Australia vs. Slovenia Odds, Olympic Preview, Prediction: How to Bet the Bronze-Medal Game (Aug. 7)
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Luka Doncic.
Australia vs. Slovenia Odds
|Moneyline||+110 / -130|
|Time||Saturday, 7 a.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday night and via DraftKings.|
Luka Doncic’s magical run at a gold medal was cut short in the semifinals by Rudy Gobert and France, while Australia blew a 15-point lead to the United States.
Now, the two nations face off in the bronze-medal game on Saturday morning in Tokyo.
Can Luka lead his country to a medal or will Australia finally secure a finish higher than fourth place in the Olympics? Let’s break down the Bronze Medal matchup.
Boomers Look to Keep Up Impressive Defense
Australia seemed to just run out of steam against the United States after holding a 15-point lead before halftime. The Aussies played relentless defense but were just worn down by the United States once the Americans realized they needed to play team basketball.
Prior to that, when the United States started off playing mostly an isolation game and waiting for jumpers to fall, Australia dominated and got off to a strong lead. The team defense, led by Matisse Thybulle, can keep even the most elite offenses at bay.
The United States was just better, and this is something we knew.
In this matchup, though, Australia faces a totally different animal in Luka Doncic, as he tries to lead an entire offense past the Aussies.
Australia has risen to every test thrown at them during these Olympics. The Aussies have played elite defense while also being extremely effective from 3-point range. They have the second best shooting percentage in the Olympics from beyond the arc (40.4%) on 30.2 attempts per game. This has allowed them to score 86.8 points per game, making the 3-ball a stabilizer for this offense.
One concern for this bronze-medal matchup is Aron Baynes. Baynes missed the Semifinal matchup against the United States, which forced Jack Landale into the starting lineup. Landale is a fine player, but this impacts the Boomers’ depth at center since Baynes.
Slovenians Rely on Superstar Playmaker
This is the Luka show.
Doncic has been dynamic during the Olympics, and he’s further established himself as one of the best players in the world. He has led Slovenia while averaging an absurd 24.2 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists per game. Without him, this team likely does not even make the knockout rounds.
The Mavericks- star has elevated the talent of Mike Tobey and Zoran Dragic, as Slovenia has pushed and defeated some of the elite international teams. Tobey leads all Olympians with 11.6 rebounds per game, and the second-chance opportunities he has created have been invaluable to Slovenia, considering it takes the most field goals per game in the Olympics.
The one issue Slovenia has is that it is so reliant on Doncic, who averages 32.1 minutes per game and commands an absurd usage rate for the Slovenians.
The strength of Australia is its defense. While it can pressure the ball, if Slovenia’s ball movement is not crisp after it leaves Doncic’s hands, it will struggle.
Slovenia needs to follow the blueprint the United States just laid against Australia in order to win. The Americans started off slow because they were unable to effectively and efficiently move the basketball. If Doncic is unable to get his teammates involves and attack the weak points of Australia, he may be due for an extremely inefficient game like he did against France (16 points on 5-of-18 shooting).
It’s a shame Australia ran into the United States before the gold-medal game because the Boomers have truly played very well during these Olympics and deserved a shot at the championship. On the other hand, Doncic has lead Slovenia on an incredible run and dominated matchups against longtime international juggernauts.
This game comes down to Slovenia having the best player on the court, and Australia having the best team.
I think Australia’s style is more effective in this matchup. It plays better team basketball and while both teams shoot many 3-pointers, Australia makes them at a better clip than Slovenia. Shooting variance could play a factor because Slovenia attempts about seven more 3-balls per game than Australia, but Australia has the defensive talent to close out on defense and contest those looks.
Australia will be tested by Doncic, but I expect the Boomers’ strong team defense to prevail in this matchup. Back Australia as an underdog to take home their first Olympic basketball medal.
Pick: Australia moneyline (+110)