United States vs. Spain Odds, Picks, Predictions: USA’s Improved Defense Will Lead it to Olympic Win
Gregory Shamus / Getty Images. Pictured: Jrue Holiday and Kevin Durant
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United States vs. Spain Odds
|Moneyline||+525 / -800|
|Time||12:40 a.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday at 10:30 a.m. ET and via BetMGM.|
This certainly is a surprising Quarterfinals Matchup between the United States and Spain, the two countries with the best odds of capturing the Gold Medal prior to the Olympics. With both teams failing to win their respective groups, one of these teams will leave Tokyo far short of their goals and without a medal.
These two teams faced each other on July 18th in an exhibition leading up to the Olympics in Las Vegas. The United States took the game 83-76, but can the United States duplicate this performance and keep their gold medal dreams alive? Let’s break it down.
United States: Jrue Holiday is the X-Factor
The United States started off their Olympic journey with some struggles. They dropped games to both Nigeria and Australia in exhibitions, then lost their first Group game to France.
Despite this rough start, the United States did defeat both Spain and Argentina in their warm up games, and then the United States demolished both Iran and the Czech Republic to close out the Group stage 2-1. In doing so, the United States has totaled 76, 120, and 119 points in their three games while only allowing, 83, 66, and 84.
While France is a legitimate contender, the victories over Iran and the Czech Republic don’t tell us much about the Americans besides that they can demolish lesser competition and have rounded a bit into the juggernaut they were expected to be.
The United States has been lead by strong performances from Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, and Jayson Tatum, but one of the best players for the Men’s team has been Jrue Holiday. Holiday started his time with the Olympic squad late due to his participation in and winning the NBA Finals with the Milwaukee Bucks.
After playing 28 minutes off the bench in the loss to France, he has entered Team USA’s starting lineup, and his impact is evident. Not only is Holiday a great facilitator and capable of running an offense surrounded by other stars (i.e. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton), but Holiday is also an excellent perimeter defender, something this team desperately needed.
His two way contributions are invaluable for this team that’s laden with elite scorers but lacking in lock down defenders. I expect Holiday to stay glued to Ricky Rubio, the true offensive facilitator for the Spain, and force them to play through their other wings.
Spain: Controlling Pace Will be Key
Spain is an elite force to be reckoned with on the international stage, but they’re not a very young squad. Not that this entirely matters, but when you are set to play the United States, youth and athleticism certainly matter.
In Spain’s most recent game against Slovenia, they started Ricky Rubio (30), Rudy Fernandez (36), Victor Claver (32), Alberto Abalde (25), and Marc Gasol (36). The next players off the bench are Sergio Llull (33), Sergio Rodriguez (35), and Pau Gasol (41!).
While this team is very fundamentally sound, if they cannot control the pace this will be a tough matchup for them.
Spain is consistent. The Spaniards have scored 88, 81, and 87 points this tournament. They aren’t explosive, but they are going to score at a consistent clip. In fact, they’ve scored 30 points just once in a quarter during the Olympics (2Q vs Japan).
While this consistency is great if you’re a favorite, the lack of scoring upside is dangerous against the explosive offense (and shooting variance) of this United States team.
In order for Spain to win, they need to slow this pace to a crawl and attack the paint. They need to run their offense through the post and look to get the few bigs on team USA in foul trouble.
United States – Spain Pick
The United States has rounded into form, and although their two wins in the Group Stage were against lesser opponents, they’ve started to gel as a team, and Jrue Holiday has been an impactful addition to this starting lineup. Holiday is a new edge that the United States has to play that they did not have back in July.
In the July 18th exhibition, Ricky Rubio scored 23 points (with somehow only one assist). We just saw what Holiday’s point-of-attack defense can do against top guard options in the NBA Finals (Chris Paul and Devin Booker), and he should be able to limit Rubio’s opportunities by forcing the ball out of his hands.
This is a tough matchup for Spain. Their path to victory is not through unbelievable shooting variance or running hot from 3 point range; they need to grind out a victory against a US team that is loaded with talent that can score 30 points at the drop of a hat.
The spread is large, but considering the additions and adjustments Team USA has made since their seven-point victory in the exhibition match between these two teams, I’m comfortable laying the points.
Pick: United States -11.5 (BetMGM)