Italy vs. France Odds, Preview, Prediction: Target the Total in Olympics Basketball Quarterfinal (August 3)
ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Fournier.
Italy vs. France Odds
|Moneyline||+300 / -400|
|Time||4:20 a.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday night and via BetMGM.|
We’ve reached the knockout phase of Olympic men’s basketball, so we’re down to just eight teams in a single-elimination tournament. One of these teams goes home, while the other one is guaranteed to have two shots at winning a medal.
France is the favorite, entering this game undefeated in group play at 3-0. The French upset Team USA in the opener, then cruised with easy wins against Czech Republic and Iran. Italy, meanwhile, is 2-1 but might be a bit underrated. The Italians beat Germany and Nigeria by 19 combined points and lost to undefeated Australia by just one bucket.
Either way, everyone is 0-0 now and anything can happen in a single elimination game. Can Italy pull off the upset?
The Italians will have the best offensive player on the floor in Danilo Gallinari. Anything can happen if Gallinari gets hot, and the shooting Italy’s big men bring with him and Nicolo Melli can give opponents trouble when it spaces the opponent out. That could be a real weapon against Rudy Gobert in the paint.
What’s wild is that both Gallinari and Melli aren’t even among Italy’s top-three scorers so far. Simone Fontecchio led the team in scoring in two of three games so far. He is a young, talented wing who can get hot beyond the arc, though he’ll have to deal with Nic Batum in this one. Nico Mannion and Stefano Tonut round out the top three.
The Italians know exactly what they are. This team doesn’t defend worth a lick. Their perimeter defense is akin to a prize bullfighter and there’s precious little rim protection. But what Italy lacks on defense, it makes up for in offensive firepower and shooting. Italy ranks third offensively so far behind only USA and Slovenia, per John Schuhmann.
The Italians also prefer to slow things down to a crawl. They’ve played at the slowest pace in the entire tournament. That helps Italy keep the game close, and that slow, close pace and the right timely shooting could give them a shot at an upset.
France is unbeaten and has plenty of winning experience in international tournaments.
This is another team that knows what it is. France is built to play defense, and that makes sense when you have Rudy Gobert as your one legit superstar. Gobert and France have been the best defense in the tournament so far by a mile. USA is actually second, if you need a reference for just how far ahead France is on the rest of the field.
It’s not all defense, though. Evan Fournier was one of the hottest scorers in the tournament until he disappeared in a mostly meaningless finale in the group stage. Fournier had 49 points his first two games, and Nando de Colo has been a leading scorer for France too.
This team has been very strong so far. Per Schuhmann, France ranks third in Net Rating right now behind only USA and Slovenia — and remember, that Team USA rating is greatly inflated by an Iran blowout. France beat the USA!
This is a very good team. Batum is one of the best international wings, while players like Thomas Heurtel, Vincent Poirier, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Guerschon Yabusele add serious depth and versatility.
This team could be a real gold medal threat. France has medaled in five of its six non-Olympic international tournaments over the past decade, but it finished sixth place at both Olympics during that stretch, flaming out in this round.
France has a history of looking good early but choking when it matters most, so this team has that history. Are the French good enough to overcome the past?
This game has the lowest spread of any men’s basketball quarterfinal. The books know this one will be close, and it’s likely to be slow and low-scoring. Close games in a single elimination tournament are dangerous for the favorite, so be careful about being too overconfident with France here.
I can’t be talked into a France cover. This spread is a steep task in a tight game, and Italy has shown they’ll fight all the way and that those shots will fall at some point. Italy is +300 on the moneyline to pull the upset. That’s just a 25% chance of winning, and I think that underrates the Italians. If the game is close, the underdog has a better than 1-in-4 shot at winning.
I might sprinkle that moneyline, but I actually prefer the under here. Italy plays at the slowest pace in the tournament, and France ranks ninth of the 12 teams in this tournament, only a couple possessions above being No. 11, right above Italy — and all three France opponents ranked in the top half in pace of play, so France might actually be even slower than Italy.
This game should be super slow, and France has the best defense in the tournament. Either one of these teams could go cold, or it could just be a tense, stodgy game.
These teams average a combined 171.3 points per game so far, so don’t be thrown by the low line at 167.5. Grab the under, and if you like the under and think this will be close, you might want to sprinkle the Italian moneyline and see if the underdogs can pull off the upset.
Pick: Under 167.5 (to 165.5)