their favorite plays from this set of games, identifying three matchups that they see betting value in.
NBA Odds & Picks
Germany vs. Nigeria
Roberto Arguello: Nigeria is the more athletic and talented team in this matchup, and I like them to win and cover.
Germany caught fire as they hit seven of their first 10 3-pointers against Italy in the opening game. However, they still lost because they went scoreless over the final 4 minutes, 43 seconds as Italy closed on a 12-0 run to win by 10.
The final quarter exposed the Germans’ weaknesses. They had more turnovers (four) than points (three) over the final seven minutes. They also played with poor ball movement, forced passes and settled for too many tough 3-pointers.
Overall, Germany had only 15 assists to 14 turnovers in the game.
The Nigerians are coming off of a 17-point loss to an Australian team that right now is playing the best basketball of any team in this tournament. This was the first Olympic game for the majority of this young Nigerian roster, and I expect them to bounce back with a stronger performance against the Germans in a must-win game for both teams.
The Nigerians also had their own struggles with turnovers and scoring in the fourth quarter, but they did so against a much better defensive team than the Germans did against Italy. Nigeria should feast on turnovers and opportunities to get in transition against this German team.
Shooters like Nnamdi (Gabe) Vincent, Jordan Nwora, Miye Oni and Caleb Agada should regress to the mean while the Germans, who shot 46.9% on 3-pointers in their opener, will take a step back against a stouter defense. The Nigerians should also have an advantage inside with Jahlil Okafor’s post scoring and Precious Achiuwa’s rim pressure.
USA vs. Iran
Joe Dellera: The United States team is flawed, and the fact that there’s even concern whether they can win the gold this year says it all.
This is not a team that’s so overpowering that their chemistry and fit do not matter against some of the elite international teams such as Spain, Australia or France.
Against this Iranian team, though? It should not be an issue.
The United States team still takes plenty of 3-pointers and with a slightly closer 3-point line than the NBA, it should be able to capitalize with guys like Lillard, Durant and LaVine in the lineup. I expect the United States to make a statement and be aggressive in taking 3-pointers to put this game well out of reach early.
The Iranians dropped their chance at a victory when they fell to the Czech Republic and will need to wait another three years for a crack at an Olympic victory. I fully expect them to lose not only against the United States, but also to France.
France vs. Czech Republic
Brandon Anderson: Fresh off their monster win over Team USA, France is a heavy favorite against the Czech Republic, with the books making it nearly a double-digit favorite. And as big a win as that was, this feels like it could be a serious letdown spot for the French.
Remember, it’s not like France was particularly dominant. The Americans got terrible games from Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard plus cold shooting, and France had a perfectly timed 14-0 run in the final minutes to turn a deficit into a surprisingly comfortable win.
None of that takes anything away from what France accomplished, but it’s important perspective.
The team caught some breaks, Evan Fournier had a monster game, and the French trailed most of the game but pulled out the win. It was one of the biggest Olympic wins in team history, but it wasn’t the sort of triumph that announces a team is here now and ready to contend for gold.
I think it told us more about Team USA than it did France.
The books don’t seem to agree, installing France as a sizable favorite here, and I think that’s a mistake.
Like it or not, France is not a team with much history of Olympic success. They finished in sixth at the past two Olympics and stumbled into Tokyo on a four-game losing streak. This is not some juggernaut team, and the French have a history of disappointing from a good position.
And these Czechs are pretty good. Tomas Satoransky may be the best guard on the court, and the Czech Republic led comfortably most of the way against Iran, by as much as 20, before withstanding a late push. The team has now won four games in a row, and that includes going to Canada and beating a favored and talented Canadian team in overtime earlier this month in qualifying, then thumping a Greece team missing a certain Finals superstar by 25 points.
The Czechs like to play a fast, run-and-gun attacking style, and you might recall France giving up a lot of easy buckets to Team USA in the opener when the Americans remember to get out and run. France is built around big man Rudy Gobert and an even bigger backup. The French like to play big and slow things down, and the Czechs could provide some matchup problems.
This is the exact sort of game France often likes to blow, unfortunately. And with the French favored by so much, we just need the Czechs to keep this within single digits to hit our cover. And remember, point differential matters and the Czechs still have to play Team USA, so they’ll fight all the way because it will matter for qualification.
I played France in the shocker over the USA, but I’m changing course here. I like the Czechs to keep things close against an overconfident team the books have propped up too much.
I’ll play for the cover, but I have to sprinkle a portion of my bet on the +360 moneyline too. The Czechs almost certainly qualify for knockout with a win here, and with USA next, they’re playing for their lives. I have to give them better than the 21.7% implied chance.