Olympic Men’s Basketball Odds, Picks, Preview: Best Bets for Slovenia vs. Japan & Spain vs. Argentina (July 29)
Jean Catuffe/Getty Images. Pictured: Ricky Rubio.
- Olympic basketball rolls on Thursday morning as Group C moves into the spotlight.
- Spain is set to face Argentina after Japan and Slovenia go to battle on the international court.
- Our staff breaks down both games and shares a pick for each of them below.
All Olympic basketball eyes will be on Group C Thursday morning as it takes center stage with a pair of intriguing matchups.
Following a sensational debut at the Summer Games, Luka Doncic leads Slovenia as a heavy favorite against Japan, while international basketball powers collide in the later game when Spain takes on Argentina.
Our team of betting analysts have highlighted their favorite plays for these matchups and explain them below.
Olympics Men’s Basketball Odds & Picks
Japan vs. Slovenia
Joe Dellera: This spread is just far too large for a team that defeated France and played within 10 points of Spain.
While it took until the second half for it to make a push and keep it close, Japan shot well from 3-point range (40.7), and that is something that can give an underdog life. With both teams reliant on the 3-ball — Japan took 42% of its shots from beyond the arc against Spain and Slovenia took 52% of its shots from deep against Argentina — this is a game that screams shooting variance.
Luka Doncic is undoubtedly the best player on the floor, but Japan has two established NBA players in Rui Hachimura and Yuta Watanabe.
I expect a deluge of 3-point attempts to be taken during this game, and due to variance, I want to avoid the high total (183.5). However, this gives me a reason to back the hosts.
Japan vs. Slovenia
Raheem Palmer: After making its first Olympics and defeating Argentina, 118-100, in its first game behind Luka Doncic’s 48 points, five assists and 11 rebounds, Slovenia’s power rating has increased substantially.
Once thought to be behind Spain and Argentina in Group B, Slovenia showed it’s well ahead of Argentina and has a real chance of winning a medal in its first Olympics.
That said, how much can one team’s power rating increase before it becomes expected value to fade that team? I think that spot is here with Japan, which is led by the Wizards’ Rui Hachimura and the Raptors’ Yuta Watanabe.
While this roster isn’t particularly stacked by any means, neither is Slovenia’s, which is highly dependent on Doncic. Japan upset Belgium and France in the exhibition games and played Spain tough in the first game of the Olympics.
Argentina vs. Spain
Roberto Arguello: Spain and Argentina have been two of the elite international teams over the last 20 years, but the sun is setting faster on Argentina than Spain.
Argentina has had a handful of great basketball players, including Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, Fabricio Oberto, Carlos Delfino and Andres Nocioni. Aside from being Argentinian, all of these players were born before 1983.
Scola is the lone player from the golden generation remaining, and although he can still get buckets with his step-back jumper, there isn’t much else he can do at 41 years old that affects winning at this level of competition.
Facundo Campazzo might be the best player on this team, but asking him and Scola — the only two players who scored more than 20 points in the opening loss against Slovenia — to carry the load against Spain is a tall task.
The Spaniards are simply a better version of the Argentina team. They have experienced bigs in Marc Gasol and Pau Gasol who can score, but Marc also plays high-level defense. They have an experienced NBA point guard in Ricky Rubio, who is an accomplished international player and elite passer.
Spain also has more athleticism and more players who can impact the game defensively — Argentina was exposed when it gave up 118 points to Luka Doncic and Slovenia.
I like Spain to win and cover as 8.5-point favorites, but I like the money on the first-half spread at -4.5 more. I will bet this up to -5.5 at -130 or better.