USA vs. Czech Republic Men’s Olympic Basketball Odds, Preview, Prediction: Who Will Punch the Second Ticket Out of Group B? (July 31)
Ned Dishman / Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Durant, Bam Adebayo, Damian Lillard, Jrue Holiday, and Devin Booker
USA vs. Czech Republic Odds
|Czech Republic Odds||+23.5|
|Moneyline||-5000 / +1400|
|Time||8 a.m. ET|
After their upset loss against France in the opening game of group play, the United States men’s basketball team bounced back with a 120-66 win over Iran on Wednesday afternoon.
Improving to 1-1 in group play, the US men’s basketball team has their sights set on Czech Republic as they look to advance to the knockout stage of the tournament. Czech Republic comes off a 20-point loss to France in their last game and to no one’s surprise, the US is expected to dominate with oddsmakers installing them as 23.5-point favorites with a total of 183.5 points.
Fortunately for the US, their 54-point win over Iran on Wednesday gave them some margin for error, allowing them the opportunity to make it into the knockout stage even with a loss in the event that lightning strikes and they lose to Czech Republic.
Of course, we don’t foresee that happening but let’s analyze both sides and find out where the betting value lies.
Will Team USA Handle Another Inferior Opponent?
The US men’s basketball team made easy work of Iran with their 54-point victory on Wednesday afternoon. Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard led all scorers with 21 points on 7-of-15 shooting (46.7%) with all of his field goals coming from behind the arc. Kevin Durant, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Zach LaVine and Devin Booker also scored double digits in a game in which the US never had to break a sweat.
Hot start! Six 3-pointers in the opening quarter. @Dame_Lillard with 9 PTS.
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 28, 2021
Facing an Iranian team with no NBA players, the US was completely dominant, holding them to 37.3% shooting and forcing 23 turnovers along with 10 steals. The US scored 37 points off those turnovers and was able to get out in transition to score at will. As a whole, it’s tough to take much from this win given the talent discrepancy between the US and Iran.
Still, the US made some improvements after dropping their first game to France. Most notably, head coach Greg Popovich deployed a three guard starting lineup featuring Lillard-Jrue Holiday-Devin Booker-Kevin Durant-Bam Adebayo which allowed the US to get out in transition and play fast. The lack of chemistry on this team has been a concern, but it’s something we should expect to get better as they play more games together. The faster-paced transition game in which the US simply outruns teams should allow them to capitalize on their speed and athleticism over other teams in the tournament.
Even more importantly, the US recovered from their poor shooting in their game against France to make 19-of-39 (48.7%) threes. With the shorter three-point line, their performance against Iran feels a lot more sustainable than the 10-of-32 (36.2%) the US shot against France in their opening game.
While the US did lose to France, they held a seven point lead with three minutes to go before going cold late in the fourth. With multiple games under their belt and the experience of blowing a late lead, it’s tough to imagine the US letting another one slip against an inferior opponent.
Can the Czech Republic Use Their Size Advantage to Pull the Upset?
Unlike Team USA, the Czech Republic wasn’t a shoe-in to make the Olympics. After finishing sixth in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Czech Republic had to win the qualifying tournament to get in, defeating Canada and Greece to get in.
Upon getting into the Olympics, the Czech Republic hasn’t been the type of team the US would fear. They defeated Iran by just 6 points, which says a lot considering this same team lost to Team USA by 54 points.
They also are coming off a 97-77 loss to France in their second game of Group play. This tells us this team is not in the upper echelon of teams in this tournament.
There’s a reason this team entered the Olympics as the 12th-ranked team in the FIBA world rankings.
Czech Republic has just one active NBA player on it’s roster in Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky who scored 14 points in their loss to France on Wednesday.
Forward Jan Vesely, who was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, is also a key contributor to watch out for on this roster as he comes off a game against France in which he scored 19 points, grabbing five rebounds and three assists. He could come up big against Team USA given their struggles with size in the front court.
As a whole, this is a very big Czech Republic team with bigs like Ondrej Balvin, Patrik Auda and Vesely all looking to take advantage of the lack of bigs Team USA has. Nonetheless, Whether their size advantage can overcome the speed and athleticism remains to be seen.
USA-Czech Republic Pick
Team USA has had some speed bumps during these Olympics. Upset losses against Nigeria and Australia in the exhibition games as well as their opening group play loss to France. Their struggles can’t be understated, but at the same time it’s clear they’re superior to most of the teams within the tournament.
Even in their upset losses they held leads and had control of those games before ultimately failing to execute down the stretch. I’m not sure with the talent disparity on these two teams, the game will even come down crunch time where Team USA’s lack of cohesiveness and chemistry has hurt them against teams that have experience playing together.
Although Czech Republic’s size may cause some problems initially, as the game goes on, Team USA’s athleticism should reign supreme. Lay the points with the Americans.
Pick: Team USA -23.5 (-110)